Monthly Archives: July 2010

Lights in Wiltshire skies

The Wiltshire Times have reported on numerous sightings over Wiltshire of odd lights in the sky. The lights are describes as:

“Bright orange lights in the sky over Trowbridge and Melksham…”

“-in the sky was a cluster of orange lights…”

“-over Salisbury Plain before gradually moving eastwards and fading into one light…”

“-in the sky were five bright large orange round balls of light.”

All of these descriptions suggest that the lights seen in the sky were nothing more than “Chinese lanterns”. Many people who witness such lights in the sky who are then told they saw nothing but lanterns say they know it wasn’t lanterns and know what they saw.

The fact is though that when looking at the sky it is really difficult to judge the speed, distance or size of an object moving across the sky. It’s similar to watching planes flying above us. From some angles they move quite quickly, but view them from other angles and they look like they’re not moving at all.

Here is a video of one chinese lantern let off by friend of mine from their garden. Their confusion is acting as they had just lit the very lantern they were viewing. In this video you will notice how the lantern doesn’t look anything like a lantern.

The article goes on to detail an account from Roger White, 67, of Imber Road, Bratton. The paper says:

“Roger White called the Wiltshire Times to say that he has seen similar lights on four occasions in the last 10 years. He said: “It started in 2000 when I was working in Southwick.

“I got the feeling that something was watching me so I turned round and there was an orange orb. “It went behind the tree line and gradually gained height. Then in November last year I saw an orange orb along the West Ashton to Trowbridge road. It went towards Trowbridge and then just disappeared.

Also on Christmas Eve last year I took the dog into the back garden and there was a massive orb pulsating and then it just blinked out. A week later I was in my garden again facing north and another orb shot off to the west.”

It’s very likely that the objects Roger saw were lanterns or balloons too, it’s very usual for them to just float around, not really going anywhere and then to just zip away on a current of air. Or if they disappear it’s because they’ve gotten too high or the flame has gone out.

The feeling on being watched may have been coincidental.

We’re not saying that the people who witnessed these lights didn’t see something strange, and we’re not claiming that they made anything up. It’s just very likely, from what we have witnessed and researched in the past, that these lights were simply lanterns.

Our verdict = lanterns + more uncritical journalism from the W.T.

*Video credit to Robert & Lucie Weeks

Analysis: Crop circle theory

The following letter recently appeared in the Daily Mail and was from Cheryl Hopkins who lives in St Nicholas, Vale of Glamorgan. She writes:

It was fabulous to see the aerial view of the new crop circle (Mail). Try making that shape on the ground: it’s impossible!

Last week, a lady came to my meditation group to give a talk on Wiltshire crop circles and turned up with the expert himself, Fred Rusher, who had just arrived in the UK from Arizona to study this year’s phenomenal geometric circles.

Fred has been studying these shapes since they first appeared in modern times (though his research has found that the first crop circle chronicled was in the 1500s).

He showed a video of himself and colleagues demonstrating a possible natural theory as to how these circles form.

Fred sprinkled sand on a flat square board and then played high frequency sounds at it, making the sand whirl around and form various geometrical shapes. The shape changed with the sound frequency.

I challenge any human to imitate the intricacy of crop circles. To do all the detailing that one sees, especially the intricate weaving at ground level, would need an architect and an army of people working in the dark to make one overnight – and not leave a single footprint.

Particularly interesting was that Fred linked everything to God or whatever you call him. He said the messages in the crop circles are from the Divine creator and in this latest crop circle there are three distinct crosses.

There is more to the universe that scientists want us to believe but, fortunately, the truth is coming out.

It’s likely she was talking about this article in the paper which features crop circles in the Wiltshire area.

The notion that Cheryl has that it is impossible to make the shapes on the ground in person is a conclusion she has jumped to without proper assessment. It is probably very easy to create such a design with a lot of planning. We know that people in Wiltshire create crop circles using string and planks of wood, people have admitted it and we know people have even been arrested for it.

Not only this but even if it were impossible for humans to make such designs in a field using all the technology available to them, to then say this must mean there is a supernatural cause is a leap of logic that has no evidence to support it. These sorts of leaps of logic occur all the time in paranormal research – whether the subject matter is ghosts, crop circles or werewolves.

The theory that Cheryl speaks of regarding the sound waves and the sand seems interesting, though, if we use Occam’s razor as a way of assessing the possibilities, it’s more likely that the shapes have just been created by humans. We know that people have created these circles in the past but we have no documented evidence to suggest sound waves on a large-scale would make a crop circle with precise details (as seen in the picture above.)

The theory from Fred Rusher has just overcomplicated something that clearly has a logical explanation.

Having looked for research conducted into this theory, the only documented study that available to the public [1] had serious biases from the start. The abstract reads:

To date, some 10,000 crop circles have been catalogued, in twenty-nine countries worldwide, and their anomalous features continue to defy human replication: plants bent an inch above soil; their cellular structure altered; stems lightly burned around the base; alterations to the crystalline structure of the affected soil; the evaporation of ground water, alteration of the local electromagnetic field, and dowsable, long-lasting energy patterns, not to mention hundreds of measured
effects on the human biological field. Sounds have been identified at the sites of some of the circles during their formation, suggesting that sound is one of the likely causal or organizing factors in their creation. This article presents evidence and theories in support of this hypothesis.

The bits highlighted in red show the dubious statements in the abstract of the research that suggest personal biases of the investigators towards the effects and causes of crop circles. If this is the case then it’s very likely they will have already had a conclusion in mind, and thus, their findings would fit that conclusion.

The fact that Fred links everything to the god he chooses to worship makes his theory less concrete because he has allowed his personal biases to influence his research. Again, it’s a huge leap of logic.

If the god link was taken from the theory it’s still an interesting notion, however, if sound waves large enough to bend crops into a pretty cube or circle formation did so, there would be other signs too. Not just an eye-catching shape in one field. Damage to nearby trees and other surrounding crops, surely? While it might work on a tray of sand, if you think of the scale at which crop circles are made it suddenly seems much more unlikely.

As for messages in crop circles… these are open to interpretation from everybody. Human beings are pattern finding creatures by nature. It’s quite fun to pick out messages from them too. It’s interesting how people interpret these crop circles according to their own ideas about the world. What would believers of the alien hypothesis for crop circle creation think, or how would they react if they awoke one morning to discover a field in Devizes had a giant swastika crop circle in it? Would it be the divine creator then? Aliens? or A hoax? How would that fit their beliefs?