from the Hieronimus & Co. Newsletter
Issue #12-13, 1997
Plant samples from crop circles around the world are being scientifically tested by some of the best Earth biologists alive. Biophysicist, Dr. William C. Levengood, a semi-retired scientist with a seed consulting business in Michigan, took up the request in 1989 for formal sampling of the crops inside the anomalous circles and formations appearing most frequently in southern England, but also being reported in Japan, Australia, Canada, the United States and many other countries. He was first convinced to examine the samples by British researcher, Pat Delgado, one of the original field investigators in Great Britain. At first impelled by curiosity, Dr. Levengood later became stimulated by the anomalous results of that first test, and has been studying crop formation samples ever since.
Formerly with the Institute of Science and Technology at the University of Michigan, Dr. Levengood has been a consultant in the industry for many years and has published over 50 papers in the scientific literature. One of Dr. Levengood's associates joined 21st Century Radio(r) on August 11, 1996 to give us a scientific report on the lab discoveries concerning the physical changes occurring in the plants sampled from inside the crop formations. Nancy Talbott, the "T"in BLT Research Team of Cambridge, recalls being in England in 1991 when she heard about Dr. Levengood's research and as she explains, "at that time there was no hard science being done [on crop circles]. I was struck by the phenomenon itself and thought it deserved a little more attention than it seemed to be getting. So, I came back to the states and looked Dr. Levengood up and went out to see him, went to the lab and became informed a good deal more about what he had found and how interesting it was."
John Burke, the "B"of BLT Research, came to the crop formation situation from a totally different tangent. He was interested in the electromagnetic perspective of the crop formations and the three of them ended up together and, as Nancy says, they "decided to set up a little group to thoroughly sample and follow procedure and protocol out in the field so that the lab work could become a little bit more reliable. That began in late 1992-93 and we have been at it ever since."
While most Americans fell for the tabloid style reporting by Peter Jennings and others a few years ago that concluded that the crop circle enigma was solved when two British hoaxers "confessed to being responsible for creating all the crop circles with boards and ropes", the evidence that discredited their claims for responsibility was largely ignored by the American media. Always happy to find man-made solutions to any paranormal phenomena, the mainstream media later dropped the subject of crop circles all together when they realized they had jumped to an incorrect conclusion, and completely overlooked the fact that hundreds of crop formations are occurring thousands of miles away from the southern England home of the two old hoaxers from one end of the globe to the other
Thus the quiet research begun by Dr. Levengood's team about the same time as the Doug and Dave brough-ha-ha, has gone largely ignored.
The Beginning of Recorded Crop Circle History
Crop Circles were first recorded in Great Britain at least 100 years ago, says Nancy. "It seems that occasional isolated simple circles have been appearing perhaps everywhere for quite a long time and haven't been noticed, or when they were, they were variously attributed to weather phenomenon or the mowing devils... About 20 years ago, the phenomenon started to heat up in Great Britain... an increasing number of these circles and eventually the development of ancillary aspects to the circles: rings, additional circles and other kinds of design elements. This is now speeded up to the point where there are anywhere from between 150 and, let's say 2,000 per summer in southern England alone."
Doug And Dave Really Get Around
But England is not alone in reporting this phenomena annually. "This year in particular we have numerous reports from the Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, and the United States. And in other years, Canada, Japan, Australia, Israel and numbers of other countries."
What Constitutes A True Crop Formation?
"The media has misrepresented this,"says Nancy. "A crop formation is simply bent over, laid down areas of wheat, oats, barley, whatever it is, sometimes in a geometric sort of design, sometimes not. Many of the formations that we have examined, particularly some of these in Maryland have not been geometric in nature at all. Very random looking stuff. The farmers traditionally call it wind damage and attribute it to nitrogen over-fertilization. In fact, nitrogen and excess fertilization CAN cause something similar to this, but we find that about 50% of these randomly downed areas that we sample, in fact, are related to or caused by the same energies that cause the more geometric formations which are the ones that are known so well around the world. [A crop formation] is simply laid over crop, swirled in patterns, some of them very precise, some of them very random. The crop is not cut. I want to be very clear about that, it is not cut, it is simply bent.... In the authentic formations, it is not squashed. You see no breakage, or very little breakage, usually. If there is a very turbulent vortex present, you may see some breakage in an authentic formation, but traditionally, you don't expect to see breakage. If you happen to be lucky enough to get one when it is brand new, before people have visited it, it is not likely that you will see much breakage."
The Hard Physical Data
Together with BLT Research Nancy Talbott has investigated the biophysical aspects of crop formations worldwide for the past few years. After thousands of hours of laboratory and field work, the impressive data is stacking up. Nancy described that the laboratory tests fall into distinct categories depending upon a number of variables: such as the type of crop [formations have been found in wheat, oats, barley, corn, soy beans, weeds, grass, and more]... the area in which it is planted: north, south; the type of soil it is planted in; the type of fertilizer that has been used; the age of the crop at the time the formation occurred.
When a formation is formed in immature crop, Nancy says "one of the things we have found is a markedly reduced feed head size. You take a control plant from out in the field somewhere and pluck off the head and go into the formation itself and pluck off another one and compare them. When the crop circle energies hit a formation early on and you get to see it, let's say a month later, you'll notice an enormously reduced feed head size.
"Now, inside these feed heads there is a further startling alteration. The seed head will sometimes look relatively normal and have no seeds inside them whatsoever. In other words, all the semiotic tissue will continue to evolve but the reproductive tissue does not -- no seeds. Or occasionally, when there are seeds present, what we find are severely stunted seeds: they weigh less, they are smaller. When we go to germinate those seeds, they are not viable. They produce struggling seedlings which would not survive under normal conditions and often don't in the laboratory.
"Another change that we have discovered under the microscope is enlargement in cell wall pits in bract tissue. These are tiny little structures that have been enlarged when the heat hits the plants to create part of the heat that is involved in the formation. It enlarges the cell wall pits and what it does then is it allows a much greater transfer of ions through into the seed, because the bract tissue is a very thin membrane that surrounds the seed heads and provides the nutrients to the growing seeds.
Photo 1: Seed-heads (barley), from 1992 formation at Barbury Castle (UK); formation sample is stunted and seedless.
Photo 2: Cell-wall-pit enlargement (wheat), 1991 event at Lockeridge (UK); first seen in parenchyma, now in bract tissue.
(For info, send SASE to Nancy Talbott, BLT Reaearch Team, Bos 127, Cambridge, MA 02140)
"You find also bent and enlarged stem nodes. Most of these plants have three or four, sometimes even five stem nodes. Now a lot of confusion has arisen about the bent nodes because if a formation is made by people, let's say, and it isn't discovered for two weeks, photosynthesis, which is the effort of the plant to head up towards the sun again, will cause node bending, but it depends on which nodes are bent, number one and secondly, whether or not the node bending is seen in conjunction with node lengthening. People messing around in the field can, upon occasion create node bending. They cannot create node lengthening, nor can they create the cell wall pit enlargement that I spoke about earlier."
Node differences (lengthening and bending) between normal "control" wheat stalks (left) and formation plants from formations samples (right) in early June, 1995 at Blue Ball, Maryland. (c) BLT Research Team,, USA (for info, send SASE to Nancy Talbott, Box 127, Cambridge, MA 02140
The Seed Stock In The World Would Be Dead
"I think the most significant finding that we have come up with so far however, is the seed germination trials. The facts of the matter are that when a formation is formed in immature crop, it almost always either makes it so that the seeds don't develop at all, or it considerably reduces their size and weight."
Crop Formations In Mature Crop
"However--and this is terribly interesting--if a crop formation occurs in a much more mature crop, then what we see is extremely energized seeds so that they then reproduce at five times the normal rate. So what you've got here is in one situation we get no seed growth whatsoever or almost none, in other words the seed stock in the world would be dead if formations occurred in immature crop all over the world simultaneously. We would starve to death the next year. However, when those same energies are involved in a formation in more mature crop, what we get is a significantly enhanced growth system. Now, whatever in the world is doing this, I should think would be of great interest to anybody. I mean, if you are going to starve to death in a year, that is kind of important, and if, in fact, you could improve the seeds, the stock for future generations, you could increase yields and therefore feed a lot more people."
Visual Clues Don't Cut It
"...Now, these trials have been done thousands and thousands and thousands of times and one of the main things that people ask all the time is how do you tell a genuine one from a fake.... You cannot tell visually. Assuming that certain visual clues provide that answer is incorrect; they do not. Occasionally you will find broken stems, all the things people say cannot happen in a real crop circle can in fact. The best clue that I know of visually is the number of broken stems. If you see a great many, that is usually a pretty good clue that in fact, the thing is not made by these energies, that instead it is made by people, in some mechanical way - bruising and scraping of the plants, that sort of thing. But the only way we know at the moment to pursue this intelligently is to carry out all these different lab experiments that we do and what that means, of course, is that very careful field sampling has to be done. It is a laborious process, it is hot as the dickens out under that sun, it is no fun, but if it is done properly, we have three or four different types of examinations we do which produce the results. And then you take the results in tandem with each other to see how solid the picture is and if in fact you have cell wall pit enlargement and if in fact you have node enlargement, lengthening, and if in fact you have germination alternations, you are pretty sure that what you are looking at is one that has not been made by mechanical means."
In Dr. Levengood's papers, he notes that crop formation plants exhibit expulsive cavities at nodal locations consistent with the application of microwave radiation. It seems that their laboratory findings are consistent with the hypothesis that very energetic, highly charged, ionized plasma systems are involved in crop systems as a causative factor. BLT Research has concluded that human interference is definitively NOT the causative factor in most crop formations, and that changes to our upper atmosphere might be indicated. If this is the case, obviously, a lot more work is called for. Imagine if loss of ozone, air pollution, increased microwave transmission could somehow be linked to the elaborate formations appearing in the grains.
"Plasmas have been studied for some time in the laboratory,"says Nancy, "and certain properties of plasmas are relatively well understood at this point. Plasmas do, in fact, emit very brief, very intense bursts of microwave radiation. When a plasma system develops and these extremely energetic particles rotate in an intense pattern, the electrical charges are increased, as are the microwave charges. Some of the changes in the plants that we look at are consistent with a level of energy that is greater than that which comes from the sun's solar flares. Very brief bursts, but more intense than that, so you can imagine the amount of energy we're talking about. It has to be extremely, precisely aimed, if you will, and very, very, very brief in order not to char the tissue immediately, which of course would happen if it lasted for any length of time.
"Dr. Levengood feels that these plasma systems are originating probably in the ionosphere and perhaps as a result of loss of ozone. If in fact more radiation is getting into the earth's atmosphere as a result of the loss of ozone, this could change the atmospheric patterns. Air pollution can do the same thing. Unusual meteoritic explosions can do the same thing. Something starts this process. We don't know what that is; we are simply hypothesizing reasonable possible causes. Once the process is started, however, these vortexes are then drawn to earth, probably because of magnetic anomalies in the earth's crust in various locations. Southern England is underlaid with a chalk aquifer. Chalk is very porous; the water is collected over the spring, and as it percolates down through the rest of the summer an electric charge is set up. This makes that particular section of Southern England quite different from, let's say, New Hampshire which is underlaid with granite, or Northern Massachusetts for that matter. It is also of interest that limestone, which is very similar to chalk in its porosity, underlies the area out in Washington state and Oregon where we also have quite a few crop circles. It is conceivable that this slight electrical charge that is built up with this porous substrata may have something to do with calling these plasma systems down to earth in particular places. It could also be that magnetic anomalies due to deposits of iron, for instance, below the earth's surface could have something to do with it. We need a bunch of geologists working on this to check it out because of the amount of time and money it will take. It is going to take a whole team of people working on this for quite a while, but it is a logical supposition as to why they are occurring in certain locations rather than others."
Anyone who knows anything about batteries, says Nancy, "will know exactly what I am talking about. This gentle percolation of the water creates this electrical charge. Silbury Hill in Southern England is nothing more than a great big battery. It is made of layers of chalk and dirt, chalk and dirt, chalk and dirt. The water seeps down through that thing all year long and sets up an electrical charge which is significantly different from the surrounding territory. And apparently, it may have been built deliberately for that reason."
The Soil Data From The Blue Ball, Maryland Crop Formation
"I have a letter from Dr. Anne Silk in the UK about the Upper Chesapeake,"said Nancy, "because I mentioned this to her and she seems to feel that tertiary igneous rocks are in ridges that run from the Piedmont through New Jersey, including the Upper Chesapeake, which could perhaps have something to do with why they are occurring there."
MUFON Investigator, George Reynolds, demonstrating the size of the Blue Ball, MD wheat photoggraphed 10 June 1995.
Some recovery of crop due to photosynthesis is evident. Note turbulence of crop lay.
Well over 60, George Reynolds, has more energy than most people in their 20's. Phone: 410 398-4124.
Blue Ball, Maryland is in the northeastern section of Maryland, near Elkton, and the formations there were first brought to the attention of the BLT Research Team by MUFON Investigator and Northeastern Maryland State Section Director, George Reynolds. "George Reynolds has a very sharp eye,"says Nancy, "and he picked up on this particular area, not because it was particularly geometric. He realized instantly, though, that there was something unusual about the downed area of crop."There were three formations at this time, in fact, one found in a field in Cherry Hill, Maryland and two in two separate fields in Blue Ball. "All three of these fields had massive random damage throughout the field. One of the sites in Blue Ball was actually fairly circular in nature. The other Blue Ball site was relatively rectangular. The Cherry Hill site was so diverse as to be unable to describe it. There was random damage everywhere in the field. I think that George noticed the Cherry Hill site first. I could not get away at that time so I called another colleague in Pennsylvania and she went down and joined George and they did all the sampling in that first field. Then very shortly after that, George spotted these other two. And the Blue Ball sites turned out to be the most significant sites that we have examined so far. Not only did we find massive node enlargement there and enormous germination changes, the cell wall pit enlargement was equally intense and we had a number of other anomalous side effects which are related to crop circles."The data gathered from the crops in the Blue Ball and Cherry Hill, Maryland sites, in fact, indicate the energy induced node alterations far exceeded the levels recorded in any of the over 200 formations examined in their laboratory to date.
"Mr. Reynolds reported a tingling and in fact numbness of his leg and his hands after being in the formation on his hands and knees sampling for several hours. When I went down the second time to do the second sampling, the same thing happened to me to a slightly lesser degree, but this was a month after the formation had been found. We had compass anomalies; we had magnetometer anomalies. George also got a number of photographic light anomalies and you put all these things together along with the hard data from the laboratory and you get this picture of an anomalous event. Something that is not readily understood or that is not understood at all by scientists at this point in time. But it is real in the sense that it has physical alterations which it leaves behind and which can be studied.
"...The Cherry Hill site was random patches in every shape you can imagine. The entire field hit. Which is not uncommon. Farmers know about this and have always attributed this sort of damage to this business of putting on too much nitrogen. What too much nitrogen does to a plant is that it weakens it and because the stalk is weak, when the wind or rains come, the plants will fall over. That in fact is a real result of over-fertilization. But it is different from what is going on in the crop circle events. These plants are not weakened, they bend at the nodes. Which they do not in the over fertilization scenario, There is an intense greening effect in over fertilization, which you do not find in the crop circle situation and the lengthened nodes never occur as a result of too much nitrogen, they only occur when this other phenomenon is going on. We think it has been masked for many years because the farmers just assumed it was all due to over-fertilization. In fact, it is not so. At Blue Ball it was very clear because there we had, right next to the road one field in which there was a relatively circular area downed, very turbulent on the inside, it wasn't neatly laid over the way it often is in the English formations, there were these incredible S-curves and herringbone patterns within the formations. Bent nodes everywhere you looked and, they were elongated almost 200%, in fact I think some of them were 200% -- now that is a massive finding."When George took the first samples in early June 1995, "the crop was too immature at that point in time to do germination trials, and so what we do when that is the case is we go back again later when the crop has had a chance to mature and then resample it so that we can get seeds that are strong enough to germinate."
1996 Crop Formations In Maryland
"...The first one this year was in a location called Street, Maryland, again up at the top of the Chesapeake Bay, but slightly west of the Churchville and Blue Ball sites. This was in barley and it was a single field. The fields here are planted in strips. This is a single field of barley. Looks like soy beans on one side and I think corn on the other and only the barley field is affected. The entire field is again hit with what looks like what the farmers call wind damage -- this randomly downed stuff. But an alert field investigator there noticed that in these patches, in the middle of these patches, there were standing clumps. That is a very good sign that what is going on is not wind damage. Somebody sent me photos and the minute I saw them I knew it was something we needed to follow up on and we did. We sampled the field fairly carefully. Again the same changes. These were not as significant as what we have seen at Blue Ball, but highly significant changes again in the node length and the germination trials at Street, Maryland. Then, immediately after that George Reynolds again discovered a site in Calvert, Maryland, where we had three roughly circular areas in the same field, not quite as precise as what you see in Southern England and even elsewhere in the United States, but randomly downed and in basically circular patterns. That happened to be barley also and the same changes were evident there. Then, not very long after that, in Chesapeake City, Maryland we had two very rough circular areas in wheat, apparently right underneath the bridge, that [George Reynolds] spotted, I think, going over the bridge, and then managed to get down there and sample the thing.... All three of those areas show these changes which again are consistent with the application of extremely brief bursts, of very intense microwave radiation."
Downwind Of Nuclear Plants
Calvert, Maryland, of course if the home of the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Plant. Could there be a connection? "...What we are looking at is soil and plant material exclusively,"said Nancy. "We make note of all the other anomalous things that go on because we think it is important. For instance, we have noticed that many crop formations in the United States seem to cluster downwind of nuclear plants. Now, what does that mean? We don't know yet. We haven't got enough data to start making any statements about it. We simply have noticed that this occurs. Many of the anomalous effects that are related to crop circles could have many explanations. The fact that the plants and the soil show certain changes which are consistent with known physical theories doesn't rule out the involvement of other energies. All we are trying to do is: number one, legitimize the crop circle situation as a real event. If we can get it past the point of Doug and Dave, we will have accomplished point number one. The second point is to try to discover what the natural energies are that are involved. I don't think it makes sense to automatically jump to [any] idea. If you have to go from hoaxing to UFOs -- UFOs may or may not be involved. But when you've got tons of physical evidence which fits a known physical, causative factor, such as these plasma vortices, it seems to make sense to follow that along, and as long as the data fits that picture, then you've got a reasonable explanation. If, at some point, the data doesn't fit that explanation, then you start looking for another one.... I think it has legitimized for many people the fact that crop formations are real things. 90% of the samples that we have examined over the last six years show these changes, only 10% don't."
Bad Ax, Michigan Formation
"This was 1995,"says Nancy. "There have been some extremely interesting formations in recent years here in the States. We get them in corn -- full grown mature corn. It happens in [corn] just like it happens in wheat, barley, oats or any other thing. In this case, it was mature corn. It wasn't discovered, or didn't occur until later on in the year. The crop was quite mature and in this particular event, we have got a fairly randomly downed area, in other words, it is not geometric, it is not pretty to look at, but the corn shears were sheered off in a 45-70% angle, several feet above the ground. The plants, when germinated showed exactly the same changes. In that particular case, the germination trials went on for I think 21 days and you can see this massive difference in the seedlings from the control samples, as opposed to the samples that came out of the formation itself. We have several reports of light phenomenon associated with some of these formations and curiously, in many of the formations where we have light phenomenon associated, we also have deposits of very peculiar material, some of which we have been unable to identify. In one case in England in 1993 and in Minnesota in 1994 we found deposits of meteoritic iron which occurred immediately after the Perseid meteor shower which happens to be tonight. I mean, the most intense aspects of the Perseid meteor shower will happen tonight. These formations both occurred within days of the Perseid meteor shower in different years and in different countries. What happened was that microscopic particles of meteoric dust were filtering to Earth at exactly the time and place where these crop circle energies were also functioning at exactly the same instant. What happened was the microscopic particles were gathered up in the vortex, heated up by the microwaves and then deposited in globs on the stems and stalks of the plants. When we did our analysis, it took us about six months on that, to figure out what it was. But, you run an EDS examination and you can discover that it is pure iron, well that's got to be meteoritic in origin. However, in some of these other formations, we found deposits that we have not been able to identify. Materials, not necessarily black, sometimes they are white, sometimes they are amber, but materials that so far have defied the EDS examination and gas chromatography, which is another analysis that helps you figure out what the materials are and in these cases, almost always, we have a light phenomenon reported in association with the crop formation, so it may be that we are looking at more than one type of crop formation. It may be that there is something else going on in some of these."
Speculate On What Is The Cause
"Some extremely energetic, very intense, energetic system impacted these crops,"considers Nancy. "From what I know of the plasma vortex idea and about physics in general, it is a logical extension of the data we have. But since we don't know the original primary causative factor for the plasma vortices, we don't know what starts them. It is conceivable, anything can start them. We propose that ozone depletion may have something to do with it or increased magnetic stuff from meteorites, things of that sort are the causative factor, but we don't know that. Something else could be instigating that first change which then results in the plasma vortex, which descends and does the actual work."