This article was published in the daily newspaper East Anglian Daily Times, U-K., on September 8, 2003.
Latest UFO theory is dismissed
A RESEARCHER has dismissed a theory that the world famous Rendlesham UFO was nothing more than a prank played by an American serviceman.
The latest theory about the cause of the UFO allegedly seen in Rendlesham Forest close to Woodbridge airfield after Christmas in 1980 concerns a bored young man driving on the runway with flashing lights on his patrol car.
But Georgina Bruni, author of a 440-page book on the UFO, has counter claimed there were inconsistencies in his account, and his story had been used by "debunkers" to discredit the case that an unidentified flying object was seen hovering in the forest.
Kevin Conde, who retired as a technical sergeant, stated he wanted to play a prank on one of his colleagues. He apparently drove a battered 1979 Plymouth Volare standard issue American police car down the runway, where he stuck red and green lenses on the spotlights, switched on his loudspeaker and drove around in circles on the runway in the fog while flashing his car lights.
His story was recently featured in a BBC television documentary Inside Out and highlighted by other media.
Mr Conde is unsure exactly when the prank took place, and therefore is not sure if he was inadvertantly responsible for the so-called UFO incident.
But Ms Bruni, who spent three years investigating the UFO and interviewed hundreds of people, is concerned that this theory could detract people from pursuing the definitive cause of the mysterious sighting.
She said: "Mr Conde claims he played the prank on the taxiway (runway). The incident did not take place on or near the runway, but inside the forest."
Ms Bruni said Mr Conde was unsure of the date, but said it was foggy on the night and he had played his loudspeaker. But, said Ms Bruni, there had not been any fog reported on the runway or surrounding Woodbridge air base and the UFOs were completely silent.
She added it was strange that the American air force allowed security police to use a battered car and why was the one-year old car in such a state of disrepair?
Mr Conde, a part time police officer in Sacramento, has been unavailable for comment. But he has told an internet newsletter: "For reasons that are hard to explain, it is my impression that I pulled my stunt during an exercise. We would not have had an exercise during the Christmas holiday. That is a strong indication that my stunt is not the source of this specific incident."
The UFO mystery relates to an account from two American patrolmen who told Colonel Halt, the United States deputy commander at Bentwaters air base, they had seen a metallic triangular object in 1980 hovering or on legs with a pulsing red light on top and a bank of blue lights underneath. It disappeared through the forest and animals on a nearby farm went into a frenzy.