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CAR CIRCLES - 07/05/2005

JACK SULLIVAN (who decoded several of the mid-90s star map crop formations) turns his attention away from astronomical circular matters to look at autovehicular circular matters instead…

Car Circles: Through a Glass Darkly

In late August 1998, following the discovery of the ‘Cetus Conjunction’ predicted by the ‘Galaxy’ crop formation of July 1994 at West Stowell Wiltshire [see past Swirled News reports and also chapters in the books ‘Vital Signs’ and ‘Swirled Harvest’ by Andy Thomas -], I made my first ever visit to Pewsey Vale, curious to view the site of the formation. Later, parking the car at Knap Hill I set off to walk the circuit around Milk Hill via Adams Grave and the Pewsey White Horse, returning to the locked car after about 90 minutes.


I had with me hot coffee and some biscuits and sat in the driving seat enjoying my snack. I noticed between my feet a small piece of moulded black plastic, triangular shaped, which had obviously broken off something. I checked the dashboard and the interior of the car, but nothing appeared to be missing and I popped the item into the glove compartment, slightly mystified as to its source, and set off for home.


My route to East Sussex took me eastwards towards London along the M4 Motorway and I soon realised that my usually very reliable magnetic car compass fixed to the bottom of the windscreen was reading due west. When I later turned south onto the M25, the compass read due north. The instrument's orientation had been completely reversed.


The above events happened on a Friday during hot weather. The following Monday I had occasion to go to Manchester. The journey was mostly by motorway and the weather had turned cold with light rain. On the first few miles of motorway I discovered that I was unable to close off the cold draught from the dashboard right hand ventilator, and had to wedge my cap over it to stop the discomfort. Arrived at my destination, my mother's house, I dismantled the offending ventilation unit to find that a part of the internal black plastic operating lever had been snapped off. The missing bit was, of course, the piece I had found between my feet at Knap Hill. These operating levers require only light finger pressure to move them. Due to the previous spell of hot weather the vents had been permanently open for some days. I have no explanation for the damage.


The following day, Tuesday, after shopping at a local market, Mum and I sat in the car for a while drinking our flask of hot coffee. The weather was still cold and damp and condensation formed on the inside of all the windows. While wiping this 'misting' away, I noticed a strange image on the glass panel of the passenger side rear door. It appeared as a white lined diagram against the greyish condensation. The best verbal description I have is that it consisted of two concentric circles with lines projecting up to the left at about 45 degrees. The overall impression was of something like the outline of a toilet roll in perspective. The dimensions were roughly the same. The image was much too precise to have been formed by a mischievous finger, and my Mum had remained in the car during the whole shopping expedition. At the age of 90 years, she was unlikely to have clambered into the back seat to make the image. There was nothing in the immediate surroundings to account for it and, mystified, I wiped it away. Later the same day I made a sketch from memory, which I still have. I never saw the image again - until very recently!


Last December 7th, I went to a local outdoor market and parked my car, now six years older, in the adjacent outdoor car park. There had been an early morning frost and the air was still cold when I returned to the car after about 90 minutes. There were a couple of damp cloths in the car used to wipe off the earlier frost, etc., and the moisture had caused the windows to mist up again. There, plain to see, outlined in the condensation, was the 'toilet roll' image last seen in 1998, on the same glass pane as before. This stunned me a little, but this time I had a loaded camera with me and was able to take photos. I did not wipe away the image, hoping to retain it for my son to see at home later. However, at home 20 minutes later, it was no longer visible. I tried to recover it by placing a bowl of hot water in the car to recreate the condensation. I was successful in misting over the glass again, but did not recover the image.

A week on the same day, I returned to the market and parked in roughly the same place. There had been early frost again, and returning at about 11.30am to the car, there was the image again! I took more photos, and when I got home tried again to recreate the image, but without success. Both sets of photos, developed and printed, show the image, though not very clearly. I have shown the pictures to many people. No one so far can recall seeing anything similar anywhere or can offer any rational explanation for the presence

Pondering later on all this, I conjectured that perhaps the reason I was unable to revive the image by recreating condensation was that the external air temperature had risen around lunchtime to a point where the external surface of the glass was not cold enough and that I needed to repeat the experiment on the next frosty morning. Over Christmas I did just this and this time captured the best image yet seen, very quickly, just by breathing on the inside of the glass panel. This is the image on the attached photo.

This more detailed and sharper photo has, however, revealed more mystery. There are actually two images to be seen. The right hand design is the clearer and does indeed look like the outlines of a toilet roll seen in perspective. Behind it, higher to the left, is an identical image of which only the rear concentric circles and some incomplete lines can be seen. This image, which for reasons explained below, I call the first image, seems to be partly overlaid by the clearer one. I have a tentative possible explanation.

I think that the first partly obscured image is the one I saw in 1998 following the anomalous event at the Knap Hill car park. It was, as I remember it, higher up and more central in the glass door panel. The second sharper second image is, I suspect, related to another anomalous event again at the Knap Hill car park in the following year, 1999.

My brother Bob was over from New Zealand and we visited the Wiltshire hotspots on our way back to my home after two weeks holiday in the West Country. It was early August and, parked at Knap Hill, we walked around recent formations in East Field and also did the Milk Hill / Adams Grave circuit. Arriving back at the car, we found that my car compass had apparently been partly dismantled. The compass carries a small AAA sized battery in its base to provide illumination of the dial in the dark. The bulb is switched by a push button in the cover of the battery compartment. This compartment was empty. The battery was found on the back seat and the push button cap was later found on the back window shelf. There is a small coiled spring in the battery compartment to push the battery against the bulb, but because of its location and weak strength it just could not have propelled the battery the four foot distance to the back seat. Also the cap to the compartment is a tight fit and in something like 10 years of use it has never become detached accidentally.

Later, on the M4 motorway, travelling home, we found that again the compass orientation was completely reversed. We have no sensible explanation for this second set of Knap Hill Anomalies.

This very recent revealing of two 'car circle' images now suggests to me that they relate to the two separate Knap Hill events. Until a better explanation is forthcoming, I have to believe they are directly connected with some phenomena which 'interfered' inside my car on two occasions. I also have to think that other cars parked at Knap Hill or in the area may also have been 'examined'. Other owners, without realising, may have similar images formed, like watermarks in paper, in their glass panels. In normal circumstances they are invisible. The glass has an absolutely normal appearance to sight and touch. It can be thoroughly washed with any type of cleaner, then dried and polished, but the ingrained images remain and can be quickly revealed when the outside air temperature drops to around zero, just by breathing on the inside surface. It has been suggested that the images result from the original manufacturing process, some kind of toughening or annealing system, which occasionally leaves such marks in the structure of the glass. I think this unlikely; the images are too strange to be due to such processes and they are not on the other glass panels. I would be grateful for any glass technologist's explanation, or, for that matter, any rational explanation, and also for any information from anyone who has seen something similar anywhere anytime.



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