Saturday, September 5, 2009
Amazing Crop Circles - PART - III
Scientific analysis According to material published by Nancy Talbott's "BLT Research Team", anomalies found at some circle sites in England and the US are consistent with them having been created when localized columns of ionized air (dubbed plasma vortices/vortexes) form over standing crops. Talbott claims minuscule spheres of magnetic iron have also been found, distributed either around the perimeter of the circle or linearly, and that this suggests a very complex delivery system. Claims of bent or extended nodes in the stems of cereal grasses have also been made, allegedly suggesting that the crop has been subjected to a very rapid electromagnetic burst, causing the moisture inside the stems to expand, stretching or bending the nodes to almost three times their length. Talbott claims holes have been found in the nodes, suggesting a rapid microwave burst, causing the moisture to turn into steam, which then forces its way out, leaving expulsion cavities. In 2002, Discovery Channel commissioned five aeronautics and astronautics students from MIT to create crop circles of their own. Discovery's production team consulted with crop-circle researcher Nancy Talbott, who provided them with three attributes that she believed set "real" crop circles apart from known man-made circles, such as those created by Doug Bower and Dave Chorley. These criteria were: Elongated apical plant stem nodes - Expulsion cavities in the plant stems - The presence of 10–50 micrometre diameter magnetized iron spheres in the soils, distributed linearly Over the course of a single night, the team was able to create a stereotypical "man-made" circle that they then attempted to enhance using the three criteria. The team used lengths of rope to plot their design and trampled the wheat down in a spiral pattern using lengths of wooden board attached to loops of rope. To meet criterion 2, they constructed a portable microwave emitter, using it to superheat the moisture inside the corn stalks until it burst out as steam. To meet criterion 3, they built a device—dubbed the Flammenwerfer ("flamethrower")—that sprayed iron particles through a heated ring. However, the device proved to be too time-consuming to use, and they were forced to finish the task by using a pyrotechnic charge to distribute the iron around the circle. The circle was later analyzed by graduate students from MIT, who declared it to be "on a par with any of the documented cases". Their conclusion was later questioned by Talbott, who noted that the team had only been able to recreate two of the three criteria. Talbott also expressed concerns that the iron particles were not distributed laterally. Furthermore, she felt that the team's use of night-vision headsets and other technologically advanced items would be out of reach for the average hoaxer. This would have been even more so in the '70s and '80s when night-vision equipment was rare outside government use. The creation of the circle was recorded and used in the Discovery Channel documentary Crop Circles: Mysteries in the Fields. Paranormal and alternative explanations Since appearing in the media in the 1970s, crop circles have become the subject of various paranormal and fringe beliefs, ranging from the hypothesis that they are created by freak meteorological phenomena to the belief that they represent messages from extraterrestrials. Other hypotheses attribute them to atmospheric phenomena, such as freak tornadoes or ball lightning. The location of many crop circles near ancient sites such as Stonehenge, barrows, and chalk horses has led to many New Age belief systems incorporating crop circles, including the beliefs that they are formed in relation to ley lines and that they give off energy that can be detected through dowsing. New Age followers sometimes gather at crop-circle sites in order to meditate, or because they believe that they can use the circle in order to contact non-physical beings. UFOs and other lights in the sky have been reported in connection with many crop-circle sites, leading to their becoming associated with UFOs and aliens. Some people claim to have seen images of UFOs forming crop circles or overflying them, though photographs have been dismissed by experts as being indistinct or clear hoaxes. Analysis - The main criticism of non-human creation of crop circles is that evidence of these origins, besides eyewitness testimonies, is scant. Crop circles are sometimes explicable as the result of human pranksters. There have also been cases in which researchers declared crop circles to be "the real thing", only to be confronted soon after with the people who created the circle and documented the fraud (see above). Many others have demonstrated how complex crop circles are created. The main criticism of human creation of crop circles is that Bower and Chorley could not have covertly travelled internationally and executed all if indeed any known circles prior to their claims in 1991, and that still-secret cells of hoaxers are very unlikely to have spontaneously and successfully joined the game. It is more likely that their "hoax" consisted merely of claiming to have begun the practice years earlier. All subsequent human circle creators derive from the 1991 publicity, and devote their efforts to maintaining the hoax, i.e. to proving the implausible proposition that Bower and Chorley created a world-wide plethora of crop circles in total secrecy. In hoaxer terms, this represents a classic success, an "I'm Brian / Spartacus" scenario. In his 1997 book The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, Carl Sagan discussed alien-based theories of crop circle formation. Sagan concluded that no empirical evidence existed to link UFOs with crop circles. Specifically, that there were no credible cases of UFOs being observed creating a circle, yet there were many cases when it was known that human agents, such as Doug Bower and Dave Chorley, were responsible.  Circle creators Doug Bower and Dave Chorley concur. In 1999, researcher Colin Andrews received funding from Laurence Rockefeller to conduct a two- year investigation into crop-circle hoaxing. Andrews put together a team that studied crop circles that had been commissioned by various media outlets and infiltrated several groups known to be creating man-made circles. Using these man-made circles as a base, Andrews went on to study data from circles found in England in 1999 and 2000. Andrews concluded that 80% of all circles studied showed "unassailable" signs of having been man-made, including post holes used to demarcate circle layouts or evidence of human tracks underlying the circle sites, but could not account for the remaining 20%, for which he was unable to find signs of human interaction. Andrews's figures have been disputed by CSICOP, who argue that Andrews's criteria for distinguishing between man-made circles and non-man-made circles were insufficient, as no official standard exists for determining the nature of a crop circle. Furthermore, these circles were in England, where the hoax is most operative. In 2002, Freddy Silva published Secrets in the Fields (2002). He paraphrases Gerald Hawkins' summary: "If crop circles are made by hoaxers, then they should stop doing it, because they are breaking the law and damaging the food supply. If they are made by UFO aliens, they shouldn't give us back the dates of our trips to Mars and the names of the men from the Titanic era – famous, clever, but now forgotten. If some are transcendental, the power behind it should realize that our culture is not now willing to accept transcendental happenings. But if they are indeed transcendental, then society will have to make a big adjustment in the years ahead." (p. 299) Critics have cited what they refer to as the "shyness factor". This alludes to the fact that no crop-circle makers have been caught in the act. This assertion is not true however, and there are cases of circle makers being apprehended, including one high-profile case in 1998 when a circle was made for the media and the makers interrupted when seen in the act. In most cases, it appears that the creation of crop circles is a nocturnal activity. Usually nothing is reported, and during one attempt to observe the creation of a crop circle, numerous individuals witnessed nothing out of the ordinary, yet were astounded to see a crop circle in the field only a short distance away from the one they had been watching the next morning. Crop circles known to have formed during daylight have not revealed the presence of hoaxers.