Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Monday 27 September 2010

Occam's razor and the little green men

Three cheers for the Rendlesham UFO story, which continues to provide us with a rich vein of blogging material. This time it's a senior USAF officer who's gone public:

'An ex-US air force chief has given an astonishing account of an encounter with a UFO at an air force base in Suffolk.

Charles Halt is one of a number of senior former airmen who went public today over claims that UFOs had tampered with nuclear missiles in the US and the UK.

Mr Halt, who retired in 1991, told a press conference that he was working at RAF Bentwater near Rendelsham in Suffolk in 1980 when he had the terrifying encounter.'

What he saw has become familiar thanks to repeated - and imaginative - dramatised reconstructions over the intervening three decades: following reports of unidentified coloured lights in the forest round the base, Halt took a team out to investigate.

'Mr Halt said: 'Milling around, one of the individuals saw a bright glowing object like an eye. It would appear to be winking and was shedding molten metal and silently moving through the trees and at one point it actually approached us.''

Interestingly - if a little awkwardly for Halt - this is part of a post from September 2009:

This week the truth is out there - way out there - in the guise of a 66-year-old lorry driver from East Anglia whose shady dealings apparently led to 'Britain's Roswell'. The 1980 incident achieved notoriety as an encounter with a possible UFO which left behind physical evidence in the shape of scorched trees and traces of molten metal.

Now Peter Turtill has come forward and claimed that on the night in question he found himself unexpectedly in possession of a truckload of stolen fertilizer which broke down on the Rendlesham road.

Not wanting to be caught with his incriminating cargo, he took the truck into the forest and set light to it, generating a spectacular burst of coloured flames as the chemicals caught fire.

When the armed Americans appeared, he took fright and towed the burning truck away - not surprisingly, since being caught with a lorry-load of hooky fertilizer in the vicinity of a US airbase could in no way be described as a good career move.

Many years ago, I was one of a number of people across Scotland who saw a glowing object hovering overhead one New Year's Eve. Initially dismissed as the result of over-zealous Hogmanay celebrations, the sightings were almost certainly top-secret surveillance craft being tested on a night when reports were likely to be dismissed as fireworks.

Occam's razor tells us the simplest explanation is usually the correct one - nowhere is this more likely to be correct than in the strange and intriguing world of the UFO.

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