Scientific Facts not Empty Words

Reply to the Mail on Sunday ~ Scientific Facts not Empty Words
4th September 2000


In response to Peter Hillmore’s article “We are `The Aliens'” on pages 54-55 in the Mail on Sunday 3 September, I would like to give you a few facts so that the public are not misled by the contents of the article.

We are now able to distinguish between genuine and man-made crop formations. Scientific tests show:
a. significant changes in the nitrate nitrogen content in the seeds against control samples;

b. changes occur in hormone levels that would not occur in such a short time scale unless therapeutic treatment had been given

c. changes in EEG (Electro-encephalograph) and ESR (Electrical Skin Resistance) readings.

d. Also bottles of water have shown changes in resonances and bacteria levels against control samples in blind tests.

e. seeds taken from genuine formations germinate more quickly and need less water during their growing period.

None of these changes occur in man-made formations.

Hoaxers certainly make a few formations but despite many people watching and monitoring the fields all during the summer nights, the only time they have been caught at night was when making a formation for the BBC in 1998. Also on a television programme, I once challenged one of the hoaxers to replicate a complex formation that he claimed to have made; the producer asked him if he would accept my challenge. The answer was “NO”, revealing that he was unable to back up his words with action. It was a recorded programme and the producer assured me he would include this damning evidence. When the programme was shown, this piece had been edited out.

It is a pity that so much media space is given to these people who provide us with no evidence of their purported actions (except for producing diagrams that have already been put up on the internet for several weeks by skilled mathematicians, and who if they are making crop circles without the farmers permission, are committing a criminal act) when scientific evidence for genuine formations is readily available yet not taken up by the media. Is there some hidden agenda?

Hoaxers may some fool people some of the time but they cannot fool all the people all of the time.

I have dealt with the hoaxing issue comprehensively in my book `Crop Circles, the Greatest Mystery of Modern Times` and recommend that people read this in order to get a true and balanced picture of the situation.
Lucy Pringle

Circles without Tramlines

Letter published in The Daily Mail
9th November

Over the years, I have been sent reports of crop circles from Ireland in the 1930’s and other reports ranging right up through the 1940’s ’50s, 60’s and 70’s, not just from this part of the world but from as far afield as South Africa.

Many people claim that where there are tramlines (used by farmers to facilitate crop sowing and spraying), it would be easy to make a crop formation without leaving any human trace.

Despite the fact that repeated scientific tests together with the hugely accurate geometry of genuine crop circles, are able to distinguish between the genuine and manmade events whether tramlines are present or not, I appreciate that this is an area of valid interest. In the United States there are no tramlines, yet crop circles still appear. It was not until the years between 1970-72 that Zeneca ICI, after consultation with the farmers introduced tramlines in order to facilitate sowing and the use of herbicides, pesticides and fungicides. This was the first time tramlines were seen in fields in the UK and heralded the start of intensive farming in this country; new machinery was also brought into production, leading to the loss of many jobs; yet I have a number of reports before tramlines either did not exist or were not applicable to the location in which the circle appeared. In fact the earliest reports from people still alive, start in the 1930’s. An interesting one came from Mrs Songhurst who told me that she saw corn circles sixty years ago when she lived in Co. Donegal, Ireland. They were large in circumference and all swirled anti-clockwise. The people all lived a hand to mouth existence and would have had no reason to fake these circles, in fact quite the opposite as their very existence depended on the price they could obtain from the grain merchants. Any rumour that there was anything wrong with their crops spelt ruin and so when the crop circles appeared they attempted unsuccessfully to prop up the fallen stems.

World War Two crop cirlces.

Two intriguing reports came from airmen who had served during the Second World War. One of the men produced black and white photographs of two crop circles about 20-30 diameter, taken from the air above the RAF base at Tangmere, near Chichester in the late summer of 1943. The other Squadron Leader N, (who requested anonymity), had served in the RAF for 33 years, beginning as an air gunner on Lancasters during the war, rising to the rank of squadron leader. Between foreign postings, Sq. Ldr. N was stationed, from 1957 to ’64 and again from 1968 – ’69 at air bases in southern England.

“At these times I was stationed at RAF Andover and Hullavington, Wiltshire, which included flights to the nearby bases of Middle Wallop, Boscombe Down and Lynham. During the times concerned, circles weren’t infrequent and I think it would be fair to say that we saw them every year, in the same areas. The circles always seemed to be in the very large fields adjacent to Stonehenge and the rolling downs of the Boscombe Down corn growing land.”

A letter of enquiry to Lynham drew a blank regarding crop circles around air bases in southern England between 1957 and 1969. “Unfortunately, none of our current aircrew were around at that time, those of us that have been at Lyneham since the 1970’s are unaware of any records or stories, anecdotal or otherwise.”

Do crop formations always appear in arable crops? The short answer is no! There are reports of events in ice, snow, thistles, sugar cane, potatoes, cabbages, sprouts and grass. In August 1993, a ringed circle appeared in sunflowers near Torgau in Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany.

Frozen circles

Also there are several accounts of circles in ice (Fortean Times No 77) dating back as far as 1930 and ranging in distribution from Sweden, Canada and The United States to Kharkov in the Ukraine.(Photo 1 Transparency .Ice circle,George River, Mass. USA.) Sceptics have suggested, that these circles were man-made, by people using “an ice saw, an adapted chain saw used in ice manufacture since its invention in the 1920’s”. Two people would be involved, one standing at the centre with a length of rope with which he guide his accomplice who would slice an inner and then outer ring, holding the other end of the rope taut as he travelled round describing a radius. After completion they would then break up the ring, releasing the disk. What they fail to take into account however, is the fact that several reports stated that the ice was too thin to bear any human weight, let alone additional equipment. As so often happens, sceptics are so keen to `rubbish’ anything of a bizarre or unexplained nature, they forget the primary rules of good scientific investigations and ignore the straightforward physical facts.

Another report tells of a circle that appeared just outside Moscow one year; there were no tracks leading to it and not tracks leading away from it. No explanation!

Mashed potatoes?

In 1947 at a farm in Lancashire a strange event occurred. This report comes from tractor driver, John Salisbury. “It was the first week of June 1947, in; the middle of a twenty acre field of potatoes. The previous day I had been thinning turnips on the outside edge of the field, the potato crop was what is called locally, as being`met up in rows’ meaning of course that all the plants were touching each other, so that it showed a good even crop. Imagine my surprise the following morning, the first thing I saw was the large flattened area almost in the centre of the field. My first thought was that some animals had somehow got onto the field, As I made my way across towards it, I could see it was a huge circle, almost fifty yards in diameter, with all the plants swirled in a clockwise direction and almost as though they had been plaited. There was no other damage in the field, no sigh of tracks or anything. There was quite heavy dew on the plants and my trousers were wet, through walking in the crop. There was no damage to the rows and no disturbance of the soil and the edge of the circle was so well defined that one plant, normal and the next one to it completely flat. Standing in the middle of the circle and trying to take it all in, I remember a sudden sense of panic and to get out of it as quickly as I could. It just seemed as though something had come down and gone straight up again and all this long before UFO’s hit the headlines. I went back to the farm to report it to Mr Clark, the farmer, and he came back with me to the field and he too was mystified but declared that he thought it must have been a freak whirlwind. The rest of the employees were all elderly men and weren’t really interested but all agreed that the weather conditions did not fit the theory. When the potatoes were harvested they were at the same size as when the circle was formed. The rest of the crop outside the circle were normal size. There is something else I would like to mention, seven or eight years later on the same field and not far from the crop circle location, I ploughed up a number of stone age hammer and axe heads which are still in my possession”.

My next report was sent to me recently by photographer and filmmaker, John Howard of Market Rasen, Leicestershire.(Photo 2 print ) One morning during the summer of 1991, a farmer friend, telephoned asking him to come and photograph a curious circle which had `mysteriously’ appeared overnight in his field of potatoes. The farmer also lives and farms at Market Rasen, so John did not have far to travel. On his arrival he found the circle, approximately nine yards in diameter. He states that rather than being a symmetrical circle, it was a broad ellipse. All the potato plants within the ellipse were flattened and destroyed, (their leaves and stems were dead) whereas the plants in the rest of the field were strong and healthy, standing about one and a half to two feet high. There were no signs of entry marks leading to or away from the formation and there were no telltale marks on the soil. The farmer is a respected countryman of long standing and he had never seen anything like it before. He relates that there was a sharp cut-off point between the flattened potatoes and the standing crop. Disease and soil deficiency were ruled out, as the rest of the crop and the crop in the other field were healthy. Again no explanation!

Beware of the prickles

There is also the report of a circle measuring around twenty feet in diameter, which was discovered in a large field of saffron thistles in the Goolagong area in the Bathhurst District in Australia! Diana Kearns, who sent me this story, had been awarded a grant by the Australian Film Commission; she was studying the possible correlation between UFO grid patterns/systems, ancient aboriginal stone rows or stone circles in the UK, connected with the ley line system. Just before Christmas 1974, she was telephoned by the UFO Society regarding this circle (or UFO nest as they are called in Australia). In Australia distances of up to two miles are considered close by, so off she hurtled and was met by the farmer Viv Huckel.

The field of thistles had been ploughed up at the request of the Australian Broadcasting Commission, which made it a considerably less painful journey for Diana. “These thistles are as thick as the hair on a dog’s back!”

The farmer Viv Huckel recounts “What hit me when I first saw it was that it was very similar to nests found in the sugar cane beds up in Queensland. I drove around, finished ploughing and came back and had another squizz at it.

What intrigued me was that the centre portion (about four foot across) was almost completely bare, and after that you started getting little stumps of saffron thistles- they’d been shredded. The further you got to the perimeter, pieces of stalk were just broken up; but the last couple of feet of thistles – and these are two feet high minimum- were completely knocked down in an anticlockwise direction, twisted up, and some had been torn out by the roots.. It’s pretty hard to pull a green saffron thistle out by the roots, mate!”

The theory that animals might have squashed down the thistles was discounted by Viv who had only had five head of cows in that paddock in the previous six months “like their female counterparts in the human race, they like their creature comforts; they wouldn’t go and bust down a camping site in these thistles, nor would sheep”.

A whirlwind wind or `Willy Willy’ was also ruled out for “if anyone has seen an Old man Whirlwind, they’d know that it doesn’t stay in the one spot. It sweeps straight through a paddock and leaves a dread straight scar of knocked down thistles, say all heading in the same direction”.

Thistles are a hollow stemmed crop, and like oil seed rape; the stalks will not lie flat and remain flat when bent to ninety degrees. In experiments it is found that it is necessary to bend them in excess of ninety degrees and apply pressure. When this was tested, the stems simply snapped. Also the stalks bruise badly and scars are visible if any mechanical weight is applied. The accounts of circles or UFO nests in sugar cane is even more amazing. Having lived in Jamaica for twelve years, I am very familiar with the behaviour of sugar cane. It reacts in a similar way to both thistles and oil seed rape, but grows considerably taller, to a height of eight to nine feet and is extremely heavy. What force as yet unknown to man could cause this gargantuan crop to bend to its will without causing any crop damage or broken stems?

The Doubt Dispeller at Birling Gap

In 1994 two formations appeared in barley at Birling Gap, near Eastbourne, looking like suspended cobwebs. However, as soon as we go there, we saw the barley had been bent uniformly at around twenty inches up from the ground – about half way down each stalk and just above the point where the leaf separates from the sheath. As the top part of the crop had bent over, it had formed myriad small vortices, each measuring 12-15 inches in diameter, tightly interwoven and in turn forming part of the overall webbing. (Diagram 1) None of the stalks were broken; the complexity of the webbing was astounding and its density was such that it was difficult and painful to try and pierce by walking through it.

How had it been made? Clearly the circle could not have been made by any sort of weight (e.g. a garden roller or a flail), because the crop would have been flattened. An atmospheric condition? This would not explain the many tiny vortices merging too give the overall effect of one great web, enclosed in a circumference with such a clear cut off point between the webbing and the standing crop.

Rook or crow damage? An example of this was nearby, and displayed no complex webbing, and had many bird feathers and dropping scattered among the randomly and chaotically damaged barley. Nor do rooks normally carry tape measures! Localised wind damage? Again there was an example of this nearby, and the crop was splayed sidewards randomly – very different to the concise pattern in the formation. In addition the `force` seems to have been genetically selective. A few rogue stalks of winter wheat from the previous year’s crop were not affected. They remained standing, clearly visible above the twisted barley. What force could create such an elaborate and dense suspended barley webbing and yet leave single stems of wheat untouched? (Photo 2 -Transparency)

What has happened to National Geographic?

7th November 2007

In the spring of 2007 I was approached by North One Television to appear in a programme they were producing on behalf of the National Geographic called ‘I Didn’t Know That’. One of the subjects to be investigated was crop circles. I made careful enquiries as to the content of this programme and their approach to this subject. I was told they were interested in the scientific aspect and the work I had conducted in this area.

I also asked if I was going to be the only person interviewed and was told that I was the only person. As I have grown increasingly sceptical about the motives behind so called `scientifically` based programmes` I felt it was necessary to obtain this assurance.

The interview was conducted in the Yatesbury barley formation, near Avebury Trusloe. Not long after I questioned North One Television about a crop formation that had appeared in an obscure corner of a field near Yatesbury. They admitted that they had commissioned this circle to be made.

Clearly I was not the only person to be interviewed.

Worse still was to come when I was sent the CD of the programme. National Geographical CD, © NGC Network LLC. Produced by North One Television Midlands. (After it had been released and shown to the public).

In the Introduction we are told that this programme is going to reveal surprising facts that are guaranteed to make you say ‘I didn’t know that’. We are then introduced to two industrial scientists Richard Ambrose and Johnny Phillips ‘who don’t mind getting their hands dirty when it comes to establishing the facts’.

There were three trailers during the programme; the first one says ‘strange goings on the night. What really creates crop circles?’ And then proceeds to show men in the field making the commissioned man made formation.

The second trailer titled ‘Still to come’ asks ‘Are aliens the designers of these amazing crop circles?’ shows two stills of the 22 June 2006 Lurkley Hill, Nr Lockeridge and the 23 June 2006 Windmill Hill circle. It also shows men in dark clothes lurking in the darkness in a field and hedgerow thus giving the unmistakable impression of human involvement.

The third trailer shows us Richard Ambrose putting forward several theories, some fairly ridiculous as to the origin of crop circles. Following this I come on and speak for 42 seconds. Using clever photography it then shows me distorted and looking an idiot.

No mention was made of my research.

Next we see John Lundberg, Will Russell and Robert Irving assembling in the field of wheat with their planks and a 100 metre surveyors measuring tape; the tools they need to construct the circle.

To add insult to injury, presenter Richard Ambrose then joins the trio and proceeds to take part in stomping down the wheat. All this takes approx: 2 and a half minutes of viewing time.

When I queried why one the trailers had shown the commissioned circle being made I was told ‘That is what the public wants to see’.

I would suggest that the general public wants to hear the truth and that the announcement at the beginning of the film that they were going to ‘establish the facts’ was just as dishonourable and dishonest as the producers had been to me. We all know that man made formations do exist, but why do programme producers run scared of revealing the scientific facts and figures that show beyond all doubt that a real phenomenon exists. Of what are they frightened or what is their hidden agenda for concealing this information?

I believe I was misled into appearing in a programme that not only was heavily weighted in favour of the man made element but was also disinterested in presenting the public with any scientific research results.

There was a time when the programmes produced by or for the National Geographic were programmes of scientific integrity and fact. They were a scion of truth. Sadly this is no longer the case, they are as bad as the worst tabloids pandering to what they consider the public wants to see and hear. They are no longer to be trusted with the truth.


Easy as pi

Easy as pi: Astrophysicist solves riddle of Britain’s most complex crop circle Mail Online

It is – by any calculation – a creation stunning in its ingenuity. Carved out in a barley field, this 150ft wide pattern is said to be a pictorial representation of the first ten digits of Pi, one of the most fundamental symbols in mathematics.Believers in extraterrestrials could argue it was made by mathematically-minded aliens on a field trip to Earth.

Most complex crop circle

Most complex crop circle ever discovered in British fields – The Telegraph
The most complex, “mind-boggling” crop circle ever to be seen in Britain has been discovered in a barley field in Wiltshire.

Pedro Cordeiro

On the 10 October Pedro Cordeiro of Courrier Internationale, Portugal, ( asked permission to use one of my crop circle images and he assured me that it was agreed with Maria do Céu Pereira of Interjornal – Sociedade Jornalística e Editorial, Lda, Rua Calvet de Magalhães, 242 2770-022 Paço de Arcos that payment would be made directly on receipt of my image.

Since then I have exchanged endless emails with both Pedro Cordeiro and Maria do Céu Pereira and have received no payment to date. As requested I have sent Maria do Céu Pereira all my financial information including my bank details, my account number, the sorting code, the Swift Code, the International IBAN, the Branch Identifier Code number, my income tax number and my Insurance number.

Yet despite this detailed information being accepted by all other European countries, Maria do Céu Pereira still insists that she will deduct 20% from my fee unless I complete and return a tax form which is comparable in its complexities to our UK tax forms in which we have to include such details as any income from share dividends etc. Clearly this exercise would need to be completed by my accountants and would incur considerably more expense than the fee I have charged for my the use of copyright image.

Paul Vigay

Paul Vigay’s body was found on the 20th February 2009 on the shore at Southsea.


Paul was one of the brightest stars in the crop circle universe. A talented mathematician, computer technician and a maker of electronic gadgets, he was one of the first researchers into the crop circle phenomenon in the early 1990’s where his talents were quickly recognised. He had an exceptional gift for investigation and often led the field in deciphering the mathematical aspects found in certain crop circles. His interests spread far beyond crop circles and he was a keen explorer into other aspects of the Unexplained. He was amazingly articulate and had a rare knack of being able to explain technical details in the simplest language. He has made a major contribution to the subject and his place will not be easily filled.

He also made great contributions to the CCCS and was also one of the founder members of UNEX.

He was a really super person, and a good friend who I have known for 19 happy years. Many have been the times when we have been into the fields together. He had a great sense of humour and I have never heard him utter a cross word.

I will miss him greatly, his bright ideas and just for being himself.

Please remember his family in your thoughts and prayers.

He was a giant of a man.

Lucy Pringle

It must be spring!

Just when you thought crop circles were a thing of the past, the first mysterious formation of 2009 has been spotted. The intricate pattern measuring approximately 60 ft in diameter was spotted on Tuesday in a remote area near Avebury in Wiltshire. It is made up of two segments of arcs of decreasing size between the concentric inner circles.

Zig-Zag Productions

Many people within the crop circle community may have been approached by Tom Barry of Zig-Zag Productions, an independent production company that has been commissioned on behalf of the National Geographic channel ” to make a one hour documentary about Crop Circles, which we hope to film this summer in the UK and abroad. It’s part of a series where we examine other well known mysteries or phenomena, such as the Lost City of Atlantis, Bermuda Triangle – to name just a few – with the emphasis on possible scientific explanations behind them.”

After originally approaching me regarding my scientific findings, on being questioned, Tom Barry then told me that the programme might have a broader remit!

Since then I have repeatedly asked Tom Barry for written assurances that no crop circles will be commissioned, or hoaxers interviewed and that indeed the programme will be science and only science based. The man made aspect is not part of the genuine phenomenon. To date I have received no such written or even verbal assurances.

Tom Barry tells me that they are due to start filming in about two weeks time and many of you may be considering participating.

However, I have decided not to take part as I do not consider the programme will in any way advance either the genuine crop circle phenomenon or my work. In making this decision I have also taken into consideration the bad experience I suffered with another production company working for the National Geographic in 2007.