The producer's of
NBC's recent documentary "Unmasked: Exploring the Secrets of Deception"
are the latest in an endless series of 'mindless acts' plaguing the
research scene. Instead of taking the time to carefully examine and
weigh all evidence, they simply took the easy route and swallowed the
claims of the hoaxer, - that crop formations are not the results of an
unknown force but a clever human fraud. But then, would one expect a
balanced view from a program entitled "....the Secrets of Deception"?
To be sure, the
300' diameter formation Rod Dickinson, John Lundberg and Wil Russell
made in a field of wheat in New Zealand is impressive. They apparently
made it at night in just under 6 hours using only simple tools. Through
time lapse photography one can see the formation being created in leaps
and bounds, circle by circle. However, there are things wrong here,
things that may have escaped the average viewer. Here are just a few
documentary's main premise, - the ability of humans to create crop
formations, has never been a point of contention. Anyone with a plank
and a piece of string can do it! What we do contest however are the
unsubstantiated claims of a few hoaxers to having made nearly every
single formation ever discovered (over 5000 at this point). We dispute
their claims by virtue of sheer numbers, quality, complexity, lack of
damage, presence of diatonic ratios, sacred geometry, sacred numbers as
well as the circumstances of the formation's arrival. We likewise
dispute their claims by virtue of scientific evidence, such as the
findings of Dr. W.C. Levengood and others.
(b) It is a known
fact that the vast majority of formations appear at night. A survey
taken one year (1992) showed that two thirds came on nights when it was
raining, wet and heavily overcast. The producers of "Deception" would
have us believe the three hoaxers were working in total darkness.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Not only was it 2/3rds full
moon that night but there were spot lights hanging from cranes in order
to make filming easier. Compare this virtual daylight to nights when you
can't see 5 feet in front of you.
(c) It was
claimed that the only equipment they used was a ball of string, a
measuring tape and a wooden plank. Compare this to the mind-boggling
array of equipment dragged into the fields by contestants in a hoaxing
contest held some years ago. Also, I would defy them to explain how they
inscribed the fairly complex pattern from a piece of paper onto the
field with only a piece of string. Michael Glickman once asked an
architectural firm what it would take to reproduce the Windmill Hill
formation (1000' diameter and made of 200 circles). After studying it
for a few days, their estimate was one of many days work and thousands
of dollars in costs.
(d) Very little
detail of the ground lay was shown. An aerial photo paints a pretty
picture but tells little about possible origins. Anyone who ever
accepted a counterfeit $20 bill can tell you they would not have been
duped had they inspected it closer. So too with crop formations. Careful
inspection is required in order to determine authenticity. Damage to
crop, soil compaction, complex weaving, footprints, various anomalies in
the way the crop is laying, fluidity of the lay, spilled seeds, etc. are
all signs one must look for. To suggest that three men running around
for six hours stomping crop with planks is enough to create the strange
effects we often see, yet not cause damage, is a bit much to believe. We
have seen other man made formations with substantial damage. It is a
coincidence virtually no ground details were shown? It is also a
coincidence the field was harvested and the formation destroyed before
anyone could inspect it?
The center of the inner circle was not shown. This, by their own
admission was the pivot point from which the whole formation was laid
out. Some years ago, Arthur Clarke had a formation made in England. The
center of that one was completely trashed because this is where one had
to stand with rope in hand while some at the other end of the rope
measured out the rest of the formation. Funny, Clarke didn't show the
severely damaged center on his program either.
(f) The circle
makers admitted they knew nothing of diatonics and sacred numbers and
made no effort to include these in their designs. How is it then that a
great many formations show these? Dr. Gerald Hawking, an astronomer and
mathematician, determined the chance of diatonic ratios he found in many
formations were thousands to one. Diatonics relate to the ratios of
musical scales to each other and are far more complex than what was
suggested on the program.
(g) Like other
hoax claimants, these three can not explain the high incidence of
electronic failures and camera malfunctions within crop formations.
These failures have not been reported in man made formations.
(h) One of the
most important omissions of the program is that these hoaxers, as well
as others, readily admit there is a real crop circle phenomenon. They
have all had extremely strange experiences in the fields while in the
act of making a formation. On a few occasions, they found that the
design they were about to hoax was already in the field.
shortcomings of "Secrets of Deception", it is important also to consider
the nature and motivation of the hoaxers. Although they like to portray
themselves as fun-loving pranksters, they are not. These hoaxers are,
first and foremost, vandals who sneak into unsuspecting farmer's fields
under cover of darkness and, if we are to believe all their claims, have
caused around a million dollars worth of damage over the years. Little
wonder there is a price on their heads.
Nor should they
be accepted as artists expressing their talents in a unique manner.
Anyone wishing to express their artistic talent in farm fields need only
make a deal with the farmers and then charge admission to their works of
art. Sneaking around at night like burglars and car thieves is
Why would anyone choose to be a hoaxer, - a deceiver? The very nature of
hoaxing means inflicting pain and embarrassment on others. British
forensic psychologist Dr. Mike Berry says, "Most hoax offenders are
lonely, inadequate people who crave attention, however negative, and who
will pay little regard to the consequences of their actions. If you lead
a boring life and feel you have no control over what happens to you,
hoaxing is away of adding excitement in much the same way as joy-riding
or drugs. It is also a very repeatable offense, which means you can go
on getting a buzz from it until you are caught."
Clearly, we are
not dealing with a savory element of society. While there is little
doubt they have varying talents of arguable limits, they contribute
absolutely nothing to the field of research. Their very presence is an
impediment. Let them cast their dark shadows elsewhere and allow us to
continue on a level playing field. This dispute however, will likely
continue for some time to come.
NOTE: The crop
circle images in this article were "borrowed" from "The
Crop Circle Connector" - the definitive sight for crop circle