According to English crop circle researchers, a large formation found near Barbury Castle in Wiltshire on April 20, 1997 is the earliest-reported "season opener" ever. The circular formation appeared in a field of oilseed rape (canola), the first crop to mature in the English growing season. Mature rape has a distinctive yellow flower, but this field had not yet flowered.
John Sayer [firstname.lastname@example.org] describes the formation as a "ringed circle with six half-crescents (clockwise direction) fanning out to outline. Overall diameter is about 160 feet. Central circle 18-20 feet, diameter of standing ring 48-50 feet, diameters of seven rings which form basis of design 78-80 feet. There is also a 3-4 foot grapeshot nearby."
Photos are or will soon be available at the Crop Circle Connector web site: http://alpha.mic.dundee.ac.uk/ft/crop_circles/1997/1997.html
On April 26, Paul Vigay reported a second formation found in oilseed rape at Littlebury Green in Essex, visible from the M11 motorway. Vigay says it was possibly created on April 22 or 23.
The formation consists of a single large, thin ring with a much smaller ring attached like a bauble on a necklace. In addition, there are two thin, slightly curved lines forming a large "V" shape, meeting at the center of the large circle and extending several yards outside its perimeter. The large ring is estimated at over 300 feet in diameter.
A photo of this formation is posted at: http://rainbow.medberry.com/enigma/Photos/ess97a.jpg
As in 1996, the appearance of new formations will undoubtedly rekindle the debate over authenticity and hoaxing. With this in mind, CNI News offers the following words of caution from noted researcher Colin Andrews, reprinted with his permission. Colin has recently found himself under attack by other researchers for suggesting that a large percentage of formations might be hoaxed. He writes:
"There are a small handful of very vocal crop circle researchers who have the public's ear via their own newsletters and their position on the board of the C.C.C.S. [Center for Crop Circle Studies]. Outrageous attacks on George Wingfield began two years ago, when George simply said that in his opinion many of the crop circles were hoaxes... Well, my turn has arrived. I have stated publicly in the past four months that I am also of the opinion, based upon evidence from Robert Irving and from reviewing some of my own data, that probably as many as 70% are man-made.
"As I felt the guns being loaded, I went on to announce the outcome of my in-depth investigation into the 'Oliver's Castle video.' I do not believe anybody else has spent so much time, effort and money on trying to resolve it -- not for Colin Andrews, but for all of us. [Note: Colin concluded that the video is a hoax.]
"Well, that was as much as the small 'Religious' group within the ranks could take. They said I was abandoning the ranks, talking out of the back of my head, etc... One even published that the world would still spin without another comment from Colin Andrews -- nasty stuff from those who have reminded me many times not to forget those who supported me on my way to the top.
"There we have it -- what TOP? I did not ask to arrive in this position. I have just carried on doing the job and being honest with my results. Is it then about who is at the top?
"The anger amongst these people is spilling over into the public domain with counter statements to my own like, 'There is not a dime of evidence that even one crop circle has been man-made' and 'All you need to identify the real crop circles... which are most of them -- is to use dowsing rods.' Well, for absolute certainty and with a mountain of evidence, I can tell you both statements are complete nonsense.
"I believe the subject would be better served by me in the near future by sticking with the research and making information available to those who wish it... As always, I will publish all my results in the CPR [Circles Phenomenon Research] International Newsletter.
"To be very clear, I am totally convinced the remaining crop circles constitute a very real and important phenomenon."
[Colin Andrews can be emailed at 107702.662@CompuServe.com]
Original file name: CNI - Crop Circles.1st of year
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