Bentwaters is one of the rare UFO cases that has a saw large number of corroborating witnesses. Estimates are more than 100 military personnel stationed at various locations around the bases witnessed something flying around the perimeter of the bases that night. Only a few, however, have gone on record.
Status of Physical Evidence:
The photographs that Penniston took that night are nowhere to be found. "I dropped my film off at the base lab for developing as usual. As a matter of course, we would be able to pick film up two to three days later, review it and then turn it over to the Office of Special Investigations (OSI). This time, I was told that nothing came out. I found it hard to believe then and still do today."
As for the plaster of Paris casts he made of the three indentations in the ground? "I kept them in England until our return to the States in 1984," says Penniston. Then, he says, he put one of them in the household baggage that was being shipped back to the States. The other two he hand-carried by attache back to the States himself.
The one that was shipped in household baggage is missing. "Our shipment took nine months to arrive and when it finally got there, I had the packing list, knew which box to go to, but it was gone," Penniston says.
The plaster molds, along with Penniston's testimony and Burroughs corrobroation, now serve as the only available evidence that something very real, and very strange touched down just outside Bentwaters in December 1980.
Critics, skeptics and debunkers have offered various explanations of what happened at Bentwaters, reducing the event to something of a much more terrestrial and mundane nature.
One theory holds it was the Russian satellite, Cosmos 746, which reentered the Earth's atmosphere over England, at 9:10 p.m., appearing as a bright object in the night sky December 25-26. Later, in the early morning hours of the 26th, at 2:50 a.m., a fireball entered the atmosphere over Woodbridge. Then, at 4:11 a.m., a police car with a blue strobe light on top responded to a call and was driving along the dirt roads through the forest, adding to the confusion and "misidentification" -- that according to skeptic James McGaha, formerly with the Air Force, now a member of CSICOP, who says that he investigated the Bentwaters case.
However, the actual night of the incident remains in question. To the best of the primary witnesses' recollections (the police blotter was stolen from the repository), the first Bentwaters event occurred the night of December 26-27. Moreover, not one critic has ever interviewed Penniston.
"Even if the night is the same night, what I saw and inspected was not a Russian satellite, nor was it a police car, a fireball, a lighthouse light, as others have claimed. None of those things look like what I saw or can take off from a clearing with no sound."