Operation White Crow
Paul Vigay examines the facts and intrigue surrounding the infamous 'Operation White Crow' Project
One of the best documented examples of sound in relation to crop circles was reported by Colin Andrews and consisted of a number of short bursts of oscillating tones (or 'trilling' noises) recorded on audio tape. This was recorded during what was known as Operation White Crow, which took place in Hampshire during the summer of 1989.
Operation White Crow took place at a location known as the "Devil's Punchbowl" at Cheesefoot Head, near Winchester in Hampshire, in the summer of 1989. It was organised by crop circle research Colin Andrews and a number of colleagues. It was the first of a number of dedicated crop circle surveillance operations and consisted of a number of vehicles, work stations and cameras, monitoring a popular circles prone location.
The following report comes from Colins own book, "Crop Circles: Signs of Contact", published in 2003 (available to order from the bookstore) which is essential reading for anyone interested in the background to modern crop circle research and personal experiences from one of the world's leading researchers on the subject.
We had a caravan of vehicles, work stations, and cameras. One evening, some of us who were directly participating in the surveillance operation decided to get away from the main base of operations and walk 100 yards or so away from the bustle.
We all walkred off into a single crop circle, the larger of a formation of two circles that had appeared in the field next to the one we were monitoring. There were seven or eight of us, including psychic Rita Gould, and we all sat down and tried to relax. We did not meditate, or attempt to make contact with the intelligence of the circles - this was not a seance - but we were all in a relaxed state of mind.
Suddenly, we all heard a sound from the east. As we listened, it grew louder and we could sense it getting closer. It was definitely directional, in that we could all tell precisely where it was coming from, and we could follow it as it moved. The sound then rotated around us, floating around the circle three or four times, like an auditory cloud that passed above us in a circle. And again, it was directional: As it moved in its orbit around us, we could follow it with our ears, and if it had been visible, we all felt we would have been able to track it from point to point around the circle. First it was in our left ear, then behind us, then in our right ear.
We were all responsible adults with jobs and families, but we were also all open to the idea of alternate realities and to the notion that strange things were possible. Yet, that said, we were all quite frightened and we huddled together like a bunch of schoolboys. It truly was a scary moment. We were in a pitch black field and we had no idea what this sound was or where it was coming from.
And then the sound stopped moving. We could all still hear it, but it froze and positioned itself in front of Pat Delgado and I. At this time, Pat was very involved in researching and trying to understand the phenomenon, as was I. Could the source of the sound somehow sense this?
We did not know what to expect next, and as we waiting for something to happen, suddenly Pat Delgado stood up and began to walk towards the place in the circle from where the sound was now emanating. He walked to the edge of the circle, and he later told me that he knew that the sound was no more than three or four feet in front of him. This was somewhat closer than the sound was to me when I heard it at Kimpton.
And then it got really weird.
As Pat stood there at the edge of the circle, he called out: "Colin, come to me," he said. And then, he cupped his left hand and began to "scoop" in the air at the top of the plants closest to the ground and push this energy in my direction.
I walked towards him, and when I reached him, he continued his odd cupping and scooping motion across the top of the plants, pushing the air towards me, specifically towards my solar plexus - he aimed it straight at the pit of my stomach. I stood there and went along with this, not knowing how to respond, or what to say. After a bit, Pat stopped and I backed away. I turned around, walked back to the group, and sat down. I was confused and frightened and knew that something strange was occurring. Pat then started to walk towards us. When he reached a point about 25 to 30 feet away from us, he stopped in his tracks, and his head went back as though he were about to fall backwards.
It was a most extraordinary sight and I truly did not understand what was going on. As I stared at this incredible sight, he then beckoned to me.
Incredibly, his body then leaned back on a 10 to 15 degree angle. He hung there suspended, as though he were leaning against a cushion, or perhaps something more solid.
At this point, Pat was absolutely terrified. I could see fear in his eyes and he started shouting to me. "Colin! Come and hold me up!" I rushed to him and grabbed both his hands and tried to pull him to an upright position. I felt great pressure pulling against me, and it was as though Pat was stuck to glue. I continued to tug at him, and then suddenly he was free. It felt as though a bond had snapped and his body was released from the force that had been holding him. At the precise moment that Pat was pulled free, the crop circle sound stopped.
This was, quite literally, one of the worst things that had ever happened to me or Pat.
Upset and shaken, we returned to the group and sat down, but after only a few moments, Pat said, " Let's get the hell out of here," and we all left the circle.
The following morning, as we were working in the base camp of the operation, a police sergent drove up. We had obtained all necessary permissions to conduct the operation, so the police knew we were there, and they knew what we were doing.
"Are you aware," the sergeant asked us, pointing in the direction of the sound from the night before, "that there's a circle with a ring on the top of the hill over there?"
We replied that we were not aware of any new formations and the sergeant offered to drive us there in the police car.
We gratefully accepted and we sped off towards the hill he had pointed out.
When we arrived, we were flabbergasted. In the exact direction the sound seemed to travel to when it left us was a fresh crop ring. The plants were still popping up, and still moving, as though a powerful hand had pressed them down, and they were just now springing back up.
I believed then, as I believe now, that the previous night we had inadvertently encroached upon the creation of a crop circle. We had all unwittingly placed ourselves in the middle of a paranormal event. At one point Rita Gould did attempt to make contact with the force behind the sound that we were all hearing, but we do not know for certain that her efforts made any difference.
Pat Dalgado was caught in the maelstrom that night, and he pulled me into it with him.
There is now a full report on Colin Andrew's website.
An amazing account, I'm sure you'll agree, and it was only some years later that I was discussing crop circle noises with Colin, that he told me that he still had a tape recording of the sound they heard that night. When I told him that I had some computer equipment capable of performing detailed sound analysis, he offered to give me a copy of the recording, so that I could run it through the computer and see if I could find out anything more.
Of course, since the original event, sceptics and hoaxers, including Doug and Dave, have been quick to come forward and claim that the noise was in fact that of the Grasshopper warbler, a small bird. However, what they neglected to take into account was that the Grasshopper warbler is actually quite rare and its haunt is downs, commons and marshes - hardly crop fields.
However, the most conclusive evidence to dismiss the Grasshopper warbler was discovered some time later whilst I was hunting through a BBC sound effects archive. I discovered a CD recording of the actual Grasshopper warbler, along with all the other native warblers of the UK. I duly sampled the recordings into the computer and compared the frequency waveform and fourier analysis of the warblers with the recording Colin had made at Operation White Crow. The two were clearly not the same, as shown by the diagram below.
As you can see, the sound recorded at White Crow is mainly around the 4KHz frequency, whereas the real Grasshopper warbler oscillates at around 6KHz - nearly 2KHz higher in frequency. I have subsequently analysed a further two samples of the real Grasshopper warbler and both gave the same readings as shown above. I think you'll agree that this confirms that Colin Andrew's White Crow noise was not a Grasshopper warbler.
If you would like to listen to the two sounds yourself, I've provided short samples below, for you to download and playback yourself.
Waveform of the White Crow recording.
Download a 56K .WAV format sample of the White Crow recording.
Waveform of the Grasshopper Warbler.
Download a 70K .WAV format sample of the real Grasshopper warbler.
If anyone else has recorded strange sounds or noises in the vicinity of crop circles or UFO sightings, I would be very interested to carry out further analysis on audio recordings.
- Sound Analysis of the Cheesfoot Head Sound by Gunner Sanberg. Newly released information on Colin Andrew's website.
- A personal report by Pat Delgado on Colin Andrew's crop circle website (January 2009)
- Terrence Meaden, "The Circles Effect and its Mysteries", pub.1989 by Artetech Publishing Co. ISBN 0-9510590-2-5.
- Colin Andrews, "Crop Circles: Signs of Contact", pub.2003 by New Page Books. ISBN 1-56414-674-X.
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