A superficially impressive copy of a 1995 formation has been made for use in a forthcoming fictional film, with the help of two well-known cerealogists and an infamous crop-cruncher. But what ironies does this produce, how does the glyph compare to the original and has the truth been told about its construction..? ANDY THOMAS and JACK SULLIVAN take a closer look…
On August 4th, a team led by Matthew Williams and monitored and aided by veteran researchers Colin Andrews and Busty Taylor, created a copy of the Longwood Warren 1995 formation, dubbed by some as the ‘Earth Is Missing’ design, an accurate representation of our inner solar system, but with just an orbit ring and not a specific marker for our own planet.
It’s certainly one of the best man-made formations yet created, but was made for a UK film production company with money to spare and presumably months of planning. The film, apparently a romance set against a doomy asteroid-heading-for-Earth scenario, utilises the crop circles as part of its story and even features a cameo role from Andrews himself, presumably as a circle researcher (this is nothing to do with the separate Mel Gibson Hollywood movie, incidentally). There is something deeply ironic in the fact that the film appears to portray the crop pattern as genuinely paranormal, yet acting as its consultant is a researcher who has declared that such formations are almost certainly man-made!!!
The formation took from 1.00am to around 7.30am to create (though it has been speculated that longer may have been spent marking the field out) – more than a summer night’s worth of darkness, in other words. Given that the farmer had been paid, quite why it had to be made in any hours of darkness at all is open to question (see Jack Sullivan’s comments below), but it is supposed that the filmmakers wanted to be able to shoot their footage inside it in the early hours of light (which they did, a woman and child being filmed from a helicopter as they danced within the pattern, performing some kind of fictional scene) before inquisitive visitors or croppie protestors turned up.
Protestors of sorts did, in fact, arrive, and shouted insults before being repelled by Busty Taylor, who seemed to be employed as a bouncer for the night.
In another ultimate irony, Taylor and Andrews were then reportedly enlisted to help mess up the lay of the crop by kicking their feet around in it to stop others taking advantage of what was presumably seen as film-production property. Tim Carson, the farmer, was reluctant to take the combine into the field and lose any more crop than he had to, so this compromise measure was plumped for. But was this the only reason the lay was destroyed – or was it to avoid comparison with the real thing? Interestingly, no footage or photos of the pattern being constructed has been officially released (perhaps this will be included as an ‘extra’ on an eventual DVD release), though the lads from Crop Circle Connector, who arrived on the scene in the closing stages, took some video of their own.
Many were impressed with the quality of this man-made formation despite themselves - but is it really so impressive? Readers are advised to click on ‘The Voice of Reason’ column for Michael Glickman’s reliably acerbic comments, but Jack Sullivan, the astronomer who made some important observations on the original 1995 solar system’s astronomical significance (in SC journal and other publications and websites since) has some incisive comments of his own to make on this recent ‘copy’, as you can read below…
Jack Sullivan writes:
As portrayed by Mark Fussell’s excellent aerial photograph of 4th August, this recent creation is possibly the best ever proven man-made effort to appear in the fields so far and confirms what most of us already knew, that people have learned to make good patterns in crops too, when so minded.
However, there are some very significant differences from the 1995 original.
There is no question that the original formation posed an astronomical puzzle, asking in effect that given the angular relationships of the planets Mercury, Venus and Mars with respect to each other at a particular time, where would the Earth be when placed in its given orbit? The astronomical computer program ‘Red Shift 3’ provided the probable solution that the planets’ angular positions would be matched on the 16th of January 1998, when the Earth would be at its closest position to Venus, ie. at ‘Inferior Conjunction’.
The spacing of the planetary orbits allowed for, and almost invited, the insertion of a small ring to represent Earth in the correct position of Inferior Conjunction. A glance at aerial photos shows that this insertion would not be possible in the replica formation.
A very significant further difference is seen in that the planet orbits in the original are elliptical in shape whilst the replica orbits are circular. This is very understandable, as ellipses are difficult to make even on a drawing board, let alone in a field of crop. My records go back to the late eighties and show no proven man-made formations containing ellipses.
Finally, the great outer ring of ‘beads’ in the original formation are pretty accurately spaced, centre to centre regardless of size, and offer the possibility that the great outer ring can be used as an astronomical protractor to measure the relative angles between the planets. The erratic spacing of the outer circle beads in the replica formation would not allow a sufficiently accurate measure to be of practical use.
After studying the information now available on Crop Circle Connector, including photos and a report by Peter Sorensen, it is pretty clear that while the replica may have been created for a forthcoming movie, there was also a conspiracy to deceive involved and Peter Sorensen was in on it.
Why else did the people involved give no advance notice, the ‘artists’ start work at around 1.00am, and wear black clothing? They hoped, of course, not to be observed and that the replica might be accepted by croppies as a non–human creation. They would then later confound us all by proving that they had produced ‘another masterpiece’, which would then help confirm Colin Andrews’s claims re. the 80% human source of the phenomenon. Unfortunately for the conspirators it all went pear-shaped, as revealed by Peter Sorensen’s report.
He says he and a companion arrived on site at 4.30am in moonlight (the Moon set at 5.09am) and he felt dismayed at finding the formation only half-done. This implies that he had foreknowledge of the whole project. He then says that the ‘artists’ did not seem to be doing much work and then he realised that there was no reason for urgency “Since the field was paid for and they needn’t fear being caught and were enjoying taking their own sweet time”. Why, then, the initial secrecy, the night working and the black clothing?
More probably, even though the formation consists of simple circles with no complex geometry involved, and they chose a moonlit night, they had found the work more difficult and time-consuming than expected. They had realised that dawn was only an hour away (at 5.35am) and that they had no chance of completing the job undetected. Indeed, they were rumbled very soon after by unwanted ‘intruders’.
Mark Fussell’s 7.30am shot of the six dark-coated figures still at work in the formation rather confirms this interpretation. Peter Sorensen also states that the ‘replica’ was due to be destroyed the same day. Why the rush, if not to forestall the possibility of contradictory evidence being found by croppie researchers?
While the geometrically simple ‘Missing Earth replica’ is quite impressive as a proven man-made formation for use in a forthcoming film, it fails in many details to match the original 1995 Longwood Warren formation, and in spite of the expense and the man hours which must have gone into the production, it quite fails to confirm the Andrews assertion that such formations have been man-made in the course of one dark summer’s night. Shame about the intended deceit, guys.
CLICK ON ‘THE VOICE OF REASON’ FOR MORE ON THIS STORY…
Man-made formation, Alton Barnes, Wiltshire, August 2001 (Mark Fussell)
Original formation, Longwood Warren, Hampshire, July 1995 (Steve Alexander)