An NHNE Special Report
By NHNE SwiftWing Reporter Sherry Stultz


Chapter 3: Hoaxer & Researcher: Face to Face at Last

The aura of the Avebury Stone Circles was starting to grow on me. I began to think more and more about the collective unconscious and the ingenuity and relentlessness of the human spirit. The human spirit craves magic and mystery; it craves simplicity and complexity; it seeks out patterns, and longs to belong to something greater. It doesn't, however, always crave the truth.

For whatever reason, the collective unconscious seems to operate at a higher volume around the stones. The number of bizarre coincidences was often unnerving. John Sayer told me he once had drawn a design for a formation that he thought would be fascinating, only to have it appear a few days later. John Lundberg said the same thing, only he was going to create a formation and it was already in the field. These sorts of things happened to me also, enough to convince me that it was an underlying variable in the human dynamics in and around Wiltshire.

John Sayer was kind enough to give me a press pass for the Cereologist Conference in Andover. I sat down in the audience with Vince and listened to most of the presentations.

There were lots of great aerial photographs of crop circles and some interesting presentations, although nothing I considered earth-shattering. My primary interest in coming was to catch people during the break and talk with them. It was at this time I had my first real conversation with Will Russell, the underexposed member of the Circlemakers.

Will, John Lundberg and John's girlfriend, Clare, had all come to the conference in Andover. Will was looking at the books. I had been very curious about him, so I took the opportunity to talk with him alone. He's younger than Rod Dickinson and John, but he's also veteran circlemaker. He was creating formations before he joined their team. Will told me about a letter he sent to Colin Andrews a few years ago. According to Will, a meeting had been set up between them. Both Will and Colin claim to have showed up for the meeting, but they somehow missed each other.

I asked Will about the rumor that Colin was having the Circlemakers followed by private investigators. Will said he didn't think he was being tailed but he still looked over his shoulder every so often. I sensed that John and Will felt like Colin's attempt to have them followed was a betrayal. In my mind, their relationship was symbiotic. They needed each other -- one part hoaxed the circles while the other part researched them. John Lundberg likened Colin Andrews to an agent or publicist for the Circlemakers in my first interview with him, and the longer I observed the whole crop circle scene, I saw how this metaphor could be easily applied to Colin and the Circlemakers. Will also mentioned that if Colin ever did come to the conclusion that all circles were hoaxed he wouldn't make it public.

Later that evening, I finally had the match I'd been waiting weeks to see.

Paul Vigay had his theories and opinions about the Circlemakers and they had their theories and opinions about him, but these ideas had never been exchanged face to face. Instead, they had used the Internet to trade insults. I would always tell Paul, "Why don't you just talk to John Lundberg? Why be vague and mysterious when a lot of things could be cleared up by dealing with the situation directly?"

After the conference, John Sayer had us all head over to the FOLLEY INN for some beers and conversation. Vince and I sat down with John Lundberg and Clare. It was good to finally be in a social situation without needing to extract information, and I really enjoyed their company. I asked Paul to join us and he sat down at the tiny table with all of us. I continued my talk with Clare, and before I knew it, I had a ring-side seat to a shouting match. John Lundberg was doing most of the shouting, since he is quite a passionate person, especially after a couple glasses of merlot.

Paul had made some derogatory comments during the conference about the New Zealand formation the Circlemakers made for an NBC documentary (NHNE News Flash: NBC Crop Circle Expose', Saturday, May 16, 1998). John, who considers himself a crop circle artist, didn't take kindly to his work being publicly ridiculed. He was also fed up with people insulting the Circlemakers. He wanted to know what, exactly, Paul didn't like about their New Zealand crop circle.

But Paul can be quite impersonal about such things and his statements incited a fury. The discussion went on and on creating quite a stir in the pub. I watched happily. The animosity didn't bother me because I thought this confrontation was long overdue. I noticed that while many people in the crop circle population had many opinions about the hoaxers, they never really bothered to talk with them or get to know them as human beings, and I think that is a fatal error. It keeps the wall up and no one ever really can make sense of the drama they have all created.

In the end, John and Paul shook hands, and I had completely different impression of them both after that tangle.


Go To:
Chapter 4: Magical Formations & Broken Tape Recorders


An NHNE Special Report
By NHNE SwiftWing Reporter Sherry Stultz