Circle Makers Speak #5: What Do You Make of the Croppies You Have Encountered?
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.
THIS WEEK'S QUESTION
There seems to be a perception amongst croppies that all circle makers view them as gullible idiots to be exploited. So we asked the makers themselves … just what do you make of the croppies you have encountered?
I know there will be some people reading this who are expecting me to say all croppies are mugs. I’ve never thought that and never will. I still consider myself to be one of their number. Certainly, I have a different perspective on the origins of the circles compared to many other croppies, but beliefs don’t define the matter of who is or who isn’t a crop circle enthusiast.
My relationship with croppies is conducted at arm’s length and is reciprocal in its nature. I want them to view my work and I’m keen to see how they interpret it. They want unauthored crop circles to visit, discuss, film and photograph. We all get what we want and everyone is happy. They don’t owe me anything and it is the same in return.
I suppose the circle maker is in an odd position. We must stay quiet to maintain the allure of the circles, but we are genuinely hated as a collective by the more extreme croppies who believe the phenomenon is paranormal. They sometimes come out with plain crazy stuff. Very recently I read comments saying we mutilate animals as part of the sinister cult we belong to. It’s funny but it’s also disconcerting. Why would someone hold such extreme beliefs about some flattened plants? I understand the UFO angle as I was once in that place myself, but the mutilations and cult stuff is as far from the truth as London is from Canberra.
Most of the abuse we receive is on social media and it can be challenging to see some of the loudest voices enjoying a crop circle you’ve made. I’ve even bumped into a couple of them in person, but I always hold my tongue because there is a bigger issue at stake: We need these people, no matter how unpalatable they may be at times, no matter how unfairly they label us. The late Michael Glickman was a classic example. I thought he was over the top with his hatred of the makers, but he genuinely loved crop circles and held some fascinating opinions on them.
Fortunately, the overwhelming majority of croppies I’ve met seem far more level headed and reasonable. I still keep them at distance though. This is partly out of respect to them and because I’ve no desire to end up in a conversation on the evils of human circle makers. Whilst I’ve been there before, and will go along with it, I find the whole situation rather uncomfortable. I visit the circles to experience the circles and see how people respond to them, not to make friends or enemies.
What do I make of the croppies I’ve met? Haha! You could write a book about that! But I’ll try and make it brief.
The in-the-flesh croppies I’ve met at circles seem ok, generally just feeling the love, the energies etc, which is a bit silly given the circles are man made and have no inherent powers or energies, but they aren’t harming anyone. You get some real oddballs of course, the tin foil hat brigade, but mostly they’re decent, kind folk just looking for something that’s missing in their lives.
As for the online ones, well, you come across allsorts, and most are looking for attention, claiming they know the meaning of each formation, and even which race of alien actually made each circle. There are some real vile types too. I won’t name names, people with really dark souls who seem to take little pleasure from the subject, I really don’t understand them and why they hang around the scene. Their angle seems to be one of self importance, with little time for others opinions, so I rarely comment myself and tend to stay away from such places.
I consider myself to be a croppie, someone who has an interest and love of crop circles. Before I became a circle maker and started to follow the crop circle social pages mainly on Facebook, I was completely baffled by the negativity. Crop circles bring me peace and positivity, so when I saw all the arguing, insults and fighting over such a peaceful subject it totally stunned me. At first I took a look and thought I couldn’t be bothered to read all the nonsense, but I became curious and kept reading. It became clear to me, after a while, who the main crop circle game players were and I started to join in debates, which looking back did me no favours.
I don’t know how it happened but my name was leaked as someone involved with circle making. The abuse that followed was appalling. I have never once admitted to being a circle maker in my own name, and never will, but this doesn’t matter to some croppies and they continue trailing my name through the mud, on the unsupported claims of one person. I think this was the turning point in my opinion of other croppies. I always used to sympathise with them, as they just wanted to know the truth about crop circles, but now some of them almost feel like the enemy. It’s totally bizarre as I’m someone who has given them what they want: pretty pictures in flattened plants. Croppies like these forget that circle makers are normal people with normal lives, jobs and families and really don’t appreciate the awful things that are written about them online.
In my opinion this is why old crop circle makers don’t return to the scene; why would they when all they receive are threats and abuse? Apart from a handful of egotistical fame wannabe circle makers, most of us want to stay anonymous and don’t appreciate their name being blabbed. It is disappointing that some croppies have a problem with me, simply because of something they have read on social media. It has been bizarre seeing them enjoying themselves in a circle I have made when, hours before, they have been abusing me online.
I am all for croppies who have their own beliefs on how crop circles are made, it’s what keeps the phenomenon alive, all the marvellous stories about aliens and balls of light. If only they were true. Telling them that all crop circles are man made is like telling your children Santa isn’t real. I just couldn’t do that, and even if I did, they wouldn’t believe me.
On the other side of the believers we have the croppies who think they know it all. They understand humans make crop circles and may even be familiar with some of the people involved, but in reality they know very little. They do the subject nor the circle makers any favours at all.
These days I try to ignore all of the bickering, remain silent and enjoy the crop circles for what they mean to me. I advise all croppies to do the same. Stay away from the drama and bitterness online and enjoy the crop circles for how they make you feel.
To answer the question we need to establish what I believe to be the proper definition of what a croppie is. To me, at the very minimum, it is just purely someone who takes an interest in the crop circles. There are many what I call ‘armchair croppies’, someone who does no more than look at photographs and videos of circles on the internet at home, whilst others could be actively visiting the circles in the landscape in the summertime. More involved are the lecturers who put on their annual exhibitions and talk about the whole phenomenon to interested audiences. The most extreme croppies of all though, the kind that salivate when they see a fresh field of ripe wheat beckoning like a blank canvas, are the circlemakers themselves. Each person could be interested for different reasons and have different beliefs about the circles.
Whenever I meet anyone inside a circle in the daytime, it is usually a very pleasant experience. These croppies are usually very happy and joyful and friendly people. Each one is different, each person with a different opinion on the crop circle phenomenon than the other, so I never lump them all together into one camp. Some are more casual with what they believe and some are way more extreme and far out with their beliefs and defend their position to the nth degree. It has only ever become difficult when I have encountered croppies with these far out and extreme ideas about the phenomenon; they tend not to be willing to take on any ideas apart from their own. I usually just go along with them when I have been in this situation as it can be problematic to get involved in the conversation. As [circle maker] John Lundberg said, it really is fascinating watching and observing the mechanics of belief in people with the crop circles. As a circle maker you are bound by the unwritten rule to never tell anyone that you are a circle maker otherwise you just destroy the whole phenomenon’s power.
Asking what I think of croppies is a strange question to me, since I consider myself to be a croppie first and foremost, my circle making notwithstanding. I had a passion for the subject before I started making circles, and it has always stayed with me. I love and am as knowledgeable about the circles as any researcher.
The relationship between circle maker and researcher / croppie is a curious one. It is symbiotic, and each needs the other, but at the same time it must remain unspoken. Circle makers cannot be open about what they do as it destroys the power and authenticity of their creations. Once formations are named and identified they become mere vandalism.
I have met many croppies over the years, remaining silent about what I do of course, and by and large they are a pleasant, most amiable bunch, especially out in the fields. I let them get on with it. I have no problem with anybody believing whatever they want to believe, in crop circles or in anything, as long as it doesn’t harm anybody else. The circles’ meaning, origins, symbolism, wider implications and associations; everything is up for grabs, and people are free to think whatever they wish. Crop circles are a very broad church.
The only people I do have a problem with are the clueless know-it-alls who like to stamp their authority on the subject when in reality they know very little, and sadly the scene is full of them these days, especially on the Facebook groups. They are typically humourless, with little enthusiasm for the subject, and care more for their own self-deluded sense of superiority than they do for the circles themselves. Even some former makers have gone down this route, and it dismays me. The circles are bigger than any one person’s ego. The maker’s role is simply to go out into the fields and put down the circle and then step away and let others do and think what they will. Crowing about it all over the internet does nobody any favours, and nobody ever comes out of it looking good.
Croppies are like any other human beings. There are plenty who are decent and a few who are best forgotten about. Most of the people I’ve met inside crop circles have been very pleasant even if some of them can possess a tendency to impose their own perspectives on you. It’s always about the cause of the circles, isn’t it. I just say I’m less interested in the origins of them and much more curious as to what they mean. Not everyone I give this response to seems to understand it. It’s like they don’t get how someone can frame the crop circles in a wider, more philosophical sense; but I guess I don’t have a firm belief system to impose upon the circles.
I’ve met some interesting characters in the circles and in the areas around them. I won’t name this one researcher who has left the scene, but I accidentally bumped into him four times in as many weeks. He was very conspiratorially minded and jokingly suggested I was a government agent trying to recruit him. I called his bluff and went silent. I wasn’t sure if he thought I was joking or not, so the following day I contacted him with an offer to bring him into the intelligence fold. He never responded, but when I ran into him near Alton Barnes at the end of the season he refused to engage and sloped off in huddle with some other croppies. Safety in numbers and all that. I expect he still tells that one at his local when crop circle season comes around: the day the secret service tried to recruit me. Beyond him, I’ve met the usual crystal skull mystics, drum bangers, singing bowl players and plain curious tourists. It’s usually a pleasure.
As for the more well known people, I have a pang of sympathy for Paul Jacobs. He has beliefs I don’t necessarily follow, and I think he can be a bit overzealous online. Some of the abuse he has received though has been completely over the top. I read someone accused him of stealing dogs. It was total nonsense. Someone let their dogs free in the heat, they ran off in Paul’s direction, he found them and gave them some water. Apparently that’s abduction and the police got called. It goes without saying that there was no issue, but that doesn’t stop the croppie gossips from running their mouths.
Another time, I was in one circle when [cerealogist] Colin Andrews came strutting in like a lord. It was fascinating to see so many older croppies gravitate towards him and blow smoke rings up his fundament. Not many other electricians from Andover can claim to have people doing that to them. I don’t get it. Is it because he’s an author and was on television? He’s certainly not the guardian of the truth some make him out to be, and the way he cosies up to the lowest common denominators of the circle making fraternity is embarrassing.
Let’s not end on a bad note. Sometimes you can meet croppies who make you appreciate what it’s all about. I recall a cold afternoon in the rain spent at a circle in Wiltshire. A group of croppies were standing in the wet, just staring at a little feature close to the centre of the circle we were all visiting. Nobody said a word. They didn’t need to as I knew exactly what they were thinking in that moment: mindful deliberation of what such tiny detail meant. The reverence those men gave to that little swirl of crop was extremely moving. It’s experiences like this which makes you want to keep fuelling the dreams of these people.