This autumn has seen the release of two new crop circle videos, one, the latest in an ongoing series by Michael Glickman (this time also featuring Stanley Messenger), and the other ‘Crop Circles: A Silent Knowing’, by Nikola Duper, an investigation into the personal experiences of four well-known crop circle researchers. ALLAN BROWN gets a night’s viewing in…
A couple of weeks ago Barry Reynolds gave me a handful of videos from the early 90s, and I've slowly been working my way through them. They make such interesting viewing, especially in the light of all that has occurred over the subsequent decade. Against all expectation perhaps, the mystery of the crop circles has not gone away and, indeed, despite the hundreds of formations that have appeared in the interim, we still don't really have much more to go on than we did ten years ago.
However, there has been one area in which a lot has changed, and that is we ourselves. These two new videos share certain similarities, not least that the Croatian film-maker Nikola Duper has served as both cameraman and editor on both projects. But what really defines these videos is that they are both about people - or more specifically about how a handful people have been shaped and affected by a very close interaction and relationship with the crop circle phenomenon.
Michael Glickman's ‘The Woodborough Conversation’, which is number nine in his crop circle lecture video series is slightly different to those that have preceded it, in that it is not a record of a lecture as such, rather it is a relaxed and informal discussion between two close friends, Michael Glickman and Stanley Messenger [a similar venture was filmed a few years back by Chris Everard]. Anyone who has attended the annual Glastonbury crop circle Symposium will have heard these gentlemen talk, but this conversation, filmed up top of the enigmatic Woodborough Hill (near Alton Barnes) at the end of last summer's season, is more like an intimate tea party with a couple of dear friends, than it is a formal lecture on any particular aspect of the phenomenon. These two geezers have over 25 years’ worth of personal crop circle experience to chat about, and this short video affords but a brief glimpse into a vast personal treasure trove of wonder and bafflement.
Drawing from their past life experiences as architects, designers, Steiner students and teachers, poets, writers and thinkers - and I'm only talking this incarnation here - these grand old geezers share wisdom, insight and befuddlement in equal measure, interspersed with the schoolboy-like giggling and merriment which always defines time spent with them. Nevertheless, there's a lot of very interesting material in here, and delivered in such a relaxed and informal manner that it never feels like hard work.
Nikola Duper is a wonderful editor, and the pacing and fluidity of the video is noticeable. There are plenty of diagrams and images that appear whenever a particular formation is being referred to, and the view from Woodborough Hill, itself a silent witness to so many mysterious events over the last decade, is both uplifting and refreshing.
This is one of those videos that I think people will hang on to affectionately. Every now and then, when it's either cold, wet and windy, or you've gotten yourself into a twist about what the crop circle mystery all means, and wondering quite why you got sucked into this fine mess in the first place, this will serve to pick you up and remind you. This is an affirmation of not knowing; of not being able to explain. This is about friendship, respect and not a little self-deprecatory laughter.
Nikola Duper's own video, 'Crop Circles: A Silent Knowing', continues in a similar vein to ‘The Woodborough Conversation'. It is a very well put together video, and again chooses to concentrate on the testimony of the individual as opposed to grand theorising conclusions as to the nature of the phenomenon. This is a very personal video, and Nikola conceived it, shot it, edited and designed it himself. As a professional film-maker of some standing, it is a pleasure to have these skills brought to bear on a subject so close to my heart.
The video essentially revolves around a series of cameos by Andy Thomas, Karen Douglas, Michael Glickman and Steve Alexander, in which they all describe personal aspects of how their lives have been changed by a close interaction with the phenomenon, and what drew them to it in the first place. Again there is a huge shared store of experiences on which all these researchers can draw, and this video charts some of their more significant personal experiences. Steve's video of a ball of light below Milk Hill in 1990, the giant Alton Barnes pictogram which put the crop circle phenomenon firmly on the map, and the Sussex team's attempt at tangible extra-dimensional communications are all touched on.
We hear, for instance, the astonishing story of several large luminosities that were all seen on the same evening by Andy, Karen and Steve respectively. Unbeknown to each other, they had all independently been involved in crop circle meditation work around the same time, and the video charts the details of this little known story.
The video's strength, though, is the emphasis it puts on the power of personal testimony and the fact it chooses to explore the sociological aspects of the phenomenon, as opposed to the purely objective aspects like bent nodes, magnetic anomalies and the like. These four seasoned
researchers, with (I estimate) about 50 years experience between them, talk about how they've been affected by the phenomenon and where they feel it all might be leading. Again, there are several amusing anecdotes which keep the mood light and very down-to-earth.
We appear to have reached a new stage with the crop circles, and these two videos seem to reflect a growing trend. We no longer have to purely speculate about the future; we now have a significant past from which we can draw, and with the formations themselves long since harvested and consumed, what we are left with ultimately are the voices of those people who were there at the time. I think both these videos afford a unique glimpse into the more personal nature of the phenomenon.
THE WOODBOROUGH CONVERSATION:
Price: £15. Add £2 p&p (UK), or £3 p&p (overseas).
Cheques payable to: ‘Crop Circle Reality’
Send to: Crop Circle Reality, PO Box 1188, Devizes, Wiltshire, SN10 3WF
CROP CIRCLES: A SILENT KNOWING:
'The Woodborough Conversation'
'Crop Circles: A Silent Knowing'