Our favourite crop circle documentary, made in 1997 and featuring an all-star croppie cast of researchers and circlemakers including Andy Thomas, Busty Taylor, Chad Deetken, Colin Andrews, Doug Bower, Ed Sherwood, John Lundberg, John Sayer, Julian Richardson, Lucy Pringle, Nick Nicholson, Peter Sorensen, Polly Carson, Reg Presley, Rob Irving, Rod Dickinson, Ron Russell, Stuart Dike, Wil Russell, amongst others. Recommended viewing.
Along with Croppies, perhaps our favourite circles documentary. Its subtitle, “A Journey Into The Heart Of Crop Circle Country”, says it all. Featuring one of the biggest cast lists of any circles doc, including Steve Alexander, Charles Mallett, Michael Glickman, Colin Andrews, Matthew Williams, Lucy Pringle, Terence Meaden, Pat Delgado, Busty Taylor, Peter Sorensen, Doug Bower, John Lundberg, George Wingfield, Francine Blake, Karen Alexander, Freddy Silva, Andy Thomas, William Levengood, Ed Sherwood, Kris Sherwood, Ron Russell, Simeon Hein, Suzanne Taylor, Polly Carson, Tim Carson, Isabelle Kingston, John Wabe, Dan Darby, Geoff Stray, amongst others. Recommended viewing.
Excellent film by William Gazecki, featuring interviews with Karen Alexander, Colin Andrews, Francine Blake, Polly Carson, Michael Glickman, Bert Janssen, Isabelle Kingston, Nick Kollerstrom, Charles Mallett, John Martineau (who is seldom seen in crop circle documentaries), John Michell (likewise), Andreas Muller, Janet Ossebaard, Lucy Pringle, Nancy Talbot, Busty Taylor, Andy Thomas, Paul Vigay, George Wingfield, amongst others.
So-so, cash-in for the Signs movie, documentary from 2002 that pushes the ‘aliens’ hypothesis. Featuring Andy Thomas, John Sherwood, Lucy Pringle, Paul Vigay, Tim Carson. Some howlers from John Sherwood; Milk Hill August 2001 was 1,500′ across, was it, John? Circles “have been appearing on and off for about 70,000 years”, have they?
Rather different from the usual crop circle documentary, A Silent Knowing consists chiefly of intercut interviews with Andy Thomas, Michael Glickman, Karen Alexander, and Steve Alexander, along with archival footage and plenty of aerial and ground footage of the 2002 season.
Par-for-the-course, somewhat love-and-light, documentary featuring very much the usual theories and usual suspects, including Andy Thomas, Busty Taylor, Chad Deetken, Charles Mallett, David Kingston, Francine Blake, Freddy Silva, George Wingfield, Isabelle Kingston, Janet Ossebaard, John Haddington, Judith Moore, Karen Alexander, Linda Moulton Howe, Lucy Pringle, Michael Glickman, Paul Anderson, Polly Carson, Rod Bearcloud, Steve Alexander, amongst others.
Documentary by Terje Toftenes, and including interviews with Allan Brown, Andreas Muller, Andrew Buckley, Andy Thomas, Bert Janssen, Charles Mallett, David Cayton, Francine Blake, Glenn Broughton, John Sherwood, Karen Alexander, Lucy Pringle, Michael Glickman, Miles Johnston, Nancy Talbot, Paul Vigay, Polly Carson, Robert Hulse, Shawn Randall, amongst others. Not one of the best crop circle films, by any means, with plenty of myths and incorrect assertions, but worth watching.
National Geographic documentary from 2004 featuring Andy Thomas, John Lundberg, John Wabe, Matthew Williams, Nancy Talbot, Paul Vigay, Reg Presley, Robin Allen, amongst others. Circlemakers.org make a square spiral formation for the cameras (see right).
Wildly over-estimating the size of formations seems to be sadly common in crop circle research. We’ll avoid getting Freudian as to why this might be, but will say that it works in reverse as well – formations which croppies don’t like and / or consider man-made are sometimes claimed as being smaller than they actually are.
Take the Milk Hill formation from August 2001. Firstly we should say that we consider this formation a staggering achievement. It has rightly earned its place as one of the finest crop circles ever. It is, of course, also very large. We’ve often seen this formation listed as being 1,000′ across, and have even seen it listed as 1,500′.
So how big is the Milk Hill formation, exactly? Andreas Mueller surveyed this formation and put its overall diameter at 787′. Peter Sorensen didn’t measure the formation but did phone the farmer to ask how widely spaced the tramlines in the field were. From this figure – 24 meters – Peter counted the number of tramlines the formation spanned and estimated its overall size as 767′, which is only 20′ different to Andreas Mueller’s figure. Therefore the claims that this formation is 1,500′ are over 100% inacurate. Even claims that it is 1,000′ are out by more than 200′.
We don’t understand why croppies feel the need to do this, particularly in the case of the Milk Hill formation, which is more than impressive enough as it is without the need to lie about it.
Let’s take another example, the formation which appeared at Woodborough Hill, Wiltshire on 11th July 1997. Judging from the tramlines (aerial shot below) we’d guess this formation to be approximately 300′. 300′ seems to be the general concensus on this formation’s diameter, from what we’ve read, with one notable exception; in an interview with Linda Moulton Howe (in her book Mysterious Lights & Crop Circles, page 60) Charles Mallett says of this formation “it was huge, a quarter mile across”. A quarter of a mile? Charles, what on earth are you on? A quarter of a mile is 1,320′, which means your estimate is more than 1,000′ out. And you wonder why the general public don’t take crop circle researchers seriously, when they can’t even get basic stuff like that right?
Woodborough, July 1997. Not a quarter of a mile across… It’s amazing how far crop circle design has progressed over the years. When this formation appeared it was praised for its extreme complexity, but it’s really nothing more than twelve rings equally centred around the perimeter of a circle half the diameter.
That said, we do find it a very striking formation. We remember attending a lecture some years ago by Andy Thomas, in which he stated that since the famed East Field pictogram of 1990, there had been a formation of high quality in East Field every year (he appears to have forgotten 1995, in which East Field didn’t have any circles at all; the only year that hasn’t happened since 1990). When it came to 1997, however, Andy’s quality East Field formation was this one at Woodborough (which was in the field directly opposite East Field, Andy’s argument being that it was ‘pretty much East Field’). Which means that (a) Andy chose to ignore the actual East Field 1997 formation – which was, it has to be said, a horrific mess; see aerial shot – and that (b) he lied about the evidence to fit his theory. Both aerial shots by Lucy Pringle.
We suspect that the croppie obsession with making formations out to be bigger than they actually are is in part due to the notion that the larger a formation is, the less likely it is that people made it. However, this ignores the fact that there are a number of known man-made circles in the 300′ range (for example the Avebury 29th July 1999 Daily Mail comission, or the Sorensen/Russell/Hein Hilmarton formation of July 2001), and even a few around 500′ (for example Cranford St Andrew, 1st August 1992 – see photo – which dwarfed every other formation that had appeared up to that point). Other croppies, amusingly (yes, Colin Andrews, we’re thinking of you specifically though you’re not alone in this) think quite the reverse; the larger and more complex a formation is, the more likely it is to be made by people. In part we suspect this is down to said researchers harking back to a hypothetical golden age when the bulk of the designs in the fields were small and simple and croppies could get on with their research without all those evil ‘hoaxers’ around to spoil the fun.
One of our favourite small formations of recent years is this one, which appeared (in amongst a series of dumbbells) near West Overton, Wiltshire, in July 2006 and which measures approximately 15′. A thing of great beauty, in our opinion, looking delicately hand-sculpted (and we suspect it probably was in a literal sense). Note the way that the flattened crop seemed to curve up the sides of the perimeter. However it has all but been ignored by the majority of researchers purely – we suspect – due to its size. Perversely, the people we know who most like it are circlemakers. What does that say? Perhaps because they see beyond the ‘bigger is better’ mentality and can appreciate it for what it is.
Herewith a round-up of some of the cerealogical news that has come our way in the last month or so.
It would seem that Swirled News has closed shop for the foreseeable future; their latest update (1st February 2008) reads in part “Due to work, life and all sorts of other amazing and concerning things in the world that need attention, Swirled News isn’t currently active as a news service. However, it is a very valuable source of archive information.” We hope that doesn’t mean that the SCR team – and in particular Andy Thomas – have retired from crop circle research. We’ve always enjoyed their contributions and think cerealogy will be a poorer place without them. If it’s time for them to move on to other things, of course, then we wish them well in their future endeavours.
Things are looking up for Colin Andrews, though, with the apparent forthcoming release of the Circular Evidence “widescreen movie”. You can view what is described as a ‘promo trailer’ here, though it looks more like a pre-production reel to us, and the film’s official website appears to still be seeking investors. We look forward to seeing the finished film, if indeed there ever is a finished film.
The Canadian Crop Circle Research Network have revamped and relaunched their site. We have a certain respect for these guys; they just get on with their research and, in general, don’t bang on about it. Which makes a change.
Bert Janssen has also launched a new website, called Crop Circles and More, described as “a quantum leap forward in crop circle research. CCaM adds new dimensions to the mysterious crop cirlce [sic.] phenomenon. It opens the doorway to the ‘bigger picture’ of crop circles by displaying the interconnectiveness of space (location, shape, geometry) and time (years and dates) of crop circles and much, much more. This website will in the end bring us much closer to, or possibly give us, the final answer to the crop circle mystery. Every one of you is needed to find this answer.” What doesn’t get mentioned in this blurb, however, is that being part of “this answer” will cost you 30 euros a year. Which doesn’t mean that in effect Janssen is asking you to pay for the privilege of doing his research for him, of course; that’s just being cynical.
While we’re on the subject of Bert Janssen, in our net-rovings we recently came across a report from 2001 of him and (then partner) Janet Ossebaard, amongst others, scaling Silbury Hill and climbing down the hole caused by the then-recent collapse to examine the interior (read about it here). This may be old news but we’ve never seen it before and have to say we agree entirely with the writers of that article and consider it a very stupid thing to have done. So what do they find? Secret chambers (which had already been examined and catalgued by archaeologists), apparently significant measurements and compass bearings (though exactly why these are significant isn’t explained) and the inevitable photographs of orbs (though considering the combination of dust, damp, poor lighting conditions and flash photography, we’d be far more surprised if they didn’t get orbs on their photos). It’s also possible that their entry into the hill caused the second, much larger collapse. Yes, we know this was a while ago but it was a terrible and irresponsible thing to have done and they should be thoroughly ashamed. Outside of its archaeological significance Silbury Hill is a site of great awe and beauty and should be left well alone. Never mind Matthew Williams and his crop circle prosecution; why weren’t these imbeciles also prosecuted for criminal damage?