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Researcher Colin Andrews, who widely cast doubt on the 1996 video taken at Oliver’s Castle, which purports to show a crop formation appearing, seems to have changed his mind! ANDY THOMAS investigates…

There has been a notable change in tone from Colin Andrews in recent interviews, which suggests he may be softening his attitude towards the infamous Oliver’s Castle amateur video.

For newcomers, this impressive footage was allegedly taken by a young man early one morning on 11th August 1996 from the ramparts of Iron Age hill-fort Oliver’s Castle, near Devizes in Wiltshire. The hand-held sequence, less than 30 seconds long, shows a six-armed ‘snowflake’ formation appearing from nowhere beneath balls of light which swoop across the field.

The video was at first acclaimed – not least by Colin - as the first official film of a crop formation materialising, and was held up as the crucial evidence of a genuine phenomenon. However, within weeks, sceptics from within the croppie community itself moved in to declare the video a special-effects fraud, despite dogged counter-arguments from some quarters, and Colin soon followed suit to join the debunking.

The argument was never truly settled, and several threads remain unexplained, but claims that the man who took the video did indeed have video industry connections seemed to tip the balance of majority opinion toward the hoax scenario, though researchers such as Michael Glickman held fast in their opposition to this view.

Colin was instrumental in demolishing the reputation of the video and eventually claimed to have in his possession a video in which the alleged perpetrator “confessed” to creating the sequence. However, this ‘confession’ was never publicly released.

However, in recent interviews carried out during the ‘Signs’ media frenzy, Colin, remarkably – especially as he many times heavily criticised our old pre-Swirled News journal ‘SC’ for remaining open-minded on it - now appears to imply that the sequence could be genuine after all. Speaking to the US ‘Newsweek’ magazine/website, in reply to the question “Has anyone ever recorded a crop circle while it was being formed?”, Colin says:

“We have some film... It's controversial and we're still checking it out. But the film allegedly was taken by a man on a hilltop in southern England. On the film, small balls of light move across a field at great speed, rotate in an arc and, while rotating, [move] over a very large area several hundreds of feet across. You can see plants underneath begin to move. The balls of light are 60 feet above. A pattern of a snowflake is then formed in less than 10 seconds… …All 50 people I've interviewed who say they've seen [crop circles] form, all say they form in about 10 seconds. That is exactly what we have on film here... We have detective agencies investigating the individual who filmed it, his background, his equipment. Both scientists and film experts are studying the tape to see if it is legitimate.”

Colin also refers to the video as an undecided thing in a recent Art Bell radio show. It is astonishing that he now speaks as if no verdict has ever been pronounced on the video before and appears to suggest that he is still actively investigating it… after six years! Unless, by some incredible chance, Colin is referring to a different sequence altogether, which has never been announced before (but the references to the formation being another ‘snowflake’ make this highly unlikely), this is a major U-turn of opinion. As far as we are aware, Colin’s ‘detective agency’ investigations, such as they were, were concluded some time ago – however, if they really are still continuing, what is it that has suddenly reawakened his interest in the Oliver’s Castle video, something so loudly dismissed by him in the past?

And whatever happened to the ‘confession’ video Colin claimed he had in his possession, now entirely unreferred to in interviews? If the kangaroo convictions of fraud so widely made in the croppie world at the time towards the individual who supposedly took the video are now held to be unsafe, as these comments imply, will a reassessment of that individual’s reputation be made and a full and OPEN re-investigation follow?

Some answers to these questions would be very welcome.



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