The Crop Circle Conundrum

The UK's Telegraph has a long and interesting article about the crop circle scene, which talks to a couple of TDG's good friends, Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Pilkington, and includes some interesting comments from Rob Irving about croppies and 'rationalism':

[A] display of circle-making by a team of young engineers who won the 1992 International Crop Circle Making Competition was a revelation to the maverick biologist, Rupert Sheldrake: ‘For flattening the crop, they used a roller consisting of a piece of PVC piping with a rope through it, Crop Circlepushing it with their feet. To get into the crop without leaving footprints, they used two lightweight aluminium stepladders with a plank between them, acting as a bridge. For marking out a ring, they used a telescopic device projecting from the top of an aluminium stepladder. A string was attached to the end of it in such a way that by holding the string and walking in a circle around this central position a perfect ring could be marked out without leaving any trace on the ground in the middle.’ That’s complicated kit.

Mark Pilkington, a writer and publisher who helped with some of the more beautiful and complex late Nineties/early Noughties formations, talks of teams of three or four, using only the planks et al. It is, he says: ‘Physically and mentally hard work. Even after a modest job, you’re flat out. It’s often disorienting. I’ve worked on formations and when I’ve seen the photographs afterwards, I’ve thought: “Bloody hell! How did we do that?” ’

The designs are marvellous: perhaps it’s no wonder that, as Pilkington says, some cerelogists believe human ‘circle makers are channels for a greater force and that some formations are made by divine intervention’. Certainly, when Pilkington has told people what he’s done, he’s got into near fights: people want to believe. Such antipathy has gone to extremes: according to one of their number, one group of circle-makers had ‘potatoes stuck up their exhausts, wing mirrors ripped off our cars and threats of violence’.

Irving thinks people want to take ‘a vacation from rationalism’. And, he adds, it’s particularly the case that ‘people associate certain landscapes with legends. That’s why circles come to sacred sites: Avebury and Stonehenge galvanise this idea of mystery. I see it as a feedback route: people go to a certain place with certain expectations. Then something happens and they leave satisfied.’

It’s to sustain the mystery, he says, that circle-makers never claim authorship of a particular circle: ‘In our culture, art is all to do with artists: it’s about whodunit, not about what art does. With the circles, it’s about the effect they have on people.’

Just a shame the article didn't reference our own Perceval in the section on the Euler's Identity crop circle...

Read the full article at the Telegraph.

Previously on TDG:

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red pill junkie's picture
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[A] display of circle-making by a team of young engineers who won the 1992 International Crop Circle Making Competition was a revelation to the maverick biologist, Rupert Sheldrake: ‘For flattening the crop, they used a roller consisting of a piece of PVC piping with a rope through it, Crop Circlepushing it with their feet. To get into the crop without leaving footprints, they used two lightweight aluminium stepladders with a plank between them, acting as a bridge. For marking out a ring, they used a telescopic device projecting from the top of an aluminium stepladder. A string was attached to the end of it in such a way that by holding the string and walking in a circle around this central position a perfect ring could be marked out without leaving any trace on the ground in the middle.’ That’s complicated kit.

I remember hearing Greg Bishop's interview with Nancy Talbot —who is head of BLT Research— a while ago, and I believe they addressed that very same contest (or another one in which MIT students were involved); Nancy wasn't impressed with the results, because —according to her— none of the students bothered in attempting to replicate the distinct energy-induced bending of the plants' stems that she says they (BLT researchers) have encountered on "genuine" crop circles.

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red pill junkie wrote:

I remember hearing Greg Bishop's interview with Nancy Talbot —who is head of BLT Research— a while ago, and I believe they addressed that very same contest (or another one in which MIT students were involved); Nancy wasn't impressed with the results, because —according to her— none of the students bothered in attempting to replicate the distinct energy-induced bending of the plants' stems that she says they (BLT researchers) have encountered on "genuine" crop circles.

I personally don't put much weight on anything the BLT team says. I can't justify that right here (it's a personal opinion based on a long history of reading their stuff, rebuttals etc), but my general feeling is that croppies should avoid leaning on BLT results as proof of anything.

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red pill junkie's picture
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And yet, Vallee's recent blog posts about crop circles @ Boing Boing might make one think he does give credence to the research of strange energy action found in (some) crop circles.

PS: Can't wait to read Perceval's article in the next Darklore! ;)

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I once attended a sort of new age conference at which Talbot spoke and showed a slide show. She was completely taken in by the obvious forger of phenomena in Holland I think it was - the young man whom Talbot sort of adopted to fill in an emotional void in her life and whom she coddled to an amazing extent so that his obvious rigging of cameras and burning of cellphones, etc. slipped through the detective net. Talbot has emotional problems I would say, and I thought she was a complete flop.
However, we can't lose sight of what were probably real live "saucer nests." Just because an accomplished network of circle hoaxers ply their art these days doesn't mean there never were genuine "circles."

The Tully Saucer Nests
http://www.project1947.com/forum/bctully...

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Re: "strange energy"

It is quite possible that the static charges built up on certain crops in certain stages of dryness after being "rolled" with plastic roller devices could create some unsual electrical field gradients within a circle and perhaps be made all the more interesting and unusual because of the patterning. The alternation of statically charged matter with crop not so charged could be harnessing the effects of sigilism in some unknown or weird manner. The static charged pattern might be one hell of a sigil.

red pill junkie's picture
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That's what I consider one of the most interesting possibilities about these glyphs, regardless of their origin. Even some of the "hoaxers" feel they are embarked in some form of gigantic magickal ritual.

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The other factor which has been largely ignored by the forgers (far as I've seen) is the very short span of darkness available during the summer months at night to accomplish some of the more extravagant circles (all without being detected--or arrested). Are some of the circles man-made fakes? Of course. But until the circle-makers can reproduce some of the more elaborate patterns under the exact same conditions, and displaying the same features, I must remain respectfully skeptical.

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Some companies have done advertising with crop circles. Some of these patterns are pretty elaborate.

Are there any examples that are certain to not be made by hoaxers?
And how do you know the conditions under which the "real" circles were made?

For example, we could know limits on the construction start time and end time. Say, a definite observation of the field without the crop circle, and a definite observation of the same field with the circle. Only a view of the circle doesn't tell us anything.

Knowing the date and time, we could look up information about the weather, for example. And the length of night.

I'm not sure why these things can't be made in the day. It's not as if these fields are watched all day long.

So, let's look for some actual data.

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I never suggested the hoaxers aren't capable of more elaborate circles--they are. But there have been instances where it was fairly reliably known that a field at dusk had no crop circle, then the next morning at daybreak did. (I don't have these case histories at my fingertips, but perhaps other readers here will, and will care to share the info on that.)

Just to be clear, I'm not suggesting anything extraterrestrial or paranormal about the circles--we simply don't know for sure. But having followed both fhe fortean field and its debunkers for some 30 years now, I've become extremely skeptical of broad-brush explanations that explain away certain features while conveniently ignoring others. To say it these patterns are all E.T. related is silly; but to say the whole phenomenon has been explained away, as almost all mainstream media accounts now would have us believe, is equally silly.

red pill junkie's picture
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I never understood why is it that English farmers can't afford to install a few trail cameras around the entrance of their fields. Or why can't we have some webcams installed that could survey some common sites for circle appearance from an above view.

Still, there are some very weird tales surrounding the circles, like the police officer that watched some strange individuals —very tall, with blonde hair—observing a field with a circle, an that later ran away at "unbelievable speed".

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Quote:

...strange individuals —very tall, with blonde hair—...

Scandinavians, eh?

A little more than 1000 years ago, England was ruled by the Danes (Saxons). It was then later (1066) taken over by Norse private subcontractors of the French government.

Are these remnants of the Saxon resistance, reduced to symbolic actions?

Or are the Danes preparing to come back?

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Quote:

...but perhaps other readers here will, and will care to share the info on that...

Yes that would be very interesting. Rather than the usual broad statements about "most" and "not every" and so on, we would have something specific to look at.

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Romans's picture
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earthling wrote:

And how do you know the conditions under which the "real" circles were made?

The conditions under which the "real" circles were made : Instantaneous rupture of underground porous rocks (formation of cracks), which is accompanied by heat and electromagnetic radiation, etc.
http://www.nyos.lv/doc/engl_main_crop_ci...

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so, are there examples where this sort of thing has happened ?

The rupture of underground porous rocks for example. Where has that been detected?

And how do you define "instantaneous", and how do you know afterwards by examining the fractured rocks? I am sure that geologists know about this sort of thing.

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The rupture of underground porous rocks (formation of cracks) are common event.
If cracks were not in a underground porous rocks (chalk, limestone, etc.), there the porous rocks would have been impervious to water. Earth crackles continuously. At a earth's deepness arises cracks are of different sizes. The chalk cliffs in England are covered by a network of cracks. The formation of large cracks is accompanied by an earthquake, the formation of small cracks usually goes unnoticed.
Real (genuine) "Crop Circles" are an indicator of the formation of cracks in underground porous rocks.
What is an "instantaneously"? Time of fracture of the long piece of chalk- example of notion "instantaneously".

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I guess we are missing stuff in translation in this case.

"Instantaneously" in English means that an even takes zero time. Of course this doesn't happen with cracks opening up in the Earth, or with much else.

Also porous rocks are not impervious to water. They contain water, or other things such as oil.

So in other words, I don't really understand what you are saying, and I'm putting this down to language barrier.

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http://www.thefreedictionary.com/instant... :
“instantaneously
adverb … in a fraction of a second, …” .

http://www.nyos.lv/doc/circle_crop_49a.pdf :
The matrix of chalk has high porosity (ca. 30-45%) but low permeability(1-2 mD).
The matrix of chalk is dissected by sets of fractures (cracks) . The volume of fractures equals only 1% porosity chalk, but volume of fractures have very high permeability for water .
The matrix of chalk, which is not dissected by sets of fractures(cracks), practically waterproof.

http://www.solinst.com/Res/cmt/UKChalk/U... :
“The Chalk ... can be conceptualised as a dual-porosity system, with flow and transport occurring primarily in a pervasive high-transmissivity fracture network, and the bulk of groundwater being stored in the low-transmissivity porous matrix…”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquifer :
“Chalk of south east England, although having a reasonably high porosity, has a low grain-to-grain permeability, with much of its good water-yielding characteristics being due to micro-fracturing and fissuring.”

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If you look at for example webster.com, you see that instantaneously means among other things
: done, occurring, or acting without any perceptible duration of time

- has anyone measured the duration of time it takes for the cracks to appear?

- to what extent does it matter for the formation of "real" crop circles?

- has the formation of "real" crop circles been observed?

- is there a correlation between, for example, the presence (or absence) of such geological events and the appearance of crop circles?

I'm still having trouble with the PDF you linked to, it is very hard to read, mainly due to the absence of grammar. That's just a translation issue.

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Re "instantaneously": in the discussion, I use - in a fraction of a second.

The time interval, during which the cracks in the chalk appears , usually less than 100 msec.
The duration of the processes accompanying the formation of cracks in the chalk is from several μsec to several msec. See, for example, Tensile fracturing in rocks: tectonofractographic and electromagnetic ...
By Dov Bahat, Avinoam Rabinovitch, Vladimir Frid. http://books.google.com/books?id=A9KumbR...

The duration of processes ("Crop Circles"), which are caused by the formation of cracks in the chalk, usually not more than 30 sec.
In the formation of cracks in the chalk has the value of size. Than anymore size of crack, the anymore and more difficult picture of Real (genuine) "Crop Circles", which arises up on an earthly surface above a crack .
There is observation the formation of Real (genuine) "Crop Circles" . See, Eyewitness Account, Initial Field Report of the July 4, 2003 Kekoskee / Mayville, Wisconsin Crop Circle Formation.
http://www.iccra.org/reports/wisconsin_m...

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I'm a bit lost here. So, what you're saying s that "real" crop circles are formed in an almost instantaneous manner?

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You lost more than you think.
Your estimations of Real (genuine) "Crop Circles" other than my.
Sorry, but I can not help you .
Goodbye!

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I would submit that if there were any crop circles that were not created by humans, that they would be the most simplistic ones.

I do not feel as though alternative intelligences would communicate through cereal and almost exclusively in one geographic area, nor do I believe that people are incapable of creating elaborate circles under cover of darkness without detection.

As to the belief that the human circle makers are imbued with some divine inspiration or directed by some other-worldly intelligence, I say hogwash, or no less than any artist that creates something out of nothing.

The scale of these formations are what gets people excited, and the circlemakers know that.

I enjoy them either way.

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Respectfully, I think we need to be *very* wary of playing the mind-reader game--i.e., "If there were non-humans behind all this, they would or wouldn't act this way," etc. If there is some non-ordinary explanation for the circles, the fact is we have no idea whatsoever as to the motives or kind of intelligence involved, so can't really speculate with any certainty what kind of patterns they/it would create, or where they/it would create them.

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Leibowitz wrote:
I would submit that if there were any crop circles that were not created by humans, that they would be the most simplistic ones.

Forces of Nature of terrestrial origin are able to create very complex images. Man only creates the copies of designs created by nature, but copy can not be better than nature's images. That is the law of nature!

red pill junkie's picture
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One could argue that, since we ALSO come from Nature, that nothing exists out of it ;)

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Sorry, but this is characteristically for pessimistic, gloomy thoughts on nature and society.

red pill junkie's picture
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Well, what can I say? I'm Mexican. I have the right to be pessimistic :-P

On the other hand, perhaps we should look at Crop Circles as a communication on Nature with Nature, using humans as an interface —either as originators, channels, or interpreters.

People focus solely on the effects on the plants when investigating these things. While they fail to realize that humans are a vital component of the mystery. The circles EXIST because they are meant to be seen.

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Pessimism, optimism - are labels. The main problem: Good or badly on a planet Earth for the people?
Until will not deciding a task about a mechanism creating of Real (genuine) "Crop Circles" , people will be afraid of "Crop Circles".
To hide the fear some persons trying to use products "hoaxers", or divination similar to "fortunetelling on coffee-grounds".
Real (genuine) "Crop Circles" is a signal about the processes under the ground. These processes responds to environmental pollution by industrial wastes. Signals from the bowels of the earth - a major reason for pessimism.

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"Irving thinks people want to take ‘a vacation from rationalism’."

Well, that's largely true. People are very gullible and looking for non-ordinary exlanations, probably as a way to escape the hum-drum mundanities of their existence.

But we need to be careful of cracking the whip too sharply on this count, because it's also true that most major scientific advances throughout history have involved a "vacation from rationalism"---as interpreted by the orthodoxy of the time, that is. Quantum physics didn't arise through advances in rationality but empirically, through hard experimentation--much of which flew in the face of conventional "rationality" (still does, in fact). I could multiply the examples endlessly--the existence of meteorites, the perturbations in Mercury's orbit, continental drift, etc. The point? The paradigm shifts of tomorrow will almost certainly apear to us first through the seemingly "irrational" anomalies of today (hence, the great appeal of fortean research!).

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As to the belief that the human circle makers are imbued with some divine inspiration or directed by some other-worldly intelligence, I say hogwash, or no less than any artist that creates something out of nothing.

Well, there's nothing really "less" about artistic inspiration which is as equally mysterious as crop circles. What makes Bach miles above other artists and to some seem "touched by God"?

There's not really given enough to the inspiration theory - there's no such thing as a hoaxer, as they may be a conduit for something else. That's a convenient explanation of all hoaxes, but there's a fine line between inspiration and channeling. But then again, what is channeling...

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For me one of the bigger anomalies here is that these circle making groups are trampling crop and costing farmers some real money sometimes, yet there seems to be no reall effort to bust them. The local authorities know who the circle making groups are, and there are quite a few outraged farmers voicing their objections to the damage; yet there hasn't been a prosecution for property damage as far as I know.
A few months ago someone on "Tribe" challenged me to come up with examples of farmer outrage, and I found via googling that there were some real pissed off farmers out there. So what is up with this? This is not like spray can graffiti art - this is real crop damage sometimes ruining lots of crop. Some of the huge circles these days are causing a lot of damage.

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The state of law enforcement of small crime is terrible in most western countries. Theft from stores is basically not prosecuted. How many car thieves are caught?

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Okay, let's go with your analogy:

"How many car thieves are caught?"

The answer: Some.

How many circle-makers have been caught?

The answer: None.

You'll need to come up with a better analogy, methinks.

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Plenty of human circle makers are known, or at least people who claim they do this sort of thing.

The point is that the police are not looking, that's why they don't catch them.

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What always gets to me is that circle-making is a fairly serious endeavor, yet where are the leaks in the circle-maker society? There must be a fair number of them and none of them want the publicity? From my interaction with artists, this seems quite contrary to most of their natures (usually, "look at ME, look at ME!!").

In a human sourced perspective, we appear to have a closed, disciplined society with no overt profit motive, operating for decades. This is very unusual and, while not impossible, gives me pause when considering only man-made circles.

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Circle making is more akin to graffiti than to orthodox art. Not to belittle the artistic merit of both the circles and (some) graffities.

But the constant in both expressions is that they are essentially illegal; hence the aversion of public notoriety amid these type of underground artists —although graffiti artists do have their own set of language and symbols to communicate among themselves; I wonder if "croppies" also utilize similar techniques that are unknown to us in the outside.

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This is what confuses me. Most graffiti artists sign their work. Now, it is an alias, say, Captain X, but it is commonly recognizable as a signature. The crop circle crowd don't openly sign their work. I suppose more developed "circles" could mathematically encode a signature, but what of the early simple circles? The only variables would have to lie outside of the circle itself in things like the time or location of its creation.

I can certainly sense a possible game of "one upmanship" in circles, but this could merely be evolving design. The notoriety seems to exist only for the cognoscenti here, which suggests a tightly controlled closed society.

Additionally, what about practice? Perfect circles everytime? RPJ, you are a designer. How many false starts and botched executions are there before the good work? I can execute a dozen drawings before I find one I can tolerate. The same goes with my ceramics. There are plenty of pots that get sold for a few dollars to the one that's worth hundreds (the bad sculptures I just kill). Where do you practice a crop circle?

I guess we'll have to turn Perceval loose on this conundrum of authorship with a big stack of photos and plenty of runtime.

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How many false starts and botched executions are there before the good work?

Dunno. Tell you when I get there —said the self-tormented perfectionist :-P

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Either the structural change in the stems is real or not, same goes for the silicate appearance, its as simple as that. The scientific explanation of these occurances excludes hoaxers.

What we are left with is one main question, why ? Why are these unknown enteties doing this, and why are these hoaxers so driven to make cropcircles anonymously, and dont tell me, to keep the farmers from claiming damages from them. Answering why would be easier if we could derive some meaning from these cropcircles, apart from looka here aint we clever..hoaxers and aliens alike.
It was suggested to me from a reliable source that this cropcircle imagery contains subconscious triggers for those sensetized to them, this sensetizing may have come thru dreams, other lives, dimensions. Anyway wouldnt it make sense that the secret human cropcircle makers belong to that catagory..hmm maybe not.

Obviously what we are left with is, that there really is more out there then our classified and segmented world gives creedence to.

These cropcircles are soft blows to break open our closed minds.

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"Either the structural change in the stems is real or not"

I question whether the nodal expansion is anything other than the result of trampling the stems with a board and forcing water from the stems with that pressure. I wonder about the science of this.

Of course, there are plenty of factors to throw in. Could be that some of them are created by microwaves or beamed plasmas from military vehicles. We all know here that there are indications of this. It could be a variety of techniques and many different interests at play including ET's. The Australian "saucer nests" look pretty much like ET traces or at least the traces of highly advanced craft. I sometimes wonder too if the military gets in on this in order to deflect attention away from the ET made circles.

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emlong wrote:

"Either the structural change in the stems is real or not"

The structural change in the stems is real. Theory of Anomalous Expansion of Nodes on Wheat Stalk are described in the article http://www.nyos.lv/doc/translate__printp... .