[CNI News thanks Susan Esquivel for assistance in preparing this article, and Lyssa Royal Holt and Marsha Beery for contacts with Busty Taylor.]
(Feb 16, 1997) -- Busty Taylor is a veteran photographer whose aerial shots of English crop formations have been published around the world. In response to an inquiry from CNI News, Taylor recently called our office from his home in England and spoke with editor Michael Lindemann about the continuing controversy over two major crop circle events of 1996, the Stonehenge Julia Set and the Oliver's Castle videotape, or OCV.
Speaking first about the OCV, Taylor pointed out that he knows the area around Oliver's Castle "like the back of my hand." Because a number of major crop formations have appeared there in the past, he has photographed the area repeatedly from the air and the ground. He knows the lay of the land and the lighting of the area at different times of day.
With that in mind, he told CNI News that the OCV -- which purports to show the rapid, anomalous creation of a crop glyph following the appearance of several moving "balls of light" or BOLs -- appeared to be a fake. He believes the video is composed of at least two separate shots of the field. "The first segment is five o'clock in the morning," he said, "but the last segment, I'm convinced, is seven o'clock at night." The actual appearance of the crop glyph is in the evening part of the footage, he says, although the film's owner claimed he saw the glyph form in the early morning.
The camera is pointing toward the west, Taylor says. In that case, if the glyph were filmed in the early morning, the rising sun would be behind the camera and would clearly illuminate the upper-right inside edge of the glyph furthest from the camera. However, Taylor says that portion of the glyph remains in shade on the video. Only the left-most part of the visible inside edge of the glyph lights up as it forms. This lighting is only consistent with the sun coming from the west.
Taylor points out as well that the camera is fixed on a point below the horizon, as it would have to be if it were actually aimed westward into the setting sun. He notes that as the first BOLs disappear off the top of the frame in the video, he would expect the camera to follow their motion. But it doesn't -- and it couldn't, if by doing so it would shoot directly into the setting sun. Instead, other BOLs are introduced at the bottom of the screen.
"So, I'm more than convinced that this is a computer generated situation," Taylor told CNI News. "The sun is coming in from the wrong angle. It's 180 degrees from where it should be."
Asked whether he believes the Oliver's Castle formation itself was authentic or man-made, Taylor said he could not comment because he had not examined that formation himself from the ground, only flown over it.
Lindemann then asked Taylor if he could comment on the controversy concerning the time of arrival of the Stonehenge Julia Set. CNI News had previously reported the claim of "circle-maker" Rod Dickinson that this spectacular spiral-shaped glyph had been made by three people during the night of July 6-7, then remained undiscovered until the following afternoon (Sunday, July 7) despite its proximity to a major highway and Stonehenge itself.
Taylor said he is certain that the glyph was not there at 5:30 pm that Sunday afternoon. If true, this would establish the almost miraculously anomalous character of the Stonehenge glyph and totally discredit the claims of Dickinson and his fellow circle makers.
"My friend flew over there at half past five at night, and he's been looking at crop circles with me since 1988. He knows what he's looking for. He flew around Stonehenge seven times, taking photographs of a man flying another plane, and he said that crop circle wasn't there at half past five," Taylor said. He further noted that his friend had first flown into the area from the direction of Exeter, which would have given him a clear view of the location of the crop circle as he approached Stonehenge. "He and I have known each other for years. He told me there is no way the bloody thing was there. He couldn't have missed it," Taylor said.
But then, Taylor said, "The guy flying the other plane flew back over the area at 6:05 pm, and the formation was there." This pilot was returning his aircraft to Exeter and immediately spotted the formation from the air, Taylor said, despite the fact that his viewing angle was less advantageous going in that direction.
Convinced that his friend, a veteran flyer and crop circle spotter, could not have missed the huge Stonehenge glyph had it been there at 5:30 pm, Taylor believes the glyph must have formed within the 35-minute time window between 5:30 pm and 6:05 pm that Sunday afternoon. However, he says his friend will not talk to the press, "because he's gotten so angry with the media ringing him up and taking him off his job. He's a self-employed bloke and he doesn't like anybody chasing him."
Taylor himself is notably skeptical about many crop formations in England, and has expressed differences of opinion with some other researchers who are more inclined than he is to accept most formations as authentically anomalous. In that light, his insistance on the anomalous arrival of the Stonehenge glyph carries added weight.
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