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As someone who has been studying the crop circle phenomenon intensively for several years now, I was obviously drawn to the cover of Issue 5 of "Sightings", showing as it does an eye-catching illustration of a flying saucer hovering over a field, apparently creating a crop circle, emblazoned with the headline "Fields of Dreams - Startling new evidence on the crop circle phenomenon".
Having had my finger firmly on the pulse of developments in the subject, I was eager to learn what new evidence was being revealed.
I was therefore most disappointed to discover in Andy Thomas's article that the "startling new evidence" apparently consists of the highly dubious videotape currently doing the rounds of what is alleged to be a recording of balls of light flitting about over a field below Oliver's Castle in Wiltshire, while below them a crop formation appears.
During the conference on crop circles held by the Hampshire Crop Circle Research Group and "The Cereologist" in Andover on 14th. September 1996 we had a look at this video and researcher Paul Vigay demonstrated quite clearly (with an example he had knocked up in three hours using consumer-standard equipment) how easy and convincing it is to create such a videotape. His version, in fact, was even more impressive than the "original", with much more realistic camera movement and better perspective to his "balls of light".
For those who have not yet seen the "John Weyleigh" video, there are certain points which strongly indicate that it is manufactured: (1) although the cameraman was supposed to have been attracted to the balls of light - which he was allegedly trying to film - the camera points directly at the field instead of following these "luminous spheres" and is thus conveniently positioned for the formation to appear neatly and aesthetically in its viewfinder, while there is no attempt to follow the lights as they fly in and out of the frame; (2) on freeze-frame there is no jitter to the "balls of light" - even in freeze mode, two video images alternate rapidly with one another, so that any moving object (especially at the speed these "lights" cross the screen) will alternate between two positions, producing a jittering effect; (3) the order in which the components of the formation appear does not conform to the evidence on the ground (to which I can personally testify, having conducted a detailed examination of it, as did others).
Andy Thomas states, as if it were an undisputed fact, "A student from Bristol...videoed several glowing balls of light dancing purposefully around the field at about 5.00 am." This sort of claim is highly misleading. To make matters worse, he continues, "What may set the video above others of its ilk" (note - although there are no others) "is that the researcher Colin Andrews, who has obtained a copy, believes the footage actually shows the formation being created by the light globules..."
Colin has mailed out to fellow researchers and posted on the Internet periodic bulletins on the subject of this video and he has not, as far as one can tell, claimed that he believes the video to be genuine. This assertion is not only potentially damaging to Colin's reputation but is also a classic example of the kind of myth-making and misinformation that has dogged serious crop circle research for years now.
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