QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
An NHNE Special Report
By NHNE SwiftWing Reporter Sherry Stultz
Prior to leaving for England, David Sunfellow asked me to draft a list of questions and goals that I planned to address during my investigation of the crop circle phenomena. Listed below are the original questions/goals from NHNE News Update 6/1/98 and beneath each is my conclusion after the investigation was finished.
Question 1: Interviews. I have contacted several people that are currently researching the various scientific aspects of the crop circle phenomenon. I plan to meet with them and learn more about their ongoing research projects.
Answer 1: I was able to manage this, with one exception and it's a very interesting anecdote. Prior to leaving the states I contacted Colin Andrews to request an interview. He told me to give him a call after June 20th, and I said that I would.
I spent one afternoon with Colin, Paul Vigay, John Sayer, Richard Andrews and Leonie Starr, and Colin's presence was by sheer coincidence, though I had been phoning for an interview.
We visited a few formations in Hampshire that afternoon and I watched as John and Leonie took the physical data, Paul measured for electromagnetic residue, Richard dowsed, and Colin videotaped the formations.
Of course the conversation turned to the Circlemakers because I had recently interviewed John Lundberg. I asked Colin about the alleged private investigators that were supposedly hired to follow The Circlemakers this summer and he said that it was no bluff. Then he mentioned wanting to have a word with "those boys" about some of the anomalies that had experienced in the fields at night. I said I would be willing facilitate such a meeting if he was interested, and he asked me to phone John for him. I would not give Colin or Paul Vigay John's home number because John asked me not to give out his home number. This caused suspicion.
Later Paul told me that Colin had checked me out to be sure I was OK. It came back that I was on their side. What side he was referring to I'll never know, and the fact that I still refused to release the phone number was a problem, but hey, I figured if he had all that money to hire private investigators, then he could get the number himself, right? I phoned John and he was cagey about the meeting, but he was willing to meet with Colin. He did mention that Will Russell had a set meeting with Colin a few years ago to discuss some anomalies he had seen at night in the fields and Colin never showed up. Will later confirmed this for me, and it was obviously a sore spot.
I phoned Colin for a week after that trying to set up this meeting and he never responded. I asked Paul to email him for me, and I had no luck there either. Eventually, I just gave up on securing an interview or a meeting with Colin, which was a sore spot for me, too.
Paul told me later that Colin had been called back to the states on a personal emergency, but oddly enough someone saw him at the crop circle formation near West Woods in Wiltshire a few days later with van load of people. In the end, no one really knew where he was, and if Paul did, he never told me because they were trying to hatch up some plan to catch The Circlemakers in the fields, which to my knowledge never happened.
In later conversations with John and Will, they explained that they had phoned the Rockfeller Foundation, which denied that Colin Andrews had any funds to hire private investigators to follow anyone. I confronted Paul with this information, who said that it was just a cover to put them off their guard. At this point, I was finding the whole situation rather childish and I began to lose a great deal of respect for crop circle research in general. The whole mini-drama of hoaxers vs. researchers was worthy of some NBC movie of the week.
And the whole time, I kept thinking, "These people have so much in common. Why won't they just sit down and talk to each other, instead of playing these stupid James Bond games?" But, that would defy logic: having a conversation with your so-called nemesis.
Question 2: What are the specific criteria for determining the authenticity of a crop circle formation? Have they been modified from the early criteria? How long has this kind of evaluation been used?
Answer 2: This is still in the developmental stages and there are various discrepancies, depending on to whom you are speaking. For example, the swollen nodes are supposedly caused by yeast fermentation in the crop after it has been pushed down.
However, some easy ones are footprints, scrapping on the surface of the crop, an underlying construction path that can usually be seen from the air, and crushed crop or broken stems.
Question 3: Is the British government actively tracking crop circle formations? (There have been reports of flybys from government helicopters after new formations have appeared.)
Answer3: Good question. I have no proof one way or the other, but there are a myriad of crop circle conspiracy theories that include the British Ministry of Defense and the CIA, which may or may not be true.
Question 4: Who is funding current crop circle research?
Answer 4: Some organizations like the CCCS take donations from members, and the Cereologist has a small income from its members as well, but for the most part, individual researchers fund themselves through various sales of books, photos, leaflets etc., or their own personal incomes, with one exception. Colin Andrews received a grant from the Rockfeller Foundation.
Question 5: How many different organizations are currently involved in crop circle research? How many support organizations exist that have no involvement in research?
Answer 5: The Cereologist, the CCCS, the CPR, the TRUTHSEEKERS REVIEW, Wiltshire Crop Circle Study Group, BLT Research Team, and various other independent individuals. Support organizations are mainly Internet sites that showcase research and photographs like the Crop Circle Connector and the Crop Circular.
Question 6: The internal cellular structures of the plants that are within the formations show signs of exposure to heat or radiation. How is this being documented? Do all "genuine" crop circles show this kind of change?
Answer 6: I wasn't able to find anyone this summer who was documenting this, but there are reports of data collected from formations with this anomaly on the Internet. I do not know if all "genuine crop circles" exhibit this change or if it's used as an indicator to assess if a circle is hoaxed or not.
Question 7: What kinds of connections are there between the formations and UFO sightings, and paranormal activity?
Answer 7: Many strange things happen in Wiltshire and in and around the Salisbury Plain. It's important to note that there is a large military base located in the region and also several civilian and military airports. UFO sightings are very frequent in this area and I spoke with many folks who had seen strange things in the night sky. Minus the crop circles, the Salisbury Plain area has a unique history of UFO sightings, almost like Arizona or New Mexico.
Also there are a lot of coincidences. I had several happen to me while I was in crop circle land and before it was all over I was beginning to wonder if James Redfield (Celestine Prophecy) was playing some kind of candid-camera joke on me.
Avebury Stone Circles and Silbury Hill are considered to be an energy sinkholes, a nexus of ancient spiritualism and modern religions, and from my perspective, I found this easier to validate than crop circles. People have had extraordinary experiences and inspirations near Avebury and I was affected by the energy there and the people I met.
An NHNE Special Report
By NHNE SwiftWing Reporter Sherry Stultz