In the two years since CNI News began publishing, no article has aroused more vehement feedback than the lead story in our November 16 edition, titled "Crop Circle 'Artist' Declares Julia Sets Human Made." CNI News and its editor, Michael Lindemann, have been accused of gross naivete, careless journalism and willful disinformation, among other things, for implying that the story told by alleged crop circle "artist" Rod Dickinson might possibly be true. For the record, let us state that if we had not believed Dickinson's claims MIGHT be true, we would not have printed the story; and nothing we have heard since would dissuade us from running it again. However, the letters we received do contain some powerful arguments against Dickinson's claims, and we agree it is both fair and edifying to air those views here.
The main complaints against Dickinson's story can be summarized as follows:
1) The stated construction time of two and three-quarters hours was not enough for three men to create the Stonehenge Julia Set.
2) The claim that it was made during the night and went unnoticed for the entire following day, even by a pilot flying overhead, is unreasonable.
3) The claim that the alleged "artists" do not want publicity is absurd, since they frequently make public claims knowing there is no evidence to convict them of such crimes as trespassing and vandalism. They delight in notoriety; they just don't want to get caught.
4) In this instance and many others, the hoax is claimed but no real evidence is offered.
Here are several letters sent by crop circle researchers which represent the full spread of views received. [Occasional editorial remarks are included in brackets.]
First, from CHAD DEETKEN:
After reading your interview with Rod Dickinson, I'm just fit to be tied. While I certainly do not believe in censorship, sometimes putting things in print does an enormous amount of damage. It's no secret to us circle researchers that most people out there WANT to believe this phenomenon is just a load of bunk and that they're all made by people. No evidence needed. Just ask Carl Sagan. Besides spending an awful lot of time and money exploring this mystery, we are in a constant uphill battle with public perception. It's really demoralising.
What really dismays me is that, although the intentions of printing the interview were good, the result is that, once again, our house has been set on fire. All the hard work of convincing the public there is more to the crop formation mystery than meets the eye, and poof...
I should say here and now that I consider myself pretty open minded. I know some of those formations are hoaxed. It's fairly obvious sometimes. I'm not a hardened nut.
OK, let's get to what Dickinson said. First of all, don't forget he's had four months to think about it before he gave you those fine technical details about how the Julia Set was made. In that amount of time he could have been able to tell you how he built the pyramids.
You mentioned that he gave you no evidence to back his claims. Right. This has been the case since the Doug and Dave fiasco. Not one of these guys has ever shown us a shred of evidence to back what they were claiming. Only words. Funny, isn't it? How easy to say you did this and you did that without having to give solid evidence.
And none of them have ever been caught, even though there is a 1000 British Pound reward on their heads and several dozen irate "croppies" who are out at night looking for them, not to mention mad-as-a-wet-hen farmers. Yes, the fields are constantly watched at night.
What he said about the pilot flying over Stonehenge without seeing the Julia Set is about as ludicrous as flying over L.A. at night and not noticing the city lights. Come on! I've flown over Stonehenge numerous times and unless you are blind stinking drunk or unconscious, you could not help but see it. I flew over it and hell, the formation is bigger than Stonehenge! I've flown with Busty Taylor, as well as others, dozens of times. You can spot even a small formation from miles away, never mind one as large as the Julia Set.
We interviewed all the guards at Stonehenge who were there during that day and not one of them saw the Julia Set all day long. And , on the average, 6000 tourists visit Stonehenge every day of the summer. None of them saw a thing either. When we visited Stonehenge we didn't have much trouble seeing it from there. Not like a barn door, but you could easily see it.
Likewise, you could see it from the highway, but only if you were driving in one direction, with Stonehenge on your left. You couldn't make out the whole thing since, like Dickinson said, it was in a bit of a hollow, but you could definitely see a good portion. Literally thousands of vehicles drive that direction daily and many of them are trucks where the driver has a much higher vantage point. Not one single person reported that formation until after 6PM.
The fact that there are what appear to be construction lines in many formations is nothing new. We've seen these since at least 1989. What he didn't tell you is that these lines do not make sense. They vary in width from a few inches to as much as a foot or more. They do not usually follow a smooth curve but instead, meander quite a bit. But most strange of all, they lie not only under the fallen crop as you would expect but also on top at times. In fact, nearly all of them weave in and out. Michael Chorost, back in 1991, wrote a lengthy article on these lines. He concluded, as have many others since, that these lines could not have been laid out first but rather appear to be part of the step-by-step construction process.
Last, Dickinson's assertion that the hoaxers wish to remain anonymous is pure rot. Each one of them has identified himself time and time again. They take great glee in being known, but in a clandestine way. They love to portray themselves as romantic figures flitting around at night in the dark fields, leaving their "masterpieces" for all to enjoy. Right, what they really are (if they have ever made one single formation) is criminals.
They are vandals, pure and simple. One single formation the size of the Julia Set can cost the farmer from $400 to $600 or more in damage. Now, the likes of Dickinson will tell you the farmers charge admission and thus recover their loss, plus some. Well, out of the thousands of crop formations that have appeared in the last ten years, that scenario took place only 5 times to my knowledge and in only two of those cases, the farmers made a profit.
Now, as far as wishing to remain anonymous, the reason is not for fear of prosecution. English law is such that one has to be caught in the act of a crime in order to be punished. Simply making a claim is perfectly safe.
If these people are making such outrageous (hoaxing) claims, I believe all of the public should have the right to know who they are. We sure know who they are because they keep whispering their dark boasts in our ears. They've gone to great lengths to brag to us. So here goes:
Robert Irving -- lives in London
Adrian Dexter -- lives in Somerset
Doug Bower -- lives in Southampton (claims to have quit)
Dave Chorley -- has disappeared from this planet, no one knows his whereabouts
Rod Dickinson -- lives in London
John Lundberg -- lives in London
Jim Schnabel -- lives in Maryland, USA although he frequently visits England
These are the key players. They all claim to be hoaxers although Schnabel and Dexter are the only ones who put their money where their mouth is. Both participated in a public hoaxing contest in 1992 and both did a fine job. Dexter, whose team consisted of 3 people, won the contest. Schnabel worked on his own and came in second. Both teams took the full 4 1/2 hours alloted. All teams had to make the identical pattern which measured a whopping 56 feet by 21 feet! The Julia Formation is in the neighbourhood of 300 feet by 500 feet and the Windmill Hill formation is 1000 feet in diameter!
I could go on and on but I'll leave it for now. Defending the facts over and over and over is very tiring. We have put in thousands of hours and spent tens of thousands of dollars of our own money on this research. There are over a hundred people involved in these investigations including several Ph.D. scientists, and we have compiled volumes of facts to support our contention that we are dealing with a mystery. It's really discouraging when all one person like Dickinson has to do is say "I did that one"or "I know who did it," and everyone goes oogly-eyed. All we have ever asked for is a level playing field and for the likes of Dickinson to either put up or shut up. When will WE ever get a sympathetic ear?
[Chad Deetken, one of Canada's leading crop circle researchers, can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org]
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Next, from MICHAEL GLICKMAN:
I wish to respond to the CNI interview with Rod Dickinson. As a full-time Crop Circle researcher I am fully aware of the ruthlessness with which these hoax claimants, such as Dickinson, have so often hoodwinked and duped journalists and editors alike. I am appalled by the innocence and naivete with which CNI and other credible and worthy publications have approached Rod Dickinson, whose activities should by now be known to them, and by the thoughtlessness with which Dickinson's claims have been given circulation and thereby a measure of respectability.
I was one the of the first people into the Stonehenge "Julia Set" formation. I visited it several times through the season and surveyed not the whole formation but certain specific parts. I have given lectures on the formation since the summer and I have done geometric and numerological studies on it, as well as studies of its interior architecture and construction sequence.
There are many Rod Dickinsons around the Crop Circle phenomenon and there are many unpleasant characteristics they share. The most notable, however, is their dogged refusal to come up with persuasive evidence.
Let me deal with specifics.
You refer to the "acknowledged activity of these 'circle hoaxers'..." but their activity is acknowledged only by themselves. Their repeated claims are an irritation. Not one -- not a single one -- has been supported by evidence. [Editor's note: Leading researchers such as Colin Andrews and George Wingfield, not to mention Chad Deetken in the preceding statement, have specifically acknowledged the fact of "fake" crop circles.]
Dickinson's statement amounts to a confession of criminal damage. The National Farmers' Union of Great Britain is offering a substantial reward for the apprehension of such criminals. I will be forwarding a copy of your interview both to Mr. Sandell, the farmer in question, and to the Wiltshire police. Dickinson knows he has little to fear. Both these parties are clearly aware of the facts and hold such mischievous claimants in contempt.
Dickinson claims that the formation was there in the morning. He is a liar. It was not there until the afternoon. Stonehenge is heavily policed by guards with radios. The southern part of the perimeter fence is constantly patrolled. Stonehenge is on a shallow hill overlooking the field which is a close and familiar part of the guards' daily landscape. All the guards on duty have been interviewed. The formation was not there in the morning. They were aware of the public excitement when it was spotted in the afternoon.
Likewise the farmer's team. The farmer says that there is no way that he and his men could have missed such a huge event for so many hours.
(The farmer's son, Philip Sandell, silenced verbose hoax apologists who visited the formation by offering them his adjacent field to demonstrate their "abilities." His offer was accepted by no one.)
The suggestion that the light aircraft "just didn't see it" or "didn't think to report it" stretches credibilty to the breaking point. I regret that CNI has been taken for a ride by a plausible con-man.
Think about the claim that he made it in 2 hours and 45 minutes. He says that there were 149 circles, though in fact there were 151. The simplest arithmetic will show that this spectral team allowed a little over sixty-five seconds per circle, with no time for setting out. Sixty-five seconds! Nobody who has been inside a crop circle could believe that. [Editor's note: Rod Dickinson clearly did not claim to have made it himself. He claimed to know of three people who did make it.]
This claim is made even more outrageous when the quality and variety of the individual circles is considered. There are photographs and videos which show that this was an exemplar of crop circle lay. The swirling, coiling, twisting of the crop was different in almost every one of the circles. The centres were marked by nests, coils, doughnuts and tufts. I doubt that a team, even in daylight, could reproduce the complexity and precision of a single circle in eight hours. They would never use a three foot board to achieve these effects.
The reasons for the trace line, which occurred this year at Stonehenge and many other formations including Alton Barnes, Windmill Hill and Oliver's Castle, have been presented in the work of many researchers, including my own. These trace lines, which are very exactly positioned, vary in width from 8" to 16". They are underlays and are usually more compacted and directional than the upper layers. Only those who have not seen them could accept the claim that they were made by "stepping down the grain with your feet." [Editor's Note: It is difficult to imagine, however, why any truly paranormal agency would want or need a trace line at all.]
He claims that the "large central circle" was the location of the several centers of curvature of the spine. First, even the most rudimentary knowledge of the construction of this spiral indicates that the centers of curvature must become increasingly remote from each other. Second, the centers are, in fact, a substantial distance from the circle in question. They are in the middle of the standing crop. I should point out that I am working not from photographs but from a survey of the formation carried out by a professional land surveyor using state of the art electronic measuring equipment. Rod Dickinson is a liar. [Editor's note: Our study of an exact diagram of the formation suggests that all centers of curvature lie either in the central circle or in other circles along the construction line -- with the possible exception of a short segment of the formation about one-third of the way along the spine. Further study on this claim is warranted.]
I repeat my challenge, made publicly every year since 1992. Show evidence, not claims, assertions, stolen ideas or fairy tales, but EVIDENCE that a single crop circle -- just one -- has been a man-made hoax.
[Michael Glickman, a well-known researcher and lecturer, is not on the internet but can be reached by snail mail at: P.O. Box 2077, Santa Monica, CA 90401-2077; or fax: 310-458-9886.]
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Next, from ERIC BECKJORD:
I've read the [CNI News] material re Rod Dickinson. I think it time to dredge up the Carl Sagan dictum that "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof."
This applies to claims for hoaxing as well as claims for the paranormal. Occam's Razor cuts both ways.
Now let us get real:
1) the Julia set had 149, say 150, circles. [Depending who you ask, the number ranges from 149 to 151 - ed]
2) It is claimed that three men made it.
3) This means that three men claim they made 50 circles each hour.
4) This means 50 circles in 60 minutes. Sure....
5) This means about one per minute, allowing [10 seconds ] for moving to another position.... Hah.
6) This means NO TIME FOR SETTING POLES, MEASURING, BEING CAREFUL.
7) No time for being tired.
8) No time for watching for guards, police or a farmer.
9) No time to carefully lay out the curves, to be accurate mathematically.
10) Remember that wheat does not forgive mistakes. You cannot bend it back up. No time to avoid mistakes.
11) No time to clean up trash, string, rope, boards, etc.
NO TIME, NO TIME, NO TIME.
I've sat and watched [noted crop circle hoaxer] Rob Irving sit in the Barge [a popular pub in crop circle country], in 1993, having the TIME OF HIS LIFE playing with Linda Moulton Howe, and with me, and others including some angry croppies. He loved it! This is what he lives for. People assumed that because he hinted he made some large complex formations, that he ACTUALLY DID!!!
And this is what many of these hoaxers, not artists, do. They never say they made this and that, and their excuse is that they wish to avoid prosecution, so they hint, and let you assume, and then people assume they made far, far more than they ever made, and they, like Rob, and Rod, 'BASK' IN NOTORITY. A sort of perverse celebrity.
They need naive croppies. They sit back, say a few convincing sounding things, (but give lousy, truly lousy explanations for layered stems,etc) and let fools and the easily-impressed get suckered in.
I have made some circles, with permission, paid for. I can tell you that to do a clean, crisp, well-designed and carried-out set of circles, lines, bars, is damned hard, and crescents, multiple grape-shot, etc, in patterns, is so hard that I doubt a team of surveyors using radio and helicopters could do them well, and at night -- well, impossible. And using no light, not being seen, in short time, ...totally impossible.
Forget these parasites who leech off naive croppies and greedy magazines.
[Eric Beckjord has researched crop circles, UFOs, Bigfoot and other unusual phenomena for many years. He is curator of the UFO, Bigfoot & Loch Ness Monster Museum in Berkeley, California. He can be reached via email at: email@example.com. His web site is http://pwp.value.net/ufomus/]
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And finally, from MICHAEL YUDOWITZ (with apologies to other writers who could not be included due to lack of space):
I have spent six weeks for the past four years in Wiltshire, England researching the crop circles. I was in the Stonehenge "Julia Set" the day it was discovered and, from the ground, it appeared to be an extremely messy rushed hoax. The Windmill Hill formation, however, was one of the most perfect things I have ever seen. In addition to its perfection, this formation exhibited anomalies that people could not possibly create. Specifically, I discovered patches of wheat to the right of the center (while facing north) of most of the larger circles in the formation in which all the nodes were bent with the flow. If I had only found this in one or two of the circles, I'd be able to accept that the formation was a hoax, however, this feature was present in more than several cirlces, so crop recovery is highly unlikely. If you were to show photos of such anomalies to these hoaxers, as I have done, they will admit that they cannot create such features.
As I'm sure you are aware, disinformation often consists of 90% truth and 10% lies. These paid disinformants (aka circle artists) do not need your help spreading lies.
Thank you for a great newsletter.
[Michael Yudowitz can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org]
Original file name: .CNI - Julia Hoax Denounced
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