Word came down at the end of this week that Stellar Productions had signed a deal to turn Stanton Friedman’s and Kathleen Marden’s 2007 book on the Betty and Barney Hill abduction into a credulous movie examining whether the aliens were interested in them for being an interracial couple in the Cold War era. “The film will examine the birth of modern UFO lore, and place the events in a context of both Cold War paranoia and the country’s struggle over race relations,” Deadline reported. Presumably this involves a cash payment to Friedman. I will hereby make an offer to any film producers looking to make a competing movie to undercut Friedman’s rates by 10% for an option on my article on the real story behind the Betty and Barney Hill abduction. You won’t get a better rate on a Hill abduction piece this season!
Sadly, there is nothing half so interesting on Ancient Aliens, which is covering “Circles in the Sky” this week. Yes, crop circles, those flattened areas of cereal grains that almost everyone except for ufologists recognizes are hoaxes created by people using ropes and planks.
The first segment begins by rehearsing some early crop circle highlights from the history of the goofball phenomenon, focusing on Linda Moulton Howe’s introduction to fringe history when as a young reporter she became obsessed with covering the 1980s and 1990s crop circle explosion. In many ways, this hour is itself a throwback to the 1990s X-Files style of ufology, but I will be damned if I recognize the 1990s as “ancient” alien activity. I’m not that old yet.
The show dutifully reports how crop circles have been hoaxed, but Howe denies that “true” crop formations are from human hands. Nick Pope suggests that the hoax claim is government disinformation, while Howe says that manmade crop circles are not perfect enough.
Jonathan Young says that in 815 CE a crop circle was reported in Leon. This must be part of Agobard’s Hail and Thunder… and in Googling it I find that this is indeed the case. The show also refers to the famous case of the Mowing Devil, depicted as reaping wheat in a circular formation. The reference to Agobard is one I needed a minute to check with the original Latin and the modern English translation; in 2008 David Wilcock falsely alleged that Agobard issued an edict against eating grain from crop circles, and in 2007 Philip Coppens said Agobard claimed that the Tempestarii (weather magicians) flattened crops. The only reference I know is to crops being “felled by hail and destroyed by storms,” which is not the same thing, and indeed, there is nothing in Agobard about crop circles. So, either Young lied about the source, or he was spitting out what producers told him to say. The mixed up references I find online claim that Agobard demanded ransom (!) or that he forbade the using of crop circle seeds for fertility rituals. You got me where they got that from, other than Philip Coppens’s website and a book by David Wilcock. The latter cites the source to Jacques Vallée, in his book Dimensions (1988), who in turn cites the Hail and Thunder, which does not say what all of these men assert it does. The circle closed, and the lie somehow appeared all on its own ex nihilo. Somehow, Vallée decided that the crops destroyed by hail and storms were synonymous with crop circles. Well, he never was any good at reading ancient texts. But you would think he would have gotten this one right since it is the same text that introduced Magonia, the mythic cloud land he used as the title of his most famous book. The claim about Agobard and the seeds seems to be a conflation of the Hail and Thunder with secondary sources describing medieval weather magic, which sometimes involved sowing specific seeds to ward off hail.
Charles Mallett, a crop circle researcher says that crop circles form near power centers, which in England are marked with sites like Stonehenge. Giorgio Tsoukalos visits Wiltshire, England to ask three crop circle artists to try to recreate a crop circle that crop circle believers claim cannot be created by human hands. He gives them 5-7 hours, and they recreate the crop circle in its entirety. Tsoukalos then has Mallet check whether the flattened crops were flattened in the same way. Mallet argues that the original crop circle did not use “mechanical” means to flatten the crops, which is to say, boards. The arguments he uses were old in the 1990s when I first heard them on Sightings. This episode could easily have aired on that sorry show back in the day.
This segment covers “nodes,” which is to say the part of the plant that is bent in crop circles. These nodes are allegedly evidence of extreme heat applied to the plants. These two sentences’ worth of information take up ten minutes of air time.
This segment presents dubious eyewitness testimony, largely recounted secondhand by talking heads, that describe crop circles forming invisibly or in the presence of glowing orbs. Some of the material actually was on Sightings back in the day, and I can remember even that credulous show debunking the same video that Ancient Aliens now claims is “astonishing” and shows “intelligent plasmas,” to use Howe’s words. David Henry tells us that the aliens create crop circles to symbolize their wormholes, while Howe believes crop circles are used by time travelers to calibrate their time machines. I have no idea what that even means.
This segment asks whether crop circles communicate messages to us in code, covering material recycled from last year’s In Search of Aliens in S01E04 “The Roswell Rock.” I covered this then and don’t need to repeat myself as blatantly as Prometheus Entertainment does across their various shows. The narrator spins a conspiracy theory that world governments are sending and receiving alien messages via crop circle, clearly the most efficient way of communicating with other species with advanced technology.
This segment mentions the fact that the year after a crop circle is formed, the plants grow back differently the next year. Childress says this is an intentional alien communication effort, though it is more likely due to damage to the soil or dead plants that did not grow back after being killed by getting squished. Nick Pope says that “the government”—which is all governments, all over the world, even those which are enemies of each other—try to keep the truth about crop circles secret, and they make their own crop circles to send messages back. Howe demands that the government—singular or plural—reveal everything they know about “intelligent plasmas.” The show ends by throwing up its hands and admitting to having no idea whether crop circles are created by aliens, demons, time travelers, or intelligent balls of goo. Oddly, those are the same choices in speculating about who produces this crap.
9/18/2015 10:59:28 pm
Should we take a moment to reflect on how sad it is "intelligent" can be used to describe "balls of goo", but not the talking heads on this show?
9/22/2015 05:23:47 am
It's not the talking heads I'm worried about, it's the eyebrows! Linda Moulton Howe's eyebrows are bushy and pointing up to the sky, and there is a segment missing on the right eye. David Wilcock has a segment of eyebrow missing over the left eye, and are very otherworldly, perhaps even part Vulcan. Jonathan Young has a segment of eyebrow missing from the right eye. Charles Mallett's eyebrows...definitely separated at birth from Howe's. Eltjo Haselhoff is also missing a piece of right side eyebrow. There are more; too many to list. Is there a relationship between missing and misshapen eyebrows and the propensity to attribute anything and everything to other-worldly beings? Ancient Astronaut Theorists say, "Yes."
9/23/2015 10:31:48 pm
Perhaps from being flattened by boards?
9/19/2015 04:15:53 am
My friend is from the UK and he made some crop circles with a group from Manchester Univ.
9/19/2015 04:34:17 am
BLT Research Jason needs to be mentioned!
Not the Comte de Saint Germain
9/19/2015 11:57:09 am
Why did they name themselves after a sandwich?
9/21/2015 02:07:17 pm
Duke of URL
9/19/2015 10:57:37 am
"Howe believes crop circles are used by time travelers to calibrate their time machines. I have no idea what that even means."
busterggi (Bob Jase)
9/19/2015 11:57:34 am
I've often wondered if there wasn't a Twilight Zone influence on Barney Hill as well. The episode 'Black Leather Jackets' aired on January 31, 1964, and was about aliens disguised as motorcycle gangsters attempting to conquer Earth. The black caps and jackets that Barney Hill claimed some of the aliens wore could be taken straight from this show.
9/20/2015 01:43:12 am
The article on the Hills mentions that episode.
9/19/2015 12:29:17 pm
Let me understand this. I wish to communicate with you, so instead of calling you, writing you or send you an E-mail, I drive across the country and taking a piece of chalk I scribble math formulas on your sidewalk, hoping you can figure out that I sent them. That is the idea behind crop circles, I guess the human race is just to stupid to figure these messages out.
9/21/2015 02:11:50 pm
If you wish to communicate with someone and rather than calling, writing, or emailing, you...unannounced...drive across the country and scribble mathematic formulae on the sidewalk hoping the intended person can figure out your message because that's far easier than calling, writing, or emailing. That makes perfect sense.
9/19/2015 12:53:48 pm
"Charles Mallett, a crop circle researcher says that crop circles form near power centers, which in England are marked with sites like Stonehenge."
9/19/2015 12:55:48 pm
Dammit, I meant "aren't", not "are aren't".
9/19/2015 01:19:17 pm
It's neither aliens, time travelers, it's those pesky Freemasons. The crop circles are secret ci.my I cations on which lodge I'd going to have the next pancake breakfast
9/19/2015 10:06:16 pm
Art Bell had a guy on Monday night, Charles Maxwell, who claims to have "discovered the stunning hidden science of crop circles which led him down the path of rendering their 2D designs into a 3D machine… a ship driven by never-before-seen propulsion technology." He claimed to have spent $150,000 on the project which didn't work.
9/21/2015 02:13:16 pm
I hope it was all his own money and not taxpayers.
9/20/2015 04:41:55 pm
Seems like crop circles are the Ancient Aliens part of the 90's Kid thing. "Hey remember Rugrats, Johnny Bravo and alien leaving messages in bits of knocked over wheat, just #90's Kid things."
9/20/2015 05:09:11 pm
Aliens do have an established connection with Pogs...
9/21/2015 02:13:53 pm
Rocko's Modern Life.
9/21/2015 05:56:56 pm
No one else who saw this episode thought that at the very least segment 3 was a tad bit interesting? Putting personal feelings aside and looking at what was presented...nothing made you wonder?
9/26/2015 09:39:25 pm
Couldn't get myself to watch this BS for more than 20 minutes. The show gets worse all the time. The history channel has become a terrible joke.
terry the censor
10/2/2015 04:48:17 pm
> Presumably this involves a cash payment to Friedman.
10/17/2015 05:17:03 am
Although the crop circle phenomenon is worldwide,the best known stuff is from the UK. We don't hear about crop circles in the US,Japan,France,etc because the most elaborate stuff is in Great Britain. I tend to think there are better ways for aliens to contact us than drawing weird patterns in the crops.
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I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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