Lead photograph by Steve Alexander
‘It was very intimidating,’ explained circle researcher Charles Mallett of the helicopter that had descended to within 50 feet of him inside the 777 formation on 10 July 2007, ‘but I knew whoever was flying was not going to crash that expensive machine into the East Field and was not going to start strafing with bullets along that peaceful English farmland of Wiltshire.’
Charles can always be relied upon for an oddly worded but weirdly elegant quote, but these words from a telephone interview with journalist Linda Moulton Howe would set the scene for one of the weirdest ideas to have emerged from the 777 shooting match: the military were taking an exceptional interest in the large, ugly crop circle that had appeared three days before Mallett’s encounter. And all poor Charles had done was head into the circle to collect a few soil samples.Moulton Howe, 2007
At approximately 9am on Monday 16 July, graphic designer and croppie Andy Buckley made his way to the silage pit adjoining East Field on the Alton to Pewsey road. Here he
surprised… five individuals dressed in light coveralls and white protective headgear which appeared to [him] to be very similar to biohazard outfits, who were emerging from the East Field crop formation, carrying metal cases and bags containing plant samples which they had presumably gathered from the field.
There were three white, unmarked Ford Transit vans which were parked in the silage-pit area when I initially arrived on the scene and I obtained the registration numbers of these vehicles. The vans were being ‘guarded’ by a very official looking man whom I would describe as being about 5 feet 10 inches in height, of medium build with a very angular looking face, moustache and grey wavy hair. He was wearing a white chequered ‘lumberjack’ type shirt without a tie, and also wore fawn coloured trousers and black boots. When I attempted to enter the East Field, he suddenly walked in front of me, virtually blocking my entrance to the field. He emphasised that the field was private property, which was true, and that there were personnel in the field conducting some form of exercise, although he wouldn’t elaborate any further… What was significant was the fact that he advised me to stay out of the field and the formation. He specifically referred to the 777 formation as a biohazard, which is presumably why his ‘personnel’ were wearing what appeared to be protective outfits. He also warned me that there was going to be some kind of military exercise over the formation later in the morning and I would be best advised to stay out of the area. If he was part of a civilian operation, how would he know about any forthcoming military activity?Buckley, 2008
At 9.30am a cluster of Apache, Lynx and Gazelle helicopters began to buzz around East Field. Two hours on, one of the Gazelles began to make ‘intimidating’ low passes causing Buckley and two other people in the crop circle to feel unwell with symptoms of nausea, headache, dry mouth and ear-popping.Moulton Howe, 2007
Buckley was still hanging around the East Field area on 18 July when three Black helicopters supposedly belonging to British SAS (military special forces) began to circle the Aum at low level. Buckley says one of the helicopters emitted a sulphuric smell that caused him and another witness to vomit. Buckley also complained of a burning sensation in his eyes. Remarkably, Andy had a radiation dosimeter at hand which beeped to signify a radiation risk.Moulton Howe, 2007It is hard to give any credence to Buckley’s purported radiation hazard unless the technical details of the dosimeter are known.
It seems a very dramatic recollection of events and, curiously wasn’t the first time Buckley had experienced some kind of run in with the forces of the State. In 2004 Buckley said he’d seen the Dolphins formation under Golden Ball Hill (Alton Priors) possibly being made by two Apache helicopters. Partly through a night vision scope he saw
Almost instantaneously, the pilots extinguished all navigation and cabin lights and assumed ‘stealth mode’ where the engine noise is cut. All that could now be heard was a very low level swishing and reverberation from the rotor blades.
My attention was drawn to the helicopter over the field because it suddenly began to perform a rather unusual manoeuvre. Whilst maintaining a steady altitude, it began to very slowly spin around in a clockwise direction for approximately 2-3 minutes then became stationary for about thirty seconds before repeating the same action several times. I simultaneously became aware of a faint blue white ‘glow’ rather similar to phosphorescence which appeared to emanate from underneath the fuselage of the helicopter… I was astonished to see directly below the aircraft what appeared to be a large circular marking on the ground which was most certainly not there a few seconds earlier.Nowegian Crop Circle Group, 2006
The previous year Buckley had witnessed a similar event at Woodborough Bridge near Honeystreet. On this occasion two black, unmarked helicopters were responsible, one of which carried ‘unusual apparatus… hanging beneath the fuselage which was about five feet in diameter, black in colour, spherical in shape with a short tube like protuberance beneath it and pointing at the ground.’
This helicopter descended to ground level and spat out a large cloud of steam, accompanied by a ‘loud hissing or sizzling sound’. After the helicopters had departed Buckley noticed the new circle where the low-flying craft had been. Buckley then experienced 50 minutes of missing time, coming to on the upper slopes of Woodborough Hill.source
These are extraordinary claims. Buckley possesses a remarkable ability to find himself in a good location at an equally good time. He’s seen two crop circles being made by the military, one of which occurred in daylight hours. Nobody else has. Given how the roads and footpaths around the Woodborough Hill area aren’t exactly devoid of traffic in the summer, you would expect other witnesses to have spoken up.
In 2008 Buckley concluded the British military possessed ‘a highly sophisticated delivery system which is technologically capable of creating complex ground markings on the landscape, wherever there is a suitable medium present.’Buckley, 2008 One guesses this medium is cereal crop. But why would the military do this? What practical value does a crop circle making piece of equipment possess? Conspiracy theorists may suggest the State would send circle making helicopters to draw attention to themselves — again, why no witnesses beyond Buckley — and discredit the paranormal theory for the crop circles’ origin. So Why then would the military then hassle tourists in crop circles and circle around formations in helicopters? Why would they deny daylight access to East Field through the silage pit to protect personnel gathering plant samples? Isn’t this counter productive? It would surely leave observers to suggest the State is hiding something extraordinary. As far as conspiracy theories go it’s messy, hole-ridden and ludicrous.
This carries us to an obvious question: if Andrew Buckley hasn’t made this all up, just what is going on in the Vale of Pewsey when it comes to the military. The answer comes from Charles Mallett. He knew the helicopter flying in close proximity to him presented no genuine danger. He understood the Vale of Pewsey, the area in which all of these events occurred, was an area regularly used by the Army Air Corps for training flights.
The intimidatory nature of some helicopters is illustrated by Ubi Morazzoni and Bibbi Bostrom, two Italian tourists. Having been spooked by low flying craft around the 777 formation, Morazzoni said he wanted to film them but felt too scared to do so.Johnson, 2008Morazzoni also says he and Bostrom were advised to leave East Field by a British tour guide who was showing an ‘American astronaut’ around the circle. Morazzoni also took a photo of what he believed to be a UFO that was subsequently pursued by a helicopter. The Croppie has personally witnessed Lynx and Apache helicopters performing low level manoeuvres above and around East Field. In one such instance an Apache hovered just above the level of Tim Carson’s wheat crop, remained stationary for a few seconds then pulled away. The manoeuvre was repeated for a good fifteen minutes. Nobody should forget that the crew of helicopters are human as well; they need to train for all possibilities and scenarios that may occur on real missions. One imagines a crop circle makes a damn good focal point on the landscape.
To conclude, there’s nothing that implicates the military in making crop circles or attempting to shoo people away from visiting them. Beyond his alleged encounter with mysterious individuals in East Field, the role of Andy Buckley in the 777 affair is negligible.
Andy Buckley (2008) 777 — The Inconvenient Truth, self-published
Miles Johnston (2008) Oh to catch a circlemaker
Linda Moulton Howe (2007) 1,033-Foot-Long East Field Wheat Formation “Happened Within 90 Minutes”, available at https://www.earthfiles.com/2007/07/27/updated-part-1-1033-foot-long-east-field-wheat-formation-happened-within-90-minutes/
Norwegian Crop Circle Group (2006) News 2006, available at http://www.kornsirkler.org/Nytt/2006nytt/2006news.html
|↑1, ↑3, ↑4||Moulton Howe, 2007|
|↑2, ↑8||Buckley, 2008|
|↑5||It is hard to give any credence to Buckley’s purported radiation hazard unless the technical details of the dosimeter are known.|
|↑6||Nowegian Crop Circle Group, 2006|
|↑10||Morazzoni also says he and Bostrom were advised to leave East Field by a British tour guide who was showing an ‘American astronaut’ around the circle. Morazzoni also took a photo of what he believed to be a UFO that was subsequently pursued by a helicopter.|