Like buses, you wait ages for a new crop circle book to arrive, and then three arrive at once. ANDY THOMAS reviews the new tomes from Andreas Mueller, Eltjo Haselhoff and Barbara Lamb & Judith Moore, as well as another from Carl Garant…
It’s easy to forget just how many crop circle books there are now. As I write, I can look up from my desk at a staggering 48 books on the shelf above (three of which are admittedly written by me), containing millions of words and layers of data, speculation, some delusion and much vision, all generated by the simple appearance of these masterful designs in our fields. Impressive, for an interest group which is considered small potatoes by most commercial sectors.
There’s lots of great stuff up there on that shelf. Some rubbish, too, of course, and one or two sceptic tomes the world might have been better without, but essentially there’s very few angles and niches which haven’t been fulfilled in some way. So any book which comes along to join this extensive array has the tricky task of having to fit into an existing pantheon without going over too much of the same old ground, and needs to establish something of its own identity to stand out and help further knowledge of the crop circle phenomenon.
To eat up yet more of my remaining shelf space, then, an astonishing THREE new books have arrived through my letterbox in the last few weeks to add to this growing repository of printed knowledge (and there’s another, slightly older, one I must mention, too). So, are they worth the space?
In fact, this main trio provide a good encapsulation of where crop circle research is at these days: each covers the inevitable common ground in an individual enough way to make its existence worthwhile, whilst two of them in particular provide a specific angle of their own on the subject.
‘KORNKREISE: GEOMETRIE, PHANOMENE, FORSCHUNG’, by Andreas Mueller, 144 pages, hardback, A T Verlag 2001, ISBN: 3-85502-760-9.
It’s not really fair for a non-German reader such as myself to judge Andreas Mueller’s German language book on the same level as the others, but ‘Kornkreise: Geometrie, Phanomene, Forschung’ appears to be intended as a straightforward all-round guide to the whole subject. Andreas is a very prominent member of the German circle research community who helped found the website http://invisiblecircle.de and The International Crop Circle Archive. He’s a familiar face in UK fields each summer. Those familiar with Andreas’s exemplary work on formation surveying and geometry may be surprised that these aspects of his work are largely restricted to one chapter, but the prime concern of the book is clearly to furnish German readers with a convincing case for the reality of the phenomenon as something beyond a human joke.
Each chapter deals with a different part of the mystery, covering all the ground necessary for this task. The later parts of the book become more candid, revealing more personal conclusions as to the source of the circles, which, I am told, lean towards the view that they have more in common with hidden forces of nature and the collective intelligence behind them rather than with alien visitors. More than this, I cannot say, text-wise (if any German-speakers wish to submit a fuller review, we’ll be happy to hear from you).
Whatever your ability in reading German, there’s little doubt that the book is worth owning for the photographs alone. Each page boasts colour images of many famous crop formations (with a lovely cover photo of the Woodborough Hill/Picked Hill 2000 ‘sunflower’) and some European ones which UK and US enthusiasts have probably neglected over the years. There are good reference pictures of things like ‘cymatics’ (the vibration of sound forming elaborate patterns with particles and liquids), and, naturally, some very good crop circle geometry diagrams. One photograph stands out in particular – an aerial shot of a German industrial plant from 1959, which reveals, in its background, fields literally littered with crop circles… Yet more evidence of just how far back this supposedly ‘modern’ phenomenon extends.
If there’s a criticism to make, it’s that the admittedly attractive look of the book is perhaps rather too close in appearance to last year’s other German book (clearly a deliberate ploy, as it is published by the same company) ‘Das Geheimnis der Kornkreise’, by Werner Anderhub and Hans Peter Roth, which covered not dissimilar ground in much the same visual format. And where’s an index when you need one? But don’t let this put you off. It’s high time Andreas had a voice in the book world, and his new contribution is a worthwhile investment whatever language you speak.
The book may be difficult to order in the UK or USA, however, it can be obtained from the GERMAN Amazon.com site (not the UK or US Amazon):
You will find ‘Information for English-speaking customers’ at:
‘THE DEEPENING COMPLEXITY OF CROP CIRCLES: SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH & URBAN LEGENDS’ by Dr Eltjo Haselhoff, 157 pages, paperback, Frog Ltd 2001, ISBN: 1-58394-046-4. $20.00 (US), $32.50 (Canada)
Meanwhile, another European circle researcher, Dr Eltjo Haselhoff (or Eltjo H Haselhoff, Ph.D., as the cover tells us), has broken into the English language market with ‘The Deepening Complexity of Crop Circles’ (following his Dutch-only book ‘Het Raadsel Van De Graancirkels’ in 1998), published in the US. A German version is also available in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
I must declare a small interest here by stating that I provide an endorsement for the back cover of this new book. Here’s part of what I say:
“Eltjo Haselhoff is a remarkable rarity in the controversial arena of paranormal research – he has the qualifications and ability to blend hard science and metaphysics without compromising either. In so doing, he remains eminently credible to a world that craves statistics and repeatable tests, while being unafraid of deeper speculation.”
Re-reading the book in its finished form (having originally seen a draft copy), those words hold good and I stand by them. What the world has lacked up to now is a definitive document which gives scientific credibility (for those who need it) to crop circles without having to deny the stranger aspects which surround the phenomenon to gain it. The Centre for Crop Circle Studies, for instance, has long been torn, and sometimes compromised, by this dilemma of how to obtain outside respect without ignoring the metaphysical evidence. This book achieves the balance perfectly.
Much is devoted to outlining in some detail the scientific studies carried out by Eltjo over the years on biological samples from crop circles and his theories on the connection with ‘balls of light’. This work is presented with graphs, diagrams and enough evidence to really hit home that there are changes occurring in circle-affected crop which cannot possibly have a mundane explanation. Equations and jargon are kept to a minimum or relegated to closing appendices for the dedicated. This part of the book covers very similar territory to the cerealogically famous work of Dr W C Levengood (liberally referenced), but where it scores above Levengood’s achievements, perhaps, is that here the work is presented clearly and understandably in a concise and publicly available format (the lack of such a book from the Levengood camp – though one, reportedly, is planned - has, I believe, enabled his work to become unfairly sidelined through the simple lack of an easily-to-hand and all-encompassing guide to the findings).
But instead of stopping at the science, Eltjo (who, lest we forget, is one of only two people on planet Earth to have had a paper on crop circles published in a peer-review scientific journal, the other being Levengood) goes on to fully take into account all the other aspects of the phenomenon, refusing to discount any area, however threatening it may be to the possibility of gaining ‘outside credibility’. Thus the larger part of the book is apportioned into three main subdivisions: 1) ‘The Human Perspectives’, 2) ‘The Scientific Perspectives’, and 3) ‘The Psychic Perspectives’, which together run the gamut of all the true weirdness of croppie experiences and observations, whilst tying them up into a rational and balanced argument which is impossible to refute at the end of the book, namely that: “Something very strange is going on”.
In the course of this, the prose does take to task certain cerealogical assumptions which have been made over the years, and questions the validity of oft-vaunted articles of faith, such as ‘balls of light photos’, many of which – not all - are clearly (as Eltjo definitively demonstrates) moisture and the suchlike reflecting camera flashes. Throughout, he tries to rationalise certain illogicalities of croppie thinking and accepts some outside criticisms of the crop circle world without ever once demeaning or trivialising those whose beliefs he is questioning. And yet out of this comes a book which absolutely champions the reality of this phenomenon as something unexplained, and few will really have cause to complain. His cool dismissal and gently humorous treatment of foolish journalists and a cynical media, in particular, are a real treat.
There are colour photographs throughout and the layout is straightforward and easy. The cover photograph – Woodborough 2000 again! (see Andreas’s book) - is a tad on the garish and fuzzy side, but works well enough at a distance.
This book comes highly recommended and provides a strong and plausible case to keep both scientists and metaphysicians happy. Whether any scientists will be out there listening or not remains to be seen, but at the very least, this is the book to pass to those sniffy uncles or sneering friends who scorn your continuing interest in such a subject: absorbing the evidence on show here without having even a few qualms about maintaining total scepticism will be very difficult.
Presumably this book can be ordered through US website retailers such as Amazon or bought at US bookshops. Otherwise, potential buyers can buy the book direct from the publishers at:
Or by writing to: Frog Ltd, North Atlantic Books, PO Box 12327, Berkeley, CA 94712, USA (Tel: 800 337 2665)
‘CROP CIRCLES REVEALED’, by Judith Moore & Barbara Lamb, 267 pages, paperback, Light Technology Publishing 2001, ISBN: 1-891824-32-5. $25.00 (US), £17.50 (UK, not inc. P&P)
Judith Moore and Barbara Lamb’s book, ‘Crop Circles Revealed’ is not a book to give to sceptic friends or sniffy uncles. Reserve this instead for the gentler auntie who likes reading horoscopes and is far more open to the cosmic side of life.
This is NOT a criticism, but a straight reflection of where this US-published book is so clearly coming from, being an honest and 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. Indeed, given the size of the book, number of pages and density of print, this is certainly one of the longest crop circle books yet published, a great slab of a tome to keep dippers happy for many hours.
The first half of the book is densely packed with a compact history, theories, anecdotes and recorded experiences in and around the circles, some well-known and recorded for posterity, others less known and newly highlighted. Punctuating all of this are photos of many crop circle researchers; there’s a strong emphasis on some of the personalities involved, and quotations are freely given from one and all, with no attempt to hold back credit where credit is due (mind you, I have no recollection of ever saying what I’m quoted as saying on page 103! Maybe it’s my memory that’s going). Those who think the phenomenon should not focus so much on those relative few at the core of research may object to this emphasis, but it does give an interesting feel of the large cross-section of personalities and different belief systems these strange patterns have attracted. There is no archetypal croppie.
Perhaps in this mission to take into account all the differing belief systems, there will be just a little too much generosity of spirit shown towards the hoaxers for some tastes. The book takes the conciliatory middle-way view held by some people that plankograms may share some of the metaphysical characteristics enjoyed by non-man-made ones, and, as such, risks alienating those who don’t agree. The prominent placing of the star formation for which planker Matthew Williams got prosecuted on the otherwise rather nicely ethereal front cover (wispy formation-shapes of light gently falling from the sky) compounds this slightly uncomfortable dichotomy of the book, which generally makes the case for a non-human phenomenon.
Barbara Lamb has been a regular figure at conferences in the US and UK for several years now, and her gentle, personal insights into the circles and their meanings as she sees them will be familiar to those who have heard her speak and this approach permeates much of this book. However, her psychic channelling colleague Judith Moore (credited first, so it’s hard to know exactly who contributed where) is presumably more responsible for the second half of the book, which takes crop formations glyph by glyph and puts interpretations on them which you will either agree with or not, simple as that, though there is always accompanying straight factual information on a formation if you don’t. Suffice to say that if such comments as “The energy of the continuum is a spiral of creative force expanding the thirteen-strand galactic DNA in thirteen dimensions” ring a little bell inside of you, then this is the book for you. If not, this section, at least, is probably best avoided.
A warning, though: the general gentility of the interpretations and channelled messages (from ‘Arcturian’, Mayan and Native American spirit sources) is sometimes interrupted by surprisingly shocking statements such as references to conspiratorial forces having released an ‘Armageddon virus’ (ie. AIDS) into Third World countries to wipe out the population, so beware; it’s not all fluffy bunny stuff.
In all, the book is an attractive package, with a special colour section at the front and (sometimes a little murky) black and white photos thereafter. It’s dense but readable, though it’s probably not for newcomers and will be daunting for casual readers. There may even have been a case for the book having been released in two volumes so that those who don’t relate to the channelled stuff or vice versa could choose one without the other, but here they are, together, in a curious duality, and it will surely find its market and please many. Certainly, as reference material for dedicated cerealogists, it is a required purchase, though again, despite the presence of a useful glossary and an extensive and useful bibliography, there’s no index! – this would have been a very helpful addition for such a packed volume and one hopes this can be added in any future edition.
The book can be ordered from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, Borders.com and Waldenbooks.com, or directly from the Publisher at:
UK readers can enquire about the book by writing to the English distributor at:
The Windrush Press, Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, GL56 OLL (Tel: 01608 652012)
Alternatively, signed copies can be ordered directly from Barbara Lamb at the US price, plus $4.00 P&P. Books ordered from the UK this way cost £17.50, plus £4.00 P&P (£21.50 total). British cheques are acceptable, made payable to ‘Warren Lamb’, and sent to:
Barbara Lamb, 1517 Marjorie Ave., Claremont, CA 91711, USA
‘THE TAO OF THE CIRCLES’, by Carl Garant, 180 pages, paperback, Humanics 2000, ISBN: 0-89334-3277.
This deep, but straightforwardly presented book has been available for a little while now, but has recently become available in the UK through limited outlets. Its author asked if we could mention it and it deserves a reference.
In perhaps a similar vein to the channelled section of ‘Crop Circles Revealed’ (and indeed to Denni Clarke’s recent book ‘Crop Circle Wisdom’), this simple book of black and white shadow diagrams, mostly by Peter Sorensen, takes some famous and some not-so-famous crop patterns from over the years (up to 1998) and allows intuitive responses from the author to well up in response to them using the techniques of Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching. Thus, accompanying each of the 81 glyphs are short text passages of deep and thoughtful insights of a type which, as always with such things, will either resonate with the reader or not.
A intellectually dense introduction outlines the author’s ideas on the inspirational power of symbolism and design, while an appendix gives some short notes (‘list of illustrations’) on the formations themselves, since no information is given as to the whereabouts or details on the main pages, presumably so as not to distract from the raw power of the designs. Carl Garant himself is the Head of the Department of Industrial Design at Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio and has authored a number of books on the importance of art and design.
Reproduction of the images could be better (the black isn’t very solid) and there’s one or two niggling errors in the notes (ie. Cissbury Ring in West Sussex is spelt Sisbury, and the 1995 formation was near Sompting, not Shoreham), but the book is plainly not primarily intended as a research tool. It is, however, a handy compendium of some of the many shapes received over the years and will please those who believe the thoughts the artistic glyphs inspire are more important than the unending search to identify the mechanisms or minds behind them.
Presumably the book can be ordered directly from the publishers at:
Or by writing to: Humanics, PO Box 7400, Atlanta, GA 30357, USA
One UK stockist we know of is ‘The Inner Bookshop’ in Oxford and they can be contacted at:
111 Magdalen Road, Oxford, OX4 1RQ (Tel: 01865 245301)
Want a complete guide to most of the English language crop circle books ever written? Check out the ‘Reading and Videos’ button on our main page!
Andreas Mueller's book
Eltjo Haselhoff's book
Judith Moore & Barbara Lamb's book
Carl Garant's book