Mod+ 253. SUZANNE TAYLOR, THE SCIENTIFIC MYSTERY OF CROP CIRCLES

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by alex.tsakiris, Sep 9, 2014.

  1. Alex

    Alex New

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  2. Alex,

    I've learned a lot over the years from the skeptiko podcasts, the skeptiko forums, the other members here, and from the research the podcasts and discussions here have inspired me to do. Thank you Alex, and all the members of the forum, for that, and for the on-line friendships that I would otherwise not have had the pleasure of.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2014
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  3. Trancestate

    Trancestate Member

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    Suzanne Taylor's documentary film about crop circles:
    WHAT ON EARTH?

    Doug
     
  4. gabriel

    gabriel New

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    I'm not sure about Taylor's assertion that complex crop circles cannot have been made by humans. Circle makers rent farmers' fields and have competitions to create such patterns by known methods. I've yet to see a circle that had no access markings, and even that is feasible by helicopter. How can we tell the difference between alien and man made structures? Complexity alone is not a decider, the glyphs are all within basic gemometry. I've read accounts of circles being spontaneously made in broad daylight by a collapse in the crop, but these are never complex. I think crop circles as we know them are a human riff on a much simpler, and weirder, natural phenomenon.
     
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  5. Ian Gordon

    Ian Gordon Ninshub Member

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    Alex, thanks for covering this topic!

    However: a while back I watched the well-received documentary film Crop Circles - Hyperspace Gateways (or Crossovers from Another Dimension) (2006) by Norwegian UFO researcher Terje Toftenes. Like you, I wasn't familiar with this topic, and I was fairly impressed by this film. It made a lot of the points you and Suzanne cover in the interview, if I remember correctly, and it then showed the skeptical arguments and convincing (to me) debunking of those. I posted it in this thread. But then some forum members revealed that Toftenes five years later said he now regretted making the film and has since come to realize most or all of the circles are man-made.

    I'll head on over to watch Suzanne's film, but I'm wondering how I'll be able to evaluate it. If any forum members are knowledgeable in this area and can compare the docs, I'd be really interested in what they have to say.
     
  6. Ian - I also wouldn't mind hearing from people on this subject.

    I recall Pinchbeck being obsessed with crop circles, but personally I was never convinced by his writings on the subject.

    IIRC even he lost faith?
     
  7. In the movie there were many reason given for belief in the anomalous nature of the circles. Some of them are:

    One person found he got no signal on his mobile phone inside the circle but got a strong signal just outside the circle. He went along the convoluted perimeter of a complex formation and saw this occurred all along the perimeter.

    There are many other reports of electronic equipment failing inside the circles.

    There were certain crystals in soil samples from circles that would not normally be formed except deep under ground.

    The pattern of the stalks inside the circle forms intricate "woven" patterns that could not be made by the methods the hoaxers claim to use.

    You can tell when a stalk has been even lightly touched because it leaves a mark on the surface. Hoaxed circles show marks on the stems but genuine circles don't.

    Nodes in the stems are deformed or exploded in genuine circles but not in hoaxed circles.

    The stems in hoaxed circles have a crease where they are bent, in genuine circles the stems are laid down without creasing.

    The hoaxers didn't have sufficient knowledge of geometry to be able to make the circles. Mathematicians have found unique solutions to mathematical questions in the circles, such as various new methods of squaring the circle.

    People have experienced healing while visiting crop circles.

    Large circle formations would take many people a lot of time to form and it would not be possible for them to do it without being observed.

    Intricate patterns are formed without error while most human engineering projects have various errors and delays.

    Hoaxers were witnessed to be elsewhere at the time they claimed to be making circles.

    The press release announcing the hoaxers has been traced to a military base suggesting the hoax hoax is government misinformation.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2014
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  8. Ian Gordon

    Ian Gordon Ninshub Member

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    Jim, I was trying to find specifics regarding what Toftenes said in criticizing his own documentary but couldn't find them. I was curious about his statement because some of the reasons you cite were among those detailed in his own documentary and that I had found interesting, especially the part about the stalk patterns. If anybody can find those specifics, I would welcome them.

    EDIT: I've now found the original context where Toftenes expressed his change of view. Unfortunately he doesn't go into any specifics, beyond saying a 2007 Wiltshire crop circle he investigated and thought to be genuine he found out to be a hoax. He does say he nevertheless still believes there are unexplained energies present in the area and balls of light he thinks are paranormal.
    http://cropcirclewisdom.com/1/post/2011/08/terje-toftenes.html
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2014
  9. Bucky

    Bucky Member

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    One of the points that I've found interesting in the interview is that no one has ever claimed the authorship of most of the beautiful and larger circles. That particular aspect certainly is strange, especially in the light of some kind of competition between circle-makers.

    Why putting so much work and effort and then not taking ownership of one's own creation... I find it strange. But certainly not an argument to propose an "alien" nature.

    I recall seeing a famous YouTube video where someone allegedly caught on camera several "lights" floating around in crop fields and generating lines and curves as they were moving around. IIRC it was shot back in the 90s. Is it a hoax? I've never followed this topic with much interest, besides enjoying the occasional picture of the circles.

    As regards complexity there's an incredibly intricate circle that appeared in England in 2002, with a beautiful alien figure showing a CD with a message encoded in ASCII.

    image.jpg

    Unless this is a Photoshop trick, I cannot imagine the amount of planning and actual work that it would take to make this with human means. What do the debunkers say?
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2014
  10. Bucky

    Bucky Member

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  11. Trancestate

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    Yes, it's a hoax:
    Olivers Castle Crop Circle Hoax

    Doug
     
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  12. gabriel

    gabriel New

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    The questions that trouble me about an alien interpretation, are mainly to do with the style of the artwork. These are consistent with viral advertising and street art tropes. The shadows, pixellation, framing, repetitions, look like they're derived from design software. It's too much of a stretch for me to believe aliens are riffing on early C21st popular imagery. Would people be claiming a higher intelligence than your nearest advertising agency if these images appeared on the side of a city building? I don't have to tell you exactly how they were made to discern a particular stage in the evolution of popular art. The fact it's made in a cereal crop shouldn't freak us out unduly.
     
  13. Bucky

    Bucky Member

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  14. Alan Amsberg

    Alan Amsberg New

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  15. Alan Amsberg

    Alan Amsberg New

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    I also think the following. Really good detective work could solve this mystery:
    -Get exact dates for circles. Plot them vs weather (was it dry) and against moon phase (was it a full moon or a nearly full moon)
    -Interview farmers involved with actual circles. Are they cashing in? What is their attitude to the circles? Are they being paid off by circle makers?
    -Study the actual sites. Is there anybody who should have been able to observe the creation of the circle?
    -Go into detail with the folks at www.circlemakers.org - how long does it really take them to make circles? What prep are they doing before? What are the ACTUAL logistics involved in making a complex circle (people involved, time, materials, preparation, how much experience do the circlemakers need etc)
    -Study the actual circles made. Do they comply with methods? Are there any circles where methods would clearly fail?
    -Try to ascertain if there are messed up circles. For example, this circle http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/8995276.Chepstow_crop_circle_astonishes_drivers/ which appeared just 6 miles from my house, looks bad. Some of the circles aren't circular. Try to establish how many mistakes there are. Are mistakes being ignored (and therefore "suppressed") by the true believers?
    -Plot number of circles and quality of circles vs time. Is there are pattern? Is there a spike following news interest?
    -Study location of circles. Try to establish where different groups are operating. By the way, this one seems pretty damning to me. There are circles around the world but they are poor. They really good circles are all in Wiltshire where things got going first and so where there is hard core group of experienced and motivated circle makers.

    I have looked into crop circles before and haven't found this stuff. This is what we need to settle the matter. The problem is that you have the following people involved in this field:
    -New age "believers" who believe no matter what.
    -Arty hoaxers who clearly can make sophisticated circles and who are motivated to make them. But are there enough of these guys to make all the circles and to achieve the quality observed? Where are the mistakes?
    -A press ignoring and/or playing it for laughs. They are never sending out reporter to really dig.
    -Armchair folks (like me) gleaning what we can from the internet and then producing more stuff that just looks at other stuff (and doesn't go back to original sources).

    All that said, this one IS soluble. If you do the detective work you could establish a reasonable answer to the question: "Can all of these be hoaxes?" But I don't see anybody who has done that work with an open mind. So, anyway, an opportunity. I only live 40/50 miles away from Wiltshire but, er, I'm not going to do it or at least not anytime soon (sorry).

    I believe in lots of weird stuff. I even believe some of it has happened in my life but, at the end of the day, I think the circles really might all be hoaxed.
     
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  16. Saiko

    Saiko Member

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    Dubya never said anything about "keep shopping."

    http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/thepresidentandcabinet/a/did-bush-say-go-shopping-after-911.htm
     
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  17. Saiko

    Saiko Member

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    Some tawts:

    - The idea that there isn't organized suppression is about as valid as the idea that all crop circles are hoaxes.There are just too many instances of it. Even Ingo Swann mentioned a passing experience with it.

    - It is about personal transformation. In wanting/striving to change others one is simply putting one's own spin on the familiar control paradigm.


    - CCs are fascinating. Because we don't know. And not knowing makes us uncomfortable. Hence the appeal of speculation, rationalization, etc. Course speculating can be fun. Maybe . . . while we plug away with SETI meanwhile there could be an ET or OD species with a contact team going through something like:

    Supervisor: "Zxrryxz perhaps we will cease this program. It seems clear that the humans aren't capable of understanding on this level."
    Zxrrryxz: "Yes Ma'am but there are some of them who have a strong interest and recognize that it's some kind of message."
    Supervisor: "Interest isn't comprehension, is it?"
    Zxrryxz: "No Ma'am."

    :D

    OTOH, CCs could be terrestrial, natural phenomena. There is much that we don't know about EM energies.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2014
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  18. Alex

    Alex New

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    This is a good summary. I think this is also a case where it helps to turn a skeptical eye toward the claims made by Skeptics. After all, Skeptics aren't just claiming the paranormal aspects of crop circles are unproven, they are claiming to know how the circles are produced. But time and again serious investigations into these claims show them to be filled with holes.
     
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  19. john.sundog

    john.sundog New

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  20. john.sundog

    john.sundog New

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    If the complex designs are in fact created overnight, it would take a full-blown special-ops level effort to achieve them, and that's not including the reported detailed findings regarding crops being laid over without breaking, stem damage with high heat, anomalous mineralization, so forth. This isn't the work of a bunch of frat boys out for a lark, unless they're from an Oxford honorary, with a lot of intensive practice for which there is no known evidence, plus sophisticated logistical support. To pull this off at such speed with no errors is - almost other worldly (said by one who doesn't believe the ET hypothesis here).

    The problem is, I never know what to make of this second- and third-hand information and rumors without pedigree. Suzanne seems credible to me, and obviously is nobody's fool, but for me it's still second- and third-hand, sadly.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2014

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