Researcher Colin Andrews and assorted supporters have issued a ‘Proclamation Initiative’, which purports to be a plea for peace and decency in the crop circle world – but will this be its true function, or the beginning of a new cerealogical McCarthyism..? Three Swirled News contributors, MICHAEL GLICKMAN, KAREN DOUGLAS and BRIAN DAMERELL give their own very different views on this controversial development…
The proclamation reads:
“We the undersigned have agreed to re-launch crop circle investigations and public communications into the study of crop circles with a renewed spirit of respect for others and to pursue the truth by all reasonable means possible. This timely initiative comes when the final outcome of the various crop circle investigations and 'land-design' experiments is thought by some to offer humanity new positive potential. There IS something to be learned here.”
After curious references to the dangers of global environmental pollution and wars, it goes on to say:
“The crop circle community is no different to any other and it has its share of these same problems. These are now being challenged openly. This is a concerted effort to resolve these problems, existing close to home, and in so doing we hope to inspire a trustworthy dialogue with the public and cordial and respectful relations with each other.
We are taking the high road in all aspects of our studies and associations with this phenomenon. We hope to inspire trust, respect, integrity and friendship with all of those who arrived in the fields to research the circles, visit and enjoy them, or make them with the co-operation of farmers as experiments in social and mechanical studies.
The aim is to learn what there is to be learned and to enjoy all the fun they offer in so doing. All achieved with respect and integrity.
…Division and Deception has run its course.”
On the surface, this ‘proclamation’ appears to be a reasoned and well-intentioned plea for peace, but there are ambiguous and potentially shadowy elements, highlighted by the contributions below. Implicit in the document, for instance, is the assumption that human circlemaking is now an integral and accepted part of the phenomenon – a notion challenged by many.
More disturbing is the inherent risk of potential witch-hunting which could arise from such a clear creation of what amounts to a self-elected elite, a clearly-defined faction. Certainly, some of the worryingly aggressive tones in a few of the statements from signatories which follow the main proclamation is hardly encouraging, and clearly imply threats to those who they feel have crossed them. Does this mean that if anyone steps out of line from the acceptable positions declared by the ‘proclamation’ body, there will be official reprimands issued from some sort of new McCarthy-ite board?
If the ethics implied by the proclamation are followed to the letter, perhaps this could be the overture to a new era of peaceful negotiation and discussion in the crop circle world. However, given that the statement has been issued by somebody who just in recent weeks sent out a circulated e-mail which sank lower into personal abuse than anyone ever before them, it is hard for us at Swirled News (largely the targets of the abuse) to feel much confidence. However, we shall see…
In the interests of fairness, however, here follow three quite different views on the new proclamation, starting with Michael Glickman’s characteristically personal response…
”Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth”
Franklin D. Roosevelt
A document has surfaced recently, authored by Colin Andrews and entitled, tellingly, "A Proclamation Initiative". Though part of its stated objective, to pursue "a renewed spirit of respect for others" is a goal everybody would wish to support, a closer reading reveals other intentions. There are many well-known signatories, some of whom have appended statements. Two well-known hoaxers are signatories and, of course, there is nothing wrong with that were they required to agree to be open and civil in the future - but they are not. It is my opinion that hoaxers, hoaxing and deceit are entirely responsible for whatever conflict and disrespect exist here. That these people are part of the proclamation, with no requirements or guarantees as to their future conduct, makes the document questionable.
I have been writing columns for crop circle magazines and websites for thirteen years. In 2001, to mark the final issue of ‘SC’ journal, I wrote a short story, ‘Closure’, part of which I include here. With the benefit of hindsight, it was extremely prescient. It is set at a meeting of CC2 (Crop Circle 2), a department of British Intelligence. Bradford is the chief, Schrader his CIA contact. I must make it clear that this is fiction, an invention, a story. I do not believe it to be true:
Bradford resumed. "Through the mid-90s we saw how difficult the task was. These people were stubborn and determined. For many of them the hoax idea was flawed, if not completely ludicrous. We brought in more people on the ground and, for a while, we seemed to be making headway."
"The Oliver's Castle video was critical. CC1 immediately understood the importance of the event and called us in to clean up right away. But there was no way they could have known that the boy Weyleigh would be there with his camera. He got to The Barge before we could neutralise him and you all know what happened then. We activated a couple of our sleepers and the matter was fundamentally extinguished."
He paused for a moment. The Oliver's Castle episode still irked him. "I remain convinced that the name 'Team Satan' was a serious error." He favoured Schrader with a cool glance and went on, "but certainly the idea of finding a few disaffected young men with internet skills was a good one. But even with them actively in place, I felt we were losing the game. Then as you all know, Tim had an idea." He actually looked at Tim before his eyes, as though on elastic, rose again to the upper part of the wall. "You know I was not initially enthusiastic. What was it, three years ago? We started developing the notion that our hoaxers were now not only making the circles, but seeing light phenomena and experiencing what these people call 'time anomalies'. They were to represent themselves as a component part of the phenomenon. Language! Language! How important words are! We put one of our Psy-Op people on this and he came up with 'Human Crop Circle Facilitators.' We roared with laughter, but - PhD he was - he was adamant it would work. Sure enough, they swallowed the whole thing." He paused to make one of his signature theatrical snorts. "You'll all remember how easy it was. They hardly ever had to actually make a circle. Just hang around that wretched pub, what's it called? - The Barge - and the sheep simply ate up whatever our people fed them. Without question! Couldn't get enough of it! The same with their 'spiritual contacts'. In the classic way, we first mentioned the idea and then, over a year or so we developed it. You will remember that by then we had virtually abandoned the goal of persuading these people that the majority were hoaxed. Even our active plants were regarded with scorn at this time. So the goal shifted to distraction. How could we find a way to simply distract them from their work? Some of these people were getting far too close. They had to be diverted."
"Or discredited," Schrader added. "Of course, we had always seen the potential of splitting the community. This is a classic propaganda and disinformation technique, and at this time we decided to activate a couple more sleepers." "And the result," said Bradford, smiling at the picture rail, "has been beyond our wildest dreams! Half of them actually believe that the 'facilitators', as they now call them, are truly in 'spiritual contact'" - he smiled at
Schrader - "with the circle forces, while the other half are at each others’ throats. There won't be much serious investigation there for a year or two!" Schrader, who by now had gained a little courage, said "of course, one or two of our people overstepped the mark. They really have started to take things too personally. They will be dealt with in due course." "I warned you about amateurs, and especially stupid ones," said Bradford, and continued "and so, you see, we have completed our task. It is possible that this operation will eventually be seen as an exemplar: manipulating events and false information so that the target population destroys itself. This is why CC2 is to be closed. I congratulate you all. Your congratulations - and indeed your rewards - would have been more substantial if the target had not been so easy, so compliant and, above all, so gullible."
I really must thank Colin Andrews for his proclamation and his initiative in trying to stop abuse in the circles community. I admire his courage in agreeing to curb divisiveness and I congratulate him on advocating "a renewed spirit of respect for others", and I look forward to the results.
I welcome the initiative. Above all, I would like respect, civility and peace. The vicious response to the last paragraphs of my most recent column, however, was extraordinary. The last weeks have been for me like swimming through sewage. I never understood how hated, how despised and how loathed I was!
So, I thank Colin. I have a lengthy list of epithets he has thrown at me over the years, but in the spirit of reconciliation, I will expect him to take responsibility only for the latest delivery of two or three weeks ago. I am sure he will agree that calling me "bastard", "silly old sod" and "idiot" (though by now I have come to expect it) represent the lowest level of discourse and not something he would wish to be associated with any longer. I await his apology and his assurance that these intemperate outbursts will now cease.
Matthew Williams has been pursuing me obsessively with lies and angry bile for several years. His output is offensive, boring and predictable (not only to me), and I have long blocked his e-mails. However, I was forwarded the latest episode, in which he characterises me, among other things, as a "wanker" and a "fraudster". I am pleased that in signing up he has undertaken to behave with adult decency, and again, I await his apology.
I have never met Dr Jon Sherwood. However, he felt justified in writing and circulating a vituperative screed about me which was based entirely on falsehood. Apologise please, and - in future - check your facts.
Ron Russell, another signatory, writes "Research in any frontier is damaged by a hostile environment." Unquestionably so, and I hope if Ron sees me this summer eating in a restaurant, he will restrain himself from coming over and insulting me in front of a table of my friends. This has happened on two separate occasions!
John Sayer writes of "a vocal and persistent few who have their own agendas to follow". Perhaps it is my paranoia, but I assume I am one of the "few". Please tell me what is our agenda? I have observed that there are others who are much more vocal and persistent in their relentless public
pronouncements than I, and whose agenda is very clear. Is an "agenda" or opinion only to be permitted when it agrees with your own?
Peter Sorensen says we must "kick the bullshitters off their thrones in Crop Circle Country." (This, you will note, is Peter's contribution to "peace"). Again, it might be my paranoia, but I sense that I am the "bullshitter" on the "throne". Define my bullshit, please. I have a letter from Peter, dated 1995, before he inexplicably did his 180° turnaround, when he was still thrilled by what he saw. In it he thanked me effusively for being the most inspiring crop circle lecturer of all. Later he stated that he considered ALL formations to be man-made. Or perhaps I missed it and he has changed his mind yet again.
Allow this silly old sod, this fraudster, this wanker and idiot to clarify his position.
I suspect that what my abusers cannot tolerate is that I still believe in, respect, learn from and continue to be enchanted by the crop circles. I remember that most of the signatories used to be enchanted too. They certainly seemed to be happier! Why do they feel so threatened by my point of view?
Their basic hypotheses (a) that 80% of circles or more are man-made and (b) that hoaxers have some profound spiritual contact with the phenomenon are superficial, unproved and unprovable. See my ‘80% Proof’ articles in my archive pages on this site.
In fourteen years I have learned that no hoaxer is trustworthy and any involvement with them will be worse than fruitless. If I am wrong, please publish the evidence.
I am privileged to be working with the crop circles and it is an affront to me that these miracles are routinely debunked, debased and trivialised. No matter how much abuse is thrown at me, I will continue to challenge what I believe to be nonsense whenever it bubbles to the surface. I have a right to both state my point of view and to question the opinions of others.
I take my work and my writing conscientiously and I carefully consider everything I say. I never publish anything without repeatedly having others check it. (A useful technique, requiring humility, which I would strongly recommend to several of the "signatories".)
I criticise their ideas and statements, sometimes sharply and sometimes humorously; I jerk their chains. But I have never stooped to personal abuse.
It has never been my intention to hurt. If I have done so it was unintentional; I unreservedly apologise.
However, I am free to hold, and to state, whatever view I want. As is everyone else. They are free to criticise my position, and they never miss a chance! We must all feel able to hold whatever view we choose. I believe, however, that going public and promoting an opinion, no matter how deeply and sincerely held, as Verified Fact, as Truth, as Scientifically Proven is, simply, unacceptable. It diminishes us all. (I refer you again to ‘80% Proof’.)
Of course there are hoaxes and I have no doubt that I have, to the hoaxers’ adolescent glee, been caught out occasionally. But I have never been caught out so fundamentally as to renounce my belief in these miracles. I have never been so roundly duped (by known liars, deceivers and cheats) as to believe that they might be, in any degree, the authors of this wonderful phenomenon.
This is the New Fundamentalism, Part 1 - 80% of crop circles are man-made. I would ask everyone to study "The Assessment", Colin Andrew's CD-ROM justification of his claims. I suspect few of you have seen it and I am sure Colin will welcome my promotion. Get your hands on it. Then read ‘80% Proof’ on this site. Then decide for yourselves.
The New Fundamentalism, Part 2 - the "land-design, earth art, human facilitators" position. Do some work. Look at the evidence, if you can find any. Then decide for yourselves.
The proclamation has a thinly disguised hidden agenda. Though purporting to advocate peace in the community, "land-design" is mentioned in the first paragraph. I would go so far as to say that the whole problem is hoaxing. Interestingly, Andy and I, widely trumpeted as the "troublemakers" were not directly invited to sign up (Colin intimated to Andy that something of the like was in the offing, but no more). Why? Because we insist on retaining a belief in this remarkable phenomenon. We will not have it brushed under the carpet as "land-design".
We are to have peace, but we must all subscribe to the New Orthodoxy. And keep quiet.
I believe that truth is like a beach ball held under the waves. It will surface sooner or later. But, for the moment, Franklin D. Roosevelt was clearly wrong. The man-made circle scam is now transfigured into "truth" by relentless repetition. Not by the usual agencies of disinformation, but by those who were once our friends and colleagues.
I expect the standard hurricane of criticism by return, only this time, instead of schoolboy insults, perhaps my adversaries will engage some of the issues.
Very recently some of you may have seen a document circulated around the internet titled “The Study of Crop Circles – A Proclamation Initiative”. Initiated by circles veteran Colin Andrews, the proclamation speaks of a renewed spirit of respect for others and of pursuing the truth by all reasonable means. I want to take a look at the document and discusses its implications.
I think it would be more than a fair assessment to say that there is currently an appetite within the ranks of the crop circle world for a more civil (and perhaps even respectful) approach to one another whilst discussing the many issues this subject engenders.
In the last twelve months the internet has literally been ablaze with claim and counter-claim - arguments, jostling and politicking of the most unpleasant and often outright abusive kind. It seems to have set friend against friend, and in some of the worst cases, arguments that begin between individuals have fuelled a whole series of “cat and dog” fights between entire sections of the community – with certain individuals only too happy to seize upon the disharmony for their own ends and to add their own fuel to the already blazing fires – or speaking plainly, to use arguments between other parties in order to stick the knife in themselves!
However, in the last week or so, Colin Andrews has released a statement which at first glance seems to offer a kind of amnesty for all those who are sick of the in-fighting and want to be free to carry out their research and their own personal business without fear of such further abuse. It makes direct parallels between a “war weary world” and the circle community – it talks about “respect, integrity, and friendship” and “cordial and respectful relations with each other”.
As a person who has all too often been on the end of some appalling abuse over the years - which has included…
* Accusations of using the circles solely for the purposes of making money
* Being the perpetrator (ie. the hoaxer) of any number of formations myself
* Paying human circlemakers to make formations – from which I can then make money
* Intimidating phone calls to my home threatening to expose me for being involved in all manner of cover-ups, schemes and deceptions
* One researcher told me that they kept a file on me, in which was contained a number of emails which could be used to discredit me at some future date.
* Add to this the fact that I am also routinely spied upon during the summer when at the airfield from which myself and my partner fly from…
* And I have had all manner of opinions falsely attributed to me – because it served the particular interest of another person
Well… you can imagine what music to my ears this proclamation was!
Anyone who might be truly “war weary” enough to want to put an end to such disgusting behaviour, surely has to have our whole-hearted support?
I would like to state that I think it is time for a more sensitive approach to relations within the crop circle community. There is nothing I would like to see more than everyone thinking (at least twice!) before deciding how to approach a disagreement and to try to bring some basic, decent, human principles to their interactions. Situations so often get out of hand because of over-reaction, or the often unnecessary intervention of people who really shouldn’t be involved. Whether we like it or not, these kinds of things do reflect badly upon the crop circles – it makes people turn away in their droves.
I am all in favour of us enshrining our rights to free speech and expression, but for this to be truly meaningful, it also means that we have to accept that the same rights belong to everyone else.
EVERYONE has the right to their opinion and to state it – NO MATTER WHAT IT IS – as long as it is done respectfully, and is not laced with inappropriate and derogatory “personal” comments about others or their private lives.
The idea of (and right to) free speech and expression has to be balanced - it equally protects the rights of those with whom you may disagree, every bit as much as those with whom you may agree. It seems we all might have to learn to use the phrase “I respectfully disagree with you – or - with that” more often.
Having said all this, there are a couple of nagging things that do concern me about this proclamation.
Firstly, it seems that there is something implicit in this document about the idea that man-made formations play a large and important part in the crop circle phenomenon and that this is an accepted fact. Now don’t get me wrong here, if that is your opinion – that’s fine – you are as entitled to that opinion every bit as much as someone who believes that most circles are of a genuine paranormal origin. However, respect and cordiality are universal principles - they surely apply to everyone – they are not just the keep of those who follow one particular theory. So I’m hoping that the offer of more respectful and cordial relations will be extended to more than just those whose opinion it is that human-circle making is an integral component of the circles mystery.
Secondly, there is also something in this document that seems to be suggestive of the implicit understanding there are some amongst the circles community who deliberately lie about the circles for their own ends and that deliberately lie to the public about what they believe about the circles (again for their own ends). Once again I say – if that is your personal opinion – fine. However, surely this kind of accusation has no legitimate place in a document calling for mutual respect and cordial relations - and is rather contrary to the general spirit of the statement.
I’m hoping that this document is truly about a commitment to real respectfulness and cordiality – no matter what our differences in opinion or approach. If it is, it will be a step forward in protecting our rights and personal freedoms – including our rights to respectfully disagree and to challenge opinion and conclusions without the need for inappropriate defamatory comments of a personal nature – or to have to resort to calling one another liars.
If this is truly the spirit of this “initiative”, then it deserves support. However, if it is (as I really hope it is not) a way of validating a certain set of ideas or views and enshrining them as supported and accepted fact, then sadly it will not really be worth the paper it’s written on and will certainly not truly be about “taking the high road” - no matter how right the exponents of those ideas and views might think they are. For the principles of respectfulness and cordiality to be meaningfully invoked, they have to be freely and equally offered.
Personally speaking, I would have liked to have seen the statement re-worded so that is clear that the offer of respect and cordiality is being generously offered to everyone who reciprocates it and is equally applicable to all – but of course that is just my opinion!
So we now have “The Study of Crop Circles - A Proclamation Initiative”, signed by thirty-seven apparently well-known names, ranging from one or two respected researchers down through the range until we hit the bottom with lots of unknowns… to me, that is.
Several really well-known names don’t appear as signatories and this worries me, as this sort of document should really be taken up by everyone who is truly concerned with the state of play in the research and investigation of crop circles. The signatories have “agreed to re-launch crop circle investigations and public communications into the study of crop circles with a renewed spirit of respect for others and to pursue the truth by all means possible”. A very commendable statement, which prompts the question, “Surely this attitude should have been already the number one priority in all research?” What sort of “spirit of respect for others” has been employed up to now?
I have listened to lectures over the years concerning the interpretation of crop formations and the arguments have been varied, as you would expect, and interesting to the point of prompting me to go home and think about what I had heard. Experimentation with diagrams has resulted in discovering the odd paradox, which I then follow up with a civilised conversation with the lecturer concerned in private to clarify my concerns. I don’t make a big deal out of it and castigate the man/woman concerned if they fail to agree with my findings, I just agree to disagree and hope that, at some point in the future, the truth will out, one way or another! One method I certainly would not employ is to organise a witch-hunt against such a person by asking others to agree with me specifically! After all I may be wrong. No, this sort of behaviour reminds me of the school playground when disagreements strike up and then become rallying points for those in favour and those against…and if you don’t join my gang, I’ll bash you!
A few years ago there were researchers who needed to know how the circles WERE MADE and those who needed to know WHAT THE CIRCLES MEANT. This caused a rift. The quarrels which ensued did not alter the facts, and we began to ignore the main point of the study of the phenomenon, which was investigating the formations when they appeared. The circles, triangles, geometric patterns and magnificent swirls were, in a sense, ignored by those who went into them to “prove” that they were man-made. By so doing they missed the beauty and clarity of design, which is aesthetically pleasing. I couldn’t care less if someone has been up all night producing a masterpiece which cannot been seen in its full glory from ground level, so long as I am not disturbed by someone coming up to me and telling me that it is a hoax! I would probably have already worked that out, but the care and attention required to keep it in good shape is paramount. Too often we see people coming into a formation and nonchalantly rip out a feature, a nest or a single standing stem for no reason. These are the people who need to be addressed by we investigators surely.
Then we had times when hoaxers deliberately set traps to catch others out and no doubt had many a laugh as to how they duped the community… for a while. This widened the gap between the two groups until it became a canyon and members from one side wouldn’t exchange words with the others. If they did, words would fly in all directions and even parentage was in doubt! Finally, we appear to be at the point of a schismatic rift that will rip the whole study area apart. There is so much friendship from the past that may never be re-kindled because of “ego”. The ego is responsible for many problems in this troubled world of ours and mainly because groups think that there must be a leader, one in charge, whereas I believe that in a group of people thinking together about the same subject there is a good argument for a group consciousness to take over. We can all be leaders of the pack or we can leave it to an individual, knowing that they will not embark upon an ego trip and impose their own will on the group.
“We hope to inspire trust, respect, integrity and friendship with all of those who arrived in the fields to research the circles, visit and enjoy them…” This quote from the proclamation initiative must mean that a lot of people are going through a life-changing experience.
Some of the comments from the signatories leave a lot to be desired as well. One of our American friends writes that it is time to “kick the liars out of the White House and the bull****ters off their thrones. It’s time for truth and honesty to regain the upper hand!”
Please see the previous paragraph to see if this is the attitude required to move forward. (“We hope to inspire trust, respect, integrity and friendship…”)
If everyone tries to study specific parts of the research into crop circles, the result would be a tremendous amount of data and hundreds of different theories about what is happening in the fields. To me that is what research is all about, different ideas, different experiments resulting in an great pool of conscious thought which can be further analysed, if desired, by others.
There are times when a formation is said to give off a great deal of ‘residual energy’ and that if we could harness this energy we could save the planet by ignoring fossil fuels in the future. Well, perhaps yes, probably no. Who knows? Is anyone following up the theory? Do any of us know where to start?
You can always tell whether a circle is man made! How many times have we heard that one? The stalks are broken, the bloom is rubbed off the stems, it’s perfectly circular (genuine crop circles are never perfectly circular…are they? Who knows?).
There are so many theories, everybody has one, about all aspects of the crop circle design catalogue, that it would be impossible for one person to say “I’m right and everyone else is wrong”.
Finally, I would like to ask if it is necessary to “proclaim an initiative of change” like this… could we not just get on with it and do it anyway? Do we have to go through this public sack-cloth and ashes routine to let people know that we are going to be good neighbours from now on? So let us ditch this “D’ya wanna be in my gang?” mentality and just get on with being damned good human beings.