The MathMagicalMatrix

Updated Monday 7th August  2006

The MathMagicalMatrix

On the two days of the weekend of July 29 - 30 I directed the construction of a crop formation in wheat, under broad daylight below Woodborough Hill in Alton Priors (with the permission of farmer Tim Carson).  The design is similar to very early crop circles, except it has a grid of a hundred two-digit numbers in the middle.  Many people are unwilling to believe that it was man-made -- and I’m reluctant to say otherwise -- but here are the facts for those who are interested.
  The crop circle was made at the behest of Scott Flansburg, who is in the Guinness book of world records as the fastest human calculator.  He has books/videos to help everyone understand numbers and arithmetic in a new way.  See:    You can get T-shirts with the crop
formation on it at his website, too.  He has written a book on math tricks for children, and this “MathMagicalMatrix” is probably going to be an illustration in the book -- as a way of getting the kids’ attention.
  I conceived of the design for Scott in February, and when I got to Wiltshire in July I arranged with some great crop artists to help me create the formation with my associate, Simeon Hein Ph.D. (we call ourselves Team Cosmos).  There were numerous witnesses and video shot on both days of construction.

 So, a week ago Saturday (July 29) we started work on the geometry of the formation in the early afternoon.  We took our time and worked carefully, with a break for sandwiches, and finished the geometry with the blank grid for the numbers, around 6 o’clock in the evening.
 At about 2 PM on Sunday, Simmie and I came back to the field with an old friend of mine, “Ripley,” who has assisted me in the past on several other paid-for circles, to make the numbers in
the grid.  I had fabricated a jig with bamboo and coloured ribbons which we could move around the grid square to define the limits of each number.  Making all those double-digit numbers was hard work for my talented friend, but when I offered to take over, Ripley insisted he do them all.  Bravo, sir!
 There was a tramline down the middle of the number grid which made it pointless to try to put numbers along it -- something I knew from the beginning of the design stage I would have to fill in with Photoshop by copying and pasting numbers onto the aerial photos.  Ripley did so well everywhere else that I only had to fix a few of the other digits.
  On the first days work no one interrupted us, but on the second day word had gotten around, and it was necessary to restrict access to the field, as something like 50 people came by in the next few hours.  I gave the Norwegian videographer, Terje Toftenes, unique permission to film us at work, since it was not possible to work while answering aggressive questions and posing for pictures for everybody else.  I almost had to throw an big Italian journalist out by force, when, after several minutes, he simply would not leave when asked politely!

 As soon as we were finished we went to the airfield to get shots of the formation, despite the poor evening light.  There was a strong possibility that rabid fundamentalists might damage the formation before a sunny shot could be taken.  Indeed, the next day when our partner, Ron Russell, flew to shoot 35mm picture under good light someone had stomped one of the numbers flat, and other minor damage had been done.  But on the whole all was well, and here you see a few of the best shots, including a close-up of the number grid before any PhotoShop was done -- warts and all.
 The day after that we decided to put up a sign explaining who the formation had been made for and why.  The sign was not very well received, to say the least!  Someone wrote “LIARS” across it with a large felt marker, and there was with other graffiti. Not all of that was negative, however -- we smiled to see hearts and some positive comments, too.
 I anticipated the high emotions -- I expected little less.  The belief by so many croppies that humans are incapable of such a feat was however a bit of a surprise.  I know if something like this had appeared back when I was a Believer in the 1990s that I would have been highly sceptical that the Angels/ETs would be using Arabic numbers -- after all examples of alphabetical or numerical crop circle are about as rare as hen’s teeth.  The numbers 00 through 99 are hardly earth shaking enough to justify such a radical change in policy for our Martian friends to imprint them at Alton Barnes!
 When Simmie and I were there the day after completing it we encountered a group of Germans who politely challenged us that no one could not have made such a complex crop circle.  After much discussion someone who had videoed us working on the numbers from up on Woodborough Hill came forward and showed them his shots.  Although filmed from far away, one could plainly see
Ripley flattening the numbers.  But the German who could speak English best then shook his head in frustration and told me that he was inclined to believe that that the video was computer animation (!).  [Those who know me well will appreciate the irony!!!]
 My reply was that I feel it’s my job to tell the Truth, but if people didn’t accept it I’m not going to put any energy into twisting folks’ arms to change their minds.  I learned long ago that there is neither love nor profit in wrestling with the Anointed!  Let people believe what they want.  If you ask me my opinion, I’ll tell you, but I won’t argue at length.
 Since a some of the numbers are wrong, requiring Photoshop, someone has asked: Do you really believe, that so many mistakes have been made by an "expert team"?
 This has me laughing -- since when are mistakes considered proof that humans could NOT make crop circles?!
 The same person asks: Why does Team Cosmos not show pictures from the making? (Only a complete video can convince us) There should be definite interest to document this process, since it is a very complex circle and would bring a  lot of new ground to the discussion about crop circle making > in general.
Well, again, my experience is that there is never enough evidence to prove what I am not all that interested in proving. When people prefer to think that a half hour of computer graphics has been used to show us making a crop circle, I don’t think that ANY amount of footage will believed.  And I certainly have no desire to bang my head against that wall!
Some readers will accept my explanation, others will not.  I really hope perhaps they never do, because the crop circle phenomenon is so much more subtle and complicated than what FLATTENS the crop.  Focusing on the ET/Angel/Human factor misses the point entirely!  (Please see my statement on my home page for my philosophy.)
One of my “artsy” shots shows the formation from far away, with the ghost of an ancient, henge-like, Neolithic ring causing discoloration in the crop.  This ring often can be seen over the course of the decade (plus) that I have been filming this field.   This ring is a genuine wonder!


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Peter Sorensen