One thing I have noticed so far during 1994 is that there seems to be a heightened media awareness of the crop circle phenomenon. This was confirmed when I received a phone call asking me to do a TV interview for ITN's News at Ten. The date was set for Friday 17th June, when I was to meet them at 11am in the Silbury Hill car park.
I had been warned by some researchers in advance that they may be likely to rubbish the subject in their final TV report, so I should be careful what I say. It was with some trepidation that I turned into Silbury Hill car park just after 11am on the 17th. There were two Volvo estates, crammed with video equipment and I was soon introduced to the reporter Norman Rees, Marian Bontempo and two camera/recording men.
They had arranged with a local farmer for me to enter a formation and demonstrate my electronic 'gizmo', so I got into their car and prepared to be taken somewhere. At this point, I wasn't sure which formation they would take me to. I thought of the way Pat Delgado had been 'set up' in the past and wondered if they had a specially commissioned formation somewhere. To be on the cautious side, I had already confirmed which formations were in the area, and visited many the previous weekend.
After a few minutes we arrived at West Overton, near the large quintuplet which had arrived in Oil Seed Rape early in May. They had arranged to film in a large single circle in the field opposite. Luckily, it was a formation that I had visited the week before. The filming commenced.
After a couple of takes, the interview started. Nothing unexpected though; they asked me how I got involved, how I invented my gizmo and what my personal views on crop circles were. They asked me if I believed in UFO's, to which I replied that I did, although I was careful not to say anything that could be later edited to make me sound like a 'crank'. I stressed that my main aim was to carry out rational scientific research and document my results.
Overall, they seemed quite intrigued by my research and we had quite an informative chat.
After filming some close-ups of my gadget, they drove me back to Silbury Hill. During the car journey I had the opportunity to have a longer 'off-the-record' chat with the crew and tell them some of the anomalous effects I had witnessed in the past. They seemed quite interested and a bit less sceptical than when I had first met them. Before I left, they confirmed that the piece would be shown on News at Ten during the following week.
In the afternoon, I scouted round to see if there were any more formations anywhere. I ventured along a track to the back of West Kennett long barrow, in order to observe the new 'flying duck' formation that had appeared the previous Saturday and which I had missed when I visited the Scorpion formation on Sunday 12th June. At the end of the track I bumped into fellow researcher John Sayer and some other croppies. We had an informative chat for sometime before I moved on to Alton Barnes.
Later Friday evening I met up with my girlfriend Jan and we went to Knap Hill in order to do another night-watch. Whilst driving around I spotted a known hoaxer (who shall remain un-named) sitting in his car, at the Knap Hill car park. I continued to drive on and came back later, after he had gone. I wondered what he was doing and if he was waiting for someone. We resumed our night-watch with some friends on Knap Hill.
At 5am, Vince, the friend whom had stayed with us on Knap Hill decided to go for a scout around to see if any formations had arrived. He soon returned, saying that lo-and-behold, he had found a new one at Lockeridge - in the same field as the 'whale' formation of 1991. It consisted of thirteen circles positioned end to end, with one slightly offset to one side. We got in the car and rushed to examine it. We were clearly the first people to enter, as it hadn't been there the previous night (we had driven past, just before dark) and it was now only 5am.
I unloaded my equipment from the car and we made our way up the track at the side of the field, deciding to enter the formation via the tramlines from the top of the field. Examining the tram lines on the way to the formation, we saw what we thought were footprints, although we were not certain of this. However, when we got to the formation we found a number of damaged and snapped stalks. Although the centre of the first circle we entered had quite a good swirl to it, the rest of the formation was poor, looking as if someone had created it simply by rolling around on their back. Coupled with seeing the parked hoaxer the night before, my diagnosis was that this was a hoax.
After spending the rest of the day lazing around the Avebury area, I decided to phone News at Ten's pager and tell them about the new formation at Lockeridge, before we again joined the other UFO researchers for another night-watch at Knap Hill. At just after 11pm we saw our first anomalous event - an orange sphere over Woodborough Hill. We viewed it through the binoculars and also videod it. It appeared to be 'hanging' in the sky directly over Woodborough Hill. We became quite excited.
A few moments later, someone exclaimed "Look!" and pointed beyond Knap Hill, towards Huish in an Easterly direction. Another orange sphere had appeared, apparently not that far off. We quickly looked through the binoculars at the shape. Unlike the first sphere though, this one was obviously a flare someone had sent up. We could see the smoke trail and the shape gradually falling. This seemed to be a sign that hoaxers were in the area. No sooner had we seen this second sighting, a third one appeared in a similar direction to the second. I took some photographs of it, although it too was a flare. Paul Damon (South Wales UFO group) and myself decided to drive to Huish and investigate. We thought that if it was hoaxers, it was about time they were caught....
We left the car park and drove down the hill towards Alton Barnes. At the bottom of the hill we turned left towards Alton Priors. I happened to notice that a J registered Range Rover was behind me. Although meaningless at the time, this returned to my memory later. Paul and I raced along the bottom of East Field and could see some form of spot lights being flashed from the top of a hill beyond Huish.
As we didn't know the roads very well, we checked each turning carefully as we drove towards Huish. By the time we got there it was around midnight and all was quiet. We stopped a couple of times to regain our bearings towards where we had seen the lights. At one point a large American-style camper van speeded past us in the opposite direction. It had blacked out windows and (judging by the shapes inside) appeared to be full of people. We wondered if this could be hoaxers making a quick get-away, but decided that perhaps we were getting paranoid. Becoming more rational we eventually got to Morgan's Hill and parked the cars.
Walking up a short track we found a flat plateau, which we concluded must have been the location from which we saw the lights flashing. All was quiet and empty now though, so we returned to the cars to make our way back to Knap Hill.
On reaching the Alton Barnes T-junction, Paul decided to go and get some water for his car engine and started to turn left. I indicated right to return to Knap Hill. I noticed that a J registered Range Rover had pulled up behind us. As we were blocking the road, I turned right. The Range Rover turned left, following Paul. On the spur of the moment I remembered that I had seen a J reg Range Rover earlier and became slightly suspicious at seeing two at this time of night. It seemed to me that it was the same one. I decided to turn round and follow it. It immediately accelerated and turned right - towards Devizes. I followed and also accelerated.
I thought to myself, rather than 'race' off, most drivers tend to let another car overtake. The Range Rover was having none of it. He seemed to want to make a quick exit. I was travelling at nearly 60mph along a quiet country lane at gone midnight. I could see the rear lights in front getting further away. As we rounded a bend and up a slight hill, I could no longer see the lights of the Range Rover, so decided to give up following. As the road followed for several miles, I deduced that he must have turned into a field and switched his lights off. Strange behaviour indeed - or perhaps crop circle paranoia had set in.
We returned to Knap Hill to report to the others, but no more strange events were to occur that night.
The following morning we decided to go and have another look at the Lockeridge formation. As we arrived at the small car park we saw people inside the formation. These later turned out to be the News at Ten team with Colin Andrews. After a brief chat with Colin, to tell him of the weekends events, we returned home to get some well earned sleep.
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