By John Lundberg
My epiphany came on three occasions inside of a week...
Last summer Rod Dickinson and myself had agreed to let a reporter from a London radio station accompany us one night as we laid down a crop circle in a field somewhere in Wiltshire. The plan was to hit a field in the Alton Barnes area.
Having already located what we thought was a safe parking spot some distance from the field, we decided to drive past it whilst there was still some daylight, only to find a car already parked there. We drove on to a nearby garage to pick up some provisions, and then into Marlborough town centre for a drink, a think, and to wait for nightfall.
After a quick briefing on the construction of the formation in the car beforehand, we drove to what we hoped, by now, would be our empty parking space. Everything seemed okay, so we killed the lights and the engine, did a sharp right, and let the car ride to a halt before pushing it under cover. All the necessary equipment was unloaded and handed around, then we silently crept along the shadows towards our field.
Five minutes later, we nearly walked right into a car parked inconspicuously down the farm track we were following. We weren't sure if there was anybody in it, but didn't fancy hanging around to find out. So, back to our car we crept. All the time Ned from the radio station was whispering a running commentary into the rather bulky tape recorder slung around his neck.
We drove on to another field that we had previously chosen as a potential circles site. This time everything ran smoothly and the formation was soon underway. Part-way through the construction of the formation, there was a powerful burst of light; we all stopped, looked around, and after a bit of head scratching continued the formation. This was followed soon afterwards by an identical burst of light. I later described the experience as analogous to having a flash gun let off in my face, with the light momentarily blinding. Unfortunately, Ned's recording equipment was switched off at the time of the flashes, as he was helping us craft the formation.
Later that same week, Rod and I were out making another formation in the same area. During its construction in heavy rain, we both witnessed a series of bright flashes. Unlike the previous all-encompassing bursts of light, these emanated from behind the bushes at the edge of the field, and were accompanied by a loud crackling noise.
We carried on, assuming that it was some kind of electrical equipment, perhaps shorting out due to the heavy rain. I returned to the site in daylight to try and locate the source of the flashes, but found only trees and bushes.
Once more during the same week, I was out circlemaking with a friend in the same locale. After four hours in the field, as the formation was nearing completion, I was suddenly overcome by a strong sense of foreboding... shortly followed by a similar burst of light. Not wanting to chance a meeting with the source of the flashes, we left. I decided to make that my last formation of 1994. Earlier this year, we took another journalist out with us. During our conversations we described the flashes of light to him, but Andy initially seemed unconvinced. This is what he later wrote in his article for The Face magazine:
"About thirty minutes before, John had turned to me as we were a few feet away on the outer ring, 'Did you pick out that flash,' he asked, excitedly. 'No,' I told him, wondering if he was trying to spook me. Ten minutes later John asked again, nothing. Now I'm pacing the other side of the ring on my own and I get one. A bright flash that seemed to emanate from the back of my own retina. From nowhere at all in fact. I ran to where John is standing. 'You saw that one?' 'Yeah,' I say, though saw isn't the right word. Ten minutes later I pick up a second."
The moral seems to be if you want to see something weird while making circles, take a journalist with you!
The circles have become signs and portents of our time, fuelling Millennial fever. They function as huge Rorschach tests writ large in the fields of southern England, deciphered according to the belief system of those who view the phenomenon.
I'm often asked why I make crop circles. It's a difficult question to answer, there are countless reasons for doing it. Being able to construct something that many people believe to be beyond human endeavour is certainly one.
The circles-prone area of Wiltshire could be referred to as a psychic landscape. The location of crop circles within this landscape is of great consequence. Seeing a formation put down in just the right place in relation to its surroundings adds an extra dimension to a formation; it becomes more than the sum of its parts. The proximity of many circles to established sacred sites, such as Avebury or Silbury Hill only adds to this sensation.
In 1991, Rob Irving described the crop circles as being "temporary sacred sites." Last year, we created a number of these. Many people visited them. Some came to meditate; some came to dance; others came to decipher, and still others came simply to view these huge "...cathedral-like floor plans." Numerous visitors reported a diverse assortment of anomalies associated with these sites.
I consider the circles we've put down to be genuine. There is no intention on our part to deceive.
Our work generates response, often from other circlemakers, and can sometimes act to catalyse a wide range of paranormal events. I still believe there is a genuine phenomenon, but I now also believe that we're a part of it.
Working backstage with the circles has allowed me to journey into the heart of an anomaly. It's been a real eye-opener, as well as providing a fascinating sociological insight. I certainly haven't got the whole picture yet - but I've got a much clearer one.
Photo by Steve Alexander: Avebury, Wiltshire, wheat, 328ft, 11 August 1994.