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Enigma Issue 12: Crop Circle Hoaxing

by Paul Vigay | 20th Mar 1996

Quite often I get drawn into arguments with sceptics on the Internet. Although no hoaxer has yet come up with any evidence to support their claims, I continue to grill them for more information. The following article was written in response to a sceptic claiming that ALL crop circles were hoaxed - because they saw one made on the TV.

All it needs is a SINGLE circle that we can't explain to make it a valid subject for research. Summing up all the evidence so far, including my own research, I believe there are far more than a single circle which may be genuine.

So far I have never seen a convincing hoax made on TV. It's funny, but I've been to several excellent quality formations in the field which I've believed to be hoaxed, but whenever hoaxers appear on TV their abilities always seem to go down dramatically. Perhaps they are just no good at performing in front of a camera. The best hoax I have seen filmed was the one for Arthur C.Clarke in 1994 (a sort of petalled flower arrangement). However, when we visited the actual site to interview the farmer, it was simply not the quality we've seen from 'the genuine thing'. Either that, or this particular group of hoaxers were no good.

Another thing which interested us was that the farmer told us that it took three/four (can't remember exactly) hoaxers four hours to make it in broad daylight - plus they could drive their car containing rollers etc to only ten yards from the formation (there was a track going from the farmyard along the side of the field). Without the farmers permission it would have been near impossible to reach the field without being seen.

Also, the farmer told us an interesting story in that until they made the hoax he believed that all circles were hoaxed. However, their hoax made him believe in a genuine phenomenon.... He had previously had a formation a couple of years before and had dismissed it as a hoax.

The first thing he noticed when the hoaxers made the recent one was that immediately they had finished, there were flocks of birds coming to eat the released seeds. It was then that he remembered that NO BIRDS visited the previous formation at all. With hindsight he realised how unusual that no birds/animals or anything visited the previous one. He said that this hoax convinced him of a genuine phenomenon.

One example of hoaxing having a counter effect on people! At times they are helpful as a control experiment. However, it's the malicious hoaxers trying to simply muddy the research that dismays me. Surely they have better things to do. If they believe it to be a false science, why do they muddy the subject. Why not allow decent, verified research to go on?

I think the problem hoaxers have IS the genuine phenomenon. Because no one can predict the genuine events, hoaxers HAVE to keep on making formations because they fear that the genuine phenomena will continue - unless they simply say that they've given up and that some other hoaxer is copying them. In which case, how come each new set of hoaxers seem to 'know' previous research, so as to try and fool researchers into seeing a fake which 'fits' their theory. Obviously some hoaxers go to conferences and talks so know roughly what research is going on.

However, for new groups to emerge on the scene, they would have to have been going to conferences or reading up on research for several years to know all the things we research, in order for their fake to appear real.

If hoaxers go to all this trouble, it strikes me as bordering on paranoia, but why???? There is a whole psychology of hoaxers at work here. I am also studying this - by carefully allowing hoaxers access to snippets of false research, I can monitor which groups of hoaxers try to fool my 'false' research by fitting their creations to it.

Unfortunately, unless we also study the hoaxers in detail we may not be able to continue the scientific study of genuine formations. To this end, I will continue investigating both the hoaxer and the genuine phenomena. Only when we eliminate the false science can we concentrate on the real science.

I believe there is a genuine phenomena. Part of this comes from rational, scientific research I have been carrying out over the past six years, the other part comes from a deep feeling of spirituality you obtain from the subject. It's difficult to define exactly, but I find that without the two halves you can become unbalanced in your overall view of the subject.

In my profession I'm a computer programmer and consultant. My hobbies are the paranormal. One logical and exact, the other mysterious and imprecise. I find that together they tend to keep me rational and questing for answers.

I feel that research will continue long after the hoaxers have abandoned their tools and returned to their 'normal life'.

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