When Americans think of a UFO sighting, they typically recall the famous incident at Roswell, New Mexico. But some people think that the strongest case of a UFO close encounter is another incident: a UFO sighting that occurred in Rendlesham Forest in the United Kingdom.
The incident began on December 26, 1980, near two US military bases, and was immediately investigated by US military personnel. USAF officers John Burroughs and Jim Penniston went out to investigate a strange light that appeared in the forest near their base. They reported seeing a small metallic craft about two meters high and perhaps two to three meters wide. They reported that the craft illuminated the whole forest with light. Penniston reported seeing strange symbols on the craft unlike any he had seen. Penniston said he touched the craft with his hand. Shortly thereafter, according to Penniston, the craft rose up to the air, and accelerated away at an “impossible” speed.
Artistic depiction of the Rendlesham Forest sighting
The next day Burroughs, Penniston, and others from the base went searching for the site where the object had landed, and found a spot half a meter wide and 7 inches deep. The spot was checked for radiation, and found to have abnormally high radioactivity.
Later that day, the following was observed, according to an official Air Force memo on January 13, 1981 by Charles Halt, the deputy base commander:
Halt stated that numerous individuals, including himself, witnessed this.
USAF officer Jim Penniston (retired) later added a unique twist to this UFO encounter. Penniston says that the day after he saw the UFO close up, and touched it, he saw in his mind's eye a string of binary digits such as 101010100111010. Penniston says he wrote the digits down in a notebook. He later gave the notebook to computer experts, to see whether they could decipher the binary digits. The experts reported that the binary digits could be translated into a message in English.
According to the experts, the message consisted mainly of geographical coordinates of some places such as the Great Pyramid in Egypt, and the Nazca lines in Peru. The message also supposedly contained these lines:
EXPLORATION OF HUMANITY
CONTINUOUS FOR PLANETARY ADVAN??
EYES OF YOUR EYES
ORIGIN YEAR 8100
Penniston was later hypnotized. He stated, “Under hypnosis, I reveal that they are time travelers from the future.” (Encounter at Rendlesham Forest by Nick Pope, John Burroughs, and Jim Penniston, page 241.)
A UFO that is a vehicle from future time travelers? This is very hard to believe, but it is an interesting theory. Most UFO enthusiasts hold a different theory, that UFOs are from other planets. Some have also speculated that some UFOs may be from some other dimension.
I can think of one difficulty involved in Penniston's claim. There is no such thing as a direct binary representation of English words. Any such binary representation must use some kind of intermediate mapping system for translating between numbers and characters in English. Penniston's binary message uses the intermediate mapping system known as ASCII. ASCII is a standard today, but there is little reason to believe that it will stay in existence for another thousand years. Why would people from the year 8100 be using ASCII?
There is also the following difficulty. If time travelers from the future were actually coming to our planet, and allowing humans to see and touch their craft, wouldn't this run the risk of altering our future (and their past) in unpredictable ways? For an amusing short fictional look at some of the difficulties that can arise when future tourists enter the past, see my short story Time Travel Hotline.
It may be rather easy to dismiss Penniston's binary message as something too fantastic for belief, but it is much harder to dismiss the whole Rendlesham Forest incident. The incident was witnessed by too many reliable witnesses to be easily dismissed. Anyone interested in examining further the evidence regarding this sighting may take a look at this fascinating website.