Wednesday, May 5, 2010

April 29 - Of Flattened Flora and Expulsion Cavities: The crop circle controversy continues‏

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Be Well.


Of Flattened Flora and Expulsion Cavities: The crop circle controversy continues

Jacques Vallee at 11:21 AM April 28, 2010


Greenpeace's GM Crop Circle from

In an earlier post I reviewed some possible explanations for the crop circle phenomenon, and I noted the various theories left several issues unanswered: Who are the hoaxers and what is their exact role in the charade? If a technology is involved, how does it work to actually make the designs? Could it be directed from space or simply from an aerial platform? And why would anyone develop such a beam in the first place? What seemed to me like simple questions raised a surprisingly emotional and occasionally venomous storm of comments on this blog and on other, more specialized, lists. Since we have obviously hit a nerve it may be interesting to drill a bit further.

While New Age believers and skeptics feel passionate about the issue, the educated public and the scientific and technical community have firmly pushed it out of their mind, convinced that all the circles were hoaxes. Even the people who have studied the circles or commented on them may argue for or against their paranormal nature, the possible role of Aliens or the idea that the designs hide an experiment in military electronics, but there is no disagreement about the fact that most of the designs have been made by hoaxers.

Among these fakers are two men, Doug Bower and Dave Chorley whose "revelations" were picked up by the international press with great eagerness (front-page treatment in major newspapers, interviews on CNN and BBC, etc.) when they stated they had fooled believers in saucer landings since 1978 with their technique for flattening crops with a wooden board and a piece of string.

 Imgs  Today2 As researcher Patrick Gross writes, "These early crop circles were round, because flying saucers were circular, as "everybody knows", in people's imagination if not in reality." His analysis of the phenomenon can be found on this page, where he articulates the proposition that ALL circles are the result of hoaxers, some of whom are actually artists. Mr. Gross provides links to many other useful references.

I once met several of these artists at a conference in Switzerland, where they were presenting their techniques and the resulting data. When I asked them, "How dare you fool people this way?" they answered that art in general was about fooling people to create a sense of awe, beauty or simply a brief, healthy disconnect with ordinary reality. One of them pointed out that "When you look at the Mona Lisa you think you look at a woman, but you have been fooled: there is no woman there; someone just applied some paint to a rectangular piece of canvas. Well, we do the same thing, except that our canvas happens to be a cornfield."

When you put it that way it is perfectly all right for teams of artists to run through the fields at night and produce things like the spider, the bicycle or more elaborate geometric designs. People like Jim Schnabel have participated in the game and there are even international competitions in circle making, with recognition for the most complex productions. No wonder people are convinced that all the circles are made for fun by a team of humans crushing the corn for kicks when the subject comes up in discussions among scientists or businessmen today. The difficult question is, "does this explain ALL the circles, or only the relatively simple ones?" The artists I spoke to in Switzerland confessed that some of the extraordinary designs were beyond their ability to produce them. While the initial "weather phenomenon" theory of Terence Meaden and others has not survived, there are still people who firmly believe the complex designs are made by Aliens and some who state they are a warning from Gaia. Among the technical community there are also those who pursue the idea first expressed by Dr. Jean-Pierre Petit, Jean-Jacques Velasco and others, looking to military electronics as the key to the mystery.

 Images Crop Crop10 My own feeling about the New Age interpretations is frankly negative. Why assume that Aliens are at work here, when the designs show universally human symbols? Even the Mandelbrot set, one of the most perfect displays, is a representation of a human concept. There is nothing new or scientifically profound in any of this. We are not being taught anything. Similarly, the Gaia hypothesis doesn't work for me. When the Earth teaches us something it is usually brutal and very explicit, like the volcano in Iceland, which leaves little to the imagination.

Which brings us back to the beam weapon hypothesis. Until recently it seemed rather far-fetched, which is why neither Velasco's presentations nor my early articles made any impact. Now that disclosures about actual beam weapons are available, including devices acting from the sky and beams capable of harming humans and stopping engines, we have to revisit the issue and look a bit more seriously at the hard facts left unexplained by the hoax explanation.

The first piece of interesting data has to do with systematic differences between those circles where plants are broken by mechanical action and those where some form of energy has exploded the nodes in the stalks. A detailed study of so-called "expulsion cavities" in corn with exploded nodes is found in the report where the authors note: "During the 1990s multiple specific and distinctive plant abnormalities were repeatedly documented in several hundred different crop formations which had occurred in various European countries as well as in the States and Canada. Extensive laboratory examination of thousands of these crop circle plants and their controls by American biophysicist W. C. Levengood established the presence of consistent changes in the circle plants which were not present in the control plants (plants taken at varying distances outside the crop formations, but in the same fields) -- changes which control studies revealed were not caused by simple mechanical flattening of the plants (with planks, boards, cement rollers or human feet)."

For detailed discussion of earlier plant (and subsequently soil) anomalies documented between 1990-2002, see here and here: That particular line of analysis gets increasingly complex and the controversy is likely to continue for a long time, but other data tends to support the idea that military research is involved.

I have mentioned before that I interviewed a reliable witness who described to me a rather extraordinary device hovering above the fields in an area where circles were commonly found. This man is a professor of physics who is also an avid glider pilot. On that particular occasion he was happily taking advantage of some thermals above the English countryside, admiring the landscape, when he was surprised to see his aircraft reflected in something like a perfect mirror hanging vertically in mid-air. Being of a logical turn of mind he decided to verify the image was not a hallucination, and then he tried to determine the shape of the object by making several turns around it. The thing was cylindrical and covered with a perfectly reflective surface.

While some of my theoretical physics friends continue to argue that a beam capable of causing crop circles could be activated from space, it seems much more likely to me that a low-observable, optically stealthy, hovering platform would be more practical in situations like a battlefield or an urban guerilla flashpoint. Admittedly we are dealing with hypotheticals here, but this would explain the proximity of the circles to classified facilities: the controllers of the device would want to minimize chances that it would wander off and perhaps crash, resulting in premature exposure.

A third argument needs to be mentioned, in answer to the obvious question, "Why would anyone want to develop a beam weapon, and why would it have to come from above?" Part of the answer has already been given in the two disclosures I have quoted before from New Scientist. However the requirements for extremely sophisticated beams go well beyond the applications mentioned in the magazine. In the complex, dangerous range of threats we face today one may need to destroy targets with devices that can create very concentrated areas of extremely high temperature without blowing up whatever building or facility is targeted. Bombing a biological warfare lab, for example, is not a good idea if the result is to disperse a dangerous microbial agent. One could also think of beams that would be used to control the trajectory of a ball of plasma (possibly created by a small atomic explosion) targeted at objects in the atmosphere, in space or on the ground. All such applications would require a long period of development and testing, and would probably be designed as multi-country experiments.

Indeed, during the eighties and nineties there were discreet exchanges of expertise among government agencies concerned with the UFO phenomenon in the U.S., France and Great Britain (and perhaps others). One of the French experts detached to work on this topic with American Intelligence is said to be visible on one of the crop circle videos, mingling among New Age enthusiasts and civilian researchers. Interestingly, much of the classified research conducted in these three countries (while any official interest in UFOs was denied in public statements) was done by microwave experts, including medical researchers specializing in the effect of radiation on living tissue.

From the point of view of rational analysis the weight of evidence is still on the side of the skeptics who assure us that all crop circles are made by artists and lovable, jolly old men like Doug and Dave. But there are facts that don't quite fit, and the alternatives are worth considering. They lead into very disturbing areas, not all of which have to do with physics. In a concluding (fourth) post, I plan to come back to the initial issue raised by the crop circle problem, which is that of the construction and manipulation of belief systems.

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How to Digitally Record/Video a UFO sighting:

Como registar digitalmente ou gravar um vídeo de um avistamento de um UFO:

Stabilize the camera on a tripod. If there is no tripod, then set it on top of a stable, flat surface. If that is not possible lean against a wall to stabilize your body and prevent the camera from filming in a shaky, unsteady manner.

Estabilize a camera com um tripé. Se não tiver um tripé, então coloque-a em cima de uma superfície estável. Se não for possível, então encoste-se a uma parede para estabilizar o corpo e evitar que a camera registe de maneira tremida e instável.

Provide visual reference points for comparison. This includes the horizon, treetops, lampposts, houses, and geographical landmarks (i.e., Horsetooth Reservoir, Mt. Adams, etc.) Provide this in the video whenever is appropriate and doesn’t detract from what your focus is, the UFO.

Forneça pontos visuais de referência para comparação. Isso inclui o horizonte, cimo das árvores, postes de iluminação, pontos de referência geográficos (como o Reservatório de Horsetooth, Mone Adams, etc) Forneça esses pontos no vídeo sempre que for apropriado e não se distraia do que é o seu foco, o UFO/a Nave.

Narrate your videotape. Provide details of the date, time, location, and direction (N,S,E,W) you are looking in. Provide your observations on the weather, including approximate temperature, windspeed, any visible cloud cover or noticeable weather anomalies or events. Narrate on the shape, size, color, movements, approximate altitude of the UFO, etc and what it appears to be doing. Also include any unusual physical, psychological or emotional sensations you might have. Narrate any visual reference points on camera so they correlate with what the viewer will see, and thereby will be better able to understand.

Faça a narração do vídeo. Forneça pormenores sobre a data, hora, local e direcção (Norte, Sul, Este, Oeste) que está a observar. Faça observações sobre as condições atmosféricas, incluindo a temperatura aproximada, velocidade do vento, quantidade de nuvens, anomalias ou acontecimentos meteorológicos evidentes. Descreva a forma, o tamanho, a cor, os movimentos, a altitude aproximada onde se encontra o UFO/nave, etc e o que aparenta estar a fazer. Inclua também quaisquer aspectos pouco habituais de sensações físicas, psicológicas ou emocionais que possa ter. Faça a narração de todos os pontos de referência visual que o espectador irá ver e que, deste modo, será capaz de compreender melhor.

Be persistent and consistent. Return to the scene to videotape and record at this same location. If you have been successful once, the UFO sightings may be occurring in this region regularly, perhaps for specific reasons unknown, and you may be successful again. You may also wish to return to the same location at a different time of day (daylight hours) for better orientation and reference. Film just a minute or two under “normal” circumstances for comparison. Write down what you remember immediately after. As soon as you are done recording the experience/event, immediately write down your impressions, memories, thoughts, emotions, etc. so it is on the record in writing. If there were other witnesses, have them independently record their own impressions, thoughts, etc. Include in this exercise any drawings, sketches, or diagrams. Make sure you date and sign your documentation.

Seja persistente e não contraditório. Volte ao local da cena e registe o mesmo local. Se foi bem sucedido uma vez, pode ser que nessa região ocorram avistamentos de UFOs/naves com regularidade, talvez por razões específicas desconhecidas, e talvez possa ser novamente bem sucedido. Pode também desejar voltar ao mesmo lugar a horas diferentes do dia (durante as horas de luz)para ter uma orientação e referência melhor. Filme apenas um ,inuto ou dois em circunstâncias “normais” para ter um termo de comparação. Escreva tudo o que viu imediatamente após o acontecimento. Logo após ter feito o registo da experiência/acontecimento, escreva imediatamente as impressões, memórias, pensamentos, emoções, etc para que fiquem registadas por escrito. Se houver outras testemunhas, peça-lhes para registar independentemente as suas próprias impressões, pensamentos, etc. Inclua quaisquer desenhos, esbolos, diagramas. Certifique-se que data e assina o seu documento/testemunho.

Always be prepared. Have a digital camera or better yet a video camera with you, charged and ready to go, at all times. Make sure you know how to use your camera (and your cell phone video/photo camera) quickly and properly. These events can occur suddenly, unexpectedly, and often quite randomly, so you will need to be prepared.

Esteja sempre preparado, Tenha sempre uma camera digital, melhor ainda, uma camera vídeo consigo, carregada e pronta a usar sempre que necessário. Certifique-se que sabe como lidar com a sua camera (ou com o seu celular/camera fotográfica) rápida e adequadamente. Esses acontecimentos podem acontecer súbita e inesperadamente e, por vezes, acidentalmente, por isso, necessita estar preparado.

Look up. Be prepared. Report. Share.

Olhe para cima, Esteja preparado, Relate, Partilhe.



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