OLIVERS CASTLE VIDEO- The TRUE Events
On August 11th a snowflake formation appeared in the field at Oliver's Castle, near Devizes, England. Many people have already heard via the internet or through crop circle lectures and publications of the extraordinary video obtained at this site. The video claims to record the construction of this formation. In the film, four small white spheres (resembling the disks of light filmed several times within and about crop circles) maneuver around a field as the crop pattern forms beneath them. We wanted, perhaps more than most, to believe the video is exactly what it seems. The film is remarkable, very exciting to view, is inconclusive in it's analysis and is, of course, shrouded in controversy. Unfortunately it is also shrouded in distortions. Several reports have been aired over the internet and in crop circle publications which are simply incorrect. People who were present for the first showing remember details differently. Conclusions based on technical merit cannot be made unless the original is released for testing and unfortunately, there are too many con men trying to derail the phenomenon to take things at face value without a probing investigation. In addition, the video shown the day the formation arrived is claimed to differ significantly from the video which is now in circulation and undergoing attempts at analysis. In this article, for the first time, all the pieces are put together. Following is the story as accurately as we can recount it.
Infra red image of field at 6 AM, Monday 12 August
COLIN ANDREWS: On Sunday, 11th of August, I returned late at night to several phone messages in the CPR-UK office from my two colleagues, Jane Ross, CPR-US co-ordinator, and Freddy Silva, researcher and Infra Red analyst. Freddy and Jane were in England as part of a CPR field research team who had come over from the states to help with the summer projects. In this phone call they were excited over a video they had just seen in the Barge pub of five spheres of light maneuvering in a field around a crop circle (at this time there was no mention of a crop circle forming). The man who showed them the video, John Weyleigh, claims to have been camping out on the Oliver's Castle hill, near Devizes, for a sky watch when he filmed it.
When I spoke to Jane and Freddy the next day they were anxious for me to see the video. Unfortunately, Synthia and I had extensive last minute research details to sort before we were on our way to Wales for several days, then leaving for the States the day after our return. I was uncertain if I would in fact be able to see the video and was greatly disappointed. The next evening I received a phone call from Lee Winterston who was at the pub with Freddy and Jane, had seen the film and also wanted me to see it. I agreed to stop and talk with him on our way to Wales the next day. When we stopped at Lee's caravan, the story he told didn't match what Freddy and Jane had already said.
At this point I would like to turn the story over to Freddy and Jane to hear their report on what they saw and how it happened.
Close-up of formation shows rough floor lay.
FREDDY AND JANE'S ACCOUNT as told by Jane with Freddy's confirmation "The story begins on Saturday, August 10th, 1996 in Avebury. Around 2:30 in the afternoon, Freddy Silva was in Stones Restaurant ordering tea while Jonathan Wearn and I were waiting outside at a table. Freddy was approached by a man, a stranger to him, who claimed to have met Freddy at the Barge Inn the previous evening. This was odd as Freddy had not been at the Barge the previous evening. The man introduced himself as John Weyleigh and Freddy asked him if he was in line to place an order for food. He said no, he just wanted to say hello. While Freddy did not recognize him as someone he had meet before, John continued the conversation, telling Freddy that he planned to do a night watch that evening in order to try and capture something unusual or related to crop circles on video. He asked Freddy where a good location for such a watch would be. Freddy suggested areas with expansive views such as Adams Grave, Milk Hill, Silbury Hill or West Kennet Long Barrow. Weyleigh said that if he did capture something on film he would contact Freddy and asked where Freddy could be reached. Freddy replied that he or any other CPR researcher could be reached through a message or visit at the Barge Inn.
"On Sunday evening, around 10:00 PM after completing a rather long day of research, Freddy and I left Avebury and went to the Barge Inn to see if any new information was available before calling it a day. We walked into the Barge at about 10:15 and were immediately approached by Lee Winterston who asked "Are you Freddy Silva?" Lee claimed that a man named John had been calling the Barge for Freddy all day. Lee had spoken to him and John claimed to have captured an important event on video and wanted to show it to Freddy. Lee seemed very excited and anxious for Freddy to contact John and see the film. Lee had John's phone numbers.
"Freddy called John, who sounded very nervous. John claimed that he had found something very important and he wanted to show it to him right away. Freddy suggested that he come over immediately as the Barge was about to close. We waited with those at our table, Lee, a colleague of his and Nick Nicholson. We were talking about the new formation at Oliver's Castle which had been found that morning. Lee's friend, an ultralight pilot, said he had been over the formation and from his observations it appeared to be a hoax. About 20 minutes later, Weyleigh arrived with another man who we were later told was his roommate. We noted that John seemed apprehensive and nervous as he sat down and spoke to us.
"He told us he had been camping all night at Oliver's Castle and in the early morning hours he was wakened by a sound. He grabbed his camera which didn't work initially due to moisture and began filming the field below the castle.
"Although he wanted to show the film to us he mentioned that he was reluctant to play and rewind this original copy over and over for fear of damaging it. I was the first to view the film after which I told John it was either a very good hoax or an extraordinary piece of footage. I suggested that he make a copy immediately and place the original with his solicitor. Freddy then looked at the video. He was so impressed that he asked John to rewind it so he could see it a second time. Lee and then Nick looked at it.
"Freddy and I agree on the content of the footage we saw. It was about 15 seconds long. The first image was a shot of the ground as though the camera was rolling while someone holding it was walking along. This lasted several seconds. Then there was a split second of video static indicating a place where the video had been stopped. The next section, began with a frame containing a high angle shot of a field with a crop circle already formed. Suddenly two pairs of luminous balls of light appeared from the bottom right hand corner of the frame. The first set moved clockwise over the formation; the second set seemed to hover erratically as though "inspecting" or "reconnoitering" the circle. At the end of the segment a fifth ball of light shot rapidly through the center of the frame between the two pairs of light balls, from the lower left hand corner to the upper right hand corner of the frame and out of the picture. The final segment contained an overview of the formation from a slightly different perspective. At no time did we see a crop circle being formed or laid down, with or without balls of light maneuvering over it."
A pause here with Freddy and Jane's report. Before returning to Colin's account, consider the following information from Michael Hubbard, the microlite pilot. In the February 1997 Sussex Circular, Michael states that he thought the formation looked good, that the order of who viewed the video in the pub was different, and that the sequence of filmed events was different from both Freddy and Jane ës account and from the version now in circulation. Most importantly, as stated by Andy Thomas, Michael never saw a formation in the field at all, while Nick Nicholson, again as reported by Andy Thomas, remembers the formation being visible right from the start of the video, confirming Jane and Freddy's report.
COLIN: Synthia and I meet with Lee Winterston and his associate in their caravan behind the Barge Inn late in the morning of the 13th. Lee told me that John Weyleigh had been trying to reach me all the previous day at the pub. This was news to me as I understood from Freddy that John had been trying to reach HIM. Lee went on to say that he had intercepted these calls and accepted them on my behalf. Again I was surprised, I couldn't understand why Lee would accept calls on my behalf as we were not close associates. Lee went on to describe the film he had seen in much the same detail as Freddy and Jane had, emphasizing the impressive UFO footage over a crop circle. He said that he wanted to buy the film for a documentary he had been working on all summer. I was indeed aware that Lee was involved in this project as he had interviewed me and we had all seen him in a Jet Ranger helicopter filming formations. Lee was anxious that should John give me a copy of the film, I agree to share it with him and he agreed to do the same if he received a copy of the film. With this agreement in tact, Lee promised to get a hold of John and call me in Wales on my mobile phone. He did not offer me John's phone number but seemed keen to stay in the middle of communications.
A real mess and poor alignment.
When I returned from Wales there were several messages on my machine from John Weyleigh asking to meet. However, by now there were a number of things bothering me. I called and we arranged to meet on the 17th, in the last 24 hours before my departure to the States at the Wagon and Horses pub in Beckhampton. I arrived with Synthia and immediately felt something was wrong. It seemed to me that we were watched from the minute we arrived until we left in a seemingly intentional way by other people in the pub.
John was already there, sitting at a table, was extremely nervous and was initially unsettled by Synthia's presence. He preceded to tell us a slightly different version of the story we had already heard. He said that he went to Oliver's Castle because Freddy had told him that people would be doing a watch there that evening. He had gone looking for people and couldn't find anyone but was committed to staying there alone. At five in the morning he was awakened by a buzzing sound and saw a ball of light in the field. His camera wouldn't operate at first, due to moisture, but then did. He trained it on the field where he had seen the single ball of light and was rewarded with it's return. He watched through the lens as four balls of light created a crop circle. We were quite surprised by this accounting as this was the first we had heard of a crop circle forming from either Jane and Freddy or Lee Winterston. We were thinking the video was of UFO's only. John was very tense and went on to say that afterwards, as he was leaving the hill, 10 military men on an exercise came around the top of the hill. The commander looked at John as they passed and asked "Did you get what you came for?" John told us that he was afraid that if he said yes they would steal his camera so he told them that his camera hadn't functioned.
At this point we were very excited to see the film. John showed us through his view finder. What we saw was initially as Jane reported, a camera pointing downward as someone walked. Then a high angle shot over a field, but with no crop circle. In came a pair of light balls from the right of the frame and circled the field, clockwise. As they passed over the crop, the plants seemed to vibrate and then lie down into a pattern. As the first pair started to leave the field, a third light ball entered from the opposite direction and was joined by a fourth which continued in a clockwise arc around the formation, completing the construction of the Oliver's Castle formation. There never was a fifth ball at all. It has to be said that the hair on my arms stood up as I watched.
John went on to tell us that he was a graduate Student at Nottingham University, majoring in American Studies and was headed to the States in the fall to teach. He said he could only be reached by mobile phone until he was in the States. He also made sure we understood that the mobile phone did not belong to him, but to a friend. He was very nervous, said that since the event he had been getting hang-up calls on his mobile phone (in fact he received one as we sat there) and claimed he was afraid of the possible military interest in his video He then said that all he wanted was for me to analyze the film and verify it's authenticity, then to use it as I saw fit. He wanted to stay completely out of the public eye. He came equipped with a handwritten contract to that effect. Written into the contract was that any money made on the film should be deposited into his bank account and that I was authorized to keep 10 percent. I was given a bank account number and bank code. I signed the contract and Synthia witnessed. At Synthia's suggestion, John also signed. He faxed me a copy later that day from a public facility. John refused to stay and answer questions, leaving abruptly as soon as the contract was signed, leaving me with a copy of the film, a bank code number and authorization to use the film any way I wanted. Synthia and I returned to Andover with barely time to pack and organize the summers research for our return to the States.
Since this meeting I have been unable at any time to reach John Weyleigh. I have left messages on his mobile phone answering service which have never been returned. He told me that " I just want to know what's going on, if it's real" yet he has never provided a way in which I could supply that information to him nor has he tried to contact me. Consequently, I have been very cautious with this film, to the criticism of many. I did not, as some insisted I should, hold a press conference and announce this staggering event to the world. I can only assume that this surprised Mr. Weyleigh who must have had different expectations as several weeks later he contacted Peter Sorenson, another prominent crop circle researcher, telling Peter that he was disappointed that I hadn't called him and was unsure of my motives. He then gave Peter a copy of the film and the rights to use it also. The film has now been shown at lectures by myself and others, seen on TV and is a matter of internet controversy and intrigue.
As already mentioned, attempts to verify the video are inconclusive without the original. Mr. Weyleigh has not come forward with it or returned my or Peter's phone calls and therefore we must look to the circumstances of the video to clarify the situation. Accordingly, I hired a private detective who traced the mobile phone and the bank account number. Several experts have analyzed the film, from NASA technical contractors to special effects professionals and most are unwilling to put their names on a final result. In looking at the origin of the video, lets return to Freddy and Jane's account.
"It is imperative to note that the film we were shown on the night of August the 11th is not the same film given to Colin Andrews 6 days later by John Weyleigh. The film given to Colin, which is being analyzed by various experts, and talked about continuously on the internet, is simply not the same film that was shown to us at the Barge Inn which John Weyleigh claimed to be the original film of the Oliver's Castle "Balls of Light". It is also important to note that no one at the table that evening , including John himself, mentioned that they had seen in the film a crop circle being formed. The discussion was limited to the amazing balls of light captured on the film. Many researchers have insisted that Freddy and I simply missed the circles forming, however what we saw began with a completed formation which was then joined by balls of light. There was no point where the formation was not in the field.
"We felt that if film we saw was genuine, it was extraordinary. We were very surprised that John did not seem to have the level of excitement one would expect having just filmed such an astounding event. Freddy told John that he needed to show the film to Colin because Colin would have the expertise available to analyze the film for authenticity. He agreed and we called Colin who was not at home at the time. Lee offered to give John 100 pounds on the spot if he would go with Lee to a studio in Swindon to have a copy made immediately as a back-up. John refused, claimed he was tired and wanted to go home. We told him we would have Colin contact him as soon as possible to set up an appointment to meet with him. John agreed and left the Barge. Lee had all of John's phone numbers which we passed on to Colin the next day.
"The following morning at around 6 AM, August 12th, Freddy went to Oliver's Castle to shoot infrared film of the formation from the top of the hill overlooking the circle. Later in the day, around 3 PM, Freddy and I went into the formation to conduct field research. Despite it's being formed only 36 hours previously and in a remote location limiting potential damage from visitors, it was immediately apparent upon entering the formation that it's construction and condition were extremely poor. The lay of the floor everywhere, especially in the center circle, was irregular in flow, trampled in various directions, and flattened with innumerable broken stalks in every location. The edges were ill-defined throughout the formation and most of the arms or avenues were miss aligned. The overall impression was of a man-made formation. This was supported subsequently by the results of the infra red photos which showed no abnormal heat dispersion usually associated with genuine formations. Dowsing produced no results. In fact, in our opinion, no indicators of a genuine formation were present.î [Ed.- others who visited the site disagree on this; some have obtain a dowsing result] "We present this information in the hopes that it will prove useful in clarifying the conflicting reports and speculation regarding the video. In addition, we feel that it is important to document our personal involvement in a rather bizarre and amusing series of events.
COLIN: So where are we now? For obvious reasons I am reluctant to share all of the detective's report. Suffice it to say that things were not as they seemed. The bank account and mobile phone traced back to a third individual whose name was also John but whose last name we cannot divulge for ethical reasons. His last name was very similar to Weyleigh. We will call him John X . The detective found no John Weyleigh at Nottingham University, although there was a John Weyleigh at Trent University in Nottingham. He did find that John X had been a student at Nottingham University and had majored in American Studies, but six years earlier than Weyleigh had told us. At this point we do not know whether John Weyleigh and John X are the same person, or whether John Weyleigh was acting on behalf of John X. The detective believes they are the same person and Weyleigh is a pseudonym. Either way John X is involved via the phone and bank . He lives in Bath and is a co-owner of a video editing and TV producing firm in Bristol. Calls to his company were intercepted by his partner (name withheld) who refused to divulge any information or pass the call to John. Evidence suggests Lee Winterston may also know this third individual, John X. I called Lee, leaving a message and then a fax asking about this and received no response. In fact, Lee has not responded to any of my subsequent contacts. I have grave misgivings regarding Winterson's role for obvious reasons, misgivings which were given substance recently in England.
On the 15th of December I appeared with Reg Presley at a UFO conference in Bristol, England, titled 'Extreme Events'. I arrived around mid-morning with Reg and long time researcher Busty Taylor and we were joined by Nick Pope, Ministry of Defense official and author of 'Open Skies, Closed Minds'. We were later joined by Matthew Williams, an editor of a UFO journal in the UK titled 'Truth Seekers'.
Williams is known to me and many researchers around the crop circle and UFO scene. He not only writes for his own magazine but for a variety of UFO journals. He was with Lee Winterston and regularly visited the UK crop circles throughout most of the summer as they worked on their video/television documentary. By the end of August, Winterston and Williams had had a falling out and separated company. At the conference in Bristol, Williams (who was rather unhappy with Winterston) and I had an interesting discussion, which he has given me permission to quote. According to Williams, Winterston had taken out loans to finance their production and had no concerns about ridiculing researchers and the phenomenon, as long as it made a saleable story. Williams told me that he was not happy with this approach, but his involvement was primarily as a camera man.
I had suspected this was true of Winterston when he approached me on the 27th of June to inspect a newly arrived formation, T440. Lee had called me on my mobile phone, very excited about the formation and insistent that I meet him there for an on the spot interview.
I declined, but as I was moments away, decided to drive over and see the formation for myself, climbing nearby Adams Grave hill for an overview. I was decidedly unhappy to find Winterston below the hill filming me on top of it with a production camera. Signaling me to wait, he and Williams climbed the hill to meet me. When they reached me, they wanted an interview concerning the new design. Under duress, I agreed, saying on film that the formation looked rough and irregular but I would need to investigate it before having an opinion. When I later flew over this formation, it was very clear from the air that this had been made by people. I couldn't help feel that Williams and Winterston knew more about this formation than they let on. I was even In fact, Williams was very bitter about the circumstances with which he and Winterston had parted company and had been willing to comment on many things when we talked in December. I told Williams then of my concerns about the Oliver's Castle video, and asked him what he knew about it - did he or Winterston have anything to do with the making of it ?
Williams said that prior to their falling out, Winterston asked him if he had any ideas about how they could finish the film in a spectacular fashion. He was keen to finish it like the video 'Crop Circle Communique' by John Macnish at Circlevision. "I told him I thought it would be a good idea to show a crop circle forming with UFO's and things over the formation but that we should make it clear that this was a simulation only. Later when I heard about the Oliver's Castle video and a similar situation to what I had suggested and especially coming from a person in Bristol, close to Winterson's home, I had to wonder". Williams asserted that he had no proof but thought that it likely that Winterston was involved. He also told me Winterston had spoken of setting up people like myself and Peter Sorenson in his documentary, the two people who indeed found themselves approached by the mysterious John Weyleigh.
In checking out details, I called Peter Sorenson, amongst others. Sorenson told me that during his meeting with John Weyleigh, Winterston showed up at the pub, saying a third party had told him Peter and John would be there. Winterston then offered to travel with Peter and John to a TV studio in the town of Swindon where the film could be looked at with specialized equipment. The film company was owned by Mr. John Huckvale. Weyleigh nervously agreed to this and they drove to the fully equipped editing suite. On arrival Sorenson told me that Weyleigh went straight to the correct piece of equipment and inserted the film for them to view - "......it was just as if he had been there before. There were many pieces of technical equipment in the studio, but he knew which one was the correct one to run his 8mm video".
I telephoned the studio concerned and spoke to the owner, Mr. Huckvale whom I found very likable and apparently honorable. He told me that he had purchased all of Winterson's documentary film due to Winterson's financial problems. Huckvale promised to make a good film with it. He did not think Winterston knew of any plan to hoax or use dishonestly the Oliver's Castle video and confirmed that he was the person who had sent Winterston to the meeting between John Weyleigh and Peter Sorenson, having heard of the meeting from the crop circle grapevine.
More evidence of poor construction despite young age of formation.
Circumstantial evidence certainly paints an incriminating but inconclusive picture, similar to the technical analysis. Peter Sorenson, who is himself a computer graphic design specialist, says he immediately saw the Oliver's Castle video as a computer generated image. Several graphic design specialists say that yes, this video could have been generated by computer, with two qualifications. It would take time and money. Because the video was being shown by the evening of the same day the formation arrived, the timing suggested a real event. However, if the video being shown in the pub the first night was not the same version being shown six days later, which I have every reason to believe is true, the time constraint is considerably altered. Additionally, crop circle researcher and computer specialist Paul Vigay saw the version of the video currently released and went home to create his own computer generated rendition. From a photograph of a circle, he recreated the same general sequence in six hours. We have not seen Paul's effort so we can not say how it compares with the Weyleigh video. However we have spoken to those who have and were very impressed. Finally, with connections from Weyleigh back to a video production company, money and expertise would not have been as large an obstacle.
Only two things are clear; nobody agrees on anything and nothing is conclusive. Those who are convinced it is real look for conformation of their belief, as do those who feel it is a hoax. CCCS- USA coordinator, ilyes, has produced a report which states that of the three experts known to her who have viewed the video, none can find any evidence of tampering. On the other hand two of the experts we have been in touch with disagree. Until the original video surfaces, there is no definitive answer. Several people have been bothered that the video is on single frames while all standard video is shot onto film with two frames (this is why the video on the TV monitor flickers when you freeze frame, because you see the two frames). Mr. Huckvale identified two manufacturing errors: in the final stages of the crop circle construction sequence the shadow around the wall of the central circle drops in very late (I have to say that this troubled me also); also, he claims that just as the first two UFO spheres move into frame there are two frames where the spheres have not been dragged by the computer operator in the correct sequence, but were left on the bottom right of the screen. The NASA contractor was bothered by the sound track. In analyzing the sound, the wind had definite spikes which may indicate that the camera was being turned on and off. On the positive side, the camera was hand held and the "camera shake" remained consistent throughout.
If it is a hoax, there are several possible motives.
1. Set up researchers
2. Damage the credibility of the phenomenon.
3. Make a lot of money.
4. All of the above.
If these were motives for a hoax, it backfired on the perpetrators. I was deliberately cautious, having recognized danger flags and so was Peter. My feeling is that irreparable damage would have been done to the credibility of the phenomenon if a big media splash had turned into the unveiling of a hoax. I hope that by being cautious this has largely been avoided. I realize that those who believe it is real, shudder at the perceived betrayal of the circlemakers. I can only say that any of us may be right and all of us must act according to our inner voices. I do not rule out the idea that big money was a motive. If I had enthusiastically publicized the video and offered film rights on John's behalf, if Winterston had completed his film, perhaps significant money would have changed hands.
I suspect from all that has occurred, and having been right in the midst of it, that this is a hoax. However, I am open for the possibility that it is not, in which case I would owe an apology to John Weyleigh and Lee Winterston. However, the evidence of proof is in John's hand. If he is being wrongly done by, he needs only to come forward with the original video for analysis and all questions can be answered.
It is possible that new information will come to light and if so we will make sure you are informed in the next newsletter. Short of that possibility, the Oliver's Castle video is put to bed for CPR with this article.
In response to the Sussex Circular which claims that the footage has been broadcast without John's authorization, I would disagree as we have a copy of the signed contract giving Colin said rights and we understand that Peter has the same.-Ed.
Since this report was written, John Wabe was traced to a Bristol video production company, and caught. He since came clean about the video being a con, and is being prosecuted.