An Updated Report by Andrew Collins, 22 October 2007

In EARTHQUEST NEWS 10:2 (Autumn 2007) I reported on claims that a crop formation that appeared in East Field, Altan Barnes, during the early hours of Saturday, 7th July 2007, was accompanied by a massive burst of light. I showed that, contrary to reports, an alleged flash recorded on movie film at the time was simply an electrical artefact, and that the formation can be made out in the fields even before this time.

I updated this story on 20th September, stating that more movie footage existed that allegedly shows the formation being made over a period of 15 minutes from around 3 am onwards, even though stills released and compiled into a gif sequence clearly show the formation already present at the start of the sequence.

Now I want to up date the story again, as the camera man who took all these film sequences, Winston Keech, has released more stills from the extensive footage showing East Field that night. This, as we shall see, squashes any hope that the formation appeared either over a short period of time around 3 am, or miraculously appeared at all.

However, before revealing this new evidence, I would like to retell the story, and explain how investigations began into the origins of this beautiful formation. What follows is revised text from the original EARTHQUEST NEWS account, before I go on to reveal what happened next.

The Coming of 7.7.7

On the morning of Saturday, 7 July, news spread of a giant crop formation that had appeared overnight in East Field, Alton Barnes, the premier site for such works of art over the past 17 years. Since I now live very close to Wiltshire's crop circle territory, and was to talk to a London crop circle group visiting the area that day, I arranged to meet them in this new formation. The best vantage point to examine crop formations in East Field is Knap Hill, so my wife Sue and I went there first, before making our way down to East Field. From the elevated vantage point it was clear that the formation - over 1,000 feet in length, 500 feet across and made up of no less than 150 circles - consisted of two enormous crescents formed out of dozens of circles, attached to which were appendages constructed from more bubble-like masses of circles, giving the whole thing the impression of the Hindu OM symbol. I also saw it as no coincidence that the date was 7th July, which could be written 7.7.7, with 777 being a mystical number relating to God and the Elohim (the Sons of God of the book of Genesis), among other things.

Inside the formation, we learned that its appearance had apparently been accompanied by a massive aerial flash sometime around 3 am, and that someone on Knap Hill had videoed the whole thing. This sounded promising, and so I awaited further news with some excitement. This came finally at a press conference held in Alton Barnes' Coronation Hall on Thursday, 19th July, called by Terje Tofteness, a Norwegian crop circle enthusiast and video producer, who had now had a chance to examine the video footage taken on the night concerned. Present was Gary King of Cardiff, and his friend Paula Presdee Jones, both of whom had been on Knap Hill when the formation appeared. They recalled how they had spent the early hours in the company of a man named Winston 'Win' Keech, who had been monitoring East Field with a barrage of optical recording equipment, including various cameras, camcorders and video recorders. King reported how at 01.35 Keech used a camera switched to night vision in order to sweep East Field for signs of activity, yet saw nothing. Then at around three o'clock all three people present saw an aerial flash, which they said was recorded on video just as the equipment picked up what King and Tofteness described as evidence of an 'electromagnetic pulse'. Then at 03.20, as the light gradually came up, one camera began to pick out the presence in East Field of a huge crop formation, even though this was not witnessed at this time; those present on Knap Hill having to wait until 03.45 to spot the formation with their eyes.

Gary King answered questions posed by the assembled audience, as did Terje Toftenes, who provided a suitably dramatic build up to the screening of Win Keech's vital video footage. Yet in the end this consisted only of a very brief sweep across a hazy East Field, apparently at 01.35, showing that nothing was present. It was followed by even briefer footage of some white electrical fuzz on a dark screen, apparently taken at '03.13' (later revised to 3.08), said to be the effects of an 'electromagentic pulse' and the aerial flash witnessed by the group. This occurs at the very dying seconds of a tape being used at that time. Finally, there was a further few seconds of the crop formation present in East Field in the pre-dawn light at 03.20.

King informed the audience at Coronation Hall that since East Field had been scanned by a night vision camera at 01.35, and the East Field crop formation was present on camera at 03.20, there was no way it could be of human manufacture. He stated that all cars entering the area during the period in question were logged, and no movement or lights were seen in East Field. Moreover, it would have been impossible for any group of circle makers to have constructed a 1,000-feet long formation of 150 circles inside one and three-quarter hours. In addition to this, the presence of the aerial flash, recorded on camera along with the 'electromagnetic pulse', were hard evidence that some kind of supernatural agency was responsible for the crop formation.

I, however, had some difficulty accepting this story. My colleague Rodney Hale, a bespoke technical engineer, with considerable knowledge and experience in the examination of video, photographic and electrical anomalies, was initially asked by crop circle physical effects expert Lucy Pringle to evaluate a two-second sequence of Win Keech's original video footage, showing the appearance of the alleged flash and 'electromagnetic pulse'. That same day, Monday, 16 July (i.e. three days before the Coronation Hall press conference), Rodney examining the footage, concluding that the white fuzz was the result of a 'temporarily poor electrical contact in the circuit or a slight break down in the component'. This could have been caused by a bad contact (a common electrical fault), or alternatively it might well have been the result of damage at the end of the tape being used. Either way, it caused a disturbance in the equipment, resulting in various frames showing horizontal 'sparks', as well as the camera image jumping vertically, as the camera re-synchronized itself. This information was conveyed that same day to both Lucy Pringle and Gary King. This, it must be pointed out, was three days before the aforementioned press conference, and yet no acknowledgement of Rodney Hale's findings was ever made.

If Rodney's findings are correct, it provides a mundane explanation for the resulting footage and removes the idea that the camera, or its cord, recorded some kind of 'electromagnetic pulse'. This is confirmed by the fact that the camera's audible channel - presumed to have been running - was silent during the recording (an external EM pulse would have caused audible static, what is known as 'white noise').

A selected sequence of frames across 2 seconds showing the white fuzz, interpreted as an external 'flash', that occurred across a period of approximately 1/3 of a second. Note frame 5 where the camera image shifts vertically, interpreted by Terje Toftenes as direct evidence of the flash lighting up the horizon (Pic credit: Win Keech/Rodney Hale).

On top of this, no evidence was found of any external imagery being recorded by the camera before, during or after the white fuzz disturbance, other then the constant presence of very distant lights in the right-hand upper register of the screen, as well as the extremely faint view of Woodborough Hill and a clump of trees on the skyline. Thus claims implying that the camera lens recorded the flash are complete nonsense. Whatever Keech, King and his friend saw visually was certainly not what was recorded on the video equipment.

Rodney Hale then went further and analysed the imagery recorded by the video recorder just prior to and immediately after the white fuzz on the tape. 22 frames before the 'flash' were used to create an overlay in order to enhance the image being seen by the camera - 26 frames recorded directly after the flash being used to create a similar overlay of the scene immediately following the incident. Both overlays show the presence of a sizeable dark patch in East Field, which matches very well the exact shape and position of the crop formation as viewed by the camera at 03.20, when the light was strong enough to reveal its presence. This alone is compelling evidence that the formation was present before the white fuzz was recorded at 03.08.

Image One: Using 16 frames from the Win Keech video footage immediately prior to the 'flash', or white fuzz, of 03.08 (not 03:13 as marked) on 07 July 2007, this image is created. It shows a well defined dark shadow where as we can see from Image Two the crop formation was created overnight.(Pic Copyright: Win Keech/Rodney Hale).

Image Two: an enhanced image of the East Field crop formation at 03.20 on 07 July 2007, after enough light enabled its recording by the camera lense (Pic credit: Win Keech).

Image Three: The outline of principal features contained in East Field as determined by the enhanced image of 03.20 on 07 July 2007 superimposed on the overlay composed from the frames taken immediately prior to the 'flash', or white fuzz, recorded at 03.08. Note the direct comparison between the outline of the formation and the shadow seen in Image One (Pic credit: Win Keech/Rodney Hale).

Even though Win Keech saw nothing visually in East Field when it was scanned at 01.35 using a night vision lens, the crop formation straddled a ridge, making its furthest parts difficult to see from Knap Hill. I concluded that it would have been virtually impossible for anyone to have made out what was going on in the same area through a night vision camera. The presence of individuals working under the cover of darkness in that field might easily have gone unnoticed.

The reported aerial flash seen by Keech, King and his friend around three o'clock is, of course, interesting. However, it is meaningless when it comes to determining who was responsible for the creation of the formation. As I wrote back in 1994 in my book ALIEN ENERGY, flashes of light are occasionally reported in connection with the presence of crop formations (I witnessed one myself above a formation in East Field during the 1994 summer season), and they have been noted by groups of circle makers when out making circles. It is possible that the mere presence of a crop formation can trigger electrical discharges simply by disturbing the field's subtle energy matrix, constrained by naturally-occurring magnetic fields. However, there is always the possibility that what was witnessed that night was either atmospheric lightning, or something even more mundane.

Thus I concluded that what was being claimed about the East Field formation of 7.7.7 was simply not enough for anyone to assert that its construction was caused by some supernatural agency.

UPDATE 20 Sept 07

On 20th September 2007 I spoke with a gentleman named Russell Kellett of Filey, North Yorkshire. He has purchased previously unseen footage from Win Keech, which he claims shows the East Field formation being constructed over a period of 15 minutes as viewed from Knap Hill. The two men are good friends, and according to Russell it is his intention to sell the footage to the highest possible bidder, hopefully a TV company with a massive production budget.

The footage is from one of the other four cameras that were rolling overnight prior to the appearance of the East Field formation. Russell claimed that it shows the formation being created over a period of 15 minutes, like 'a shadow creeping across the crop', from south to north.

Kellett says he does not recall seeing any flash on the footage prior to the appearance of the formation, as was reported by Win Keech and those present on the hill at the time, throwing doubts on the significance of this incident.

I asked him over what period of time the footage was recorded, and he said sometime around three o'clock onwards.

I put it too him that the footage would need analysis, and he said 'what for?'

I suggested that it might be enhanced to show the formation appearing in better light.

He responded that: 'It is what it is. It shows it forming over a period of 15 minutes'.

I was intrigued by the statement that the formation emerged gradually like a shadow creeping across the crop, for shadows are cast, whether it be by the sun, moon or stars. The fact that the formation 'appeared' over a 15 minute period might immediately suggest that the increased light was gradually highlighting shadows, enabling any low light camera positioned on Knap Hill to pick out details of the formation as the sun rose.

Kellett said that he had presented BBC Wiltshire with a sequence of frames from the aforementioned footage, which now appears online.

He guided me to it, and I later downloaded the GIF file, which actually consists of 7 frames, all without a time code.

Source sec_320x240.gif.

I have examined each frame, which shows the gradual increase in light over East Field. I can make out the shape of the formation in six out of the seven frames. Only one frame, the first one, is too dark to make out what is going on in the field.

This frame sequence does not therefore constitute evidence of the formation appearing during this same period.

However, I told Russell I was intrigued by the contents of the full 15 minute sequence, and eagerly awaited its appearance on television at some point in the future.

He promised to show it to me next year sometime, when next he is in the area.


This brings me on to the very latest twist in this saga. Rodney Hale has been in email communication with Win Keech for some while. Recently, Win released still frames from one of the cameres trained on East Field during the early hours of Saturday, 7th July. The four frames in question were taken between 01:12 and 01:23, and Rodney was able to create a composite picture by synchronising the distant street lights on each one. With the contrast altered accordingly, it provided a near day light view of East Field during this 11-minute period.

Looking carefully, you can make out a large black area in the crop precisely where the crop formation was found to have appeared when the sun rose. However, in the composite picture around half of the formation is missing, showing that the whole thing could not have appeared in a flash of light around 3 o'clock, as it was there one and a half hours beforehand. Moreover, that at 01:23 it was only half complete, strongly suggesting that either it was made in two parts, or it was being created over the entire night. If the latter, then I think it is fair to conclude that the most likely culprits were human circle makers.

A combination of stills taken at 01.12, 01.13, 01.14 and 01.23 of East Field from the vantage point of Knap Hill. The crop formation can clearly be seen, although seemingly only half finished. Compare it with the picture below, which shows the formation soon after sunrise on 7th July 2007. (Pic credit: Win Keech/Rodney Hale)

An early morning shot of the finished East Field crop formation as seen from Knap Hill on Saturday, 7th July 2007 (Pic credit: Win Keech).



There is a clear moral here. As much as we would all like evidence that some crop formations are made by a supernatural agency, there are those that clearly aren't. Think carefully before accepting claims that crop formations appear in bursts of light, and be careful of those promoting such ideas, especially if they are film makers who produce expensive DVDs for you to buy.

There are real crop circles out there, and maybe even simple formations as well. I have investigated the Tully saucer nests of Queensland, Australia, for two books, and discovered that similar swirled circles had been occurring also in North Island, New Zealand, and that the region was noted for its strange lights, seen as ancestral spirits by the native aboriginies. I have found evidence of swirled circles of wheat corn in the fields of Oxfordshire during the 1940s, when they were known as Fairy Rings and Devil's Circles. Then we have the Mowing Devil story of the 1600s, while accounts of crops being trampling into circles by celestial visitors is found also in native American myth. Something in the fields of southern England might be genuine, and as long as that possibility remains we should continue looking for answers. My own research into crop circles is found in two book THE CIRCLEMAKERS (1992) and ALIEN ENERGY (1994).

To buy copies of ALIEN ENERGY click here.