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Re: Vallee On Crop Circles - Maccabee

From: Bruce Maccabee <brumac@compuserve.com>
Date: Tue, 8 Oct 2002 18:38:35 -0400
Fwd Date: Tue, 08 Oct 2002 19:56:06 -0400
Subject: Re: Vallee On Crop Circles - Maccabee


 >From: Dave Haith <visions@ntlworld.com>
 >To: <UFOUpdates@virtuallystrange.net>
 >Date: Mon, 7 Oct 2002 10:25:34 +0100
 >Subject: Vallee On Crop Circles

 >Hi Friends and Researchers

 >I have been sent the below article by the well-respected UFO and
 >paranormal researcher, Jacques Vallee.

 >He tells me it can be freely distributed. It has already been
 >posted on the NIDS website.

 >This may not be a popular theory for the formation of crop
 >circles and raises a thousand issues.

 >CROP CIRCLES: "SIGNS" FROM ABOVE OR HUMAN ARTIFACTS?
 >(by Jacques Vallee)

 >Some personal speculations on a fractal theme The key to
 >investigating anomalies often lies in asking the right questions
 >rather than pondering a long list of assumed answers and
 >fighting over hypotheses. The crop circles that have adorned
 >English fields in the last couple of decades are a good example
 >of this principle. Many well-intentioned "paranormal"
 >investigators and New Age enthusiasts have immediately posited
 >that the circles must be caused by Aliens, while the general
 >opinion of journalists and academics tended to state they were
 >the product of hoaxes. Indeed two retired men were featured in
 >the world media as the confessed authors of many circles. Over
 >the years several interested researchers - including this author
 >- have met with and interviewed self-described "artists" who had
 >generated some complex crop formations as a new type of display
 >where the landscape is used as a canvas to shock popular
 >consciousness and stimulate reaction. There is no question that
 >at least some of the formations - including some remarkably
 >complex ones - are their handiwork.

 >This leaves most of the formations unexplained, especially those
 >that have appeared in a very short time or under conditions of
 >very high mathematical accuracy. Drawing a bicycle or a spider
 >in a wheat field is one thing, the

I think it was the summer of 1990 when suddenly the agriglyphs
went from being mostly circular constructions (combinations of
circles, arcs, etc) to constructions that included straight
edges, lines, pathways, "key" shapes, etc.

 >Mandelbrot set of fractal geometry is quite another. When
 >sophisticated formations started appearing in the English
 >countryside several teams of UFO investigators (who came from a
 >background of soil and trace studies related to the familiar
 >imprints often left behind after sightings such as Delphos or
 >Trans-en-Provence) began to take notice. Rather than jumping to
 >conclusions about the origin and purpose of the formations they
 >drew up a list of fundamental questions that went like this:


 >(1)Is there a change in the nature of the formations over time?

 >(2)What is it, exactly, that happens to the vegetation inside
 >the affected areas?

 >(3)Is there anything special about the location of the
 >phenomenon?

 >To seek information on these topics they established a protocol
 >to gather vegetation samples and sent them to a number of
 >laboratories for microscopic studies. The results, which have
 >been discussed at meetings of the Society for Scientific
 >Exploration and other public events, have never seemed of
 >sufficient interest for the media (or, indeed, the ufological
 >mainstream) to take notice, perhaps because they conflicted with
 >the sensational nature of other hypotheses.

Collin Andrews was one of the main drivers toward a scientific
analysis. The Fund for UFO Research supporter Project Argus in
the late 1980s or early 90's (I don't recall) to gather data.
However, it wasn't until Lefty Leavengood got involved that
plant studies really began. Of course, even before that the
investigators could tell when stalks were broken and when they
weren't.... and it was the cases with unbroken stalks (how do
you bend a plant "permanently" without breaking it/) and the
cases with different "lays" (counterclockwise lay of the grain
over a region of clockwise lay, for example) that really raised
the questions.... because these by themselves ruled out the
"stick and rope" method... long before the Doug and Dave show.

 >The answers are as follows:

 >The early formations were simple circles, then circles with
 >satellites. In later years more and more sophisticated and
 >precisely-drawn geometric figures appeared.

 >Vegetation is bent because the nodes are exploded. The stalks
 >are not broken and indeed the plants are often reported to start
 >growing again.

Up to here we have a recitation of the data. Now comes the
suggested explanation.

 >All the significant formations were observed in an area in close
 >proximity to major research facilities of the British defense
 >establishment, often in controlled airspace.

 >So much for Aliens and Druids. These studies point to the crop
 >formations as the result of sophisticated electronic warfare
 >experiments conducted by defense contractors. The answer to
 >question (1) provides the first clue:

 >If you are trying to calibrate a beam, drawing a pattern on a
 >wheat field can yield precision information within the diameter
 >of one stalk over hundreds of feet, an ideal test situation.

In my opinion this form of the "Defense - Circle Connection"
is really 'Waaaay Oouttt'.

Here he is saying that the answer to the first question above
(Is there a change in the nature of the constructions as time
goes on?) is an indication of improvement British defense
technology. At first the patterns were simple.

Then they got complex.... ergo the technology improved.

As a researcher involved with military lasers (or microwave
beams) I would say that "calibrating" a beam weapon by drawing a
pattern in a grain field would be by far the LEAST likely
method. (A) they would use a "target board" or some special
device to measure beam steering accuracy, not a field of grain
and (B) if in the unlikely event they decided to use a grain
field they wouldn't use a privately owned field... they would
"grow their own".

I am, I must admit, flabbergasted that Jacques would extrapolate
from the factual presence of a military establishment set up for
electronic warfare to the use of weapons to draw pictures in
farmers' grain fields. "Electronic Warfare" does not mean beam
weapons., The terminology refers to detecting the enemies signal
transmissions and either listening in or jamming (such as radar
jamming).

 >The answer to question (2) narrows down the type of energy that
 >can be responsible, because the amount of heat radiation that
 >needs to be coupled into one node of a stalk of wheat to
 >vaporize the water content is a known quantity, as laboratory
 >tests in France and in the United States soon established.

Here he is saying that the assumed beam is heating the stalk,
and it takes a certain amount of heat energy to raise the
temperature enough to cause softening at the bottom of the
stalk.. (But too much energy would burn the plant, so a narrow
range of energies is needed.) He uses the experimental evidence
of plant softening to deduce that infrared or microwave heating
is involved... see below.

 >The answer to question (3) points to the likely authors of the
 >tests.

 >It is tempting to jump to the conclusion that some sort of
 >space-based weapon is being developed. I am reluctant to assume
 >this because of the cost involved. Even if satellites represent
 >the ultimate platform for such a weapon, which does not seem
 >obvious to me, the calibration tests can be carried out far more
 >cheaply from a conventional aircraft.

The idea of a satellite-borne laser or microwave beam that could
have the necesary power and pointing accuracy to create precise
crop constructions is... unreasonable.

It would require hundreds of kilowatts of electrical power
(perhaps megawatts) because the constructrions (agriglyphs)
would have to be "burned" into a field in a matter of seconds...
but there are no space power systems capable of handling that
level of power. Even if there were such power supplies and
microwave or laser beams they would have to have extremely
accurate pointing to create sharply delineated constructions.
However, the atmosphere causes scintillation... this could make
the beam wobble as it is drawing the outline of an agriglyph.
But agriglyph outlines are very precise.

More generally, I think the idea of something 'beaming down' and
creating an agriglyph fails for two other fundamental reasons:

A) the plants are softened near the bottom... in fact over a
short range of heights near the bottom (a few inches above the
earth), yet the heating source is presumed to come from above
creating the following problem: how to heat the bottom without
similar or greater heating oof the top (or softening of the
whole stalk).

B) Assuming one could find a way to concentrate the heat near
the bottom, what would cause the "lay" of the grain to be
anything other than randomly one way or another, or to follow
the direction of any wind at the time. Worse yet, how do you get
a "layered lay" of the crop in which the bottom layer may be
clockwise and hte upper layer counterclockwise... or, as in
some cases, stalks woven together.....

I think Jacques is correct in rejecting the satellite
alternative.

 >In those cases when witnesses on the ground have seen formations
 >in the process of being created, they have described a reddish
 >glow at ground level, with the vegetation bent over in a matter
 >of minutes.

This is the first I have heard of a "reddish glow". I wonder if
these are night time sightings. I am aware that there have been
witnesses who have said they have seen constructions appear
quickly (in daytime?).

 >This would be consistent with a beam directed at the field
 >from a hovering dirigible, painting a figure very much in the
 >same way as an electron beam 'paints' a digital image on a
 >computer screen.

Well, yes... and no.... If you had a dirigible you could have
the beam weapon close to the field (say a few miles up maybe)
and therefore wouldn't have to worry about atmospheric
distortion (a problem for the satellite based weapon).

However, you still have the problem of providing the power,
which means a heavy power source which would need a large
dirigible. The weight would be a function of the number of
kilowatt seconds or megajoules it would take to soften the
plants over a whole agriglyph, keeping in mind that the stalk is
tiny - a few mm thick - compared to the spacing between stalks -
  many centimeters - so the "efficiency of coupling" to the
stalks is low?. Then there isn the problem of getting the power
down to the ground level (a few inches above the ground) without
frying the tops of the plants... or softening the whole stalk
all the way from the top to the bottom. And then there is the
problem of the "lay". Simply heating the plants could cause them
to fall any-which- way... or the way the wind happened to be
blowing. How do you "comb" the plants into a nice circular or
linear formation?

 >From conversations I have had with the investigators involved,
 >the beam would be unlikely to be a simple infrared beam. Instead
 >a combination of laser and microwave transmitters may be
 >involved, or a form of maser.

A maser generates microwave radiation. Powerful microwaves would
probably be generated, not by a maser but by some other source
(klystron, gyrotron, etc.) A microwave antenna is then needed to
direct the microwave beam. To get a precise beam that has a
small diameter at the surface of the earth would require a
sizeable antenna (several feet in size, at least) and the
antenna would have to be steerable with great accuracy.

The addition of a laser would probably not be necessary if the
microwave beam were powerful enough. A high powered infrared
laser, such as the few weapon level lasers that exist in the
world (like 2 or 3?... and each is the size of a small house)
would fry a plant all the way from the top to the bottom.

 > Perhaps the increasingly sophisticated tests are designed,
 >precisely, to discover optimal combinations.

IMHO this is speculation based on a faulty hypothesis

 >This leaves several issues pending: Why don't witnesses see the
 >supposed hovering platforms if they simply fly over the
 >countryside? What about the "confessions" of the two retired men
 >who claimed they made the circles with a two-by-four and a piece
 >of string? And why do the experiments continue at a point where
 >the technology seems to have reached a high level of perfection?
 >I only have tentative answers to this new set of questions: Many
 >years ago I gave a lecture on UFO research at Oxford University.
 >One of the people attending, a physics faculty member, told me
 >of an interesting personal experience. His hobby was to fly
 >gliders over the English countryside. On one occasion, on a
 >bright afternoon, he was astonished to see his plane reflected
 >in a surface that appeared to be motionless in the atmosphere.

 >He actually flew around the object and determined it was a
 >perfectly reflecting cylinder. It is obvious that such a device
 >would have "low-observable" characteristics - a visual stealth
 >platform.

So Vallee is suggesting that "invisible" blimps over the field
carry high powered beams that are being "calibrated" by having
them draw complex patterns in farmers' grain.

Sorry... I don't buy that!

 >What is suspicious about the two older men's "confession" is
 >that it appeared simultaneously on the front pages of
 >international papers and on CNN the same day. Any published
 >author familiar with the difficulty of getting media attention
 >will know that it takes a very powerful public relations firm to
 >get a story to the front page of the Wall Street Journal and the
 >New York Times, Le Figaro and many other papers the same day.
 >Where did the two pensioners get the kind of clout that would
 >spin their claim around the planet? The result was
 >instantaneous: The press and, more importantly, most scientists
 >lost all interest in the story for 10 years.

This is a _good_ point... his best so far! Why didn't the D&D
"admission of guilt" just get ignored along with all the other
comments that were flying around about agriglyphs back in the
early 90's?

Is it just that the press finally found an answer "they"
liked... and, better yet, someone to interview who claimed to
have the answer? The fact that an explanation which on the face
of it is ridiculous (D&D weren't making dozens of circles each
year.... they weren't making constructions in other countries...
they broke the stalks when they stomped on them... etc...) could
be accepted by the mainstream press is, unfortunately,
_very_common_... especially in UFO related stuff.

In the New Zealand sightings case of Dec. 1978.... one story was
Venus, then the next day Jupiter, then light reflected from
birds, and light reflected from cabbages(!)... the press had a
field day with garbage explanations.

In the Japan Airlines case of Nov 1986, the FAA investigated and
concluded that the FAA ground radar didn't detect anything. The
mainstream press sucked that up and printed it without pointing
out that the FAA didn't even mention the visual sightings by the
3 crewmen, nor did the FAA mention the detection by the radar on
the plane. When CSICOP publicized the "Mars and Jupiter"
explanation the press simply parroted that explanation in
complete disregard for the detailed descriptions of the "things"
that were in front of the airplane for many minutes.... and
which reoriented them selves from one above the other to side by
side.... something Mars and Jupiter would have a hard time
doing.

The facile explanations, publicized widely, cause the press and
public to lose interest right away. (Consider the Roswell
"weather balloon" explanation as one of the earliest examples of
the press accepting the "acceptable" explanation without asking
any tough questions.) This raises the question Jacques hints
at.... are the surreptitious "forces" involved in assuring that
'cover up' explanations are widely circulated whenever there is
a really 'good' sighting?

Of course, we have the grandaddy of them all... Roswell and the
weather balloon explanation.

 >Why do the tests continue? I admit I have no good answer to
 >this. It seems farfetched to assume that they have become more
 >sociological than technological in nature, yet this could
 >provide an explanation. Soon or later the truth will be known,
 >and it can be used to discredit the community of paranormal
 >researchers who have rushed to decipher alien scripts in the
 >formations, or have hypothesized a return of the Druids, earth
 >lights or messages from Gaia without first testing the basic
 >physics of the situation. It may also be that such hypotheses
 >have been coldly planted among the New Age milieu as part of a
 >psychological warfare experiment, and that the real nature of
 >the crop formations can thus be hidden from serious attention
 >for a very long time.

The above are musings based on, in my opinion, a faulty premise.

 >Why would one need to develop such a beam? Destruction of
 >incoming missiles (or simple confusion of their electronics)
 >would be an obvious purpose, but several projects are already
 >under way to produce such weapons, notably at Boeing and other
 >defense contractors. But we may be wrong in assuming that the
 >beam itself is a weapon; it might be used simply to guide a much
 >larger amount of energy (contained plasma, or the fireball
 >created by a nuclear explosion, for example) to its ultimate
 >destination. The type of threat that is present in today's world
 >includes targets that one may not want to blow up, but rather to
 >fuse inside a fireball. Such a target might be a biological
 >laboratory, or a chemical factory, where dispersion of a
 >pathogen is undesirable.

<snip>

The above are interesting musing independent of the agriglyph
problem.
 



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