The Final Interview
The Ansty Mystery
Personal interview with Karen Price
Saturday 24 September 2016
© Lucy Pringle
Ansty Crop Circle. ©Lucy Pringle
In light of the debate and controversy surrounding the amazing Ansty crop circle, I hope you will find the following interview with Karren Price helpful in clearing up certain areas of misunderstanding.
The hamlet of Ansty situated in the south west of England between Salisbury and Shaftesbury, Wiltshire, appears to be a small and sprawling village lying on the A30 between ancient high banked narrow lanes on either side, clearly once used as drover’s tracks. In the southern part of the Parish is White Sheet Hill, on which there are Bronze Age barrows including a long barrow. Ansty is in the Vale of Wardour. The A30 Salisbury—Shaftesbury road is on an ancient course north-west of, and parallel to, the ridge way on the greensand terrace and includes the steep northern slopes of White Sheet Hill.
The Church of England parish church of Saint James dates from before 1210 and is a Grade II listed building. The south wall of the nave is considered likely to be a survival from the original building, and the font too is Norman.
Boasting some 120 inhabitants Ansty has no village shop or post office.
Ansty PYO therefore is the only amenity and lies directly on the A30; it is clearly marked with roadside signs.
Driving in, you are met by a large area where cars can park and farm vehicles such as tractors can manoeuvre.
The PYO shop is adjoined to a large shed containing farm vehicles and other farming equipment. To the South and closest to the shop are with rows of strawberries placed in pots shoulder high from the ground to prevent the interest of slugs and avoid soil-borne diseases and make easy picking.
White plastic protective covering for strawberry plants.© Lucy Pringle
They are often covered in white plastic sheeting to prevent rain damage and protect the fruit. Beyond lie the various rows of fruit and vegetables and further beyond, the fields. From the image below you can clearly see patches of green in the standing crop showing Convolvulus cneorum (bindweed) throughout the entire field, not just on the flattened wheat.
The crop circle was in the field beyond and to the left of the raised lines of strawberries and visible looking from the shop.
If a crop circle were being made during both the night and in the day over a two week period as has been suggested by other reports, (including the week that Karren was away) surely people, Picking and attending to the rows of strawberries that were situated so close to the field, or working in the other rows of produce in the field alongside the field in which the circle appeared, would have seen some marks in the field? They would have been clearly and unmistakably visible due to the proximity. If this so, can we conclude that the event appeared over night?
Ansty PYO fields.© Lucy Pringle
Ansty PYO is no ordinary farm shop. Consisting of a farm shop, tea room and kitchen, despite being its small size, the farm shop, as well as basic items, stocks delicious teas and jams, honey combs, and mouth-watering home baked pizzas, Eccles cakes and Sally Lunn current buns to name but a few. The tea room is where people come for coffee or tea and to feast on Karren’s freshly baked goodies.
Just as Ansty PYO is no ordinary farm shop, Karren Price (also known as K) is no ordinary person. Small, slender as a whippet with the light brown hair tied back in a ponytail, she is a whirlwind of activity. You will find her either serving behind the counter or baking in the kitchen (where she says she is at her happiest) or coming through with platters of hot freshly baked food just out of the oven. Married, (she told us her husband does a `proper` job), and a mother with two active young sons, she somehow seems to manage to somehow combine all three activities. One of the things we noticed was how Karren seems to be on such friendly relations with everyone who came into the shop. She told us that she has many regulars some of whom come at different times of the year. Depending on the seasons, some to pick/buy fruit during the summer months, others for pumpkins and others who come for Christmas trees whilst many just come on a regular basis to buy her produce. Karren is ably assisted by cheerful helpers. Run as a family business, the fruit farm was taken over in 1998 and since then has been developed it into what it is today. On the wall behind the counter are pictures of several maize mazes Karren told us that were pictures of the ones she had designed and which her team and used to make in the fields.
Picture of maize mazes made by Karren. © Lucy Pringle.
The first one she made took six weeks designing, planning and placing the design in the field. As they got better they were able to speed it up with the advancement of technology “but we never achieved it in a day—very far from it!” When asked if she could make the crop circle, she laughed and said that given all the time in the world, she couldn’t possibly have done anything like that.
Lucy Pringle signing photograph with Karren Price. © Gary King
She will soon be framing and putting up two images I sent her.
This then was the setting when the crop circle appeared in early August, one of the busiest times of the year. As soon as word got around Karren unthinkingly opened it to the public and was totally unprepared for the hundreds of people who descended on her shop and disrupted her already busy life. Armed with microphones, recorders, cameras etc., and wanting to speak to her and her staff, she was inundated, swept off her felt as though she had been struck by a bolt out of the blue. A naturally courteous person with a ready twinkle in her eyes, interview after interview was requested by all and sundry. Eventually she declined to enter into any further debate on the issue as she was so exasperated at how things she had said had been chopped, changed and edited.
Gary King and I had both kept in touch with K over this period respecting her privacy and gaining her confidence. She was therefore prepared to give us one last and final interview on the subject.
On Saturday morning, 24 September we met and left my car in the courtyard at Ansty PYO shop and to say good morning to Karren Price.
Just at that moment the representative from Wiltshire Air Ambulance arrived to collect money from K Price that had been collected from people visiting the crop circle. The circle had been harvested on 24th August 24.
Karen Price with Wiltshire Air Ambulance representative receiving money. ©Lucy Pringle
Harvested bales in crop circle field. © Lucy Pringle 2016
Seeing that K was busy with shop full of people we decided to drive around.
We returned to Ansty PYO to have coffee. Karren spotted us and as it was close to lunch time and the shop was having a quiet spell, she suggested we did the interview there and then. Sitting in the tea room with cups of coffee, she told us her story. She made it quite clear from the start that she did not want to be recorded on tape, nor did she want us to comment on any negativity already written about her or the event. She simply wanted to rectify a few untruths that had been printed.
She started off by telling us that she wanted to thank everyone who had visited the circle and told us that she had met some really charming and interesting people as a result.
Regarding the question when she and her parents went on holiday, it was clear this was important confusion that needed clearing up.
A. On the 31 July, Karren together with her husband and children went on holiday to Devon (she even showed us a photograph on her mobile of one of her sons with bucket of crabs he had caught dated the 2nd August and another dated 4th August of the bay where they had been staying). THE CROP CRICLE WAS NOT THERE WHEN THEY LEFT.
B. Despite reports to the contrary they did NOT go on holiday together. Her parents went on holiday shortly after she returned.
Karren and her husband and two sons returned home on the evening on 5 August.
Early on the morning of the 6 August she first saw the circle in its entirety from her bedroom window. We therefore have just 7 days for during which time the circle must have appeared which are unaccounted for.
She explained that she `sat` on the circle for several days uncertain what to do about it. It was enormous, covering two acres of crop. Her husband has a drone and took several photographs of the circle. He said that people were already in the circle.
Her PYO lies close to two air fields, Compton Abbas just a few miles away, and Old Sarum near Salisbury. Planes fly over the farm constantly.
As reported in a previous article, a farmer’s herdsman, who moved the line of the field daily in which cattle grazed overlooking the circle, in order to give them fresh grass, saw no circle partly made or being made, in the field below during the period when the crop circle appeared.
As word got around Karren decided to open the crop circle to the public. The famous crop circle web site, Crop Circle Connector (CCC) published the first photographs of the event on the evening of 12 August. (They had been notified of the circle about noon that day and in order not to run the risk of it being cut out, Mr Gyro (Mat Stainton) flew over it that evening. He regretted not being able to include the hill behind in his photographs due to the light at that time of day.)
Regarding the suggested involvement of the small American, Bellingham based company Mothership Glass (run by two artists Scott Deppe and Jake Collins making glass pipes) and the similarity of their logo to crop circle, Karren said she had never heard of Mothership Glass until Saturday 13th August. She has never communicated with them before or after the circle’s appearance. Nor has the secretive Mothership Glass responded to any communications from any crop circle researchers.
In addition Karren wanted us to report that she has very good relations with her neighbours; that seemed clear to us anyway by the happy, friendly relationship she had with all the customers visiting her shop, many of whom were clearly local.
K was delighted to donate the profits raised from people visiting the circle to the Stars Appeal - £1107.16 and £1275 split between the Somerset and Dorset Air Ambulance and the Wiltshire Air Ambulances. Together with other donations, this makes the total donated from the Farm Shop to charities this year, (so far) to almost £8000! (K also managed to squeeze in training for the London Marathon this year!). Coming from a small family run business that is an amazing achievement!
In conclusion, one thing particularly that struck us both when interviewing Karren, was her transparent honesty and her determination to tell the truth down to the very smallest detail. Unless you have witnessed this personally, it is a quality that may not be apparent over the telephone especially if she is busy. (We both consider ourselves good judges of character). I understand very well that a previously arranged interview during a time when Karren is not busy is a very different scenario to speaking to her over the telephone unexpectedly out of the blue, when she may be extremely busy at that particular moment serving customers or baking in the kitchen.
I will write more about the symbolism of this crop circle and the many other aspects in my annual article but until such time as there is photographic evidence of the crop circle being made (despite all the claims) or any concrete proof of exactly how or when it appeared during the missing seven day period, this event must remain a tantalising mystery.