August 1990; Corpusty, Norfolk. I had spent the night at a friend's house and in the morning she asked me if I had been standing on a chair in the corner of the bedroom during the night. Understandably bewildered by the question, I asked her why she thought I'd been doing such a thing. She said that there were three circular marks in the carpet in front of the built-in wardrobe that looked as if they had been made by something heavy standing there.
I went upstairs to look and, right enough, beyond the foot of the bed towards one corner of the room there were three depressions in the quarter-inch pile of the carpet in a triangular arrangement. What fascinated me, even from the view I had from the doorway, was that these marks didn't look at all like the usual result of something pressing down on the carpet: they looked as if they had been carved out - the "cookie-cutter" effect so often referred to in crop circle studies.
I went over to have a closer look and an uneasy feeling came over me. The pile within these circles, which were only a couple of inches in diameter and maybe six inches apart, was absolutely flat to the floor and swirled around. "They look like crop circles," I muttered, explaining that although I'd only seen a brief spot on the TV news and read a short paragraph in one of the tabloids on the subject, I didn't really know anything about them, but apparently these things had been appearing in the fields of cereal crops in southern England and one theory was that they were the landing traces of UFOs. Looking back now, it seems incredible that the whole phenomenon had so far completely passed me by. I had no idea of the interest and excitement then springing up worldwide; I hadn't even heard of "Circular Evidence" by Pat Delgado and Colin Andrews at that stage.
The open door of the wardrobe was between two of the circles and I pushed it aside to get a better look - to be shocked by the sight of a fourth circle behind the door. Since the door had been open all night (the hinge was defective and it was always hanging open), I realised instantly that whatever had caused these marks, it wasn't something standing on the carpet, unless it had straddled the door and was over six feet tall!
I explored the marks, arranged like four dots on a die, with my fingertips. The pile seemed to be glued to the floor. It wouldn't fluff up, as is usual when depressions are caused by furniture or whatever and the "clean standing edge" of the perimeters just didn't look natural. Bemused, I gathered up all the circular objects (cups, ashtrays, saucers etc.) I could find in the house to see if anything matched. Nothing did. The marks certainly weren't there the day before: they were just too noticeable to have been missed.
I tried every explanation I could think of. The house was still locked up, so no one could have sneaked in unnoticed during the night to make the marks and get out again, locking up behind them. It didn't make any sense. I tried reproducing the marks by pressing various objects down heavily on the carpet and twisting them round. Nothing like it - just a vague slight depression with no "swirl".
In the end, I took fright, deciding this was black magic or something. I imagined blood pouring from the walls and hearing maniacal laughter in my head. I panicked and began frantically rubbing the marks away. They wouldn't budge. I scratched with my fingernails. It had barely any effect. I eventually grabbed the vacuum cleaner and went back and forth over them, stopping now and then to scrape at the pile. Finally, after several desperate minutes, I got rid of them. It left me exhausted and unnerved.
A couple of weeks later, while on the phone, my son mentioned that there was going to be a talk on crop circles in Norwich. This jarred the memory of the carpet circles and I resolved to go. I wanted to get to the bottom of it all. The talk turned out to be sponsored by the Norfolk Branch of the Centre for Crop Circle Studies and the speaker was the late Richard Andrews.
As the slides of crop circles were shown, I realised that apart from the size, they were exactly the same as the marks in the carpet. I was hooked. Following the talk, I applied for membership of the CCCS and through Pat Palgrave-Moore, the Branch Convenor for Norfolk, learned that the local branch had monthly meetings, which I began attending. A few members came over to try dowsing (which I knew very little about at the time), around the house and in the bedroom. All found "something" in the area where the circles had appeared, with one reporting a feeling of "downwards pressure on the head" as he walked over the spot.
The following year, while attending the "Cereologist Cornference" in the Assembly Rooms in Glastonbury, I dished out copies of an article I had written about the Ickleton "Mandelbrot Set" formation. As a result, I later received a phone call from Yeva Gladwin, who was Colin Andrews' personal assistant at the time. In the course of the conversation, she asked if I'd had any unusual experiences involving crop circles. I hesitated to tell her about the carpet circles, as it sounded crazy, but reluctantly did so. At that point I'd only been in one formation, a pictogram near Guyhirn in Cambridgeshire. (That visit in itself is another odd story and the subject of a further article.) Yeva was clearly interested and asked me to write it all down for her, which I did. She phoned again about three weeks later, to explain that she had been stunned by my story, as a scientist, who had initially been totally sceptical about the crop circle phenomenon, had discovered a "quintuplet set" in his own bedroom carpet and had become instantly hooked on the subject. In 1995 the Mutual UFO Network carried an article in its journal about rings which had been found in carpets.
There have been many times over the last thirteen years when I have had reason to doubt the "unexplained" cause of the crop circle phenomenon, but during that time have also taken note of the presence of swirled circles in varying media in accounts in the UFO literature and although I have examined many crop formations which, in my judgement, could have been manually created, I know - without having to worry about convincing anyone else about it - that there most certainly is a phenomenon out there which cannot be explained in terms of people using tape measures and planks of wood.
Doug Bower's confessions notwithstanding, it must not be forgotten that when he and Dave Chorley began making circles "as a joke on the UFO boys", they were trying to copy a pre-existing phenomenon. Swirled circles have been with us for a very long time - perhaps always. I haven't yet made up my mind as to what, exactly, the connection is, but I'm convinced it has something to do with the UFO phenomenon. As far as the house where the carpet circles appeared is concerned, now that I know more about the subject, it was clearly previously the scene of a considerable amount of paranormal/UFO activity.
It doesn't matter how many crop formations are manually made. It doesn't matter how convincing they look. This makes no difference to the reality of the swirled circle phenomenon. Simple circles and rings may have been eclipsed in latter years by their more exotic "cousins", but they are still out there - and still unexplained.
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