It has been nearly three weeks since I made a 292 foot diameter
formation with Ron Russell, Dr. Simeon Hein, and three other
members of their Midwest Research group (Diana, Rosemary and
Maki-san). And it is a measure of how bloody busy I am that
until now I have not found time to get around to preparing the
pictures and writing a report of our own circle for the
You might think that making an experimental formation, above
board, with the farmer paid and announcing fact that it was man
made so no one would be "trapped," would not be a particularly
controversial event. But NO! We seem to have hit a nerve.
Someone wrote "Rot in Hell!" on the diagram we posted at The
Barge, for instance.
I suppose it was one thing for me to CLAIM in the past that I've
made some formations, but WITHOUT proof (because they were made
illegally) -- therefore the researchers could discount my word
and assume that I was lying, or imagine that at best the
formations were probably "shite" (English slang for something
that stinks). But to have made something of above average size
and with reasonable accuracy that looks kinda nice from the air
(if I do say so myself), is a material threat to those who say
humans can not make a good circle.
I hasten to say that on the ground the lay was pretty scruffy.
Not surprising considering I was the only member of the team who
had ever even touched a stomping board before! The crop was
also very sparse and with lots of holes, like Swiss cheese, and
it would fall towards the nearest gap, rather than smooth and
First, in the early afternoon, we spent 3+ hours making two
smaller experiments to get the feel of the task. We all took
turns with all the tasks, in particular side-stepping the guide
lines and LOTS of stomping. After dinner we returned to make
our big one, starting in daylight and quitting, exhausted, after
4+ hours at 11:PM, with the flattening unfinished. This left a
crescent standing, which can be seen in Stuart's July 22nd
aerial shot. I have no doubt that we could have finished the
job -- and done it entirely in the dark -- if we had started
fresh. OR if we had enough stomping boards for every body. We
only had two boards, and so for the last hours most of us were
just standing around watching. The two who were stomping were
having the most fun, and were constantly being asked, "Are you
tired? Want me to take over?"
The next day (after Stuart got his aerial shot, thank goodness!)
we went back and finished the flattening in an hour and a half.
In the end we had put down 50,682 square feet (P times the
radius squared, you know!), with 16,250 sq ft of crop remaining
standing. The entire 916 foot circumference guideline was
side-stepped by Ron -- who must have had sore ankles the next
I think all serious researchers worth their salt should try
their hand at making a legal circle -- otherwise you have no
idea of how difficult (or easy) it is to construct a formation.
I would compare it to riding a bicycle -- I had no idea what it
would be like until I tried, but after an hour or so I got the
hang of it, and now I know it's easy.
These overlapping frames show the perimeter stalks. No special
effort was made to have them lay at an angle.
The "inverse grapeshot" was an impromptu idea that came to me as
we were finishing the last of the flattening. It was carefully
placed to be in line with the center. I figured it would be
like a beauty mark on a pretty woman -- some say it's more like
This panorama shows the chaotic lay of the crop, due partly to
sparse and uneven planting, and partly to our inexperience.