Lead photograph by Nick Bull

How good did we all feel when that corny NHS and keyworker tribute pseudo-crop circle appeared in an undisclosed Somerset field to kick off the domestic season? How proud did it make us feel that Team [Not So] Clandestine were appreciating the efforts of those people braving infection from Covid-19 to keep the nation running? Well, considering it was just a cynical ploy by those saucy devils to try and get some publicity The Croppie was less than impressed. (As an aside, the Croppie suggests those Clandestine grandmasters may have experienced a bout of bottomache when the virus splurge made it into the newspapers instead!)

More disappointing were the limited number of photos showing the pseudo-crop circle from above, each showing it at a curiously low angle. This is fine if you’re looking to get the landscape into the shot, but this wasn’t the case in this example. Such photographic discretion tends to suggest the individual with the camera — or drone, in this case — has something to hide.

In the last few weeks some further photographs and images of the world’s most spammed pseudo-crop circle have made their way into the public domain. The Croppie didn’t pay too much attention to them until a reader emailed in with an overhead image of the pseudo-circle under a grid overlay. This sender was keen to know how the ‘land artists’ involved had made a number of mistakes.

What mistakes? Impossible! Such genius is above the level of error. It’s perfect. Believe, believe, believe, believe.

The Croppie doesn’t believe a circle’s quality is based upon the self-perceived reputation of an individual and their groupies. It doesn’t matter if the ‘land artist’ has been on television and got a snog from a Dutch woman who runs an exhibition. ‘What matters?’ is a question to be considered another time, but the answer is partly based upon the construction quality. You don’t have to be Robert Pirsig or any other deceased philosopher to recognise the quality here is not up to par.

Let’s look at the photograph:

The sender has taken the straight line from the centre to the bottom of the heart to align the grid. This is very helpful as it has allowed them to highlight some significant construction errors.

  • Let’s begin with the uppermost horizontal line (that’s the top line running from left to right if long words aren’t your thing). It clips the top feather in the left wing. Follow the line to the right and what do we find? Well, that feather’s counterpart on the right side is entirely above that line. The tips of those two feathers are misaligned by approximately 6°.
  • Now let’s look at the tips on the bottom feathers on each side. The knock-on effect from the previous error has now become near enough 8°. You’ve also probably noticed how the lower edges of those same feathers run at crazily different angles. (Ditto the three feathers above.) It doesn’t help that the feather widths are considerably different, as illustrated by the red-lined sections either side of the heart.
  • Finally, have a look at the feather tips on the left. They near enough touch the circumference of the enclosing circle. Now compare these with second, third and fourth from bottom feather tips on the right. They’re some way out.

From the same land artist extraordinaire who moans about aspects of other crop circles being ‘recycled’. This one appeared in 2016 near Figsbury Ring, Salisbury. The ‘feathers’ were messed up in this one too, albeit to a less noticable extent. Photograph by Hugh Newman.

So what’s the cause of these errors?

It’s hard to say for sure although there’s a bold guess to be made on the alignment of the feathers. It has been suggested the Team Clandestine to use a laser to help construct their pseudo-circles. If this is indeed the case — and The Croppie really doesn’t know for sure — then we can guess it was placed centrally in the circle serving as the angel’s head. In theory, the laser would be mounted on a rotating plate and used as a tool to aid the construction of straight lines in the pseudo-circle. Whilst this is may be a great time saver in the field when compared to other methods there are two possible issues:

One, the laser’s tripod may be knocked out of position. As a good example, consider the straight line to the heart matching up with 0° on the laser’s rotating mount plate. Accidentally move the tripod and you will be extremely fortunate to re-align it on exactly the same place as before. Two, in the dark it may be difficult to take a visual reading of the selected angle from the mount plate. Make one mistake and you could be in for a long night. Either explanation is a possibility but the only people who really know are the ‘artists’ involved. And know they would … afterall, they’re the best in the business if you’re not too fussy about the end product.

The Croppie suggests Team Clandestine get back out into the field rather than attempting to spend 2020 dining out on this disappointing start. Then again, do we really want to see them spamming every Facebook group and YouTube video to have ever existed? Probably not.

If you have a question to ask The Croppie click here to get in touch.