"What on Earth?" Inside the Crop Circle Mystery
A new documentary, What On Earth? Inside the Crop Circle Mystery, focuses on the ever-evolving crop circle phenomenon. The film is using the Web as its initial platform for reaching out to audiences worldwide. It was shot in the Wiltshire area of southern England, where famous power centers like Avebury and Stonehenge provide an ancient backdrop for this enigma of our time. Filmmaker Suzanne Taylor spoke to us about the movie from her home in Los Angeles. (See image gallery here.)
How did you first become involved with the crop circles?
The tagline of this film is "Inside the Crop Circle Mystery," and I named it that because I am a crop circle enthusiast who made film about them, not a filmmaker who found a subject. The film gives an intimate sense of what it's like to be among the people who are involved in the crop circle world, rather than my being an observer peering into the scene there.
I've had several "croppies," as the people who study them and report about them are called, speak at salons at my Los Angeles home. Barbara Lamb, a croppie who lives in Los Angeles County, was the first person who presented the circles in my living room, almost twenty years ago, and Michael Glickman, who used to live in L.A., was at my house many times, sometimes presenting and other times in the audience. I've hosted others who were passing through L.A. -- George Wingfield, who was a major figure early on; Tim Carson, the farmer who gets the most and the best circles in his fields; Francine Blake, who runs the Wiltshire Crop Circle Study Group, and others. This film isn't about proving anything, but is about sharing the enthusiasm of people like this, who have dedicated much of their lives to studying, documenting, reporting on, and making art about the phenomenon.
Do you believe that nonhuman intelligences are making these formations, and if so what is their intention? Why don't they communicate with us more directly?
We have to speculate here, but I believe the intention of the circlemakers is to let us know that we're not the only intelligence in the cosmos. Knowing that would change everything. We would be one humanity in relation to ‘the other.' Right now, with no ‘other' to relate to, it's all us, and we oppositional creatures have nothing to call us to higher plane. All we need to do is recognize that there is other intelligence and the world will never be the same, in the most positive ways.
People for years have asked why visitors from elsewhere don't just land on the White House lawn. First of all, we'd probably shoot them. And, even if not, it would be very jarring to us, and that doesn't seem like a peaceful or conscious way for them to help us evolve, which I think is what the circlemakers want us to do. We evolve by understanding something new, not by being hit over the head with new data.
How have the circles progressed in their designs over the years?
There have been changes and certain greater complexities to the designs over the years. However, some of the recent work that was done on a pattern type that was prevalent in the 80s revealed that even then there was something incredibly sophisticated, which has to do with a geometric trick called "squaring the circle," going on. We just recently discovered that in these early formations, which were like 5-spots on dice, the circlemakers were doing something easily as complicated geometrically as what they have done in the more elaborate design of later years.
As far as the evolution of the designs goes, one thing is that the formations went from being comprised of circular elements only to incorporating straight lines, which went, year by year, from being used in three-sided shapes, to four, to five, to six, all the way up to 13. Another testimony to the geometric sophistication of the designs is that in the early 90's Gerald Hawkins, the head of astronomy department at Boston University, discerned five geometry theorems from the geometry of the circles that weren't in Euclid. These have been added to our mathematical literature. And there have been different pattern groups introduced over the years, where after the first one appears we will we get variations on it in years thereafter. The first fractal, for instance, was in 1996. (This circle, which appeared right outside of Stonehenge, became well known not only for its fanciful interpretation of a mathematical formula in a wheat field, but for having appeared midday, whereas almost all of the formations come in during the night.) Since then, we've had many fractal patterns. Interference patterns, like moiré designs, are a more recent pattern group.
We've had a lot of very strange patterns this year -- life forms, like a jellyfish and a dragonfly, that aren't geometric at all. But it's uncertain about whether they were hoaxed. Hoaxers are getting better and better at it, and we have some evidence that hoaxing has increased dramatically in the last few years.
Do you think there's active organized disinformation coming from government agencies? Or is it just fear and ignorance that keeps the media from exploring this?
There absolutely is active disinformation.
In 1952, our government established a policy to ridicule anything that was reported as possibly come from elsewhere. There had been many UFO sightings and people were concerned about whether there was anything dangerous happening. The Robertson Panel http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robertson_Panel, which was convened to deal with what the official response should be to reports of sightings, really didn't know what was going on, but they worried about it being frightening to the populace if they confessed that. So, the policy they came up with was to ridicule reports at every opportunity. You still have public interest and official lack of interest, and that's where we are parked, even though there have been very credible attempts, like the Disclosure Project a few years ago, where testimony was given by people who had been in government and in the military as to the existence of an otherness. We thought that project would do it, but it was ignored. It's astonishing, but that's the way it is.
In England, we had the notorious Doug and Dave, who announced in 1991 that they had made all the formations and effectively quashed public interest in the circle phenomenon.
You know, from seeing the film, how the British Ministry of Defence was responsible for that piece of disinformation.
Is there any reason why the circles seem to center around the Wiltshire area of England?
About half the formations each year are in England (the rest are spread through forty other countries), most being in a particular little area that spreads across two counties. There's lots of speculation as to the reason why. Perhaps the circlemakers chose this area because it's an ancient landscape where sacred ceremony has been done for millennia. You hardly can turn around in southern England without tripping over some ancient remnant. All over the world, the circles land near ancient artifacts, which perhaps is a nudge by the circlemakers to return to a sense we used to have of being part of nature.
In fact, there are hundreds of stone circles throughout the British Isles, and in this little area they've got the one that are best known: Avebury and Stonehenge. It's a beautiful landscape, without a McDonald's in sight. Also, there is an aquifer that runs across southern England, and the water running beneath the limestone that's right below the surface makes it is a conductor of electro-magnetism, a force that seems to be involved in the making of the circles. And where the circles concentrate is a relatively small area, where planes fly over all the time, so the circles get reported. Also, it's not far from a major city, so that if news gets out that we are being visited that spot would be accessible to the world. We don't really know, but these are some speculations about why the circles are so concentrated where they are.
Do you think there will be a culmination to the crop circle phenomenon? Or something in relation to 2012?
Who really knows? I have no opinion, and I don't know how anybody could. We hope, we devote ourselves, and we wait and see. What I do know is that we're in real trouble, where if we continue to think the way we are thinking it does not bode well for humanity. It could be do or die for us now, and we are short-sighted not to be open to anything that could improve our situation. Worst that happens is nothing - we bark up the wrong tree. But because it might be the right one -- that, as someone in the film says, "could save our civilization" -- we are fools not to be curious about what is going on.Tweet