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From: (Chris Rutkowski)

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

Manitoba's Files

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

by You-Know-Who

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

hoaxes ?

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

downright con".

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 [1978]". 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

overseas cases.

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.

Book Review

Cropcircle Apocalypse

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

and Wingfield.

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

doubt ..."

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

interesting reading.

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

air !

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

British public.


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

history !


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.

Historical Cases

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 ?

Sharp Edges

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

before 1978".

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

remain unanswered.

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.

Overseas News

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,

October 1993,

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

Moral Panics

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.


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 !

Magazine Round-Up

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

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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 -

University of Manitoba - Winnipeg, Canada