Circle Makers Speak #1: Why Did You Become A Circle Maker?
Since our Instagram account Crop Circle Explorer ran a brief question and answer session with a human circle maker, we’ve had a fair few messages and emails from readers wanting to know more about the motivations and experiences of the makers. With time and persistence we’ve convinced some of the makers we know to fill us in on their experiences for a new series of articles. These aren’t people who regularly give interviews and they have asked to remain anonymous.
For our first instalment, we asked them just why they chose to take to the fields. Why did each of them become a circle maker?
I was a croppie for nearly a decade before I first made a circle. Crop circles had transfixed me ever since I first encountered them, though I don’t know if I’d ever considered myself to have been a believer. I was open-minded, and liked the idea that it could be something other than people, but I always found the evidence presented to be lacking. I spent years on the scene though, visiting circles and exploring the wider aspects of the subject. I had a lot of fun with it.
The earliest circles that I made, which were solo efforts, were primarily investigative and experimental in nature. What is and isn’t possible in a field in a night? What supposedly anomalous effects might be the mere result of mechanical creation processes? Exactly what were people capable of? It wasn’t long before I was answering my own questions. The majority of those unreported efforts were visited by nobody other than me and the farmer, and few were even discovered or reported. That was fine by me. It wasn’t what I was doing it for.
Within a season, I met another maker who was at the same stage in his journey as I was, having only made solo circles, and we decided to team up. It wasn’t long before we were making complex and supposedly impossible-for-humans designs between us. By now my circles were getting discovered and investigated by others, and easily accepted as the real deal.
To cut a long story short, it just spiralled from there. I soon began to meet and collaborate with other makers and with the wider covert circle making scene, and was very happy that my creations were becoming accepted within crop circle lore. I never had any desire to come clean about what I was doing. I’m happy enough just playing my part. The circles have been good to me in the past, and it’s nice to be giving back to the subject. Some people interact with the phenomenon by visiting and researching circles. Some interact by making them. It’s all a part of the same process.
I grew up in crop circle central and my grandfather knew one of the duo who started the phenomenon, so I heard about crop circles early on. Growing up I had a huge interest in the paranormal and anything out of the ordinary. Crop circles fitted into that. In 2001 the most mind blowing crop circle appeared close to where I was living at the time; it started a huge obsession of wanting to visit crop circles and I sought to get my head around how they were made.
I later realised the internet could make it much easier to find out where crop circles were. My hobby became my close family’s pursuit and we would visit all the crop circles together; it was almost like treasure hunting. Sadly, along with the good stuff came social media pages that would set out to destroy their readers’ belief in crop circles. It really put a downer on my special interest and soon crop circles would actually make me sad. They didn’t feel magical anymore. I now knew that crop circles were man made but I wanted to remain open minded that there may be something else involved. I decided to take a break away for a while but out of the blue I was contacted by a like minded person who had experience in crop circle making. Before long we were out making crop circles together.
Making crop circles has given back to me the happiness and enjoyment that I nearly lost. It has shown me that crop circles really are magical and I’ve experienced the most amazing things over the years I’ve been making them. I am happy staying anonymous in the background and happy that our work in the fields is accepted as the real thing.
Like a lot of kids from the mid-1970s my childhood was shaped by the books, films and television shows I saw on the paranormal. I believed in ghosts, phantom hitchhikers, ley lines, monsters, UFOs and the role of aliens in the creation of crop circles. As I got older my belief waned, but I still liked to read up on the subjects. Deep down I wanted them to be real. From 2000 I would pay at least one visit to Wiltshire each summer to look at crop circles from the hilltops above Alton Barnes.
I had a friend who was a bit like me in that he yearned for the days when he unquestioningly believed in the paranormal. We both wanted to make tongues wag and for people to talk about the things we’d loved so much when we grew up, so we decided to stage a few hoaxes to see how people would react. Nothing serious or likely to cause anyone harm. We had a couple of successes and decided to try our hand at making a crop circle. We put it down by the local gliding club. It wasn’t even a circle, more like a small tear. We became soaked in the rain and low clouds. I sliced my hand open on rusty barbed wire, but we had fun and felt like big kids. We’d become aliens. Nobody discovered the circle and because of that the local rags missed out on some more filler from us.
My friend probably had more sense than me. He called it a day after our second attempt. It could have ended very badly as we were almost ploughed down by a Peugeot with its lights off in a Wiltshire field at 11pm. Nonetheless, I kept going in the fields because I was enjoying myself and loved the feeling of being under an open sky, well away from civilisation. It is a feeling of timelessness that has no equivalent.
My involvement with circle making has presented me with some very challenging moments but they’re nothing compared to the fun I’ve had. So I suppose enjoyment is my ultimate motivation, but it isn’t purely selfish by any means. I take the most satisfaction from seeing how people respond to crop circles I’ve made, both positively and negatively. They apply their own interpretations, symbolism and meanings to the circles. A crop circle really can be and mean anything you want it to. It makes me content to know that other people are experiencing the puzzlement and pleasure I’ve taken from crop circles.
What got me into circle making? I guess you’d have to blame books. I didn’t really have much of an education as myself and my brother were busy in our free time helping out on the farm my family managed. But I loved reading. Not that we had much of a library. My father was a strict man, but he loved a good mystery, and that was the subject of most of his books. His books were his treasure. Some of them quite rare, and I wasn’t allowed to just grab one off the shelf, I had to earn it. The Loch Ness Monster. Spontaneous human combustion. Bigfoot. But it was the crop circles that really had my brain whirring. And I had the canvas, as we were surrounded by crop fields. Though none our own.
I was thirteen when I made my first little circle, terrified of what Mr R. would do if he caught me in his crop. But more so what my father would do. I made half a dozen or so small circles the first summer, all free hand, and using the a wooden pole from a rake [to flatten the crop]. None of the circles were ever discovered, as far as I know. They were only small things, tens of feet across.
I wanted to be creative, expressing myself through art, something I never really got to do at school. By that time I had made a few friends who kind of guessed what I was up to. I was always telling them about these new crop circles I’d been in the right place to find. They were curious enough to want to tag along, giving me my own little team. What had begun as a little mischievous time killing became a serious seasonal hobby. It’s very addictive and we got much better and more adventurous as our experience increased. We loved adding to the mystery. Though my angle was creating art, I did love the discussion around their creation, and never had an urge to reveal the truth. Keeping the mystery was far more fun. Plus people loved these things, which also fed my addiction. We were making people smile, at a time when there wasn’t much to smile about!
It all started as a child driving to the west country on our family holidays my dad would always spark up when we hit Warminster and talk about the UFO sightings that made the place famous. Later in the late 80s when the crop circles started to appear, the news papers and TV stations started to report the circles which was very exciting. I saw my first of these early circles near Pepperbox hill around 1989.
In the late 90s my wife showed me an issue of Kindred Spirit magazine which had loads of crop circle pictures in the center pages. As soon as I saw them I intuitively knew that they were all man made because of the pictorial nature of them. They where not like the plain circles of the late 80s which started it all off and gave the impression that a UFO had landed in a field.
In 2006 My wife took me to see an Andy Thomas lecture on crop circles. I walked in as a non believer and came out with a new sense of belief in the circles. About half way through the lecture, Andy was starting to convince me that there was indeed something going on with these circles. All of a sudden an utterly fantastic pure ball of glowing orange light came into the room via a skylight window. It seemed to dance about and come slightly lower into the room, it moved around for a while and then was gone. Me, my wife and two other people all saw it and could not explain this light after much questioning and debate afterwards. It was an epiphany moment for me and the very next day I was driving down to Wiltshire and went inside a crop circle for the very first time. After this experience we went to Wiltshire every year for our holidays. The whole scene was a fantastic melting pot of people who came from all over the world to see the circles, such great times we had. I spent most of my time photographing the circles in the landscape and not really trying to get to the bottom of what was making them.
As the years rolled on though I noticed a lot of what was said about why ‘these circles could not be made by humans’ was starting to fall away, especially ‘It’s just too dark at night you would need lights’. It was around this time that Circlemakers TV was aired quite frequently on YouTube. It was very interesting to hear how all these circle makers explained how they made their designs in the fields at night. The real nail in the coffin though was the film maker Terje Toftenes phoning in live on one of the shows and apologising. Terje’s excellent Crossovers From Another Dimension film had promoted what he then believed to be a true mystery, but now he had more information to the contrary Terje wanted to set the record straight. And then there were the East Field shenanigans around that time where people were openly putting the umpteenth update to a circle in the daylight.
I decided that I would make a crop circle myself and see just how hard it was and what the reaction would be. Coming from an art and design background this was quite an easy step for me to take, I had always loved geometry. Photos of my second circle got into several of the major newspapers online. I went back to visit that formation in the day, examining the lay, taking photographs and also looking for the famous blown nodes [popularised as a feature of supernaturally produced circles by the late William Levengood]. I found several and recorded them. I also found the magic, single standing stems of wheat in the middle of the laid crop. I remember thinking at the time this is all starting to look like crop circles really are just made by people and the laid crop, single standing stems, blown nodes are just artifacts of the making process.
After making several circles and seeing the public reaction, it was hard to stop thinking up bigger and better designs. As the years go by it becomes more and more addictive. And so people ask why do we do it ? Well, it’s so incredibly powerful to see a person’s video from inside a circle you have made with tens of people laying down, all types of people, all ages. Some meditating with crystal skulls in the center, people playing native American flutes and generally having good vibes all around. Having been a believer myself I know that it becomes like a religion to people to visit these circles, a kind of positive force from another dimension, that’s such a wonderful thing. For me, it’s not about fooling people at all, it’s more like being a part of a very powerful phenomenon and giving people a good vibe. It really is such a thrill and buzz and you also see your creations go all around the world, put on calendars, T-shirts and the like. On top of that, the actual experience of being in a massive field at night under the stars with no one else around is very powerful indeed.