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READING, VIDEOS AND BEYOND

A Guide for the Armchair Cerealogist

There are many sources of crop circle information, and this appendix gives some useful pointers as to where to find out more about the phenomenon. In particular, over the years there have been a significant number of books, some general, others covering specific aspects. Many of them are now rather dated, given the phenomenon's continual leaps in development, but still remain valuable reading as records of specific periods, pools of raw data or speculative material. Those wishing to plunge deeper into unravelling the mystery may wish to seek out some of the English language tomes listed below in alphabetical order of authors' or editors' names (there are a number of good overseas volumes in various languages not included here). Most are now out of print, but can often be picked up from specialist dealers, collector's fairs and circle conferences. The era covered by the books sometimes goes up to the year of publication date , but more often to the year before.

At the end follows a less comprehensive, but handy guide to some notable crop circle videos, general merchandise and live events.

This list has been freely adapted from the book Vital Signs by Andy Thomas (S B Publications 1998 & 2002) and updated with new entries accordingly.

Books (listed in alphabetical order of authors)

Crop Circle Year Book series
by Steve Alexander & Karen Douglas, Temporary Temple Press 1999 onwards, 28pp
It's amazing that no-one had thought of a crop circle annual before 1999, but the concept was worth the wait. Each edition, though short, is large format and very colourful, being a compact guide to the cerealogical season of its year, with Steve Alexander's renowned photographs and partner Karen Douglas's thoughtful text and captions. Karen was the first to describe crop circles as "temporary temples for the modern age", a now oft-quoted phrase. Focused largely on the Wiltshire area, with a smattering of Hampshire thrown in, each book neatly negates the need to buy those stacks of individual circle postcards every summer, packing all the best images of the most important formations into one source. The photographic quality (taken on detail-capturing large-format negatives) and attention to print reproduction is second to none.

Crop Circles: Exploring the Designs & Mysteries
by Werner Anderhub & Hans Peter Roth, Lark Books, 2002, 144pp 192pp
This English translation of a German language book first published in 2000 is a useful addition to any croppie's library, with circular history, theories and the various attempts at interpreting the symbols explored. Werner Anderhub has been one of the most active European researchers, and an extensive gallery of colour and black and white images, largely from his own portfolio, makes the book an attractive package.

Crop Circles - Harbingers of World Change
edited by Alick Bartholomew, Gateway 1991, 192pp 192pp
Essentially a sequel to The Crop Circle Enigma (qv), this was the first book to concentrate more on the message of the circles rather than the mechanism, updating events to 1991, a year excellently illustrated with colour photographs. Like its predecessor, several leading enthusiasts of the time contribute their own personal perspective, this time reaching much deeper into speculation and soul-searching. A bit New Agey for some, to own Enigma without also having this is nevertheless unthinkable. Sadly, it did rather less well than it might have, having the ill-fortune to be published around the same time the Doug and Dave hoax scam broke.

Crop Circles, Gods and Their Secrets
by Robert J Boerman, The Ptah Foundation 2000, 162pp
A dense, mystical book which asserts that a cabbalistic code runs through several crop formations, tying the phenomenon in with the work of Zecharia Sitchin and his belief that the lost planet 'Nibiru' (and its inhabitants) is about to return from a large elliptical orbit back into our region of space. A bit esoteric for some tastes, and with some curious English here and there (the author is Dutch), the book nevertheless makes some fascinating claims which, if true, demand further investigation, such as Boerman's belief that many crop glyphs embody the mathematics of the Equinoxal Precession cycle. Illustrated with a few black and white photos and several diagrams, this is a worthwhile read for the more advanced croppie student.

Crop Circle Wisdom
by Denni Clarke, SpiritPassage 2001, 107pp
Denni has long been a familiar figure in the Wiltshire fields each summer, and this attractively packaged book, subtitled Simple Teachings from the Circlemakers, draws together her spiritual musings on how the crop formations inspire people, and what we have learnt through them. Each colour photo of a particular crop pattern faces a page of suitable meditative text on internal issues of the sort the phenomenon seems to stir up. Not for those of the hardened scientific approach, admittedly, but others of a more soulful bent will find the book much to their liking.

The Circlemakers
by Andrew Collins, ABC Books 1992, 351pp
The garishly dramatic cover suggests a science fiction novel, but the reality is a sober and somewhat undervalued application of Wilhelm Reich's orgone energy theories to the circle phenomenon. Using his explorations with a group of psychics in the 1991 crop circles as a starting point, Collins was one of the first researchers to really explore the connection between human consciousness and the behaviour of formations and UFOs, coming to conclusions considered heretical in the nuts-and-bolts ufology world. Mainly text with a few black and white photos, this can be heavy going (pagewise, the longest circle book ever written), but it did provide a different angle on cerealogical studies for its time and, if the hypothesis is valid, has consequences for other paranormal phenomena.

Crop Circle Secrets
edited by Donald L Cyr, Stonehenge Viewpoint 1991, 80pp
Several highly technical dissertations from six writers, based around the 'whistler' hypothesis, lightning-induced pulses the authors believe to be responsible for the crop circles, although at this point only the early pictograms had appeared. Unusually, for such a scientific view, the theory takes into account ley-lines, earth energies and the connection with ancient sites. Lots of diagrams, but only a few black and white photographs. Followed by a near-identical sequel America’s First Crop Circle - Crop Circle Secrets II.

Ciphers in the Crops
edited by Beth Davis, Gateway 1992, 88pp
A series of essays by different contributors which could almost have been included in Harbingers of World Change (qv), looking at the significance, evidential and symbolic, of just three important formations from 1991, Barbury Castle, the Mandelbrot and the Froxfield 'serpent' or 'brain'. Eight pages of colour photos help make this a valuable tribute to what were then the most spectacular designs to have appeared, the book all the stronger for keeping to a narrow agenda.

Circular Evidence
by Pat Delgado & Colin Andrews, Bloomsbury 1989, 190pp
The book that launched the phenomenon into the public eye, documenting the authors' discoveries in the circles of the pre-pictogram 80's, complete with compelling anecdotes of associated strange happenings. Viciously attacked as paranormal claptrap by some who were seeking scientifically credible solutions to the mystery, this is nevertheless what caught people's imaginations and inspired the creation of circle research groups around the world. In retrospect, its speculation is actually remarkably restrained, but brief talk of UFOs drops tiny hints at the investigative paths the authors would soon take, well-balanced with straight observational data and copious colour photos. An essential guide to simpler times, written long before Andrews became increasingly sceptical.

Crop Circles: The Latest Evidence
by Pat Delgado & Colin Andrews, Bloomsbury 1990, 80pp
By now the media circus was in full swing and the front cover reflects this with its telling blurb "Could it be aliens?" next to an array of the elaborate pictograms which shocked the world in 1990. Little more than a diary of the latest events, as the title suggests, it documents the new developments which had dated the authors’ previous tome almost overnight and was clearly a necessary publication; as such the book delivers although its limelight was rather eclipsed by the launch of The Crop Circle Enigma (qv) the same year. Attractive photos and economic text make this an undemanding but useful read.

Conclusive Evidence?
by Pat Delgado, Bloomsbury 1992, 159pp
This was published in the immediate wake of the Doug and Dave hoax shenanigans, and it shows - the question mark which renders the title meaningless is telling. Not a bad book, Delgado's musings are, however, rather more lightweight and non-committal than before as if anxious to avoid controversy, although he does briefly put the record straight on misquotes and disinformation at the height of the pensioners' scam. Essentially a well-illustrated colour record of the 1991 season, the author (now solo) also includes some overseas formations and a few miscellaneous anecdotes and observations. Delgado retired from active research soon after.

Crop Circles: An Introduction (Crop Circles of Wessex)
by Kent Goodman, Wessex Books 1996/2000, 30pp
Formerly published in 1996 as Crop Circles of Wessex, this updated and much improved edition is a brief souvenir guide seemingly aimed at the Wiltshire tourist market where it has reportedly done well. Attractively packaged with colour and black and white photographs, diagrams and maps, it adequately performs its function as an introduction to the phenomenon for the absolute beginner. Reg Presley and Pat Delgado contribute endorsements.

Corn Circles/Crop Circles
by Michael Glickman, Wooden Books 1996/2000, 51pp/58pp
One in a series of little books by different authors examining sacred art in the English landscape in a pleasingly plain, simple format. Crop circles, or corn circles as the original title insists, are prime examples of modern sacred art and the author, a trained architect, exalts the poetic and geometric virtues of the designs. There is an almost exclusive focus on the development of the patterns themselves and the phenomenon's other aspects aren't on the agenda. This works as a strength rather than a weakness, allowing the sheer genius of the anonymous draughtsmanship to speak for itself in simple silhouette drawings. Substantially updated in 2000 and re-issued under its new title of Crop Circles.

Messages From Space
By Jay Goldner, 2002, 136pp
Colourful and graphically exciting book which proposes that the 'face' and 'code'-type crop formations found in recent years are evidence of communication from extra-terrestrial beings based on the moons of Jupiter. Whether the final conclusions are agreed with or not, the work on show is certainly thorough, and the book is worth owning simply for the detailed examination of the formations in question, with full colour throughout making the best of the many bright, bold diagrams.

The Deepening Complexity of Crop Circles
by Dr Eltjo Haselhoff, Frog Ltd. 2001, 157pp
Subtitled Scientific Research & Urban Legends, the author uses his scientific background and credentials (as one of only two people to have had a contribution on crop circles published in a peer-review science journal) to produce a highly credible case for a mysterious cause behind the phenomenon by balancing impressive biological analysis with the other more 'paranormal' aspects of the mystery without compromising either; deeper speculation isn't shied away from. However, the science side of cerealogy has been woefully underrepresented in print, and this very readable book goes a long way to providing an excellent encapsulation of the more important discoveries made by plant sample examination and other lines of diagnostic investigation. Colour photos and attractively presented diagrams throughout help keep things accessible at all times.

The Cosmic Connection
by Michael Hesemann, Gateway 1996, 168pp
This assertive tome, translated from German, makes no bones about its intentions, which is to convince the reader that crop formations are made by ETs, half its pages devoted to the circles and the remainder to UFO-related material. As such, it makes its case efficiently and enthusiastically, but doesn't address some unanswered questions thrown up by the hypothesis. An excellent and detailed round up of modern circular history to 1994 (despite clear evidence to the contrary, Hesemann doesn't believe in pre-war circle reports, though), attractive colour photos and a good thrashing to total sceptics more than justify its acquisition.

Mysterious Lights and Crop Circles
by Linda Moulton Howe, Paper Chase Press 2000, 342pp
Essentially written as a journalistic travelogue, this book is a valuable document of, and investigation into, the many luminosities, balls of light and other aerial phenomena seen in and around crop circles. The large number of testimonies from different people Linda interviews in her travels through Wiltshire attests to the reality of this aspect of the circle mystery, and long-talked about incidents, photos and videos are properly recorded in one printed source at last. A colour section augments the many black and white photographs included, and most will be in no doubt by the end of the book that something very odd indeed is going on in the fields.

1991 - Scientific Evidence for the Crop Circle Phenomenon
by Montague Keen, Elvery Dowers Publications/CCCS 1992, 47pp
A brief booklet produced for CCCS outlining the tentative inroads made by the title date in discovering a scientific 'litmus test' for crop circles. Dudley and Chorost's uncertain search for radioactive particles and Dr Levengood's early work on biological changes in circle-affected stems is outlined in layman's terms as far as possible in a simple format illustrated by a few murky black and white photos and diagrams. A useful examination of the physical evidence found in formations thus far, it inevitably frustrates due to its inconclusive nature, which the author, then CCCS 'scientific officer', openly acknowledges here. (Keen would later grow more cautious and challenge Levengood's initial methodology.)

Crop Circle Apocalypse
by John Macnish, Circlevision 1993, 249pp
The subtitle 'Crop Circles Case Closed' tells you everything you need to know about this volume which promotes hoaxing as the answer to the mystery, with particular emphasis on Doug and Dave. Having made one of the best videos on the phenomenon, Crop Circle Communiqué, it's still astonishing that its creator should have gone on to produce this very one-sided and subjective critique, plagued with typos and sparingly illustrated with black and white photos.

Crop Circles: A Beginners Guide
by Hugh Manistre, Hodder & Stoughton 1999, 91pp
It might be fairer not to comment too much on this book, suffice to say that if a beginner started with this, their interest would probably end here too. One in a series of little guidebooks to various metaphysical subjects, the overly-sceptical and under-informed tone of an extended essay seemingly based on very limited source material from around 1991 (despite its more recent publication date) is of little help to either novice or seasoned croppie. For such a visual phenomenon, some nice photographs to go with the diagrams there are in a tome which purports to be a guidebook would have helped enormously. Instead, incredibly, there are none at all.

Crop Circle Geometry
by John Martineau, Wooden Books 1992, varied pages
There have been several editions and updates of this seminal work (originally titled The Sophistication of Agriglyph Geometry) in different formats so page counts may differ. Martineau was one of the first to recognise the sublime geometrical qualities and explicit mathematics in the early pictograms, and his findings are presented in clear, precise silhouette diagrams traversed by lines showing the inherent construction alignments and proportional harmonies. Even allowing for possible margins of error in the original survey measurements, the ingenious accuracy and breathtaking verve of the designs is indisputable, illustrated attractively with some comparative astronomical and archaeological data thrown in for good measure. His work on crop circles would later inspire the author to investigate the entire geometry of the solar system in A Book of Coincidence (qv), the full impact of which deserves wider attention.

The Circles Effect and its Mysteries
by George Terence Meaden, Artetech 1989, 116pp
The first major outing for the plasma vortex theory is in marked contrast to the dramatic, populist style of Circular Evidence (qv) which just pipped this to the post as the first ever crop circle book. Scornful of unscientific paranormal posturings, the tone is calm and regimented in a clear and largely successful desire to present itself as a serious hypothesis, published just before the pictograms set the cat among the pigeons. This book's greatest asset is the data, reports and valuable observations recorded within it, but underestimation of the circles' visual attraction has resulted in only scatterings of black and white photographs. For all the theory's difficulties in dealing with the later formations, much of the work is still valid and Meaden should stand congratulated as the first person to attempt a straight scientific investigation of the phenomenon; this book is testament to that effort.

Circles from the Sky
edited by George Terence Meaden, Souvenir 1991, 208pp
Unattractive presentation (again only a few black and white photos) hides a collection of sometimes dry but fascinating essays on meteorological explanations for the phenomenon compiled from reports by members of weather-investigation groups CERES and TORRO and mostly based around the plasma vortex. The last outing for the hypothesis before the patterns appearing could no longer be simply explained by it in its basic form, this dated very quickly but contains some highly valuable information, including eye-witness accounts and the full text of the 'Mowing Devil' pamphlet from 1678. The more recent findings of Dr Levengood call for a reappraisal of some of the observations included here.

Dowsing the Crop Circles
edited by John Michell, Gothic Image 1991, 48pp
A slim but pleasing volume which collects together some of the best dowsing-related articles from the first few issues of The Cerealogist journal, nicely presented with attractive diagrams and a few black and white photographs. Anyone with an interest in this aspect of investigation should start here (although some dowsing sceptics have cited the differing techniques and findings outlined as being fruitlessly contrary).

The Face & the Message
by John Michell, Gothic Image 2002, 36pp
An attractive little booklet printed in pleasant pale green print, which examines the construction and implications of the 'face' and 'code' messages which appeared at Chilbolton in 2001. Though sensibly refusing to draw any final conclusions, this highly respected author and philosopher succinctly draws the reader's attention to the most pertinent points raised by the appearance of these glyphs, and discusses them with wisdom and reason.

Crop Circles Revealed
by Judith Moore and Barbara Lamb, Light Technology Publishing 2001, 265pp
An open celebration of the metaphysical view of crop circles, channelled and intuitive interpretations of pictogram symbols balanced with many pages of straight information, general discussion of the phenomenon and a celebration of the culture of enthusiasts who surround it. Given the size of the book, number of pages and density of print, this is possibly the longest crop circle book yet published, a great slab of a tome to keep dippers happy for many hours. An opening colour gallery gives way to black and white photos thereon. In its mission to take into account all the differing belief systems, there may be just a little too much generosity shown towards hoaxers for some tastes, and the dense ruminations may be daunting for casual readers, but as reference material for dedicated cerealogists, particularly those drawn to more psychic leanings, it is indispensable.

Crop Circles
by Carolyn North, Ronin Publishing 2001, 91pp
Unambitious postcard-sized book which acts as a pleasantly simple all-round guide in a compact size and gives the novice reader enough of an idea of the phenomenon to see that something amazing is going on. As such, it achieves its well-intentioned aim, let down only by a large number of upside-down photos and rather iffy reproduction.

The Crop Circle Enigma
edited by Ralph Noyes, Gateway 1990, 192pp
Still one of the very best circle books despite being inevitably dated by subsequent events, this is a collection of sober, thoughtful pieces by the cream of researchers at the time (minus Delgado and Andrews) when they were all still talking to each other. Each contributor examines a different aspect of the mystery, recording its history, proposing mechanisms and speculating on potential sources. Excellently illustrated by a comprehensive colour roundup of circles from recent years, photographic emphasis is on the 1990 pictograms which had just shocked the world. Thought-provoking, yet level-headed, this presented a very credible case for a phenomenon worthy of serious investigation, cruelly dashed in the public eye just a year later by events which were to blight the success of its more ambitious sequel Harbingers of World Change (qv).

Crop Circle Classification
by Pat Palgrave-Moore, Elvery Dowers 1991, 47pp
A brave but ultimately futile technical booklet which attempted to pin down all the component shapes making up the early pictograms so that crop designs could be concisely documented and described with code numbers. A dumbbell, for instance, is classified as a '1B1', while a more elaborate one might be an 'NaBg 50A'. Had the phenomenon ceased developing this might have worked, but its evolution already challenges the book's usefulness by the end, with complex formations like Barbury Castle ’91 forcing the system to be ditched and simply being labelled No.132. Though, perhaps unsurprisingly, the idea didn't catch on, this little book is worth owning for the most comprehensive record of crop symbols (in silhouette drawings) published to that date.

Crop Circles: The Greatest Mystery of Modern Times
by Lucy Pringle, Thorsons 1999, 144p
The culmination of years of personal research, on the surface this is an all-round guide to the phenomenon, but puts particular emphasis on physiological and psychological effects on people entering crop formations, and other strange anomalies, as extracted from circulated survey forms or one-to-one interviews. Well-illustrated, mainly with Lucy's own photographs (the later edition corrects some upside-down entries in the original), this is a valuable record of a sometimes neglected area of cerealogical investigation, documented by a well-known figure of the crop circle world.

Crop Circles: A Mystery Solved
by Jenny Randles & Paul Fuller, Robert Hale 1990, 250pp
If you can bite your tongue at the rather over-confident title, there is a lot of useful information, reports and valid observations in this, yet another, promotion of the plasma vortex hypothesis. Randles has written a plethora of UFO-related books over the years, but seems to imply here that a large amount of sightings are due to meteorological atmospheric phenomena. When the pictograms started to appear, she and Fuller would go on to be openly sceptical about the complex formations, but even here there is already a fair amount of hoax speculation alongside the vortex theorising. Illustrated with a short section of unspectacular black and white photos and a few diagrams.

The Gift
by Doug Ruby, Blue Note Books 1995, 174pp
An American publication which proposes the idea that the early pictogram shapes are two-dimensional diagrams of three-dimensional devices which, when built, will give us the 'gift' of anti-gravity propulsion as supposedly used in ET craft. Ruby actually constructs and spins scale models to make his point, illustrated here with colour and black and white photos. The results are undeniably fascinating although some may draw their own conclusions about what it all means. The steps that lead to each experiment are sensibly described with a pervading sense of boyish wonder from the author. That Ruby is clearly a newcomer to the phenomenon (he had never set foot in a formation at the time of writing and there are one or two factual errors) shows clearly, but enhances, rather than detracts from, the pleasant innocence of the book. Well presented, but no circle photos, only diagrams.

Round in Circles
by Jim Schnabel, Penguin 1993, 295pp
The book that sent the cerealogical world into a tizzy for five minutes until everyone realised it was quite funny really, forgot it and carried on. With the exception, that is, of a few who will smart forever, and with good reason. Schnabel, a one-time alleged 'hoaxer', tells the story of crop circle research from the inside, all names named and sacred cows slain, illustrated with a few black and white photos. The phenomenon itself is a secondary target to the foreground tales of bickering, egotism and self-delusion which have plagued the 'community' from the beginning. Everything is exaggerated for effect, of course, but at times it's a justified critique. Its mischief is to be found in what the book doesn't tell you. Presented resolutely from the author's one-sided viewpoint, its factual reliability is challenged, but no-one bothered with any subsequent litigation. Scepticism toward the circles is well to the fore, but largely by implication; little actual evidence is shown for mass-hoaxing. If this were badly written it might be offensive. That it's competent, entertaining and amusing is only spoiled by the fact that it's at other people's expense.

Secrets in the Fields
by Freddy Silva, Hampton Roads 2002, 334pp
Subtitled The Science and Mysticism of Crop Circles, this is a weighty tome which explores the phenomenon in intense detail, with particular emphasis on the geometrical and spiritual implications behind the circles. Black and white, with a colour section, the book is packed with diagrams and photos, and covers a broad spectrum of concepts. The author's self-confidence with certain proclamations may over-reach itself at times, but there's no denying the dedication behind the book.

Crop Circles of 1991
by Busty Taylor, Beckhampton Books 1992, 48pp
Busty Taylor was one of the first to pioneer the art of overhead circle photography, either by flying or precariously raising his camera on a 30' pole to look down on formations. This small full colour-booklet simply documents the season of the title with full-page photographs and brief captions, showing some of the many diverse designs from the air or the ground. A good souvenir of the year that produced the Barbury Castle triangle, the 'whales' and the insectograms.

Fields of Mystery
by Andy Thomas, S B Publications 1996, 100pp
This still stands as the most thorough documentation of crop circle activity in one area of the world yet published, collecting together many of the findings of SCR. Two major, yet relatively unsung, sites for the crop circle phenomenon are the counties of East and West Sussex on the south-east coast of England, which have seen several decades of glyphs. This book gives the full story of the crop patterns of Sussex and a potted history of the mystery world-wide, with many collected true tales and insights, illustrated with full colour/black and white photographs and diagrams..

Quest for Contact
by Andy Thomas & Paul Bura, S B Publications 1997, 144pp

A real-life account of SCR's four-year voyage of discovery in a quest to video a crop circle being formed by non-human forces, a mission not fulfilled, but circumvented by other extraordinary happenings. Co-written with psychic Paul Bura, it recounts a saga of remarkable encounters with the circles, Sussex sacred sites, interactions with aerial phenomena, psychic entities and cosmic 'coincidences', climaxing with the extraordinary experiment in which a crop formation was seemingly created with the power of thought. To learn of both the pitfalls and the successes encountered, any group wanting to attempt similar communication experiments might like to read this first! Thought-provoking, dramatic, humorous and heart-warming in its honesty, Quest For Contact is fully illustrated with many photographs taken during SCR's exploits.

Vital Signs: A Complete Guide to the Crop Circle Mystery and Why it is NOT a Hoax
by Andy Thomas, S B Publications (Frog Ltd in USA) 1998, revised 2002, 192pp
Described by many as the definitive guide to the crop circle mystery - written by Swirled News editor Andy Thomas. Visit the Vital Signs website for more information...

The Answer
by Margot Williams & Carolyn Morgan, Grosvenor Press 1991, 48pp
The story of the authors' attempts to interpret the 1990 Alton Barnes pictogram, and other formations at their home on the Isle of Wight, using psychic channelling. Their experiences in the formations are recounted in a series of heartfelt vignettes, together with accounts of claimed brushes with ETs. Not illustrated.

The Secret History of Crop Circles
by Terry Wilson, CCCS 1998, 155pp
A long-overdue documentation of the many pre-1980 crop circle reports, dating back perhaps as far as 1590. This is a truly important, if modestly presented, book which has filled a major hole in the research data, clearly demonstrating an enduring and genuine phenomenon which has been developing for many years. Its style is succinct and level-headed. Diagrams and a few black and white photographs which accompany some of the reports are included, and a potted recent history updates events to 1997. An essential read for research completists and a nudge in the ribs for doubters.

Other Books of Interest

Besides a few very small-scale productions not mentioned here (photocopied manuscripts, etc.) there are also many books which feature crop circles as part of a wider agenda. Two Thirds (David P Myers & David S Percy, Aulis Publishers 1993, revised 1999, 811pp - !!!) is a cryptic and controversial novelised history of the galaxy as celestial soap opera, apparently based on channellings. An explanation for crop circles is given in this context and they feature prominently in the illustrated appendix. The circles also feature in another Percy co-authored book, Dark Moon (David S Percy & Mary Bennett, Aulis Publishers 1999), which robustly asserts that NASA faked the evidence for its moon missions. Likewise, formations appear in a similar context in Richard Hoagland's book The Monuments of Mars (Frog Ltd. 1987, revised several times since), which famously explores the evidence for an artificially constructed 'face' and 'city' on the red planet. Many channelled works have referred to the circles, in particular The Only Planet of Choice (Phyllis Schlemmer/Palden Jenkins, Gateway 1993, 398pp, revised by Mary Bennett 1994). Alien Energy (Andrew Collins, ABC Books 1994, 248pp - only published in a very limited print run), although more sceptical towards the phenomenon, follows up some of the ideas of The Circlemakers and describes orgone and psychic experiments in the Alton Barnes area, amongst other projects. The Goddess of the Stones and The Stonehenge Solution (George Terence Meaden, Souvenir Press 1991, 228pp / Souvenir Press 1992, 224pp), though primarily concerned with Neolithic monuments, propose the hypothesis that plasma vortex-created crop circles inspired their construction. Lots of other tomes include crop circles for all sorts of reasons and purposes. Ones to avoid, though, are cheap chain-store compendiums about UFOs and the paranormal (you know the sort), usually thrown together by people with only a very basic, and flawed, knowledge of crop circles. However, beware even some glossier encyclopaedias of the unexplained, which, whilst quite willing to accept the dodgiest of UFO photos, often seem entirely unable to be open-minded about the circles, quoting sceptical received wisdoms and the usual hoax myths as fact.

Videos

There have been all sorts of circular videos produced over the years, some professionally, others by well-intentioned amateurs who issue their best shots of the year on video. A few stand out, however, though many are inevitably very dated now:

John Macnish's Crop Circle Communiqué (1991) is still one of the best all-round looks at the phenomenon, spoilt only by the knowledge that its sequel Revelations (and the accompanying book Crop Circle Apocalypse) turned to totally one-sided scepticism.

Undeniable Evidence (1990) is essentially a pleasant conversation with researcher Colin Andrews (before he himself turned more sceptical) with accompanying circles footage.

Michael Hesemann's long The Mystery of the Crop Circles (1990) contains interviews with many early researchers together with much film of the first pictograms and as such is a valuable snapshot of the pre-Doug and Dave days.

Phenomenon (1992) is a very effective wordless meditation by Grant Wakefield, with time-lapse photography, still shots and 8mm film of the circles in black and white and colour, set against atmospheric music, letting the visuals speak for themselves. Wakefield takes quite a different approach in his 1998 film Croppies, an irreverent if humorously revealing sceptical blast at the research community, believers and hoax claimants interviewed in 'talking head' mode.

Andy Thomas’s Circular Sussex (1995) is an atmospheric record of his home county's formations and the work of the SCR surveying team over two seasons.

A very good overall look at the phenomenon is Bert Janssen and Janet Ossebaard's Crop Circles: What on Earth is Going On? (1996) and its sequel Crop Circles - The Research (1999), which together make an excellent assessment of the mystery, the possible theories and the research efforts, with good circle footage. The former includes the highly controversial Oliver's Castle sequence purporting to show a formation appearing.A third entry, Contact (2001), documents many of the aerial phenomena videos taken in and around circles over the years, and is a valuable compendium of some extraordinary sequences. Their other available title, The Silbury Hole Enigma (2001), doesn't cover crop circles, but documents the events surrounding the appearance of the hole in the top of the monument in 2000.

Crop Circle Update (1999), by Chris Everard, is a perhaps overlong, but comprehensive series of interviews with various circle researchers and contains a detailed analysis of the Oliver’s Castle video.

Frank Laumen’s Crop Circle Connections (2000) is an impressionistic, surreal trip through several seasons of excellent circle and general sacred landscape footage set to music.

Peter Sorensen also has a large back catalogue of videos (the Humanity’s Wake-Up Call series) documenting each season in turn from the past six or seven years in his very own personal travelogue style.

Michael Glickman has a series of videos available under the umbrella title The Crop Circle Lectures, recording some of his more prominent presentations over the years (some with the help of colleague Patricia Murray), with a particular emphasis on geometry and form, and a liberal dose of sceptic-bashing.

Many more circle videos and even cinema documentaries were being put together in the run-up to the release of the movie Signs in 2002. There have also been a number of TV documentaries of varying quality and integrity which pop up mostly on cable and satellite stations from time to time. A few are good, but most are hack journalism which simply scratch the surface of something that takes longer than a couple of days to research and half an hour of air time to fairly assess. Beware; with one or two notable exceptions, outright scepticism is often well to the fore or the conclusions are simplistic to say the least.

Merchandise

There are people who find the idea of crop circle 'product' distasteful, a cheap cash-in on something of huge potential importance, but, like it or not, recent years have seen a boom in crop circle merchandise of all kinds. Each must decide for themselves on the integrity of what's at hand or avert their eyes when it comes their way. One of the better developments is the availability of good colour postcards and posters of new formations, which go a long way to spreading the news of an astonishing phenomenon further out to the world by the visual message alone. Circle calendars are also an expanding business Ð at least three alternatives are usually produced for each season. Several small businesses now produce T-shirts and sweatshirts of circle designs from all seasons in all colours, some simply assorted silhouette shapes against a plain background, others interpretations of specific glyphs in swirling psychedelic hues. Other wares are more to individual tastes, but if you want crop circle mugs, pencils, greetings cards, tarot packs, jewellery, 3-D sculpture and beyond, it all seems to be out there. These can usually be picked up at circle conferences or through adverts in journals. Otherwise, visitors to Wiltshire would be well-advised to make their way to The Henge Shop in Avebury which usually carries an assorted selection of the latest products, or go one county along to Glastonbury in Somerset, where various retailers sometimes stock circular goods, particularly the shop Growing Needs..

Conferences

Each year a number of crop circle events are held by various organisations, increasingly across the globe, but especially in the provinces of England. Specific events are nationally advertised in appropriate places (crop circle websites and journals obviously, but also UFO and New Age magazines, etc.) and are often well worth attending. Most conferences feature speakers from the world of cerealogy and associated interests, and they provide a good opportunity to tap into where things are at in the fields and gauge the mindset of those monitoring them. In years past, these could sometimes be rather stuffy, highbrow events, but recently a slant towards more entertaining (but equally informative) gatherings has developed, catering for all approaches to the phenomenon. (Beware though, debunking psuedo-cerealogists at more UFO-orientated events, for whom the circles are a secondary interest, presentations largely based on fourth-hand information.)

The Wiltshire Crop Circle Study Group has its annual Crop Circle Weekend at Devizes usually in July/August; researcher David Kingston usually holds a one day event at Dorchester in April which covers crop circles, and the crew behind the Crop Circle Connector website usually hold an evening event in the summer. Independent events are sometimes set up by organisations or individuals at random. In the USA there are currently two annual conferences, Signs of Destiny in Arizona, and Sacred Britain's event in Vermont.

The longest-running (held since 1990) gathering is the annual Glastonbury Symposium: Investigating Crop Circles and Signs of our Times, usually held in late July or early August at the Town Hall in the heart of this mystic capital. Attenders from around the world regularly flock to this three-day weekend to hear speakers of the highest calibre discussing not just crop circles, but many other related subjects. The atmosphere of the event spills out into the cafes, pubs and sacred landscape of Glastonbury as people relax in-between. Bias aside (Andy Thomas is one of the organisers), this comes highly recommended by many people. Those with Internet access should go to http://www.glastonburysymposium.co.uk for details.

(Watch Swirled News' events page for forthcoming dates/reviews of main events.)

ANDY THOMAS


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