FIELDS OF THE FUTURE

The crop circle season of 2000 has certainly been a mile stone with regard to my involvement with the phenomenon. Ten years have passed since I entered my very first formation back in 1990, which was an incredible 11 seasons ago! Many of you probably havenít realised how long I have been recording the phenomenon, as my work has only been seen through the international web site, The Crop Circle Connector. Indeed, the site has been on the Net for nearly six years, and this year was our sixth season for placing reports on the events that unfolded in the fields.

So what are we to make of the first season of the new millennium. Some people believe that the 2001 season will be regarded as the first true official 21st century season. But as the zeroís came around on Jan 1st there was certainly an air of excitement from the crop circle community, and from around the world on the Internet. The question is has the crop circle season of 2000 lived up to its expectations, following on from what was tremendous season in 1999. Are we witnessing a transition stage, in understanding the phenomenon, not only from a design point of view, but also in the way we perceive how they are created?

The formations that have graced the fields of Wiltshire and Hampshire, and around the country, will certainly be remembered for their various forms of designs and popularity. It has been a mix bag of different patterns, and unpredictability out in the fields this year. But at the same time, there was a sense of changing opinions from people who we met within the formations, who started to discover a new understanding on what they were experiencing. So lets take a look at how the season shaped up, and the stories and reactions that grew up around the events in the fields.

The month of April was I suppose a disappointment for the community. Great anticipation and excitement from The Crop Circle Connector, we just couldnít wait to burn some film, (video and still) but we only received just three events in this month, compared to an incredible nine events in 1999. Indeed, our excitement was also concentrated on Newton St Loe, only a few miles from Bristol, and perhaps the local spiritual sanctuary for the Connector. Unfortunately we were denied the first event of the season, and we had to wait until the 27th of April to see are first formation. 

Not exactly inspiring for the crop circle starved community, this small formation, located high on the slopes of Cherhill, but nevertheless, it was the official start to the season. It certainly gave us an opportunity to once again perfect the pole photography, and to start a collection of short interviews with people we met within the formation. One particular family came all the way from China to see the formations for a holiday, and of course they were naturally excited.

One of the most frustrating parts of crop circling is trying to monitor areas, which have high hedgerows, especially if youíre driving. One particular patch is the field around our most local area of Newton St Loe, Corston, and Marksbury. The majority of the fields can be viewed from different advantage points, with very little difficulty, but there is one field, which has been used in the past, but is hidden from ground level, due to the high hedges that surround it. Both Mark and myself had frequently expressed our concern of not being able to see this particular field. The season was entering the first week on May, and we only had one event from Wiltshire. However, due to the Connector commitments and daytime work responsibilities, the field was left unmonitored. .

On the 18th of May, we received an email, from someone that was taking a walk on a nearby hillside, and had noticed quite an impressive formation in the distance. Our hearts sank, when we heard of the location of Marksbury, we didnít need any explanation of its location, as we buried our faces in our hands. This formation which appeared, possibly some weeks before the 18th, was at Stantonbury Hill, and is regarded to be one of the finessed to have appeared in our local area. Unfortunately, the crop was Barley, and as many of you dedicated Ďcroppiesí know, these formations have to be reported on extremely quickly after their creation. 

We arrived far too late for a report on this Julia set, but we tried to record what we could. A lesson learned, but a painful one under the circumstances. Thank goodness we were given a second chance. Only days after our first initial visit to this field, we were back there again, both of us, astonished at what had arrived in the same field. A collection of extremely impressive circles, in an Ďsí shapes, snaking up the field, from its boundary. In fact, the bottom two circles, were just semicircles, as they merged into the track that ran along the side of the field. This is a feature still rarely seen from the phenomenon.

As we entered the month of June, all eyes were trained on the Avebury area. Still extremely quiet, compared to previous seasons, but we didnít have to wait long. On the 2nd of June, in a location well used by the Circlemakers, opposite Silbury Hill, we had what can only be described as a Sierpiniski Gasket formation. 

However, this wasnít apparent on its first day of creation, as the central design had not been completed, but on its second day, there it was!

The month of June, generally turned out to be quite a month for the phenomenon. Many impressive designs formed, not only in the homeland of Wiltshire, but also across the country. We only had to wait a few days from the Silbury event, when we received news of an extremely neat design in Bringhurst near Corby in Leicestershire. It turned out to be a very similar design, to a formation that we shall discuss later near Woodborough Hill. One of the joys of crop circling is visiting new locations, and once again we werenít disappointed. 
On the 8th of June, all of us had the fortunate opportunity to visit what I felt was one of the most picturesque locations for a crop circle formation. Situated on the hill, just outside of the village of Grafton, was an impressive design in Barley, with magnificent views over the Vale of Pewsey. Simple in form, but the floor construction was one of the neatest I have witnessed in Barley. Unfortunately the day was marred slightly by a strong wind, which meant holding the photographic pole, became quite a task. I probably resembled someone fly fishing, than trying to desperately take photographs, with a high shutter speed.
By the 2nd week of June, the season was really taking off, or so we thought! The fields that surround Silbury Hill, and renowned for various formations over the years, but to have two impressive designs in one field, just seemed unprecedented for the time of year. Well, this is actually what we received, as on the 11th of June, to the west of Silbury Hill, near the Wagon and Horses public house, two magnificent formations formed on the same night, only yards from each other. They caused great excitement in the community, and appeared in the field, which has seen many previous designs. Whether your interest in the phenomenon is purely artistic or spiritual, you certainly could not have failed to be moved by these two events, close the ancient mound of Silbury. There is certainly something rather powerful about this field. The wonderful Barley that was growing at the time, was one of the finest I have seen, but that wasnít the reason. What ever the motivations were, to settle, and create these wonderful sites around the Avebury area, is still present today. The crop circles are harbingers, for a new understanding of the landscape, and possibly the return of ancient knowledge?


Part 2 


EXPERIENCING THE LANDSCAPE

One of the many benefits of being part of this incredible phenomenon, is experiencing the countryside in a different way, to just a normal day out in the car. The location at Silbury within this Barley field, was one of the highlights of the 2000 season for us, because in someway it epitomised the way you can feel unified with the landscape. It was rather late when we all arrived at the formations, so by the time that we had finished the surveying, darkness was falling rapidly. I can remember we were all talking about how the season will unfold, when we all of us spontaneously turned and looked towards Silbury, to notice that a full moon was positioned between the mound and West Kennet long barrow. Quite a moment, and yet none of us spoke as we looked in awe, when the silence was broken by a WOW!. It was that moment that struck a cord that these locations in between the ancient sites were possibly advantage points, for this type of observation, which may have gone unnoticed.

At this time in the season, we normally expect a formation each day, or every other day, as The Crop Circle Connector is in full flow ready to report on the next event. It was now the return of other parts of the country to show off their new arrival in the fields. Corby near Northampton, was the next location for one of the major formations. In fact, many of us southern croppies were quite envious of this latest design. Based on the thought bubbles, this formation contained a chain of these shapes, all connected to create an enormous wheel design. In fact the town of Corby had a number of formations all various in design, but nevertheless a good year for them.

POPULARITY OF THE FORMATIONS

It wasnít until a week later that the Avebury area was hit again, but this time in a secluded position away from all the hustle and bustle of the community. Located on the western side of Windmill Hill, this design caused a debate on its genuine nature. We have seen over the past ten years, designs turning into more landscape art, than the normal patterns we have been used to, which incorporate the most simple geometry shape, the circle. I have to say the Connector has a hard time to except these types of patterns, which do not include the circular form. Of course, who are we to criticise the Circlemakers decision and ability to create these alternative shapes, but from an aesthetic principal, certain designs work, and others donít. But even the Circlemakers themselves can at times create patterns, which are less popular than others. I am afraid the Windmill Hill shape, falls into this unpopular category. The amount of hits we receive on each report page can indicate their popularity, and the 2000 season has demonstrated this very effectively.

PLACES WITH ATMOSPHERE

It was certainly a year for contrasting styles. This was extremely marked, when on the 19th of June, just a day after the Windmill Hill formation, we returned to the quality and geometry that the general public are more in tune with. Southfield, nr Alton Priors was one of the finest I have seen this year, and was celebrated in the same way on the Internet, as it was out in the fields. This formation attained a quality of construction, and geometry, that certainly touched the hearts of the people that experienced the design. Situated away from the Pewsey road, it was placed in such a way, that it could not been seen from many of the advantage points. But this particular formation had an atmosphere about it, which was felt by many whom visited the design. This feeling is not only the product of the shape itself, but it is my opinion, that the location also plays apart. Places like Tawsmead Copse, and Woodborough Hill are renowned for their strangeness, with regard to the light phenomena, which has been witnessed on many occasions.

CHANGING ATTITUDES OF FARMERS

The diversity that was taking place with designs at this time of year was really quite extraordinary. A wide range of locations across the country was witnessing a varied collection of just simple circles, to Thought Bubble to flower type designs. These particular type of patterns, were the next formations to appear in Wiltshire. The first one was at Bishops Cannings, the second just a few days later at Milk Hill. The first design was placed on the land, owned by the rather unpopular Farmer, who cut out the Basket Weave of 1999. But this year, he seems to have done an about face for someone who was extremely belligerent about the phenomenon. It was a combination of the complexity of the formation itself, and the people he also came into contact with. What a shame this didnít happen last year, as this pattern in 1999 was far more important than the 2000 design. But nevertheless, it was a refreshing change to see a Farmer joining in with the appearance of the phenomenon. This was also the case, for a few other Farmers in the area, which also opened their fields to the public. Hopefully this has been passed down to the others across the region, that if the appropriate signs and preparations have been taken, people will act responsibly.

FROM HAMPSHIRE TO WILTSHIRE

The county of Hampshire, has always been the sister county for the Home Land for the Crop Circles, which is of course Wiltshire. But the season of 2000 pretty much stayed away from Hampshire, as we rolled into July. We only received a few events at this stage in the season, which was quite unusual. So it came as a big surprise to receive news of a large formation to form just outside of the village of Upham. A rather leafy part of Hampshire, and no stranger to the phenomenon over the last ten years. It appeared on a stretch of land called Stephen Castle Down, a great location indeed, and a befitting formation also. It took us quite a while to find this huge design, because of the high hedgerows and trees, but after a certain amount of driving and stretching of the neck, we eventually found it, just on the brow of the field.

The Crop Circle Connectorís equipment for field data can cause a lot of attention. Because we were right next to the road, people would stop and watch us, or just share their interest. This can create at times, a hazardous situation for motorists, trying to pass the park cars on the verge. This does concern us, as we can also be guilty of stopping in precarious positions, but then I suppose it goes with the territory.

It wasnít long before we were back in Wiltshire, in the heart of the action. This time, a delightful set of three circles in a line, formed directly opposite Silbury Hill. Iím sure many of you remembered the earlier days, when this type of event would have been celebrated in the same way as the formations we see today. Indeed, it had quite a number of hits on our site, and I stressed that we mustnít ignore these smaller designs, as they are just as significant as the larger more complex formations. I named them, "The three Circles of Mary", as the Mary Line, runs through Silbury Hill, and turns to run down the axis of West Kennet Long Barrow. The circles themselves were just on the edge of the line, which I found highly fascinating, but it wasnít the first time we have seen this.

RETURN OF THE PAST AT THE AVEBURY AVENUE

While we are on the subject of smaller and more nostalgic designs from seasons passed, a delightful dumbbell arrangement appeared high on the slopes opposite the Avebury Avenue. A rather remote location, well away from any habitation and main roads, this lonely spot to me was one of the best locations of the 2000 season. This formation reminded myself of the very first designs I entered back in 1990. It was a trip down memory lane, but at the same time, I had a sense of what actually started my interested in the phenomenon. This particular design was in two parts, with a wonderful small dumbbell placed diagonally at the head and crescent of the larger formation. I remembered that we arrived at the spot just after lunchtime, and the sun was high in the sky, with quite a lot of cloud. As soon as we entered the bottom circle, both my friend and myself felt something we hadnít experienced for years crop circling. It was almost a nauseous feeling, with quite a lot of pressure on the forehead. Interesting that we both felt this at the same time, but we also immediately recognised that this was a feeling we had in the formations around 1990 to 1991. Since then, the energies, or however you want to quantify whatís present in this designs, has changed. Itís not the same, hasnít the same power or presence as the earlier formations. So, does this suggest that this archaic design in the history of crop circles, is causing this effect, or are these simpler patterns the work of something else in the fields? I certainly would like to see further dumbbell designs in 2001, to carry on with this type of research.

We were now reaching the time of the season, when it can become extremely hectic for the Crop Circle Connector team. As there are only two of us, keeping this enormous web site on-line, and up to date, so you can all imagine the work involved. The travelling aspect is also very tiring, especially when we have to return home, from either Wiltshire or Hampshire, and work to the early hours of the morning. The dedication is 100 percent from both of us, and Iím always amazed how we actually cope. I have to hold down a 40-hr week job as well, so itís even more arduous at times. But, we love what we do, and thoroughly enjoy crop circling, and I wouldnít swap it for anything.

SUN FLARE FORMATIONS AND MUTILATED SHEEP

On the 14th of July, we received a report of a formation, below Golden Ball Hill. Once again, excitement hit the Connector camp, and we werenít to be disappointed. This particular design instantly reminded me of the Sun, with a flare exploding out of it. The news at the time was reporting very strong sun flares, which possibly could have had an effect the global communication satellites orbiting the Earth. This pattern may have represented this time, but we know it caused a lot of debate to its genuine nature. The reason for this, was the rather unfinished quality of the flare segment. Some people stated this was part of the overall design, but I had my doubts. However, a very unusual story arises out of the presence of this formation. Only a few days before it actually arrived in the field, there was a report of a possible mutilation of a sheep in the exact spot of the formation. A couple on the hill witnessed what looked like military personnel placing the sheep inside an unmarked land rover. Make of this what you will, but itís a classic example of the unusual, coinciding with a rational explanation.

Wiltshire was now becoming the place to stay, if you want to be part of the action. A wonderful formation on Avebury down appeared, in a location not previous used by the phenomenon, and it was a pleasure to visit, but at an extremely hot part of the summer.

MEMORIES OF EARLIER YEARS FROM 2000

A field used many times, on the way to Alton Barnes, on the slopes of the medieval village of Shaw. It was a design very similar to what appeared in 1994, at a place called Charminster near Dorchester. However, a few days later after the Shaw village formation, we received news of a location just passed the quaint bridge of Stanton St Bernard. A location well away from all the hustle and bustle of the larger formations, a very small design appeared, which was quite comical to view from the air, but had some delightful floor details, I havenít seen for a while. It was quickly named "The Teddy Bear" for obvious reasons, but the floor construction was quite amazing, with beautiful flowing crop, which had a character unlike many formations in the Avebury area at the time. The overall effect was like running water, a phrase we have used a few times down through the years, but here it was again. Fluidity I have not seen in the larger formations, but this small pattern had all the hallmarks of earlier designs from the 1990 and 1991 patterns.

One of the highlights of any crop circle season is to visit an outstanding, and a rather unusually different formation, in stunning countryside. The formation at Everleigh Ashes (great name) was truly breathtaking. Not only for the fact it had surrounded itself around an ancient tumuli, (which is a first for the phenomenon) but also a design which incorporated a quintuplet, a pattern of old, with new details inside. The quartered section inside each of the four circles, was something different for 2000 but has been seen before in 1989 around Winterbourne Stoke. I named Everleigh Ashes, the "Unison of Ages" because it incorporated a number of historical elements, which encapsulated crop circling in general.

THE MOIR…

Only a few days after this event at Everleigh, a formation appeared which literally took the crop-circling world by storm! It was of course "The Moirť" at Avebury Trusloe. Quite outstanding, and extremely original for the phenomenon. We had noticed some very interesting effects that were taking place within this design. I tend to monitor people while carrying out my field studies, and on every occasion I visited this formation, I would notice people congregating in what I called the Northern pole of the design (because it faced North) to the southern pole. It was like, they were attracted to one part of the design, but not to the other. I believe the shape causes this anomaly within the landscape. It is what I have named "The interaction effect" which is certainly a connection with the human mind, and with the vibration of the pattern itself. Karen Douglas has written many articles on this other side to crop circling, and I can tell you, it is real, and is taking place every year out in the fields.

The following week two more formations appeared on the same night, along the same stretch of road leading from Devizes to Beckhampton. We certainly had our work cut out that week, but both of these formations were of high quality, and were looked upon favourably throughout the crop circling community. Also, another formation placed across from Silbury Hill appeared, and I can remember coming back from that weekend, after about four different formations feeling that I had enough! But of course, you take it all back the next day.

NEW FLOOR DETAILS

The month of August is normally the last month for crop circles. The season can at times carry over into September, but most of the crops are harvested by the last week in August. This can put you into a false sense of security, but there was plenty more work to be done by the Circlemakers. A wide range of diverse designs kept forming from counties like, Sussex, Kent, Humberside, and of course Wiltshire. We received no other than 22 events in Wiltshire throughout August. It was also the county to witness a dramatic change in the construction of the floor patterns we have been used to seeing. The first formation to have these new details was at a small hamlet called Horton, which is about 3 miles north east of Devizes. It appeared in a field never used before by the phenomenon, which was quite refreshing to see, and what a surprise was in-store for us when we finally arrived. Positioned at the bottom half of the large circle, was what one could only describe as a wheat-sheaf of raised crop, intertwined so hard that you could literally sit on it. Of course, this was something no one even attempted to try, but it was so compacted together, that it would have been able to sustain a persons weight.

Only a few days later on the 8th of August, a beautiful design appeared, which was one of two at All Cannings Bridge. This particular pattern had the same raised bunches of crop, very much like the formation at Hopton, and were positioned in every segment around its star pattern. Some were more pronounced than others, but the overall floor pattern was exquisite. However, this was the last time we witnessed this detail in 2000, it may of course return in 2001?

WOODBOROUGH HILL FORMATION

As you are all aware now, the formation that got everyone talking in August was the splendid formation at Woodborough, near Alton Priors. Masterful in execution of its geometry, this pattern had a majestic quality to it, as it resided on a sacred piece of land between Tawsmead Copse and Woodborough. In-fact it reminded me of the formation back in 1997, just along from the 2000 formation, which was also similar in design, and positioned in the same way. The Circlemakers obviously wanted to create the maximum effect (from the air) by placing it on a slight brow. This would enhance the three dimensional quality as seen from a plane. Once again you could stand at one side of the formation, and not see the other, looking towards Knapp Hill in the distance. The location itself was very special I felt, and had an unearthly power to it, which was something I hadnít felt for many years.

STRANGE OCCURRENCES

The location of Woodborough Hill is certainly the hotspot for UFO activity over the years. This includes the structured craft variety, and the more amorphous sightings of balls of light. Indeed, the Crop Circle Connector was partial to a story of a couple whom had visited this formation one summerís afternoon. They had walked to the formation from the back of Woodborough Hill, so that they could climb the fence to enter the field. The wife was not up to the task of walking into the field, and asked the husband if she could stay on the top of Woodborough. Unfortunately her fear of Cows (which I share) meant that the husband had to move them down to the bottom of the field to clear the area for her to sit down. The husband then decided to visit the formation, while leaving his wife to watch from the hill. It took about another 10 minutes to walk to the formation, so he then turned around to see if his wife was OK, and to his astonishment, he saw these two rather large objects directly next to his wife. "Thatís strange, she doesnít like cows near her" He then thought no more of it, and carried on walking around the formation. As he walked to the outer perimeter of the shape, he then described what he called a stereophonic crackling noise, which started up in front of him. This obviously panicked him, and started to walk rather quickly down the tramline towards the hill. When he finally arrived back on the hill, he asked his wife, why she didnít frighten the cows away, she replied that there wasnít anything around her.

The following weeks saw some extremely interesting designs at Chilbolton Radio Telescope, near Andover. Thatís was certainly something worth seeing, a formation in the presence of this rather intimidating structure to monitor the heavens. But the season was rapidly drawing to a close, the crop was extremely ripe, and in the process of being cut. We had a wonderful formation at Ludgershaw, and literally had to work like mad, before the Combine Harvester devoured the formation in front of our eyes. But before we thought it was all over, some very unusual set of circles arrived around Windmill Hill. They were rather ragged in form, but had an appearance, which once again reminded myself of earlier seasons.

FOOT AND MOUTH AND THE FUTURE

So that concludes a season of contrasting styles and opinions. It was a season of highlights, like The Moirť, at Avebury Trusloe and Woodborough Hill, but also worthy smaller designs, which will be more of a personal preference to the individual. It was a season that witnessed a shift in the floor construction of the formations, but also it will be remembered for its controversy over the man-made aspect to the mystery. As I write this article, you will probably realise the affect the Foot and Mouth disease could have on the 2001 season. Time is on our side at the moment, but we may have to photograph the patterns from the roadside and the air. I hope the situation can be contained very soon, and our sympathy goes out  to all the Farmers who have lost livestock, and to the firms who depend on the countryside.

Stuart Dike




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