The Energies of Crop Circles — The Science and Power of a Mysterious Intelligence
By Lucy Pringle with James Lyons
Destiny Books (2019) — £17.50
From time to time you may have bumped into Lucy Pringle and colleagues in a wheat field. The weather will be good and elderly people will be sat in camping-chairs, one of whom may be attached by electrode-type things to a peculiar looking box. On the occasion I enquired as the purpose of this odd scene it was explained by one of her companions that Pringle was ‘measuring how crop circles affect people’. It may be no coincidence that such wooliness underscores Pringle’s latest book, The Energies of Crop Circles: The Science and Power of a Mysterious Intelligence.
Possessing such a loaded title, the reader should be in no doubt where things are going. The ultimate conclusion is that the circles do indeed possess some kind of power; after all, she explains with the benefit of numerous case studies, people with certain ailments have experienced temporary relief from their symptoms after stepping inside a crop circle. The point is underscored by anecdotes of negative effects (including the failure of electrical equipment) and the supposed fact that the circles energy is dowsable. All in, it’s a argument of the type you would expect to find in pages of The Circular or The Cereologist from the early to mid-1990s … ley lines and all.
Unfortunately for Pringle and her co-author James Lyons (another long term croppie whose input consists of metaphysical and historical filler), neither is really able to see off the the massive elephant that’s casting a big shadow over the tramlines. It’s name is Doubt. Doubt that Pringle’s curious experiments are grounded in anything more than pseudoscience. Doubt that the effects of a so-called circles energy can be attributed to other factors; especially the question of a placebo effect on visitors to circles. Pringle does protest against placebo playing a hand, but she produces nothing resembling a credible argument supported by reliable data. Whether you’re a true-believer in the circles energy, a doubter or a hardcore refusenik, it’s unlikely that Pringle and Lyons are going to change your mind … and that’s if you manage to make it to the end of the 250 or so pages. It feels much longer. One saving grace is the undeniable quality of Pringle’s aerial photography, but buying such a steeply priced book or its £13.99 Kindle companion is an expensive way to experience it.