Being interested in ‘alternative’ topics can be a weary affair at times. Trying to find the middle ground between the true believers, at one end of the spectrum, and the ultra-skeptics at the other, can be like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. So it is always refreshing to be presented with a book, or in this case, a DVD, which does the job for you to perfection.
In fact, it’s difficult not to talk in superlatives about this feature. CircleSpeak: A Journey to the Heart of Crop Circle Country navigates perhaps one of the most polarised topics in the alternative genre with ease – informing and teaching, without ever lecturing or sermonising. The DVD begins with a quick introduction to the human face of crop circle research (and circlemaking), which sets the tone beautifully for the following hour and a half – at its heart, this is more a story about the people, rather than the circles.
What follows is an excellent summary of the history of crop circles. Beginning with the first noticed circles in 1978, we are introduced to the personalities involved on a chronological basis. Terence Meaden hypothesises a ‘plasma vortice’ as the cause in 1980, and soon after the ‘paranormal’ view makes its appearance via Colin Andrews and Pat Delgado. As the 1980s roll on, more central characters appear, until the crop circle watershed occurs: the 1990 Alton Barnes formation, which is quickly followed by the September 1991 hoaxing revelation from the infamous ‘Doug and Dave’.
At this stage, the core crop circle research is overtaken in signifance by the battle between the ‘believers’, such as Michael Glickman, and the hoaxers, including Matthew Williams and John Lundberg (and of course Doug Bower). The balance to the documentary is evident here, in that the viewer often feels emotion both ways. It is hard not to feel for researchers who have devoted large parts of their life to researching the glyphs, and been deliberately deceived by hoaxers. Then, just as quickly, you feel some repulsion at Michael Glickman’s gleeful announcement that he “was proud to help engineer the prosecution” of circlemaker Matt Williams.
This human story is what sets CircleSpeak apart. All of the important identities in the field (no pun intended) discuss their feelings about the circles, and we are given a real insight into the passion involved. In the words of Colin Andrews:
Losing your profession…losing your marriage…it’s a huge cost, it’s a lot to pay for something else going on inside you which drives you to want to get to a truth
The documentary also manages to get exclusive insights into the lives and opinions of the hoaxers – from the most prominent circlemakers, right through to the confession from John Wabe regarding the Oliver’s Castle video. However, the mystery remains, as most hoaxers reveal that circlemaking seems to be a trigger for strange experiences and the appearance of UFO-like objects.
Beyond the balance, and the human dimension of the story, CircleSpeak also features absolutely breathtaking footage of the glyphs themselves – and whether the source is mysterious, or just hoaxers, they are still art of the highest order. Throw in two extra hours of extended interviews and deleted scenes, and this DVD is the complete package. Get it.