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Debunking Ancient Aliens: Alien Contacts and the Rendlesham Forest Incident

Updated on April 18, 2012


Ancient Aliens is a television program currently in its forth season on The History Channel. In the season two episode "Alien Contacts," the crew of Ancient Aliens discusses an event that took place at Rendlesham Forest in 1980.

So what are the details of that event?

The Rendlesham Forest Incident

December 26, 1980, United States service men stationed near Rendlesham Forest in Britain reported seeing strange flickering lights. The incident would become Britain's most famous UFO sighting, often drawing comparisons to Roswell in the United States. Two American service men, sent into the forest to see what was going on, claim to have found a downed craft which they believe to be an alien space craft.

So how credible are these two witnesses? What Ancient Aliens leaves out is that the two men who went to investigate have rather different versions of what happened. Jim Penniston claimed in a 2007 interview with Larry King that they spent 45 minutes with the craft, investigating and taking pictures. John Burroughs, however, claims that they encountered the craft and it quickly "went up into the trees." It's up to you to determine how credible you find these two witnesses; there is more information, however, to suggest this may all be a hoax.

An article that appeared in The Guardian, a reputable British news paper, explains what likely happened. According to forester Vince Thurkettle, and confirmed by The Guardian journalist Ian Ridpath who authored the piece, the Orford Ness light house creates a light that, from the position the US servicemen were at, and in the direction they claim to have been looking, would appear to be a light, floating a few feet above the air. Police officers called to the scene during the Rendlesham Forest Incident came to the same conclusion -- that the only light they could find was that of the lighthouse.

Ian Ridpath was also able to confirm that on the night in question, a meteor burned through the sky and was witnessed over southern England -- one which could create the illusion to the airmen of an unidentified object crashing into the forest.


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