Subject: Latest CROP WATCHER zine
Summary: Latest issue of the skeptical CROP WATCHER
Date: 25 Apr 94 21:22:43 GMT
Organization: The University of Manitoba
The Crop Watcher
Number 21 1994
Editor: Paul Fuller
Welcome to another Crop Watcher. As regular readers will know,
over the past year or so I've found it increasingly difficult to catch up
on my demanding publication schedule of six issues per year. One
problem I have faced is that the subject has been so thoroughly discredited
by the antics of its researchers that there is simply not enough reliable
material to publish whilst maintaining acceptable standards.
Regular readers will also know that over the past couple
of years crop circles have taken a real beating from the skeptics.
In my opinion this was long overdue and deserved. Perhaps the lack of
attention will drive away the hoaxers?
The crop circle subject is currently going through a period of
re-evaluation, of learning lessons and trying to address
some unpalatable questions. As you all know, The Crop Watcher
has existed to highlight the evidence which other researchers exclude from
their analysis of the phenomenon. I feel that to a limited extent
I've achieved this and vindicated some of the explanations Jenny Randles
and myself have suggested. However, we also admit that we have
made mistakes and these will be examined in a proper article in
our next issue.
Meanwhile The Crop Watcher will continue! CW is produced in my spare
time and has always been a loss-making venture. There has to be a limit to
how much time and money I plough into the magazine. Also it can be very
frustrating coming home after another hard day at the office only
to find that instead of spending the evening doing proper crop circle
research I've got to type up another article for CW! ... Well, it's a
pretty sad state of affairs isn't it!!
I've decided that from now on I will publish Crop Watcher on a quarterly
basis. The subscription details will remain the same, ie # 9 for 6 issues
(# 15 for overseas subscribers), but these 6 issues will be spread over
18 months ! This means that a year's subscription now costs only # 6 for UK
subscribers and # 10 for overseas subscribers. Existing subscribers need
not do anything until you receive a renewal reminder. I'm not quite sure
how many pages I can afford to produce per issue but hopefully there will
be between 28 and 32 pages plus the occasional photograph.
Don't forget The Crop Watcher exists to publish material that other crop
circle magazines and UFO magazines refuse to publish. Readers who submit
articles and material have their subscriptions increased accordingly. Now on to
more important things ...
A Brief Listing of Unidentified Ground Markings (UGMs) in UFO Research
by Chris Rutkowski
(North American Institute for Crop Circle Research)
With the current world-wide interest in crop circles and related effects,
a number of researchers have been examining historical records for possible
analogous cases that might shed light on the present situation. The primary
source for this information is Ted Phillips' Physical Trace Catalogue,
which was published in the late 1970s by the Center for UFO Studies. This
catalogue contains annotated listings of hundreds of physical traces, many
of which have no associated UFO sightings. Of these, a good proportion were
essentially crop circle singlets, found swirled in fields of grains or
grasses. The UFO connection was implied by investigators, usually without
any supporting evidence.
Now that some cerealogists are studying UGMs (Unidentified Ground Markings)
that exhibit more than "classic" crop circle characteristics, it may be
even more relevant to re-examine lists of historical UGMs. Cases of "burns"
and "holes" are now being studied as possible evidence of plasma vortices
and/or alien intervention. Regardless of the theory to which cerealogists
might adhere, these historical cases are interesting to consider with
regard to recent crop circle evidence.
UFOROM (Ufology Research of Manitoba) has a modest collection of files on
UFO reports among its Fortean case files. For the province of Manitoba
alone, there are over 750 UFO reports on file, and statistical studies have been
performed on this database that have helped shape further research. A number
of these cases involved physical traces, and some of these are apparent
historical crop circle events.
Since 1989, UFOROM has been actively investigating UGMs in Manitoba and
compiling information on North American cases in response to the British
crop circle waves. In 1990, the North American Institute for Crop Circle
Research (NAICCR) was formed as a sister organisation to UFOROM, with
primary interest in crop circles. An attempt was made to co-ordinate the
activities of North American researchers, with limited success. NAICCR's 1990
Report on Crop Circles and Related Physical Traces was well-received and did
provide researchers with some much-needed information on North American cases.
Several cerealogists have been attempting to produce catalogues of historical,
modern and recent crop circles, including physical traces. In order to
complement their efforts and assist them in their endeavours, UFOROM
researchers have combed through their own files and a number of other sources
to compile a listing of UGMs with possible relevance to cerealogy. Cases
have been gleaned from the Phillips catalogue, UFOzines, a number of books
on UFOlogy and related subjects, and of course personal investigation files.
Due to space limitations, the cases are presented in a brief listing format,
coded in the manner of the NAICCR 1990 report. Original sources are not
indicated, but the majority are from the Phillips catalogue and can be checked
easily. Other cases are documented in UFOROM files and are available for
inspection by researchers. The listing includes cases up to 1990."
PF Notes: I've not reproduced the full database listing but interested readers
can send me a s.a.e. with a 25p stamp and I'll send you a hard copy.
Alternatively send me a high density disk and I'll send you a copy of the
database listing and my tables and charts in LOTUS123 for Windows format.
The Crop Watcher's Analysis of the UFOROM Database
On page 4 I've listed the first 60 cases in the UFOROM database. Readers will
be interested to learn that despite the vigorous claims of the skeptics the
UFOROM database contains "flattened circle" cases from 1920 and 1941 !
The UFO Research Manitoba database presents researchers with an excellent
opportunity to compare historical crop circle cases with their modern
hoaxed counterparts. By adopting a historic perspective researchers can finally
ask questions like
- how did historical cases compare with the modern outbreak of hoaxes ? and
- did historical circles exhibit the same size and complexity as the modern
These are issues which go a long way to determining whether or not researchers
have the right to argue that Doug and Dave (and their copiers) merely
mimicked a pre-existing phenomenon.
The UFOROM Database actually comes in two versions - one is a world-wide
collection of reports whilst the second version includes only North
American cases. Both versions are being continually updated so this analysis
may already be out-of-date ! I have decided to only analyse the latter version
simply because it seems likely that the North American version has a better
geographical coverage than the world-wide version. However, readers
should recall that Bill Chalker and Keith Basterfield have recently produced
an updated catalogue of Australian Physical Ground Effect cases and CERES
has published many pre 1975 cases which should be read in conjunction
with these statistics (see CW14 pages 3-7).
Unfortunately, whilst the UFOROM database is a useful tool for evaluating
historical unexplained ground markings it also presents some difficult
statistical problems, because although we have all heard the old adage about
"Lies, Dammed Lies and Statistics" - this is doubly so for controversial
events like UGMs. In many cases the reality status of the event can be
seriously challenged. It needs to be stressed, for example, that the UFOROM
database almost certainly contains cases which are undetected hoaxes. Cases
like the Socorro landing (1964) and the Delphos ring (1971) are two classic
UFO cases which are either encounters with unknown phenomena or blatant hoaxes.
Researchers should ask themselves the following questions when trying to
interpret the analysis presented here:
(1) How reliable is each individual case ? How much weight can we place on a
case where no photo-graphic proof of its status is currently available ?
(2) If these historic cases do not include classic crop circles (which is what
the skeptics are claiming), what do they represent ? Remember it is not
scientific to dismiss these historical cases as hoaxes simply because many/most
modern-day cases are now known to be hoaxes. Neither is it scientific to
simply dismiss the cases without stating precisely what they were (ie by
giving a complete answer to falsify the crop circle hypothesis).
(3) How homogenous are these cases ? Are all "flattened ring" cases the same?
Are all "burned circles" identical in nature ? Can we assume that all cases
of the same type are caused by the same causal mechanism ? Is it
legitimate practice to add together events which may be completely unrelated ?
(4) How much is this database contaminated by undetected hoaxes ? Given the
proven inability of modern day cerealogists in identifying hoaxes this
doesn't auger very well for historical cases involving "investigators" who
normally interpreted what they discovered in terms of the emotive alien
(5) Do these cases constitute a representative sample of UGM cases ? This
problem is important because we have no idea how representative a sample
these cases are. It may be, for example, that most cases were only included
in the database because they were actually man-made hoaxes where the hoaxers
deliberately contacted UFO organisations or the media in order to promote
their hoaxes. If this is so then any "non hoaxed" cases would be
swamped by the statistical effects of the hoaxed cases ! Under such
circumstances meaningful statistical analysis would be quite impossible !
(6) Some of these cases actually involve entities. This surely affects how
much weight one can place on the reliability of the case. It would perhaps
be useful to re-analyse the database by comparing cases involving entities
with those that do not. If there are important differences between the two
datasets this would imply that two separate phenomena have been coalesced
under the UGM label.
The North American UFOROM database contains 407 cases dating back to 1919.
Table 1 and Figure 1 summarise the number of events by type of trace and
decade. There are 23 cases predating 1960 and only 4 of these predate
1950. Flattened circle cases (FC) and flattened ring cases (FR) account for
over one third of all reported cases up to 1990.
It is interesting to note that if we just examine cases which sound like
historical crop circles (codes BF, BR, CR, BC, FR and FC) then the UFOROM
database contains 243 such cases (60 per cent of the total). Furthermore, if we
restrict our selection to include just Concentric Rings (CR), Flattened Rings
(FR) and Flattened Circles (FC) there are 81 "crop circle" cases which
provably predate Doug and Daves' "first" circles in "1975". How do the Skeptics
explain the existence of these pre Doug and Dave cases ?
Table 2 and Figure 2 summarise the frequency of events over time.
Interestingly there are three peaks in the data - during the mid 1950s
(point A), during the mid 1960s/mid 1970s (point B) and 1990 (point C). Why
does the database display these peaks ?
According to Hilary Evans' lecture at the 1993 IUN Conference (CW19 page 8)
claims of alien contact in North America peaked in the early 1970s in
response to the Apollo moon landings. Could point B on Figure 2 be the
crop circle equivalent - a wave of UGM hoaxes perpetrated to support the alien
myth ? If this scenario can be supported then what happened to trigger the
events at point A ? According to John Keel the 1950s were a "dark
age" for UFOlogy when the movement went underground and publicity was rare.
Sputnik wasn't launched until 1957 so the space race seems a poor excuse to
trigger the "hoaxes" of the 1950s. Perhaps this suggests that the
exaggerated peaks at B and C hide a "genuine" non hoaxed anomaly which was
more accurately represented at point A ?
In pure statistical terms the most important feature of Figure 2 is that it is
probably NOT representative of the true number of UGM cases occurring in
each year. There are many possible reasons for this conclusion:
(a) there were no UFO groups around prior to the 1950s to collect the data,
(b) even if UGM cases were occurring regularly there was no emotive UFO
mythology to draw attention to the trace and attract investigators,
(c) UFO reporting is known to be heavily influenced by media reporting of the
subject; and (d) from the early 1980s onwards it became unfashionable for
UFO researchers to investigate trace cases, as claims of abduction took
over as the primary source of UFO controversy in North America. This led to a
large dip in the number of UGMs reported and investigated during the mid
1980s (an "abduction deficit"). For this reason the statistics are
potentially very misleading for events in the 1980s. It is also quite possible
that cases appearing at point C on Figure 2 are media generated hoaxes
associated with events in Britain.
For all these reasons the UFOROM database is probably quite an untrustworthy
source of statistical data, although it is revealing nevertheless. A prime
example of this failing is the issue of pre 1950 UGMs (point A on Figure
2). Because we know we have a biased sample the alleged lack of UGMs prior to
the 1950s is probably misleading. A trendy counterpart in anomaly research
can be drawn from official statistics of child abuse (which were initiated
in the UK in 1988 by the Department of Health). If one takes the skeptics'
argument at face value it is possible to "prove" that in Britain there was
no such thing as child abuse prior to 1988 ! If you look through the existing
literature you will find no cases of "child abuse" listed before the 1930s,
when the phenomenon was first identified and labelled by care agencies. By
simply extending the Skeptics' own arguments against crop circles this
"proves" that all child abuse is a hoax !
Table 3 and Figure 3 illustrate the distribution of UGM cases by type of crop.
The most interesting feature of Figure 3 is that 56.5 per cent of cases
occurred in grass. Readers should recall that many of the classic historical
cases involve concentric rings that occurred in grass (eg Redlynch, Somerset,
1954; Evenlode, Gloucestershire, 1960; Orebro, Sweden 1972). This is quite
an interesting finding because:
(a) hoaxes perpetrated in grass are likely to grow out relatively quickly
compared with hoaxes perpetrated in thick stemmed crops; and
(b) according to John Macnish's new book Cropcircle Apocalypse (page 117) Doug
Bower preferred making circles in wheat because of the pliability of the
15 of the 19 UGM cases from the 1950-59 period occurred in grass (3 were
Unknown, 1 was in Tree cover). Does this suggest that historical crop
circles may have been a genuine anomaly ? If not then why do so many historical
trace cases occur in grass ? Why didn't the hoaxers realise that wheat was a
much better crop to make circles in ?
It is interesting to note that cases with the lowest percentages involving
grass were Unknown, Hole and Other. Does this suggest that these events
involved other causal mechanisms to those involved in the making of circles and
rings ? The 100 per cent figures for Enhanced Growth, Vegetation Calcined and
Yellowing of Grass are based on less than 10 cases and must therefore be
treated with caution. It is possible, of course, that some of these latter cases
actually represent unusual fungal growths and fairy rings rather than crop
circle cases, although to be fair the UFO Research Manitoba team have been
very careful to avoid selecting fairy rings and fungal growths when they
compiled their database. It seems difficult to tell.
Table 4 and Figure 4 examine the percentage of cases involving earlier UFO
sightings. This too is highly problematic, for it is already known that
approximately 95 per cent of UFO sightings have relatively prosaic
explanations and - as Chris Rutkowski emphasises - the UFO association is
often associated by the investigator rather than by the witness ! Despite
these problems 38.6 per cent of the UGMs involved UFO sightings. Does
this merely reflect the prevailing cultural mythology that circular ground
traces represent ground markings left by circular-shaped spaceships, or do
these reports represent sightings of genuine atmospheric phenomena (eg plasma
vortices) that have been misinterpreted as UFOs ?
Again there is evidence in the dataset that we are not comparing "like with
like", because the percentage of cases involving UFO reports varies
considerably by type of case. Why, for example, do only 4.5 per cent of
Concentric Ring cases involve UFO reports ? Why do 61.5 per cent of Burned
and Flattened traces involve UFO reports ? Does this suggest that
Concentric Ring cases are created by ordinary whirlwinds whilst Burned and
Flattened traces are caused by plasma vortices ?
In our next issue we will examine further cross-tabulations of the UFOROM
database. Meanwhile readers are welcome to suggest analyses of this dataset
for publication in future issues of The Crop Watcher. Write to the
Editorial address on page 32.
For copies of the draft version of "A Catalogue of Australian Physical Ground
Effect Cases" write to Keith Basterfield, PO Box 302, Modbury North, South
John Macnish at the British UFO Research Association,
4th December 1993
What do you get if you add together a sore throat, a baby continually crying
and some nutter accusing you of being a government agent ? A BUFORA lecture
of course ! Poor old John Macnish, this was every public speaker's
worst nightmare come true - the curse of the crop circles eyeing up their next
victim !! Fortuitously John Macnish's contribution to the crop circle
debate was saved by some old fashioned common sense and the showing of two
previously unseen crop circle videos which will form the basis of "Cropcircle
Communique II", which is to be released this Spring (see address on page 17).
John Macnish began by introducing the title of his lecture - "Crop Circles, the
Final Chapter", which he admitted was a "relief at the end of
an interminable obsession" with the subject. He explained that he hoped his
lecture would "lift the lid and blow a few misconceptions".
His first video concentrated on the mystery of the circles, drawing attention
to the evolution of patterns and the variety of explanations that had been
proffered. This first video featured the famous Day Time Live "trilling"
incident at Beckhampton, the Blackbird fiasco (including the BBC Breakfast
Time interview with Colin Andrews), the confrontation between George
Wingfield and Terence Meaden at Barbury Castle, and Doug and
Dave's claim to have invented the phenomenon in "1978". John Macnish confessed
that during 1992 he had kept "a very close eye on" Doug Bower and Dave
Chorley and that this had led to "a year of revelation" for himself. A
few factual errors crept into this first video, eg Macnish claimed that circles
"always appear at night" and that "no hard facts had emerged" during the
1980s which pointed towards a solution. Both of these are highly contentious
At the end of this first video John Macnish discussed the Doug and Dave claim.
He began by stating that at the Chilgrove demonstration both men claimed to
have made no more than 30 formations a year (sometimes less).
According to the records of the Circles Phenomenon Research Group there had
been at least 75 "confirmed crop circles" for 1987. This contrasted sharply
with the "26" circles recorded by CERES. Macnish believed that this
discrepancy was because CERES counted a circle as just one formation whereas
CPR counted each separate component. Macnish concluded that whilst there
was no reason to suspect deliberate misrepresentation the use of
CPR's inflated figures by the media had helped to discredit Doug and Daves'
Next John Macnish admitted that Doug and Dave had no "hard evidence" which
proved their claim. He concluded that most cerealogists had dismissed their
claim because they had taken no photographs of themselves half-way
through making circles. According to Macnish this widespread dismissal of Doug
and Dave contrasted sharply with the reactions of the two men who had
examined their story most closely. He believed that both Meaden and
Delgado had listened to Doug and Daves' claim and carefully examined their
maps and diagrams. Following this both Meaden and Delgado had "dramatically
changed their viewpoints" after reviewing this evidence. Meaden now
dismissed all but the simplest of circles as hoaxes whilst Delgado (in 1992)
had "washed his hands" of the subject. This, in Macnish's view,
demonstrated that "the hard facts surrounding this subject are not always what
they seem". He concluded that "sometimes, the hard facts amount to a
In his second film Macnish began by examining the results of The Cerealogist's
circle-making competition at West Wycombe. During the commentary Macnish
stated that "I was well impressed with the formations, by the lay of
the crop and by the precision of the shapes that these teams had created".
Strangely, the "team of experts" that were called in to examine these
man-made hoaxes were "not nearly so impressed" with what they found. Macnish
felt that the fact that these "experts" already knew that the circles they
were examining were hoaxes influenced their conclusions. His video went on
to show how Adrian Dexter's team easily constructed an outer ring.
Next the video showed Rupert Sheldrake, one of the two men who thought up the
idea for a circle-making competition. Sheldrake made an astonishingly frank
statement about the man-made circles:- "They were much better
than I expected. Firstly, the performance at night was much more silent and
much less obvious. ... I think the standard of these formations was
extremely high. The subtlety of the way things were laid, the subtlety of the
way the stalks were bent and that kind of thing, may well differ from the
ones observed which may be genuine in the fields, but the overall
impression is very very good, they've done fantastically well".
John Macnish then presented night-time film of Doug and Dave making crop
circles during 1992. This was achieved by using a night-time image
intensifier with a range of about half a mile as well as still photography.
The video film showed Doug and Dave using their circle-making equipment at
night. Macnish concluded that because of the quality of the circles they
produced "After a very short time I had absolutely no doubts in my mind that
everything they claimed they could have actually achieved".
Macnish went on to state that during 1992 Doug and Dave made more circles than
they had ever claimed in a single year. "Their enthusiasm and co-operation
persuaded me that they were telling the truth. They've nothing to hide.
They've nothing to conceal. And I watched them as a natural history
photographer would observe wildlife from a distance".
Macnish's video showed Doug and Dave making several huge formations as well as
"grapeshot" circles. Macnish claimed that throughout the 1992 season Doug
and Dave sent him diagrams and water-colour paintings of formations
that later appeared in fields.
John Macnish noted that many of the dimensions of circles published in the
crop circle literature were consistent with the dimensions of the
formations Doug and Dave made during the 1992 season.
One fascinating revelation was that during the summer of 1993 John Macnish had
accidentally caught on film a group of three hoaxers making a pictogram on
Waden Hill near Avebury. This hoax was constructed in pouring
rain and fog, under freezing temperatures. For an independent eye witness
account of crop circle hoaxing at nearby Silbury Hill see the box on page 16.
John Macnish commented on Jim Schnabel's circle-making. He remarked how
strange it was that none of the crop circle "believers" accepted Schnabel's
claim to have made the so-called Dharmic Wheel formations. Macnish's video
showed time-lapse photographs of Schnabel making such a formation. Macnish
showed a second film of hoaxers he had accidentally captured on film.
Colin Andrews then appeared, talking about his doubt about the Ickleton
Mandelbrot formation. Apparently small "pivots" which had been found placed
around the edge of the formation. Andrews also felt that the positioning of
the formation was suspicious. Despite these reservations he admitted that the
Mandelbrot was "extremely impressive". Andrews also admitted that during an
interview for the National Geographic documentary he had found
a peg with a white painted top in the East Kennett pictogram. He concluded
that because of the positioning of this peg this formation was a man-made
John Macnish's lecture went on to examine some of Doug and Daves'
circle-making techniques in detail. He showed how the hoaxers used the
cap-mounted sighting-device which had bought them so much ridicule. He also
showed how they made grapeshot circles and complex layering effects inside
complex S-shaped swirls. In this latter case Macnish claimed that the
C.C.C.S. had promoted Doug and Daves' hoax as "genuine".
Macnish then addressed the alleged similarity between crop circle formations
and prehistoric art forms. He suggested that entoptic forms - random images
produced by the subconscious mind - might be influencing the
patterns being created by hoaxers. Since all humans draw on the same
archetypes it was not surprising that crop circles appealed to such a wide
cross-section of people. Question Time
After the break John Macnish fielded numerous questions from his somewhat
sceptical audience. In response to a question from Stanley Morcom he began
by explaining why Doug and Dave had chosen not to enter The
Cerealogist's circle-making competition in 1992. This was due to three reasons
- a fear that by revealing their circle-making techniques they would
compromise their claim in the eyes of their detractors, a fear that farmers
would take "retribution" were Doug and Dave to be seen making circles in
public too often, and a fear that due to Montague Keen's former links with
the National Farmers Union legal department they "might end up in jail without
the three thousand pounds". Asked to elaborate Macnish explained that Doug and
Dave have never set out to prove their claim, they had made circles because
they wanted to experience the thrill of fooling people who had "set
themselves up to be experts".
The second question concerned the extent of the historical evidence. Macnish
began by stating that Colin Andrews and Pat Delgado had done a "massive
amount of research" into the historical evidence. This reviewer would
strongly question this claim, because despite this "massive" research Andrews
& Delgado didn't know about the Westbury circles of 1980. Apparently the
earliest photograph Andrews and Delgado had discovered was taken by
farmer Ian Stevens in 1978 [shown on page 16 of "Circular Evidence"], who
reported seeing circles "a year or so" before that on his land. According
to Macnish this photograph is the earliest known photograph of a
sharply-defined circle displaying "an intelligent looking floor design" from
an "English" field. Expanding on this crucial theme John Macnish reviewed
Paul Fuller's collection of historical evidence. Macnish admitted there was
a "vast amount of data" including anecdotes, sketches and the Mowing Devil
case. He admitted that this suggested that it was likely that "some kind of
phenomenon existed before ". However, Macnish went on to state that
"nobody, to my knowledge, has got a single photograph of the so-called crop
circle phenomenon before 1978." He backed up this statement by referring to
Michael Green of the CCCS. Green was an archaeologist who had
conducted a search through Cambridge University's Archeology Aerial
Photography Society's archive, which contained photographs dating back to
the 1920 and 1930s. Apparently Green had failed to find a single
photograph of a crop circle. His questioner attempted to refute this argument
by insisting that Macnish extend his studies beyond England to include
The third questioner asked Macnish about the video tapes he had made during
Operation Blackbird. Macnish stated that his team had five video cameras
operating on the night the Blackbird hoax was perpetrated. One camera was
positioned in such a way as to record half land and half sky, in case an
unidentified phenomenon created a circle. Apparently this unpublished video
sequence showed nothing but sky all night. The third questioner then asked
about the timing of events, as Pat Delgado had later claimed that several
people had witnessed flashing triangular lights in the sky. Macnish stated
that this eye witness account was reported to him by Delgado at 8.15 am that
morning, before he had even examined the video tape. At this point the
discussion became somewhat acerbic. Jayne Macnish refuted a suggestion that
they and the BBC were "covering up" evidence. She offered to take the
name and address of the questioner and send him a copy of the relevant video
tape for him to view. This reviewer has seen proof that this promise was
Another member of the audience asked Macnish why no one on Bratton Down had
seen the crosses that were found in the Blackbird hoax circles despite the
extensive use of binoculars. Macnish explained that the crosses were only
2-3 feet across, were a long way from the hillside and that there had been a
great deal of excitement at the time. He also described how members of the
Operation Blackbird team had immediately guarded the formation once
it was seen so that no one could tamper with it. This was to ensure that Colin
Andrews and Pat Delgado could examine the circle and pass judgement on it.
He surprised his questioner by stating that he had film of the hoaxers
making the Blackbird circles and that this had been enhanced by the BBC at
Basingstoke and then shown on the BBC 6 o' clock news that same evening.
The fourth question concerned the bending of plants at their nodes. John
Macnish admitted that he had never managed to film the "magical" bending of
the crop claimed by the researchers because the bend was always at
ground level. Indeed he had only seen this effect once, in a circle at Baltic
Farm. Pressed to explain how some circles were only a few inches below the
height of surrounding crop Macnish described how the geotrophic response
mechanism always defined the shape of the stem. He also drew on the work by
Project Argus, which apparently found that the peculiar bending of stems
inside crop circles was entirely natural.
The fifth questioner began by claiming that Michael Hesseman had "numerous"
photos of crop circles predating 1978 which Macnish should have known about
because they were passed around at Doug Bower's July 1993 Marlborough
meeting on July 28th 1993 [actually it was me, PF]. He also claimed that
despite Macnish's earlier comments Pat Delgado was still conducting
research into crop circles. Macnish pointed out that his claim that
Delgado had "dropped out" of circles research related to 1992 not 1993 and
that this statement was supported by Delgado's suspension of his Newsletter
that same year.
The fifth questioner then returned to his earlier point (3rd question) and
implied that by refusing to release video shots of hoaxers making circles
Macnish was covering up evidence. Not surprisingly John Macnish took exception
to this. He and Jayne Macnish again offered to give any assistance
required to the questioner to satisfy his point. The member of the audience
claimed that it was possible to simulate hoaxers making circles on film and
that he could do so in "ten minutes". John Macnish countered by pointing
out that it would cost # 15-20,000 to produce such a simulation. John
Macnish went on to question why he and other sceptical researchers were being
accused of being involved in a conspiracy to discredit the subject...
"All I want to know is WHY do we want to discredit it ? What's in it for us ?
I really don't understand."
The next question related to the Steven Alexander film. Macnish admitted that
the film was a complete mystery and that he had no explanation for it. He
went on to state that whatever the film showed there was no proof of a causal
relationship between the "UFO" and the giant pictogram that was in an adjacent
Montague Keen asked the seventh question. He wanted to know how it was
possible to create "weaving", where bunches of stems overlap in different
directions up to five times. Keen drew attention to Ralph Noyes' photograph
of this effect in the 1992 Dharmic Wheel, which Jim Schnabel claims to have
made. He asked how can hoaxers create this effect ? Macnish responded by
stating that he had seen Schnabel recreate this exact effect in circles he
had created under test conditions. Keen responded by pointing out that as far
as he could recall Schnabel had failed to recreate this effect when
producing his demonstration circle on Keen's farm. Macnish accepted this but
pointed out that he didn't think Schnabel had meant to exactly replicate
the effects found in his Silbury Hill dharmic wheel at Keen's farm. He then
explained how hoaxers deliberately set out to create effects which they knew
crop circle experts claimed were mysterious in their books and articles. He
also believed that some effects were accidental by-products of
circle-making. "I think [researchers] often credit circle-makers with far more
precision and planning than they actually put into [making] circles." This
led to a discussion of the rules and factors surrounding the West
Wycombe circle-making competition, the varying standards of circles produced under test conditions and how well
these test conditions approximated to reality.
John Macnish's evasive response to the eighth question confounded his audience.
He was asked to comment on the "correlations" found in John Martineau's
analysis of the CCCS database. [Regular readers will recall that in
various articles John Martineau has been accused of being a crop circle
hoaxer]. Macnish responded "I think John has got probably a better insight
than most researchers into the proportions ... and scientific proportions
of crop circles. I don't want to go into the explanation in too great a
detail but ... its one thing to study the circles, but ... its often, it can
often be one jump ahead if you understand the planning behind them better
than perhaps ... less privileged, people in a less privileged position than
yourself". Not surprisingly someone asked John to clarify his answer.
Curiously Macnish avoided explaining precisely what he had meant and
instead went on to discuss Professor Gerald Hawkins' discovery of "diatonic"
ratios in circles which Macnish knew Doug and Dave had claimed to have
made, a finding he believed he could explain with reference to the length
of their circle making equipment.
The next questioner expressed his opinion that Macnish's video told him
nothing that was not already known and that it had always been known that
people could make crop circles. He then asked Macnish to explain the
Alexander film of a mini UFO floating above the crop. Macnish explained (again)
that just because an unusual object was filmed above a crop circle this did
not prove a causal relationship. He then revealed that Canadian
researcher Chad Deetken had recently claimed that a circle exhibited "deformed
seedheads, crop cut with razor-like precision, which couldn't possibly be
made by human beings". According to Macnish these samples had been taken
from the circle he had filmed being made by Doug and Dave that had been shown
in his first video. This led to a prolonged discussion about unusual
effects inside crop circles. Macnish described how the BBC TV "Daytime
Live" programme was plagued by problems whenever they did crop circle items.
He concluded that these effects were given special attention because of the
mystique surrounding crop circles. According to Macnish normally such
problems attract far less attention.
Lucy Pringle then asked a question about animal reactions. Macnish confessed
that there were many things connected with crop circles that he could not
explain. However, he recalled that during a "Daytime Live" interview
in 1990 a dog was bought into a circle which went berserk. Later his own
dog was physically sick when bought into a circle in Shropshire. According
to a local vet his dog had eaten barley husks which have long barbed husks
that caused this reaction. Lucy Pringle went on to describe a second hand
account of a dog entering a circle and then almost immediately going to
sleep at the centre. John Macnish admitted that he couldn't explain this
behaviour but he still maintained that the link between the claimed effect
and the circle was "tenuous", as was the reaction of the TV crew during the
famous "Daytime Live" trilling sound incident. According to Macnish the TV
crew reacted in the way they did because they were influenced "by where
they are". He concluded this discussion by stating that alleged animal
reactions inside crop circles were often inconsistent and, in
some cases, there were no reactions.
The next questioner asked Macnish's opinion about a meteorological explanation
for the crop circles. Macnish felt that this was valuable work. However, he
believed that when Meaden first met Doug Bower Doug had claimed all the
"first" circles known to Meaden during the early years. This problem was
compounded because during the early years relatively few circles were being
reported. Macnish argued that since Doug and Dave could account for
"all" of these circles (including the "first" circles at Westbury in 1980)
Meaden's meteorological explanation was severely compromised. Of course
this argument avoids the issue of contemporary eye witness testimony made
during the early 1980s.
John Macnish's sceptical response prompted Ralph Noyes to ask Macnish his
opinion about the historical evidence. Ralph Noyes described some of the
historical cases and their relationship to modern events, referring
to cases that feature in Ted Phillips' Physical Trace catalogue as well as to
the Tully circles that had given Doug Bower the idea of making crop
circles. Ralph Noyes stated that he had a slide of a crop field in Minnesota in
1974 which displayed numerous circular markings [just like the 1989 Kings
Bromley case described by TORRO's David Reynolds in "Circles From The Sky",
pages 73-83]. He went on to question the value of Doug and Daves' decision
to alter the date of their "first" circles from 1978 to 1976 and then again
to 1975 following Ken Brown's research into their claim.
In response John Macnish accepted that he was unsatisfied with the continual
revising of the "1978" date claimed by Doug and Dave. In his opinion 1978
was the most probable date of their "first" circles because this was the date
they had quoted at the media demonstration at Chilgrove as well as the
date they gave to the TODAY newspaper. He justified his decision by saying
that both men must have repeatedly discussed this topic with eachother prior
to the TODAY exclusive. With regards to the historical evidence John Macnish
accepted that there was an extensive collection of unexplained ground
markings (UGMs) from all over the world which Doug and Dave had
not made and which, to date, had not been adequately explained. He pointed
out however that the photograph on the front cover of "The Crop Circle
Enigma" showed a crop circle NOT a UGM, so [by implication] it was clear
that the CCCS had been studying crop circles rather than UGMs. Ralph Noyes
challenged this point because there had been confusion over whether or not
Doug and Dave had really made the so-called Swastika formations of
1989. Macnish responded that he believed that the issue of the two "Swastika"
formations had been confused because only one of these two formations was
really a Swastika and, in his opinion, Doug and Daves' memories
were not as clear as they believed.
In response to a question from BUFORA's John Spencer Macnish accepted that
many of Doug and Daves' earlier circles were placed in obscure places
simply because Doug and Dave were more concerned about getting caught
than thinking about where best to locate their circles to attract publicity.
Ralph Noyes returned to the subject of the Swastika formations, claiming
that he had personally searched for one of the Swastikas and found it very
difficult to find. Macnish responded to this point by stating that he had
been given numerous drawings and paintings of formations that Doug Bower
had drawn and then constructed which the CCCS had never discovered because they
were made in such obscure locations and were harvested before the CCCS or
anyone else had found them. At this Macnish was again pressed by the member
of his audience who had accused him of covering up evidence. It was
stated that there was no reason why Doug Bower could not have made these
drawings after seeing real formations.
The next questioner asked for technical details about the night-time film
shown during the videos. He then asked Macnish whether he believed that
"every crop circle reported around the world" was a hoax, pointing out that
"several thousand" such cases had been reported. Macnish began by immediately
questioning the "several thousand" cases quoted, as he believed that this
figure was "grossly exaggerated". He then stated that "[All] crop
circles, as we would define them, - sharply-defined edges, - symmetrical floor
patterns, - any formation showing the slightest hallmark of intelligent
design - is man-made". Heckled once again Macnish admitted that he could not
prove this opinion but that he thought it was wholly supported by the
evidence. Another member of the audience then implied that Macnish had not
presented a balanced viewpoint in his videos. Not surprisingly Macnish took
exception to this suggestion. He pointed out that in all his videos he had
gone to great lengths to ensure that what appeared on film was balanced and
well-researched. He admitted that since producing "Crop Circle Communique"
he had altered his opinion about the subject by "180 degrees".
Again Macnish was asked about a meteorological explanation. He responded by
referring to Meaden's attempts to verify the plasma vortex via laboratory
experiments and stated that in his opinion this was valuable work that needed
doing. One member of the audience suggested that the postulated atmospheric
solution to crop circles may have been responsible for the 1980 Tunguska
event. Macnish doubted this but pointed out that whilst Meaden had produced
a valuable theory it was no more than a theory and that there was no "hard
evidence" to support the theory.
Another member of the audience asked John Macnish about Jim Schnabel's claim
to have made numerous crop circles. John Macnish admitted that he had
witnessed Jim Schnabel making numerous crop circles during 1993. He
also admitted that he was baffled by Schnabel's "obsession" in driving "the
length and breadth of Britain" to make circles.
Finally Lucy Pringle again asked John Macnish to account for some of the
unusual effects associated with circles. Macnish accepted that he could not
explain the "Daytime Live" trilling sound but that sound recording experts
he had spoken to had suggested it was some kind of natural or man-made
interference on the radio microphones. At the end the audience warmly
applauded John and Jayne Macnish for their lecture.
* * * *
Readers will be pleased to learn that the contents of the two videos shown
during this lecture will form the basis of Crop Circle Communique 2, which
will be released shortly.
If you want a cassette tape of this lecture contact Robin Lindsey at 87,
Station Road, Whittlesey, Peterborough, PE7 1UE (telephone 0733 203414).
Rumours and Rumours of Rumours
Maria Ward pestered the United Nations press office with "dozens" of faxes
and phone calls in an attempt to have Colin Andrew's SEAT lecture cancelled
... BUFORA's investigators are leaving in droves to join Quest International
The War of the Worlds
Did anyone notice that on the recent screening of the 1953 film "The War of
the Worlds" one of the crash sites for the invading Martian fleet was at
"Corona". This is an interesting coincidence given the claims being made about
a "real" UFO crash at Corona in 1947. See International UFO Reporter, Vol 19,
no 1; available from the address on page 31 for an update on the latest
research into this topic.
A Personal Investigation into the Crop Circle Controversy
by John Macnish
(Circlevision 1993, 250 pages, 46 b&w plates, 2 figs, Available from P.O. Box
36, Ludlow, Shropshire, SY8 3ZZ. Price # 12 for UK residents, # 15 or $ 23
(US) for overseas residents. ISBN 09522580 3X).
Cropcircle Apocalypse - John Macnish's "ultimate book" on the crop circles -
seems destined to win few friends in what is left of the declining British
crop circle community. Apocalypse is a book designed to end all speculation
and mystery by revealing what "really happened" during John Macnish's five
year involvement with the crop circle phenomenon. With such a provocative
title readers will not be surprised to learn that Apocalypse contains further
damming revelations about the way in which the crop circle myth was created,
but like Schnabel's "Round in Circles" in this reviewer's opinion
Apocalypse leaves many unanswered questions and many stones unturned.
Some overseas readers may not know that John Macnish was the producer of
the BBC TV programme "Daytime Live", which first launched Andrews and
Delgado on their road to fame and infamy in 1989. He also produced
the best-selling video "Cropcircle Communique" in 1991. Macnish's promotion of
Andrews and Delgado is a major theme in Apocalypse as Macnish slowly comes
to terms with their obsessions and deceptions. In many ways Macnish's own
actions come under scrutiny too.
One problem with Apocalypse is that it is home grown. The book is full of
glaring grammatical errors and dreadful spelling mistakes (my favourite is
"man-mad", page 83). There are misaligned paragraphs and changes
in line spacing (page 136). Even the Index is confusing and, in some cases,
includes incorrect page numbers. These errors are presumably because the
book was put together relatively quickly to coincide with the launch of
Cropcircle Communique II.
Apocalypse contains many dark revelations. There is much that is new and of
value. The major strength of this book is its photographic record. Like
Schnabel's "Round in Circles" Apocalypse leaves already damaged reputations
in absolute tatters ! Here are some of the highlights ...
Apocalypse contains ... the full inside story of the Operation Blackbird farce,
the failure of Operation Chameleon to catch hoaxers in the act, Doug
Bower's own photographs of the circles he made at Westbury and Cheesefoot
Head in the early 1980s (plates 15-18), the exposure of more groups of hoaxers
and there is a vivid account of what happened in the "green room" after the
acerbic Granada TV "Up Front" debate between Doug and Dave and Delgado
I was impressed with John Macnish's ingenious explanation for the von
Durkheim UFO film (page 188) and pleased to see that the Canadian
researcher Chad Deetken is exposed for dismissing Doug and Daves' claims without
actually presenting any evidence (page 181) ! Furthermore Schnabel and Irving
are exposed for perpetrating numerous crop circle hoaxes and for flying
lighted balloons to fool the "believers" during the CSETI watch in 1992.
For once George Wingfield was right !!
This reviewer was pleased to see that at last someone has researched the
story about the two cars which allegedly were parked suspiciously close to
the Barbury Castle formation on the night it appeared (page 205). According
to rumours this reviewer has heard the two cars were checked by the military
police because someone had committed suicide close to this spot some months
earlier. This story is yet another piece of negative evidence which
this reviewer discussed in correspondence with leading CCCS officials but
which for some unfathomable reason has never been published in The
Cerealogist or The Circular. Macnish also reveals that small post holes were
discovered in the centres of the mini circles on the edge of the Mandelbrot.
Again this negative evidence appears to have been kept from the public. Why ?
One of the most important issues in Apocalypse is dealt with on page 81.
According to Macnish the night before TODAY published its exclusive story
about Doug and Dave Pat Delgado was fully prepared to accept that "all"
crop circles were hoaxes. According to Apocalypse Delgado stated that
" ... [Doug and Dave] have given me details which leaves little room for
Later (page 182) Delgado admits that Doug and Dave must have made "99 per
cent" of the pre 1987 crop circles whilst Colin Andrews is alleged to have
claimed that there are only about "a dozen" formations upon which he
would "stake his reputation". Presumably TODAY's devastating photographs of
Doug and Daves' pictogram at Sevenoaks are not included due to copyright
This reviewer was surprised to learn that an early visitor to the great Alton
Barnes pictogram of 1991 had found a suspicious hole at the centre of one
of the circles (page 204). This reviewer and his colleagues examined all the
circles in this formation within two days of its appearance and found no such
holes. Meaden believes that these post holes were left by himself and David
Reynolds during their survey of the formation shortly after its discovery. This
reviewer recalls Meaden and Reynolds telling him about their early morning
survey a few days later. If these holes were not left by Meaden and
Reynolds presumably someone else covered-up the holes in order to make the
formation appear authentic.
One of the highlights of Apocalypse is the time lapse sequences of giant
pictograms appearing at night which were subsequently promoted as "genuine"
by Michael Green, George Wingfield and innumerable "experts" at the CCCS.
These sequences include the 1992 formations at Sutton Scotney, East Meon
and Whitchurch. There are further nocturnal sequences showing how Jim
Schnabel made huge pictograms that were also promoted as "real" by the
"experts". It seems that some people just never learn !
In chapters 2 to 5 John Macnish describes how he first became involved in the
phenomenon and its researchers. It is important to record the actual words
spoken by Andrews and Delgado during this crucial event and even more
important to have a photograph of them as they discover Merlin's "Zodiac"
board games in the centre of his hoax!
On page 22 Macnish claims (without naming names) that his decision to launch
Andrews and Delgado as the leading researchers of the subject caused
"considerable anxiety and animosity from those less privileged in the crop
circle community". Later, on page 34, he accuses this reviewer of having a
"serious personality clash" with Andrews and Delgado. In this respect
Macnish is quite right, for I do have a serious personality problem with any
researchers who knowingly omit reams of contrary evidence from their public
presentation of the evidence, who scaremonger without conducting proper
scientific tests and who deceive the public by making false claims about
themselves and their abilities at detecting hoaxes. Although John Macnish
is big enough to admit that he too became "obsessed" with the circles (page
56) and that he was wrong not to give an opposing point of view to that
promoted by Andrews and Delgado on "Daytime Live" (page 216) I was very
disappointed to see the way in which he appears to question my motives in
writing to him and his co-producer David Morganstern in 1989 (see copies of
my letters to Daytime Live on pages 23 and 24).
As someone in a position of exceptional media power John Macnish surely had a
public duty to give equal access to ALL researchers and to broadcast ALL
the evidence in 1989 ? Instead he gave two alien intelligence believers
free reign to deceive millions of people ! On page 23 Macnish admits that
right from the start he wondered whether the crop circles Andrews & Delgado
were promoting were made by people. Did it not occur to Macnish
that by promoting a supernatural explanation he could be encouraging mass crop
circle hoaxing ? Did he not have the slightest regard for the increasingly
outraged feelings that were being expressed by some sections of the
farming community at the time ?
Of course we will never know what might have happened had John Macnish acted
upon the evidence contained in BUFORA's 1989 report "Controversy of the
Circles". This reviewer accepts that someone else would have quickly
filled John Macnish's place and promoted the phenomenon elsewhere !
Nevertheless had Macnish read our report he would have discovered that both
Delgado and Andrews had already decided that crop circles were caused by
alien intelligences in their writings in Flying Saucer Review. He would also
have discovered that Delgado was unable to identify the Cornishmen's 1986
Cheesefoot Head hoax - the one I considered as a possible hoax during
my interview on BBC TV's "South Today" in July 1986. Of course we will never
know what might have happened had John given us (the straight guys) a
hearing - perhaps Andrews and Delgado would never have initiated mass
crop circle hoaxing around the globe !
For some reason no explanation is offered in Apocalypse as to why "Daytime
Live" falsely promoted the Sandy Reid case as the "first" eye witness
account. Jenny Randles recalls telling a researcher at the programme about other
eye witness accounts the day before Sandy Reid was screened. She also has
notes taken during this interview which record the fact that she was told
that it was "artistic licence" to promote Reid as the "first" eye witness to the
formation of a crop circle. John Macnish has told this reviewer that it was
not his decision to promote Reid and that presenter Alan Titchmarsh may not
have been aware of these other accounts. Nevertheless someone at Daytime Live
must have known that there were other alleged accounts, and that there
were proven hoaxes which had been promoted as "genuine" by some researchers.
It is perhaps a tragic part of crop circle history that this evidence was not
aired at this crucial stage in the development of the crop circle
mythology. Of course the public have a right to be fascinated by unusual
But do they have a right to be seriously misled ? On several occasions
throughout Apocalypse Macnish is brave enough to admit that he too wanted
to believe in an exotic explanation, and that this all-too-human desire tainted
his treatment of the data. At the end of Apocalypse Macnish confesses that he
too must take his share of the blame for "prolonging" the mystery of the
phenomenon. This is the brave act of an honourable man.
In this reviewer's opinion the early chapters are well written and informative.
There is an important description of how "Daytime Live" tried to
investigate the "electronic sparrow" noise that was recorded in the Firs Farm
formation (when broadcast on the 1 o'clock news it caused a sensation). The
full inside story of Operation Blackbird and its successors makes
Enter the CCCS. Macnish describes how he was introduced to Michael Green and
Stanley Morcom, two of the Centre's founding members. There is an amusing
account of how Green announced that the CCCS had managed to
"establish contact" with "the circlemakers" in front of some astonished
diners at a posh London restaurant. Ironically
Andrews and Delgado are described as being "suspicious" of the CCCS "newcomers"
who were aiming to "jump on the bandwagon" (page 73) !
Throughout Apocalypse Macnish reveals his growing distrust of the crop circle
researchers and their obsessive quest for fame and glory. One of the most
revealing comments is Macnish's description of Colin Andrews' aspiration
to "celebrity status" at the first "Cornference" at Glastonbury.
"As I sat back listening I noted the atmosphere in the crowded assembly rooms.
It bore more similarity to a religious gathering than to a scientific
According to Macnish crop circles became
"a vehicle by which [the researchers] obtained some degree of fame, the books,
the lecture tours, the videos".
As I read Apocalypse time and time again I groaned as Macnish gradually
discovered what was really going on - in some cases several years after
Jenny and I had realised ! On page 66 he explains that it was not until mid 1991
that he began to realise that "even Delgado and Andrews could make mistakes
when analysing circles". This was four years after the Southern Evening
Echo's 1987 exposure of Delgado's promotion of the Cornishmen's hoax
at Cheesefoot Head in 1986. This too was information relayed to "Daytime Live"
by Jenny Randles and myself which, for some reason, was never discussed on
It seems that Macnish never truly understood what I instantly realised that
awful day back in 1988 when Meaden told me on the phone that Andrews and
Delgado were writing a book about the phenomenon. Writing a book ? Yes
! This is disastrous ! Why ? Surely you know what they are going to do ? Yes,
they're going to write a book !
It was no use arguing with Meaden, so I immediately rang Jenny Randles and
she agreed - these two men were going to launch themselves and the subject
into orbit. They would attract hundreds of hoaxers and the whole subject
would become utterly discredited - just like UFOs were in the 1950s !
On many occasions the extent of the cereologists' deceptions become clear. On
page 208 Macnish accuses the major crop circle research groups of
"a conspiracy from within the organisations who purported to be investigating
the crop circles. Over the years I had seen some evidence of this but now,
viewing things from the flipside it became much clearer what was happening".
It is not clear from the way this is written whether CERES and BUFORA are
included in this accusation; however, Macnish goes on to demonstrate that
Colin Andrews, Busty Taylor and George Wingfield were all fully
aware of evidence which pointed towards hoaxing but which was kept out of the
public domain for reasons which these researchers have never justified. He
also reveals (page 45) that the CCCS knew that the 1990 Etchilhampton
formation was created by two people more than a year before the U.B.I. had
their cover blown by Irving and Schnabel in The Independent magazine, so
why did the CCCS refrain from disseminating this information to
farmers and the public ?
Even by the cereologists' low low standards the public deception that was used
to protect the anonymity of hoaxer "Bill Bailey" is an astonishingly
deceitful act - one for which a case can surely be made for bringing
a prosecution against leading cereologists for perpetrating a fraud on the
One of the more controversial claims made in Apocalypse concerns the
demonstration circle that Schnabel made on Montague Keen's farm in 1992.
According to Macnish he had tried to dissuade Schnabel from taking part in the
demonstration but Schnabel had insisted on taking part :-
"Keen told us (Circlevision) in no uncertain terms that we were not welcome.
I wasn't surprised since word had just filtered through to him that we had
commissioned the East Meon formation, and he believed it was a deliberate
deception to catch cereologists, and would undermine serious scientific
"I was fast realising how dedicated these believers were, not only in self
deception, but also in their determination to mislead the public. Their
so-called scientific project would only include plants from formations which
were of 'unknown' origin, the main motive being, presumably to reduce the
chances of anyone producing evidence that a circle they diagnosed 'genuine'
was man-made. "
This reviewer looks forward to seeing a response by the CCCS to these
One of the book's main weaknesses is that Macnish seems surprisingly unaware
of large sections of crop circle history. There is no mention of Flying
Saucer Review's involvement in the creation of the crop circle myth. No
mention of BUFORA's open debates held in 1986 and 1987. No mention of the
historical crop circle cases investigated by UFO researchers prior to the
1980s and no examination of the numerous specific case histories
examined in our all published work. Neither is the Circles Effect Conference
organised by TORRO in 1990. Why?
I was amused to read (page 207) that in 1993 Colin Andrews and George
Wingfield had recently developed a "craze" for UFOs whilst on page 78 Colin
Andrews is described as being "humble to the opinion of others" !
Presumably even now - 5 years after initially promoting the phenomenon -
Macnish still has no idea that Andrews, Delgado, Taylor and Wingfield had
already made their beliefs in alien intelligences quite apparent with their
numerous articles in Flying Saucer Review !
The "Authentic History of the Circles Phenomenon" (pages 255-237) omits
numerous important events which surely have some bearing on people's
judgement on the phenomenon. BUFORA's 1986 report is not mentioned, neither
are the Australian circles that triggered Doug and Daves' hoaxes, or the
historical cases discussed in our published work. Do the crop circle
statistics include circles claimed by eye witnesses ? If so why are earlier
cases apparently excluded from these figures ?
I was astonished to read on page 167 that the "hallmark" of a "genuine"
circle was the S-shaped swirl pattern ! Actually it was the lack of damage
that convinced this reviewer that in many cases circles were not hoaxes. The
promotion of this myth is actually a major theme in the way the crop circle
myth developed yet Apocalypse brushes this aside almost as an irrelevance.
In some ways Apocalypse suffers from the same faults that "Round in Circles"
contained. There is no credit for those researchers who discussed crop
circle hoaxing in the public arena as long ago as 1983 and 1986. This reviewer
and his colleagues are treated as if we never once mentioned the word "hoax"
in any book, lecture or TV interview. There is virtually no credit for
CERES or BUFORA for uncovering hoaxes and dismissing circles before Doug and
Dave confessed in the TODAY newspaper (the one exception is a brief reference
to Philip Taylor's dismissal of the Alfriston circles on page 229). No
credit is given for our suspicions about the Childrey formation (page 160).
Neither Jenny Randles or myself are credited for being the first researchers
to suggest that the evolving patterns were due to hoaxers tailoring their
patterns to fit people's concept of UFO landing marks. No credit is given
to us for producing reports in 1986 and 1989 which bought us no financial
return and which bought the facts to the public.
Although John Macnish accidentally stumbles across several unknown groups of
hoaxers making circles during his nocturnal filming of known hoaxers eye
witness testimony of other hoaxers at work which have been published by
CERES and BUFORA (eg Alan Ridgely and JAD) are not mentioned. On page 63
Macnish wrongly states that CERES dismissed the Butleigh Wootten hoax
"because the farmer dismissed it as a hoax". In fact CERES dismissed
the circle as a hoax because the police had caught the hoaxers red-handed !
As someone who dismissed the pictograms as hoaxes even before they appeared
I was sorry to see myself labelled as just another gullible believer
in the crop circles. This seems a classic case or rewriting crop circle
This reviewer was surprised at the ease with which John Macnish accepts Colin
Andrews' interpretation for the "circles" found at Thruxton Airport in 1986
(pages 185-6). According to Macnish Andrews found rook feathers at
one site and used this to dismiss all four zones (3 oval shaped areas and a
circular zone underneath an oak tree). In fact in "Circular Evidence" (page
145) Andrews conjectures that crows may have attacked a pre-existing circle.
Neither is it clear from what is written that Andrews extended his crow theory
to account for more than a single circle at this site.
In Apocalypse Macnish begins by getting the year wrong and extends Andrews'
argument to cover all four events. Macnish fails to explain why Meaden
found evidence of vortical circulation in all three oval-shaped areas whilst
Andrews (who had already dismissed Meaden's atmospheric vortex theory) found
none. Macnish also fails to explain why the third area of damage exhibited
a central twisted pyramidal structure - the same kind of structure claimed
by Paul Germany for the circles he claims he saw in the 1930s. Meaden
maintained that the main axis of flow in the twin-oval system was exactly
perpendicular to the orientation of the main runway. How can crows do all this
? Can they create precisely circular zones of damaged crop ?
On page 77 Macnish alleges that Meaden proposed a plasma vortex explanation
for the flower patterns that first appeared on top of Cheesefoot Head. This
is quite untrue - as is the ridiculous claim made on page 120 about how
"all" circle research organisations continued to accept Doug and Daves' 1992
formations as "genuine" even after they had come clean in TODAY. On page
232 it is claimed that "Circular Evidence" reached number 8 in the best
sellers list. In fact it reached as high as number 5.
A more important weakness of this book is Macnish's treatment of the
historical evidence. On page 216 Macnish describes (quite correctly) how I
spoke out on behalf of the truthfulness of Doug and Daves' claim at the 1993
Marlborough meeting. He then describes how I passed around my photographs of
the Bordertown, Rossburn and Wokurna circles (photographs which I do not
recall Macnish even examining !). He states :-
"They showed areas of circular damage similar to the Thruxton incident which
Terence Meaden felt was caused by aircraft wing tip vortices. Ken [Brown]
like me felt they were not the same as the classic crop circles which
everyone now recognised".
Macnish then quotes Ken Brown's letter to this reviewer of 20th August 1993 :-
"The photographs in your possession are all of angle-sided impressions. Your
whole case seems to be built aaround occurrences which bear little
resemblance to the sharp upright-edged circles ..."
On page 88 Macnish states that this reviewer has found "... nothing which
shows [that] crop circles eexisted in the UK before 1978".
On page 184 the historical cases are described as a "more random type of
damage consisting of ovoid or very rough circle shapes and rings".
This is quite astonishing ! Just what is the point of researchers publishing
material in the public domain if it is just going to be ignored by other
researchers ? I have already asked Ken Brown to explain why he ignores the
Wokurna photograph in his analysis of the evidence but to date I have
received no response. John Macnish should have known that this evidence
existed because he has a copy of the second edition of Crop Circles, A Mystery
Solved plus the early Crop Watchers which included this evidence.
By quoting from Ken Brown's letter (page 216) but not from this reviewer's
response (opposite) Macnish gives the false impression that this reviewer
was unable to challenge his assertions. This is most certainly not the case!
I again challenge John Macnish and Ken Brown to re-examine the colour montage
that was reproduced in Jenny Randles' book "UFOs and How To See Them"
(Anaya, 1992, page 83). Also look closely at the edges in the background of
plate 4 in "Crop Circles, A Mystery Solved" (2nd edition). Take a look at the
plan and section published in CW3 and CW4. Does the plan not show a sharp
edged circle ? Doesn't the photo and section show a sharp edge with a
swirled zone around the rim ? Remember, these were drawn by the UFO Australia
team at the time, not many years later !
Despite the claims made in Apocalypse this case study is absolute proof that
at least one sharp edged swirled circle predated Doug and Dave (the "white
crow" that disproves Macnish's argument !). Of course this is no guarantee that
this circle too was not a man-made hoax [the photo also shows two footprints
inside the circle], but it is not acceptable to simply dismiss this
evidence in the way Macnish and Brown have done. I have other cases which
suggest that photographs of sharply defined circles have yet to be tracked
down. I have seen the drawing John Llewellyn made of the double rings he
examined at Evenlode, Gloucestershire in 1960. Does this not count as
evidence of pre 1978 circles in the UK ? Why didn't Macnish use the enormous
resources available to him at the BBC to search for further evidence of
these events ?
Of course by not searching for historical photographs or asking this reviewer
to send him evidence Macnish successfully avoids addressing embarrassing
questions or debating unwelcome evidence. Is no one prepared to meet the
challenge this data poses ?
I was sorry to see Macnish repeat the claim that all modern day crop circle
hoaxes displayed sharp edges. This is yet another example where John
Macnish seems unaware of contrary evidence that has already been published (see
Figure 37 in "The Circles Effect and its Mysteries"). Presumably Macnish can
prove beyond doubt that the 81 flattened circle/ring/concentric ring cases
listed in the UFO Research Manitoba database which predated Doug and
Daves' "first" circles all displayed flayed edges ?
On page 87 Macnish summarises his analysis of the historical evidence :-
"But search as he could, Fuller, was unable to find any photographic evidence
which proved the same circles which we know and love existed in the UK
Although Macnish goes on to acknowledge the discovery of photographic evidence
from other countries (which is strangely contradictory to his basic
argument) John Macnish forgets that "absence of evidence is not evidence of
absence". He also seems to think that this reviewer has spent hundreds of man
hours searching through photographic archives and newspaper records for
photographs of old crop circles ! John Macnish must surely understand that this
reviewer has never had the time or the money to undertake such a task because
he was too busy dealing with the "anomaly spill" of Macnish's TV activities! 1
Another failing of this book is its treatment of the 1966 Tully circles.
According to Macnish Doug and Dave based their hoax on the media
presentation of this event. This is fine, but if this is true what were the
Tully circles - were they somebody else's hoax ? By leaving open-ended
questions such as this Apocalypse fails to debate the key issues that
Eye Witness Accounts
This reviewer is also disturbed at the ease with which Macnish disposes of
eye witness accounts (page 186) :-
"Many of the eye witnesses to circle formation have proved less credible than
they first appeared, nevertheless they fit more closely with a
meteorological explanation than with a supernatural one. To my knowledge not
one eye witness has ever photographed the resulting circle which they
witnessed being formed, this is a bit surprising since each witness
describes the experience as unforgettable".
Again this is not really supportable, particularly as Macnish avoids dealing
in specifics. Which cases appear "less credible" and Why ? Have all the eye
witnesses really claimed that what they saw was "unforgettable" ?
Do we really expect witnesses to rare and unexpected events to have cameras
ready and loaded ? Remember there are only about thirty alleged eye witness
cases. In addition, without exception, the eye witnesses claim that
the events they observed lasted for a very short time (which Macnish accepts
on page 39). It seems to this reviewer that skeptics are only too happy to
accept the unconfirmed eye witness testimony of hoaxers at work but totally
unprepared to accept the eye witness testimony of people who claim to have
seen circles forming. Doesn't this sounds like a classic double standard !
Still, let us play the skeptics game for a second. Does the alleged lack of
convincing photographic evidence really disprove the existence of ball
lightning and meteorites ? It was not until October 1992 that multiple
independent video evidence was obtained which proved beyond doubt that
stones could fall from the sky (afterall, previously
obtained still photos could easily be hoaxes !). By applying the Skeptics'
own argument it is possible to "prove" that the numerous eye witnesses to
meteorites are all mistaken ! 2
By ignoring unpalatable eye witness testimony the skeptics open up a real old
can of worms - a key issue in the debate between logical positivism and
official skepticism. How was Science practiced before cameras were
invented to record eye witness testimony ? If skeptics reject eye
witness testimony shouldn't they also reject the eye witness testimony of
scientists reading the output from machines during laboratory tests ? Is it
legitimate scientific practice to simply dismiss eye witness accounts
without saying what they must have seen if they DIDN'T seen crop circles
being formed by atmospheric vortices [to falsify the claim]? These are all
well-rehearsed arguments which Apocalypse simply avoids.
Of course with a subject like crop circles it is all too easy to become a
Great Skeptic (something which - ironically - this reviewer has been
accused of on numerous occasions !). It is all too easy to assume that because
we are currently dealing with (perhaps) hundreds of hoaxers all around the
globe that in every single case human beings were responsible. Of course it
is not acceptable to automatically extend this argument to crop circles which
predated Doug and Daves' "first" circles in 1975/78. Neither is it
acceptable science to adopt the position that nature cannot
create precise circular ground traces when evidence exists which suggests that
Nature certainly can ! [eg the 1909 case on page 221 of "Crop Circles, A
Mystery Solved" or the ice ring cases that feature in Fortean Times 74]
In this review I have tried hard to present a balanced picture. It has been
very difficult - and my loyalties have also been "severely strained" -
because Apocalypse is a book of cereological extremes - some of the material is
excellent and well presented, but some is shoddy and badly argued. Apocalypse
is certainly worth adding to your collection because it is the first book
to make a strong case for the acceptance of Doug and Daves' claim.
Apocalypse also exposes the cereologists for their extreme gullibility and
public deceptions. The book is an invaluable guide to how the crop circle
myth developed from someone who was closely involved with the
phenomenon's most active researchers.
However, the real problem with Apocalypse is that although John Macnish has
bravely stuck his neck out and admitted to his own errors of judgement, his
conclusions about the phenomenon have swung from one unjustified
extreme to another. Having actively promoted the supernatural interpretation
by giving acres of air time to the likes of Andrews and Delgado Macnish has
now realised his mistake and swung 180 degrees to support the official
skeptics. He lacks the perspective of Fortean researchers, who are all too
familiar with the way in which an exotic mythology obscures ill-understood
phenomena on the edges of scientific understanding (like ball lightning, for
example). There seems no understanding that anomalies often become discredited
by the social response mechanism. No understanding that anomalies become
discredited BECAUSE they are presented in black and white terms
("either its a hoax OR its something unknown to science").
Fortean researchers know that anomalies are poorly documented throughout
history (otherwise they wouldn't be anomalies, would they). John Macnish
seems unaware that Science rarely explains things in absolute terms and that
all the evidence may not yet have been gathered in. We have long suggested
that crop circles are a combination of hoaxing and meteorology, because
from the very beginning there was evidence to support both explanations. In
this reviewer's opinion nothing has changed, only the perspective of the
Let us hope that Apocalypse is not guilty of throwing the crop circle baby
out with the crop circle bath water. This is a good book which summarises
the negative evidence superbly, but the positive evidence is in many respects
given remarkably short thrift. PF.
1. Of course Colin Andrews and Pat Delgado made several tens of thousands of
pounds from their promotion of the subject so why didn't they undertake a
proper archive search to establish the facts ?
2. See "Amateur videos catch a falling meteorite" by Elisabeth Geake, New
Scientist, 12 March 1994. "The first ever filmed record of a falling
meteorite that was recovered after it hit the ground has revealed that it
broke up in a far more complex way than expected".
3. Circlevision have informed us that Prince Philip has ordered a copy of
Apocalypse and that sales are going very well.
Readers will be interested to learn that Cropcircle Apocalypse has already
won cautious support from, of all people - Colin Andrews !!!! - who on
March 2nd published a press release entitled "Now the work really begins".
Andrews states that Apocalypse contains "substantial evidence of hoaxes
perpetrated over the past two years which [John Macnish] obtained with the
co-operation of the major teams of hoaxers, primarily Doug and Dave ... "
He continues :-
"I am totally convinced there is a real and important phenomenon amongst the
chaff we have seen over the past few years. Whilst John gives excessive
focus to those [crop circles] which he has evidence of having been hoaxed, he
steers well clear of discussing any [crop circles] in his book which appear
unexplained. During our discussions, I pointed out to [John Macnish]
construction details on several more complicated patterns and said I felt these
represented the real phenomenon. Although he admitted they were unclaimed and
unexplained, he avoided discussing them in his book ... He was well aware
that formations claimed by Doug and Dave were withdrawn immediately I
challenged them to explain certain details which had impressed me ... He
also avoided discussing the Alexander footage of the disk in the field,
focusing instead on footage from Communique that was easily
explainable as seeds blowing in the wind."
I am sure that regular readers will be surprised to learn that Colin Andrews
had already publicly dismissed the von Durkheim film as merely showing
seeds blowing in the wind ! Andrews carries on
"The work ahead is clear. All the information presented in John's book has to
be carefully collated to the database to look for discrepancies. Now we may
see the real value in the stamp collecting of the past 11 years [my emphasis,
PF]. In 1991 when Doug and Dave originally came forward to claim the circles,
they stated that they began making them in 1980. Now that we have given
evidence of the phenomenon existing prior to that date, including
a photograph taken by a farmer in 1978, they conveniently discovered they
began work earlier than they thought, at least back to 1978. If back
engineering is going on, details in the data base may provide the evidence."
Andrews concludes :-
"It will take several months to complete these enquiries and collaborations
back beyond 1978. When we have finished we will be able to make a detailed
statement as to the validity of (or not) of John's claims. In the meantime,
it is most wise for those passing information to the public to be prudent.
There are few who have access to early information or who have the
experience of early site work to support their views when under questioning.
In our attempt to resolve the true nature of the phenomenon, the
evaluations will be based on the best available evidence
for a genuine phenomenon vs. that for hoaxing, not on privately held beliefs."
Readers will also be interested to learn that in the CPR International
Newsletter Vol 1 No 4 Colin Andrews has finally discovered that there are
eye witness accounts of crop circles being created. He even promotes Melvyn
Bell's account, although it is noticeable that there is no public apology for
the serious allegations Andrews made against Bell on the Gloria Hunniford
show in 1989.
Sadly Colin Andrews' apparent support for Apocalypse has not been repeated
elsewhere. We gather that Canadian researcher Chad Deetken has vehemently
dismissed the book as "crap" ! George Wingfield has not yet responded to my
letter of March 12th discussing the allegations in Apocalypse about him
fabricating evidence and covering up "Bill Bailey" 's identity. Neither
have we seen a public statement from Pat Delgado, the "father
of cereology". According to this reviewer's sources both Deetken and
Wingfield have yet to actually read Apocalypse!
Your Editor understands that the CCCS has not yet commented on the allegations
contained in Apocalypse due to an astonishing row that has developed over
the promotion of the Bythorn formation (a photograph of this
multi-ringed star-shaped formation features on the front cover of The
Cerealogist, no 10). Apparently some senior members of the organisation
have accepted Julian Richardson ("Bill Bailey")'s claim to have created the
formation whilst others believe some nonsense about a farmer with a shotgun
and some terrified sheep !! No doubt we will read more about John Macnish's
new-found liaison with MBF Services, the FBI and the CIA in the next
edition of The Cerealogist.
A Letter from Peter Horne
(UFO Research Australia)
Readers of "Crop Circles, A Mystery Solved" will recall that the Wokurna case
of 1974 features heavily as an early example of a sharp edged swirled
circle. Following the dismissal of this case by a number of researchers I have
recently written to Peter Horne, one of the original investigators of this
case, and this is what he has to say :-
Letter dated 4th March 1994
"... I must admit that I couldn't help but have a bit of a chuckle when I
learnt about the 'political' hoo-ha which seems to be going on over there
in good 'ol 'Mother England' re. the work which Keith, Steve and I carried
out more than twenty years ago ! Our 'critics' are running around screaming
that our photos don't show 'sharp edges' ?!? Whoopee-DO !! My God, surely
these people who want to believe that aliens are using crop circles for
communication can come up with something a bit more significant to whinge
about than THIS ?!?" [actually its the Skeptics who are making this claim,
not the alien intelligence believers, PF].
"Personally - and I've said this almost from 'Day 1' - I feel that the Wokurna
marking probably has a relatively simple natural explanation, compared with
the markings which Keith [Basterfield] and Gary Little investigated at
Bordertown at the same time. Those markings were evidently much more
spectacular and would've entailed 4 times the effort which Steve and I put
into recording the Wokurna marking, had we gone there instead and pegged and
photographed each marking. I think that it is significant to note that Keith
mentioned a true tornado had passed through the area a short time before
(ie a week or so ?) the markings were discovered at Bordertown; hence the
possible obvious connection with Dr Meaden's theories re. vortices etc. But
anyway, for what it's worth, we described the Wokurna marking in as much
detail as time and resources allowed, for posterity.
I wish I could precisely describe the Wokurna marking to you now in the terms
which are most desirable (including that they definitely had
sharply-defined edges or whatever), but unfortunately the passage of 20-odd
years of time has meant that the photos are about as good a memory-jogger
as they are raw-data-producers for you ... that is, I can only look at the
photos and my field notes, as you can, to see what I said at that time,
because I really can't remember those details now. From my data, it appears
that the flattened area outside of the bare-earth region and
its associated raised rim was much less than a metre wide before it abruptly
reached the edge of the 'untouched', vertically-standing crop; the
bare-earth centre also meant (to me, at least) that it probably wasn't created
by exactly the same force/s as the 'swirled-wheat' Bordertown markings,
Readers are welcome to see copies of this correspondence and the original case
file if they write to the Editorial address.
Crop Circles at Charlton, Dorset, 1951 or 1952
Here's another historical case from my files. Following an article in the
"Dorset Evening Echo" (February 7th 1992) I wrote to Graham Brunt of
Weymouth, Dorset. His response dated 17th March 1992 is reproduced below :-
Dear Paul, Thank you for your letter about crop circles, and also for your
magazine. I can confirm that it was either 1951 or 1952 that the circle
appeared at Charlton, as it was definitely when we lived on the Salisbury Road
outside Shaftesbury, and we left there in December 1952.
Unfortunately I did not actually see the circle, but was told it was in a
field belonging to Mr. Blanchard, as it was necessary to go from the
Shaftesbury direction as far as Charlton Church, then turn right and go
some distance along that lane.
Yours Sincerely, Graham Brunt.
PF Notes: Mindful of the more famous event at Charlton in 1963 (see CW13 page
31) I checked with Graham Brunt that he was not confusing his "1951 or
1952" crop circle with the 1963 event, but as he specifically recollects seeing
the crop circle prior to moving house in 1952 these dates seem reasonably
reliable. However, I must admit that now I've re-read the account in FSR
Vol 19 No 6 (November/December 1963) of the hoax claim that was made
about the Charlton crater the significance of this historical crop circle
case must be debatable. It also seems curious that farmer Roy Blanchard was
involved in both the 1951/52 and the 1963 events. I find this rather dubious !
Could he have known that both events were UFO hoaxes ? We hope to carry more
revelations about the Charlton Crater in our next issue.
"Going Round in Circles" -
Diana Clift's letter to The Guardian, August 4th 1993
"John Vidal's amusing little piece describing the demise of the great British
Crop Circle (July 30) is pure invention. He claims that 'only 45 crop circles
have been found this year compared with more than 400 in each of the last
two years'. The CCCS has kept a comprehensive database of all reported
occurrences. There were about 250 events in Britain in each of the last two
years. So far this year we have had more than 80 accounts from more than a dozen
English counties and also Scotland, America and Switzerland, compared with
between 100 and 120 reports received by the same time last year.
As Vidal chuckles over the gullibility of crop circle loonies, he appears to
accept unquestioningly the claim that pensioners Doug Bower and Dave
Chorley made 'most of the 5,000 circles in Britain in the last 10 years after
drinking sessions'. This would require them to average at least five crop
circles for every night of the growing season for 10 years, and to be able
to operate simultaneously in East Anglia, Yorkshire and Cornwall. (The
gentlemen themselves only claim to have made up to 200, mostly in Hampshire).
While Doug and Dave were accomplishing this super-human feat, who, I wonder,
was busy making the circles in Japan, Siberia, Canada, South Africa,
Australia, Hungary and all the other countries where they have appeared
before the 1980s ? There are numerous eye witness accounts going back as far
as the 1930s and two descriptions of something similar from the 17th century.
So are we dealing with a huge international conspiracy which has been in
operation for at least 60 years ? Am I so very loony in thinking that this
explanation is as far-fetched as any other ?
Diana Clift, C.C.C.S., 93 Peperharrow Road, Godalming, Surrey.
PF Notes: Its strange, isn't it, how the existence of "numerous" eye witness
accounts and alleged historical cases have both suddenly become a
respectable part of the crop circle evidence. Strange because only two years ago
anyone on the meteorological wing of the crop circle movement who dared to
discuss this evidence was ridiculed and insulted for doing so !! Diana
Clift's estimates of the number of circles that have appeared over the past
decade is probably the highest estimate I've yet seen ! As John Macnish
rightly points out, crop circle statistics are political
property. There is evidence to suggest that the figures have been grossly
exaggerated in order to protect the phenomenon from the Doug and Dave
claim. Is no one at the CCCS prepared to actually ask Doug and Dave how
many circles they claim to have made ? How many circles are there in the CCCS
database ? This sounds like another great crop circle myth in the making.
Alice Keen-Soper, who is working on the proposed Arthur C. Clarke "Mysterious W
orld" crop circle TV documentary, has informed me that Michael Strainic in
Canada has reported finding a dog mutilated inside a crop circle.
Apparently the body of the dog was inside the circle but the head was found
200 feet outside the circle. Clas Svahn of Sweden has rung to let me know
that he has unearthed some historical crop circle cases in Sweden - these
date from the 1920s !
Michael Glickman, at
Circular Forum, Cheltenham,
by Danny Sullivan
Is there life after crop circles ? Well, yes, apparently. A niche has been
found for the lunatic fringe under the cosy duvet of the New Age. Sure,
this tendency has been around for some years, but it's come to the fore now
as there's nowhere left to run. An exponent of this particular quirk is
Michael Glickman, he of the New Swirled Order column in "The Cerealogist"
and in the closing months of 1993 he was invited to give a talk to Cheltenham's
Circular Forum group. I sat for over an hour listening to a slick piece of
propaganda that managed to imply a mysterious and exotic explanation for
'the crop circle phenomenon' without once actually saying it. Apropos of
seemingly nothing at all we were shown the remarkable chimpanzee, Washo,
and how she was able to learn and recognise a series of
pictographic symbols (bearing the remotest similarity to some of the crop
circle patterns). Was this meant to imply that these symbols are some deep
seated psychological motif ? Or did it imply that Washo and her mates were
responsible for the crop circle hoaxes of recent years ? We were never told.
Eventually, we got to the point. Yes, you've guessed it - the Gaia number,
the message from the dying earth. I have no argument against those who
rant against western civilisation's rape of the environment, who in their
right mind would, but what the hell's it got to do with crop circles ?
Nothing I suspect. I suggested to Glickman, after the talk, that nothing he
had said ruled out the possibility that all these crop patterns were
man-made. That may be so, he agreed, but then went on to suggest that he
could put a figure on the number of circles that were probable hoaxes. How,
tell me ? We sparred for about five or six minutes and I think I got
labelled as a hoax theorist, or worse a Meadenite (heaven forbid!) before the
subject was hastily changed. Glickman was lucky here; given a sceptical
audience he'd have been eaten alive. As it was he had a captive audience
who wanted exactly what they got. And, boy, are they welcome to it. Danny
This article was first published in Gloucestershire Earth Mysteries, 17,
available from PO Box 258, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL53 0HR. Sample
issue # 2.25. # 5.75 for 3 issues. Cheques and Postal Orders payable to "GEM".
Calamities, Disasters and
I have learnt that someone on BUFORA Council is openly alleging that I was
responsible for the publication of the astonishing allegations which
appeared in the December issue of the Southampton UFO Group Newsletter. I hereby
deny this totally false allegation. PF.
Letters to The Editor
Dear Paul, OK, I know that the crop circles have (nearly) all been dismissed
as hoaxes (except by the lunatic fringe), but surely not the Mowing Devil ?
Well, after some thought I cannot believe it was caused by a natural
phenomenon (ie a plasma vortex). With (perhaps) over 90 per cent of circles
being man-made, the genuine weather formed article must be very rare indeed.
What would you think the odds might be against a vortex striking this exact
field, the very night after the farmer uttered those fateful words ? If you
prefer the original "Devil" explanation, then wouldn't you agree that "his"
work is usually done by human beings ? Once the Mower realized his mistake in
asking too much for the work, he went to great lengths to try and repair
the damage. Once he saw there was no chance the Farmer would relent,
I think he became bitter and vowed to get even with him. So what about the
flames ? Well, electric torches had not been invented in 1678, so
firebrands might have been used to see by. The tale says the Mowing Devil was
"... that no mortal man was able to do the like ..."
but we've heard that said quite recently about our so-called "genuine"
circles, haven't we ... ?! So we know the Mower created circles and if it
was the intention to make the Farmer believe it was the Devil's work. my claim
that it was the world's first crop circle hoax is entirely justified. So
how could MBF have been involved ? The rumour says the Mower belonged to
"Mowing and binding field Services" !
On the other hand, of course, if 17th century journalists regard for the
truth was as scant as it is with today's press ... Sincerely, George
Thorman, Trowbridge, Wiltshire.
PF Notes : Readers may not be aware that on March 2nd the Salisbury
auctioneers Woolley and Wallis sold an early 19th century reproduction of
the Mowing Devil for # 280 to a Wiltshire farmer. We hope to carry a full
account of this fascinating development in our next issue. See The Daily
Telegraph, 19th March for further details.
Dear Paul, You mention in CW20 that sceptical UFOlogists have dismissed the
"UFO" debris at Roswell as a crashed Fugo balloon from Japan. As far as is
known there were 9,300 launches from November 1944 to May 1945,
with 300 reaching mainland America. And that one balloon bomb had somehow
stayed airborne until July 1947, while a nation-wide surge of flying saucer
sightings was occurring. We are led to believe that this bomb
detonated, thereby scattering its debris and there was a need to gather all
this up and keep it secret.
My contention is that exactly because flying saucers were newsworthy, there
existed an opportunity to launch a hoax balloon. (I presume it drifted
miles away from population centres for which it was presumably targeted). Two
weeks after the Arnold report, on July 8th a press release stated the
discovery of a disc that landed on a ranch in Roswell region. This disc, I
believe, was the faked discoidal attachment from the balloon (who's to say how
odd that material was made to appear ?). The balloon device was of sufficient
interest as to be one example responsible for the disc reports. Several
hours later on the same day, General Ramsay held up the explanation
that it was a high-altitude weather balloon with a radar reflector. It was
accepted as the answer because it could, while floating silently high,
reflect light in the fashion of a silvery saucer, but not sufficiently
convincing to explain how a grounded one could appear as such.
Most people don't like ambiguity; they take available information and make
sense of it. People are liable to believe in unsupported assertions because
of a desire to understand and simplify complicated events that follow
each other with bewildering speed as did occur on July 8th 1947. Are we not
the better off for having the true version of the "facts" ? Regards, Peter
Brazinskas, Rochdale, Lancashire.
CIRCULAR MADNESS: THE DESCENT OF CEREOLOGY
by Rosemary Ellen Guiley
PF notes :- I've run out of space to republish this fascinating overview of
"cereology" but if readers want to read Rosemary Ellen-Guiley's article in
FATE Magazine in the January, 1994 issue, please send me a medium sized
envelope with a 25p stamp on it. The comments about Colin Andrews and how
much faith we can place on the Doug and Dave claim make interesting reading !
International UFO Reporter, November/December 1993 issue (Vol 18, No 6). Yet
another superb issue from the J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies
(CUFOS). This issue begins with Thomas Carey's search for the "Roswell
archaeologists" who allegedly stumbled across the alien spaceship that
allegedly crashed in the New Mexican desert in July 1947. Carey's work is
an excellent example of how proper archive research should be conducted.
Carey methodically tracked down all the archaeologists who worked in the
region between 1937 and 1957. He then approached as many individuals who
were involved in archaeological digs during this period who are still alive, who
might have belonged to the fateful team that features in the Roswell legend
and who might be able to confirm the reality behind the myth. Not
surprisingly there is little but negative evidence to report, although the
latest issue of IUR carries important news of a discovery. Robert Durant
expertly summarises 15 independent public opinion surveys conducted in the
USA between 1947 and 1991 on the issue of UFOs and "flying saucers" (which are
not necessarily the same thing) and tried to interpret the results with the
help of Philip Klass, Fred Whiting and other leading UFO researchers. Jenny
Randles describes several recent British video and still photographic cases
highlighting the near total disinterest on the part of the British Skeptics
movement in investigating two video sequences of a ring-shaped mini UFO
filmed at night in a shopping centre in Warrington. Irwin Wielder presents
a devastating expose of the famous Williamette Pass UFO photograph by
recreating the photo - the classic scientific technique ! Note that almost
all the good work in this superb issue has been done by committed
UFOlogists. So where are the Skeptics and what are they doing to help solve
life's little mysteries ??? Write to 2457 West Peterson Avenue, Chicago,
Illinois 60659, USA.
The Crop Watcher is published four times a year. Each issue costs # 1.50
(UK subscribers) or # 2.50 (overseas subscribers). A full year's
subscription costs # 6 (UK subscribers) or # 10 (overseas subscribers).
Please make cheques payable to "Paul Fuller", NOT "The Crop Watcher".
Overseas subscribers should send cash in pounds sterling. All
correspondence should be sent to Paul Fuller, 3 Selborne Court, Tavistock
Close, ROMSEY, Hampshire, SO51 7TY. Articles appearing in The Crop Watcher
are copyright to the named author and should not be
reproduced without first obtaining written permission.
"Crop Circles, A Mystery Solved" by Jenny Randles and Paul Fuller, Robert
Hale Ltd (2nd edition), ISBN 0-7090-5267-7, price # 6.99.
Chris Rutkowski - email@example.com
University of Manitoba - Winnipeg, Canada