What if I told you Sony Pictures Television is planning to release a TV series about one of the most famous –and controversial– UFO cases in modern history, with freaking ‘Morpheus’ planning to appear and exec produce it?
Variety revealed last week that Laurence Fishburne has just signed with Sony’s Eleventh Hour Films (a London based studio) to participate in ‘Rendlesham’, a series based on the real-life anomalous incidents involving U.S. military personnel stationed at the RAF Bentwaters/Woodbridge twin bases, near the Rendlesham forest in Suffolk, in 1980.
“The Matrix” star Fishburne will play Tyrone, a retired American airman who was stationed at the U.S. base during the Cold War. With his wife Carol and son Brock, Tyrone returns to the area to visit Carol’s dying father, and is forced to face events that have haunted him his whole life.
Whereas 10 years ago such news would have made me squee like a One Direction fangirl –sorry if the reference is dated, I stopped paying attention to music after Cornell died– nowadays there are several reasons why ‘Rendlesham’ fills me with trepidation.
For starters, the really short synopsis printed by Variety sounds a lot like the plot for ‘Roswell‘, the 1994 TV movie written by Paul Davids, based on the book ‘The Roswell Crash’ by Kevin Randle and Don Schmidt. [Mild Spoilers] In the movie Davids showed Jesse Marcel, played by Kyle MacLachlan, attend a veteran reunion of his old Army Air Force squad in the now famous New Mexico town, which he uses as an excuse to re-examine the crashed saucer incident he was sent to investigate in 1947, which had brought him so much shame and embarrassment once the Army claimed the ‘recovered disk’ was just an ordinary weather balloon. That reunion never took place in real life, but it was a clever artistic license invented by Davids in order to reunite most of the main witnesses 50 years later, and it gave the opportunity to include the (also fictitious) Deep Throat-like character of Townsend, played by Martin Sheen, who reveals to Marcel the ‘truth’ about the government cover up on the alien presence on Earth. I saw this movie more than 20 years ago, and despite of how much my opinion on Roswell has changed, I still consider it to be one of the best examples of media entertainment based on a real UFO event –or a supposed UFO event, if you want to put it that way…
These seeming parallels between the plot of the ‘Roswell’ movie and the new ‘Rendlesham’ series feel somewhat ironic, and not just because Rendlesham has been named ‘the British Roswell’ among UFOlogy circles; but also because both cases have suffered their fair share of problems and inconsistencies as time went by, which damaged their credibility. With Roswell we have the issue of second and third-hand witnesses whose testimony was put into question by other researchers –e.g. Glenn Dennis– misinformation in the form of the infamous MJ-12 papers, and ‘evidence’ which over time turned out to be nothing but opportunistic hoaxes –e.g. the Santilli ‘alien autopsy’ video and the Roswell slides.
With the Rendlesham case on the other hand, we see that it attracted a lot of popularity in the late 90’s and early aughts thanks to the book ‘Left at East Gate’, co-written by researcher Peter Robbins and Larry Warren. Warren’s story painted a picture even more fantastic than what the other Rendlesham witnesses claimed, and on top of encounters with strange objects and lights playing cat-and-mouse with the guards stationed at Woodbridge over the course of several nights in December of 1980 –which may have also compromised nuclear weaponry clandestinely kept at the base– we also had his account of direct close encounters between Air Force officers and alien entities, threats made by obscure government agents in order to keep the secret, and even allusions to underground bases and mind control experiments.
Unfortunately, last year Robbins made a public statement to distance himself from his former associate, and is now saying that many of the things Warren told him are not to be believed, and that the book they wrote together is full of inaccuracies –Warren, on the other hand, has denied the accusations and attacked Robbins on social media. Because of this, Cosimo books announced they would suspend distribution of ‘Left at East Gate’ indefinitely.
Among the other Rendlesham witnesses, there are also other developments which have further complicated the case: Jim Penniston, the former USAF sergeant who, along with John Burroughs, encountered what they claimed was a glowing ‘triangular object’ moving between the forest trees on the first night of the Rendlesham events (Dec 26), has later claimed in recent years that after briefly touching the UFO –which, according to him, had weird symbols all over its surface– he managed to receive some sort of ‘binary code’ downloaded directly into his mind. After being decoded by third parties (the History Channel and Linda Moulton Howe) in 2010, the code was interpreted as a message from ‘time travelers from the future'(!), including terrestrial coordinates to several locations, like the Pyramid of Giza or the mythical island of Hy Brasil.
These alleged revelations are problematic, not because time travelers are less plausible than space travelers –to be fair, they both are equally unproved and unlikely according to our current paradigm– but because if there’s something UFO researchers hate is when witnesses change their original testimony, or add new details as time goes by, since that gives skeptics the excuse to put into question the whole case and claim it’s all confabulation. In UFOlogy, the caught fish that keeps getting bigger with each new retelling, is the easier one to shoot inside the barrel.
And finally, the last thing that gives me the heebie jeebies with regards to the announcement of the ‘Rendlesham’ TV series, is the possibility than Tom DeLonge and his To the Stars gang may be involved in it.
Early 1980s: U.S. service members assigned in England, over a period of three days, encounter what cannot be described as anything else than extraordinary. The events that occurred those three days make the movie “Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind,” look amateur. Several of those individuals that were involved in that incident, I had the privilege of debriefing myself. Furthermore, information involving this incident, within the next four months, will be forthcoming. Further giving the world a better appreciation of what occurred those three nights. The capabilities that were stored at that facility, were highly sophisticated and may have even lead to UAP interest.
Equating the case with most famous UFO movie in all history might have been just hyperbole on the part of Elizondo, or it may be a veiled hint at the ‘entertainment value’ of Rendlesham, once it’s brought to the small screen –still, I’m fully acknowledging this is speculation on my part, and will be happy to update this article with a rebuttal if I learn I was mistaken about the alleged involvement of TTSA with Sony’s TV series.
“Why do you keep giving To the Stars and DeLonge such a hard time, RPJ? Don’t you want cases like Rendlesham to receive a bigger attention?” Don’t get me wrong here: despite its many problems and shortcomings –and the fact that there’s no such thing as a ‘silver-bullet case’– I still feel Rendlesham deserves further scrutiny. It forced both the UK authorities and the American government to take a closer look at what happened to those men almost 40 years ago –the office of the late US Senator John McCain helped John Burroughs win his case against the government, unofficially acknowledging he was injured during active duty at the time of the incident, and as a consequence of his proximity to whatever it is he and Penniston encountered, he suffered long-lasting health problems. There’s also the testimony of Col. Halt, whose rank and credentials lend a lot of weight to his claims of what he and his men encountered on those fateful winter nights. Whatever the animosity between Robbins and Warren, and the outlandish claims of Penniston and his ‘binary code’ from the 84th century or whatever, Rendlesham matters.
Having said that, I will not tire from reminding people that DeLonge, Elizondo and To the Stars seemed more invested in tactics of ‘perception management’ than an honest disclosure of information. In that same presentation I mentioned early, Elizondo showed his audience an image of the famous wave of UFOs flying over the Capitol in 1952, saying it was an actual photo of the event, when in fact it was a CGI reconstruction made by a Hollywood studio for some movie. It was only after he returned to the States that Elizondo bothered to post a much-delayed Mea Culpa, blaming the lack of sleep and Cuban coffee during his trip (ever heard of an espresso, bro?). If this had been the first slip TTSA had had, it wouldn’t matter, but during their very official ‘launch’ they showed an image claiming to be the ‘Tic-Tac’ object seen by the pilots of the USS Nimitz during a war exercise, when in fact it was nothing but a metallic party balloon…
Rendlesham matters, I say. Maybe not because it was an actual encounter between US military personnel and non-human intelligences during a very explosive time in human history –the height of the Cold War, with both superpowers stockpiling nuclear weapons in Europe, and Lech Walesa leading Poland out of the Iron Courtain– but because it might have been some kind of psy-op or psychotronic exercise using servicemen as guinea pigs. That is not my personal opinion on the matter, mind you, but it shouldn’t be discounted by serious researchers. Unfortunately I very much doubt such scenarios would be entertained by a TV series, and even less if To the Stars acted as consultants.
So no, I refuse to swallow this particular red pill with my eyes closed –even if it’s handed to me by Morpheus himself.