By now July was upon us and the genuine phenomenon had disappeared. A rash of patterns appeared suddenly over one weekend around Beckhampton and the Vale of Pewsey - artful patterns without meaning, and again, no visible or invisible signs pointing to a supernatural phenomenon, in fact, it later transpired that many of the new arrivals were man-made for upcoming documentaries and films, and as far as I know, all with farmers' permissions. Perhaps the prettiest of this land art was Team Satan's/circlemakers effort for HTV at Beckhampton, although the rosette was simply a collection of eight circles and 5 rings with every alternating segment flattened. Amazing what can be done by people when they have lights in the field at night (why not just make it during the day?), and working in a prossecution-free environment thanks to the farmer's approval - a far cry from the 'sunflower' formation of 2000 which was created with far more complicated 44 logarithmic spirals!
Meanwhile, the East Field played host to another crop circle, an addition to the messy and contrived pyramid symbol already several weeks old at its southern end. The new design was a near-replica of 1995's 'asteroid belt' formation, in which the mean orbits of planets of the inner solar system were depicted with 99% accuracy; on one of these orbits the Earth was missing. But this time around it was constructed by Matthew Williams and co. for an upcoming British movie, a love story featured around crop circles. The whole incident was certainly above board - permission had been approved and the field paid for; and veteran researchers Colin Andrews and Busty Taylor were on-hand, acting as consultants. But why should these people have chosen such a public (some would say holy) location for this venture? Why not have secured a field in any other part of the country, far away from prying eyes, and certainly not requiring security measures? And what impression will be left with the new visitors to the East Field when they find out next year that the magnificent design they saw (and from the top of the hills it certainly looked convincing) was no more than a replica? Who could have been so irresponsible as to suggest this location and why?
On a lighter none, I had an inkling the previous night that some foul play was going to happen in the East Field, and when I 'cased the joint' around midnight I caught the perpetrators getting ready, with Busty Taylor looking after the equipment. Which just shows what a little intuition can do!
Amid all this irresponsibility came some useful research. The German researchers Hans Kyborg and Joachim Koch returned for their yearly homage to the real Circlemakers by making a crop circle below Woodborough Hill - again with permission. The two gentlemen do this as a mark of respect; a show of gratitude, and always with a scientific eye - a balance of science and faith. This year Paul Vigay and I were invited to join them to dowse the chosen location, Paul with his electronic equipment, me with my copper rods. My angle was to look at how people with the right intention can interact with the Earth's geodetic energy grid, detect it, even influence it. The results - which will be published by Koch and Kyborb in the near future - showed that not only did all the parties independently locate an anomalous energy point in the landscape, but Koch and Kyborg's design actually referenced, and influenced, the local energy grid - a demonstration of just what can be achieved when one uses the natural senses to feel the unseen.
At the time we also wished for a confirmation from the Circlemakers, assuming it was in the highest interests of all. As we gazed across the fields towards Golden Ball hill, I pointed at a field near Huish and remarked how a crop circle was going to appear there. We logged the remark and went back to work. Two weeks later I flew over Huish, and to my astonishment, a small 40-foot 'pinwheel' crop circle had materialized on the exact spot I'd predicted (above middle)! Excited, I went to see the design on the ground, but again the signs of authenticity were missing. I called Joachim - had they mentioned my prediction to anyone, or talked about it at the pub? No, not a word was said. The really curious thing was that, by now, at least 8 out of 10 other predictions of possible crop circle sites had now come true, but the evidence on-site was far from convincing or conclusive. It was as if someone had either been reading my mind or had rigged my phone! Or perhaps we can also pick up on human energy fields.
As August descended upon southern England, the number of visitors was noticeably down on previous years. As I went for my evening walk up to the Neolithic mound of Adam's Grave, with its superlative view across the vale of Pewsey, another film crew was setting up camera for yet another crop circle film; several 4x4s came and went as the clouds closed in. A technician told me they were filming the stars at night, and not much more. Strange... thick clouds laden with rain were about to blanket the entire area, and yet the equipment was still being amassed on top of the strategic lookout point. The next morning, news came of a colossal crop glyph literally a few hundred yards from Adam's Grave, atop Milk Hill. In fact, it covered most of the top of Milk Hill.
Six rotating arms held 413 circles; the diameter of the design was estimated at 900 feet. From the air, the shear size of the glyph held your attention like a master hypnotist, and as the plane circled overhead the crop glyph gyrated. Could this be one of the most complex designs ever? Well, the media was certainly re-ignited as images of this new glyph once again put crop circles on the forefront public attention.
Once again my attention returned to the ground. When I first visited the formation I began to get physically sick just on approach; dowsing was proving problematic and the little progress I made on my first run was a mass of runaway energy which bore no relationship to the physical design. Once again, any readings pointed to microwave. I had to come back. The following day the energy was gone. Not even the centres of the circles reacted (as they normally do). What was going on? I walked around looking at the floor; everything was very mechanical, and neither as precise nor as neat as I'd expected, although the rain a couple of nights before certainly didn't help. Every centre was exactly at each centre, a bit disturbing since in genuine crop circles the focus of the originating spiral lay is off-centre. I I examined the wheat and could not find the traditional burn marks. Under the lay and through the centre of every circle lay a rough circular path, at certain points it was even obvious where this tracer line had deviated and the maker had readjusted to complete the circle. What on earth was going on here?
After the initial enthusiasm I took a more studied approach to the design. From overhead it is clear how the design - seemingly complicated at first - is simply six circles rotating from a central point, and not dissimilar to a design made in the Midlands last year, albeit simpler in execution. Geometrically speaking, this is a very immature design, seeing as 1996's 'triple Julia Set' (Windmill Hill)- essentially the Milk Hill glyph's natural predecessor- was composed of far more complex logarithmic spirals. Given the exponential historical growth of crop circles, this would indicate a backwards step! Looking at each of the six large rotations bearing 13 circles on each spine, two of the end circles are considerably different in size, as if they've had to accommodate for measurement errors accumulated in the previous twelve circles; a similar problem occurred with the 'heart' formation made by Rob Irving and co. last year (East Kennett).
I mentioned earlier about microwave, that fleeting, short-lived electro-magnetic frequency; the Dutch researchers Bert Jansen and Janet Ossebard discovered a number of deformed seeds and seed heads in this formation - one piece of evidence which would point to the use of microwave. Except up till now, the energy generating genuine crop circles has been in the high MHz range, and microwave lies in the GHz range. Even as seasoned a researcher and firm believer of crop circles as I am, at the time of writing there are many doubts in my mind as to the origins of the Milk Hill glyph: on the one hand the complexity would seem beyond human capability, and yet if one were to go about creating a massive deception, this remotest and most inaccessible of sites amid crop circle country would provide a large group of people with great privacy. It is important to keep an open mind here.
For me, the Milk Hill glyph is visually stunning, and its placement along a ridge overlooking the Pewsey Vale is nothing short of breathtaking, almost made-to-order for an aerial photographer. And yet after the initial visual bombardment, something about it leaves me cold - I get the sense of 'going around in circles'; it feels good, balanced, but little more. Perhaps that is all it was meant to do. Or perhaps this one isn't for me? Historical evidence suggests that once a person has soaked up enough crop circles energy the body simply cannot hold any more, and so at some level, the person fails to resonate with certain designs even though they are genuine. Certainly, the Milk Hill glyph brought much wonder to many others and that cannot be denied, nor the feeling of complete abandon as one came across it for the first time.