FIELD REPORT 7
Wednesday, August 12, 1998
By NHNE SwiftWing Reporter Sherry Stultz
The following two interviews were the last I conducted before I left England (I am back in the states now). The first segment is regarding events that happened on Saturday night, July 25th near Alton Barnes in Wiltshire. It's a bit comical, but it is a first-hand account of the Circlemakers in action told by Matthew Williams of the TRUTHSEEKERS REVIEW MAGAZINE.
Matthew Williams & Paul Damon
It is followed by an interview I conducted with Matt Williams and Paul Damon of the TRUTHSEEKERS REVIEW MAGAZINE at the RED LION in Avebury on July 20th. This interview addresses some of the criteria used to determine hoaxes from genuine formations.
It will take me a few weeks to wrap all of this up for the summer finale. Thanks to everyone for your continued support of NHNE investigations and projects. Please let me personally thank the following people, without whose support in the UK, these reports and my adventure would have never been possible:
Best Wishes to All,
Sherry (Sher) Stultz
THE CIRCLEMAKERS IN ACTION
This is Matthew Williams' account of the night he and Paul Damon found John Lundberg, Will Russell, and Rod Dickinson making a crop circle formation for the BBC in Wiltshire. This was near Milk Hill, which is in the vicinity of Avebury Stone Circles, where crop circles commonly appear. The interview took place Monday, July 27th in East Kennett. John Lundberg told me later that the farmer was paid for his field where they made the crop formation.
SJS: Sherry J. Stultz
MW: Matthew Williams
SJS: Matt, tell me how you caught John.
MW: We were looking out for the BBC film crew who were doing some footage on West Overton Hill and they were up there with cameras, lights and Doug Bower (of Doug and Dave) doing some interviews. When they went to leave, they used a police road block to stop the crop circle researchers, so they had a bit of time to get away to their new location, which we suspected was probably going to be the location of a hoaxed circle.
SJS: So the event on the hill that night -- when we saw some weird lights and thought it might be a UFO -- was the BBC?
MW: They were interviewing Doug Bower in a crop field. Then the film crew managed to get away and drove down the hill towards Alton Barnes from West Overton. We [Matt and Paul] drove around and didn't find the BBC, but scanning the lanes, we found Rob Irving standing in the middle of the road. And as we turned the corner, down one of these lane ways, we saw him scuttling towards his car.
SJS: Does Rob Irving work with John, Will, and Rod?
MW: I think he has, but he doesn't now. We drove up and I said, "Hey Rob, what are you doing here?" And he said, "Oh hiya, Matthew." And he was quite agitated to see me -- almost too friendly. He was really talking to us, trying to tell us things. He was trying to give us the impression that he was being totally up front and stating that they were not going to be making a circle later on.
I said to him, "Are you sure you're not going to be making a circle later on?" And he said, "No, no." And then I asked him if he had anything to do with the BBC crew and he said, "No, no..." So we turned around and went to drive off and when we got to the end of the lane way, where the main road starts, the BBC vehicle that was at West Overton Hill drove past us, so we gave it chase, but it flew away because it was a much faster car.
Then we drove back to the hiding spot down the lane one last time to check whether anything was going on, and we couldn't see any BBC vehicles or hoaxer vehicles. So we drove back down towards Devizes and got the spotlight out and scanned all the fields down by Milk Hill towards East Field and as were scanning the fields we saw a reflection of a car headlight in the fields in the distance.
We drove about 20 meters further on and there was a lane turn in and a track that led up the side of this field, so we drove up this track and in front of us we saw standing Rod Dickinson, John Lundberg and Will Russell all standing there with their boards. There was a car behind them and crouched down were the BBC cameramen with their cameras in their hands.
SJS: How long have you been trying to catch them?
MW: We've been watching the fields on and off since 1994. When we saw them we said, "We caught you..." And then he (Lundberg) said, "You know the score; you know the form; you can't go hassling us..."
SJS: Why not? Why did he say that?
MW: Well, exactly, why not?! The BBC producer came up and she said, "You'll have to go; you can't stay."
And I said, "No, we won't have to go anywhere."
And Rod said something like, "Guys you don't want to mess us around."
And I said, "Hey, we've caught you. Now what we do with you is a completely separate thing as far as I'm concerned. I'll be quite happy to watch you making the circle."
(In a later conversation with John Lundberg, he said he had dropped by the BARGE INN that night to take me with them on the BBC jaunt, but I wasn't around. I later confirmed this with some folks who were at THE BARGE that night.)
SJS: How long did it take them to make the formation?
MW: About 4 hours.
SJS: Four! Really?
MW: But we know full well by the way they operate and the way we saw them that night that it should have only taken them 2 hours. There were so many pauses and delays because of cameras and we were talking to them and they were stopping to talk to us... they were well-prepared for what they were doing.
SJS: What were they using? Board stompers?
MW: They had surveyor's tape, board stompers and they made some of the circles using their feet.
SJS: Bare feet or shoed feet?
MW: Shoed feet. They start making the circles with their feet and they fill them in with the stompers.
SJS: Were they making any kinds of swirls or phenomena that people would think would not be able to be reproduced by the hoaxers?
MW: They all have very distinctive way of laying the crop down -- it's a kind of 1-2 shuffle. It's a very skittish movement. They literally throw themselves into the field and they go for it very quickly.
The BBC asked us how we were able to catch them. We told them we drove down with the spotlight and we could see their car reflection. Then they said, "Do you think you would have caught the hoaxers otherwise?" And we said, "No way. If they'd been in this field without that car being present, there's no way we'd ever caught them..."
ABOUT THE TRUTHSEEKERS
The following interview took place Monday, July 20th at THE RED LION INN in the village of Avebury with Paul Damon and Matthew Williams of TRUTHSEEKERS REVIEW MAGAZINE.
SJS: Sherry J. Stultz
MW: Matthew Williams
(The portion of this interview that includes Paul Damon will be included in the final report.)
SJS: So tell me what you do, Matt?
MW: I'm a paranormal, conspiracy researcher; I write and edit a magazine called the TRUTHSEEKERS REVIEW MAGAZINE with another gentleman called Paul Damon. We started the magazine together in 1994 as a way of putting out research that we were doing that we found hard to get accepted in other magazines. The reason it's hard to get your material accepted is because sometimes people have their own ideas about the way they want their magazine to go...
SJS: Give me a few examples of the kinds of research you're currently conducting.
MW: I do a lot of research into government departments and their involvement in the investigations of UFO's -- coverups regarding nuclear issues and environmental issues; and anything really where there seems to have been some deception towards the public, where the public would really rather know the truth, but can't get to it because of bureaucracy or some tiered secrecy laws.
SJS: So that's why you became involved in crop circles because you think there is some deception going on?
MW: No, I got involved in crop circles because of some lectures I heard in early 1993. There was a gentleman called Colin Andrews and I heard his talk. I was quite impressed, because I thought, "Wow this stuff sounds amazing." I had never heard the word crop circle. For some reason, I was completely shielded from information about crop circles. I never even read [about them] in the newspapers. When I heard Andrews talking about this stuff, I thought, "Well, this is something I should have a look at. It's not here and gone like a UFO; you see it for 5 seconds and you can't grasp it. Crop circles are something maybe I can grasp."
So I got involved in crop circle research to find out a little bit more about what was happening there. Many years down the line I've to come very different opinions about what's going on with many of the researchers. I think there's a larger contingent of hoaxed or man-made phenomenon than there is of the real phenomenon.
SJS: What percentage do you think are hoaxed every season?
MW: I know it's a controversial point to say percentages, because it would have to be my opinion and not factual. In my opinion, I would say about 80 percent.
SJS: I've been getting between 80-90 percent.
MW: Well, the trouble is although I think the circles are man-made, I have come to the opinion that genuine phenomena are in the circles with the UFO sightings that are seen afterwards or during circles being made and the dowsable qualities of circles. Some people have equipment failures or batteries discharge and although many of the people that have claimed these things are not scientifically trained, if you look at their equipment, sometimes there are explanations. People tend to stay in Wiltshire by camping and they stay out at night and condensation gets into equipment then they say, "Oh it was charged last night and now it's discharged very quickly. Why is this?"
And I have helped people find out a lot of normal answers to these mysterious questions. Nonetheless, I've still found a small percentage of real phenomenon connected with the crop circles, so I have no doubt that even though some of these circles are man-made, things come along later either by people meditating or by the fact that a large circular symbol or set of symbols in a field is akin to a magical talisman. It's something that when people focus their minds on creates phenomenon. That's the way I see crop circles.
SJS: What was the first thing you investigated when you started this particular endeavor?
MW: Like many others, I just went into circles and looked at the lay and would pick up areas of the crop circle and look underneath to find out what was the general construction of the circle. And I would try and meditate to see if I could get any of these energies people were talking about, unsuccessfully.
SJS: Have you had any other physical discomfort other than the hay fever?
MW: Nothing other than the hay fever. I've never had any mystical experiences in crop circles.
SJS: No epiphanies, no euphoria, no vomiting?
MW: Nothing at all. Right from day one, completely blank. I know that I'm not totally closed off from these things because at the Avebury Stone Circles, I get an incredible sense of energy and euphoria, so this is a genuine phenomenon, because it affects me personally, so I am going to have that feeling. But if someone were to critically analyze it they would say, "Oh you just aren't impressed by the crop circle, but you are impressed by the stone circles." I think that it's more than that because I've had some very strange experiences at the stone circles when other people were present, and I am not a great believer in mass hallucination theory, so something must be taking place.
SJS: What kind of experiences?
MW: I've had a feeling of great elation -- as if I am walking on a cushion of air and the night sky will become extremely bright and you get a great sensation of connection with the stones, an emotional connection. You can feel your emotions going out and emotions going back. And each of the stones to me personally has a different character, a different nature, which you can connect with and gives you personal insights.
SJS: I had both of my knees turn to Jell-O; I've been to Stonehenge and West Kennett Long Barrow and it's the only place in this entire region where I've felt some sort of spiritual connection.
MW: I don't feel anything for Stonehenge or Glastonbury; Avebury is the place where I connect. Many of the circles appear near this area and I wonder if other people searching for answers make their statements in the fields. But many of them, I am sure, are not prepared to admit that they are doing these things because they feel the energy of the area; they feel kind of like they are putting something back; to enlighten other people to come to the area by their statements in the crop.
SJS: Would you say that you are fairly cynical about crop circles now? A lot of people I have talked to that have been involved for a few years have gotten to this point.
MW: Well, I wouldn't say cynical about crop circles because crop circles are what they are, and they have a positive effect even if they are man-made.
SJS: I would agree.
MW: I am only cynical about trusting the opinions of certain researchers.
SJS: Can you give me some examples without giving me any names?
MW: Yes. I myself came to a level where I believed that many of them were hoaxed, but I needed to find out exactly which ones would be capable of fooling the researchers. So I [worked with] a team of people in doing some circles to actually test the researchers abilities to find out what is real and what is not, what is man-made and what is genuine paranormal. We tried a varying range of circles -- everything from very messy strange symbols right through to quite complicated patterns. [Some circles] we were quite impressed with, while other ones we weren't impressed with; some we would have said, "Oh, what a joke" -- that type of circle. Basically, the whole range [of crop circles we made] were claimed as being very impressive, paranormal-phenomenon type circles.
SJS: Was this in one season?
MW: No, this was over two seasons. About 5 formations in total and I was quite pleased to think that what we had done was perceived as a paranormal event.
SJS: So did you get any feedback like people said, "Oh, I had a feeling of euphoria?"
MW: As I say, I believe there is paranormal phenomenon connected with man-made circles and when I took part, I was hoping that they wouldn't be perceived in a negative way, so I was willing that the circle would be perceived in a positive manner, and it was. So maybe circle makers have similar wishes, because I am sure they don't go out there to wish to make a circle that won't be liked. I believe that phenomenon attaches itself after the circle has been made. People will sit in the circle meditating and sending energy into the circle and trying to retrieve energy from it and that will have an effect on people who are sensitive to the energies and then the actual talismanic effect of a very large symbol will attract certain energies of its own.
SJS: So could you tell what particular years you made your circles?
MW: 1996-1997; it's all over with now. So there is still a lot of talk about the circles we made then and the mystery will live on for many people and I wouldn't want to destroy that. Like many of the other circle makers, I won't comment on which ones they were. I am happy that people are happy about them, but it tells me something about what the researchers use as criteria for determining real and not real.
SJS: So give me some examples of those.
MW: Well they look at the lay. They say, "This is a very impressive lay; there isn't any damage, there are bends in the circles."
I have found that although not a great amount of effort was made in not damaging the crop, we did not go out of our way to damage the crop. We just did what we did. There was no special effort required and people were saying this is a fantastic effect. But they were claiming there were many bends when in fact there weren't because we were one of the first people in the morning having a look at the circles before we told people we'd seen a circle, so we were able to judge our work for ourselves. And they were kinked as opposed to bended stalks within the circle and the swathing that takes place at the sides of the circles -- we found that parts were swathed outwards; it tends to go out, it doesn't go out in a straight line.
SJS: And that's easily made by you with a plank?
SJS: And yet that's supposed to be one of the most important criteria in determining hoaxes from circles that are not human-made.
MW: Yes and that is just a natural effect of just using a straight piece of wood, which when you press down parts at the edges will naturally go outwards, especially when you are working in a circle as well, because the splay will naturally be outwards in that direction.
SJS: It's just like parting your hair isn't it?
MW: Yes. It's almost like a centrifuge, if you can imagine a centrifuge things spin to the edges and when you are using a plank you are kind of spinning things out to the edges.
SJS: Anything else that would be specific? What about the swollen nodes?
MW: They have been found in our circles, but I have a very good explanation given to me for this by some people who have actually done some scientific research, which is something I find the researchers tend to tell people they've done, and they haven't really done. [That explanation] was that the heat of the sun over a couple of days will cause the corn to expand and you'll get seeping of yeast material out the knuckles and this yeast material will very quickly turn black and that will look like the blown node they are talking about. It's not a microwave effect. It's literally that the corn will break down under intense heat, start to seep and turn black and it looks like a charred effect and it's not.
SJS: I thought when I first read it that because they (the stems) are vertical, instead of horizontal, that the stems would have more sun exposure and wind exposure.
SJS: What do you think about the circle in East Field? It's quite large.
MW: I believe that to be a man-made formation because when you look at the photographs from the air, there are a number of errors that are displayed in the photographs which aren't born out by the diagrams which are drawn by the researchers afterwards.
SJS: But it's very big. How many people do you think it would take to make that in one night?
MW: Personally, I don't think it's that big. If somebody was to make a circle of that size, though the patterns take longer, it would take them half an hour to make a circle of that size, maximum, but because it has a pattern. That's where the time is taken up -- at the pattern around the edges and that pattern is pretty good. To the eye at a distance, it takes on the correct shape, but when individual sections are looked at close-up, we can see there is a small amount of angular increase and decrease from section to section; one part in particular is rather skewered.
SJS: Matt, the arguments that I can think of for not sleeping and or rolling around in crop circles would be pesticide residue, fertilizer residue, and the general hay fever which we all seem to suffer, and yet people still keep going in them. I have come to the conclusion that some people's feelings or illness within crop formations can be attributed to different chemicals present there. Have you done any research along those lines?
MW: Not really, my research has taken me down the line of what do I think of these circles by looking at them and what do I think of the researchers by testing them. There are some people whose opinions I trust, that have taken on scientific research; some people from Czechoslovakia that did some scientific tests and they came to the opinion that many of the effects found in the crop circles were actually very explainable.
SJS: For example?
MW: The blown nodes and increased sugar levels and altered sugar levels.
SJS: In the plants or in human beings?
MW: The plants. It's a case of some of the researchers that got involved on a scientific level are not independent enough, and without naming any names, some of the scientists who are working are interested in the crop circles to start with and I think to be scientific you have to be independent. Otherwise, you introduce bias. And as I say to people who want to research UFO photographs and UFO videos, it's best to give it to a person who is not interested in the subject and ask their opinion as opposed to somebody who's involved in the subject because then you get an independent opinion and this is not what's happening in crop circles.
SJS: The very act of observing something...
MW: Can influence the result.
SJS: At this point and time based on all the information you've received is there anything specifically that you have found to be anomalous in crop circles?
MW: More work needs to be done with regard to why people have paranormal events happening in the crop circles. Maybe what people should do is create a range of crop circles of vary types and natures knowing that are man-made and interview all people that enter the circles and all people that leave the circles; do a background check on people involved to find out if they are believers or if they've come to the area looking for mystical answers, or whether they are just tourists. Also bring people who are not coming to the area for any particular reason; just go into a town or a city and take a random sample of people going shopping on a Saturday or knock on people's doors and take a random sample of people who would not normally come to this area and say, "We would like to do some tests would you like to be involved?" Then bring them here and test their reactions in the circles to see whether they have similar experiences. But you have to have people again who are not biased, who are not involved or influenced in any way.
SJS: So you're thinking that people who say they have all these experiences in crop circles do so because they want to?
MW: Yes, they have been asking questions of this area.
SJS: I saw information on websites before I came to England about certain kinds of energies that would be present in the formations this year and therefore these are the kinds of things you can expect to feel. If you tell someone that they are going to be sick when they go somewhere, then they already have it in their minds that they are not going to feel well when they walk in the door and surprisingly they are ill?
MW: That's right. And there are some scientific people involved in crop circle research, but I would say the methods they use are not scientific. They more try to push the idea that it is real by using their scientific background and their doctor title to give weight to the subject. A scientific research project would be very different from anything we've seen so far. Because they would literally blindfold people and take them into a circle and not tell them whether it's a real circle or a flattened bit of wind damage and they would say, "What are you feeling?" They would test whether people can sense if it's a real circle or if they are having a paranormal experience. If you work along those lines you may be able to determine if the circle has a natural energy or whether it's the person's perception of the circle that's causing the extra phenomena.
Field Reports & Updates
An NHNE Special Report
By NHNE SwiftWing Reporter Sherry Stultz