Monday, January 23, 2006

Going Around in Credulous Circles 2

Yesterday EoR looked at Contact, which purported to provide proof of nonhuman intelligences involved in the creation of crop circles. Today, EoR wants to look a little more closely at the video evidence.

There are a number of points to immediately note about these videos:

  • They are all made by 'crop circle researchers' ie believers

  • Apart from one example, mentioned separately below, the BOLs (Balls of Light) all move left to right, or right to left across the screen.

  • The BOLs do not cast shadows, nor do they emit light, on their environment.

  • The BOLs appear to be a similar size on the screen, no matter how close or far away they appear to be against the background.

  • The videos shown are heavily edited - the fragment (sometimes a split second) that shows the BOL is shown repeatedly, but not any of the video prior to the BOL appearing, or any of the video after it has disappeared.

  • The BOLs, while they appear to be easily recordable on video, are invisible to observors on the ground or elsewhere, even though people report them as making a sound. One BOL flies right at a person, who appears to be completely unaware of it. Another flies across a crop circle where six people at various locations in the crop circle completley fail to see it. Yet another flies in front of a helicopter which appears to be unware of it.

  • Most of the videos seem to shot in poor light, are shaky, and grainy.

EoR certainly can't prove that any of the videos on this DVD are fake though the points above indicate a massive amount of room for doubt, and he can imagine a few easy ways to make similar videos, even without using video editing equipment. The easiest would be to place a dot on a sheet of plastic or glass, hold it in front of the video camera and shoot through at a background (often a slightly sloping hill so that the brain automatically applies perspective to it and 'places' it in the landscape). There are, however, a number of issues surrounding these videos that leads EoR to suspect fakery and cheating.

One particular video, shot by the psychically inspired Kerry Blower, clearly applies the plastic in front of the camera method in a slightly different form. A wavering light appears closely in front of a stand of oats, before suddenly shooting up. Quite clearly, this is a light reflection, either filmed at the time, or added later, on a clear surface. It is telling that this is the only video shot in bright sunlight. Also, if you look closely, you can see a secondary reflection of an upright line to the left of the 'BOL'. This is the same Kerry Blower who has telepathic communications from UFOs (the story with different details eg gold ball rather than silver, husband sees it as well rather than ignores it), has Marfan's Syndrome (though there is no evidence of that on the DVD) and proudly maintains
Of the hoaxers, Kerry says, "I detest them with a passion because they do it with deceit in mind..."

EoR presumes she would know.

The BOL which 'flies' across a crop circle and six unamazed people is also quite interesting. While it is shown in slow motion, through the magic of DVD EoR slowed it down considerably. Interestingly, the BOL wavers around except every time the camera pans when its position relative to the screen remains the same, apart from the final sequence when it "accelerates rapidly". Since the camera is constantly panning and pausing, this is quite hard to pick up unless you watch it frame by frame. Now, this is either an amazingly intelligent BOL which is aware of the camera, and follows it exactly every time it pans, or it's simply a blot on a screen held in front of the camera. EoR is presently weighing up the odds to decide which option he prefers.

One of the most incredible videos is the John Wheyleigh (or Weyleigh) evidence. It shows a number of BOLs which appear to move back and forth in circles while a crop circle can be seen forming direcly beneath them. The James Wheyleigh video is notorious and disputed even amongst 'crop circle researchers'. It appears James Wheyleigh is really John Wabe, a co-owner of a video editing and TV producing firm. It is telling that Wheyleigh or Wabe knew exactly where the crop circle would form, since it appears in the middle of the screen without him having to pan to follow the BOLs, nor does the camera at any time attempt to move with the BOLs. Also, even though the BOLs appear to move in circles, they do not change in size. The complete sorry saga can be read online (including the fact that the video first shown is different from the more impressive one now circulating), including the conclusion
Since this report was written, John Wabe was traced to a Bristol video production company, and caught. He since came clean about the video being a con, and is being prosecuted.

Paul Vigay also has a very good technical analysis of the video, and his observations that show it was faked.

Robbert van den Broeke, who provides a verbal account only, tells how he saw a ball of light descend from the skies and make a crop circle outside his house. Indeed, the BOL singed and burned his window frame (even though no one else has ever reported BOLs burning crops). As proof, we are shown a scorch mark on the window frame! Of course, it had to be a mysterious intelligent light. There could be no possibility of doubt, that Mr van den Broeke might have stuck a lighter on the windowsill and made the burns himself... Mr van den Broeke, for those of you unacquainted with him, is a well known Dutch psychic. Oh, and also a charlatan and fraudster who is currently featuring in James Randi's newsletters in this issue and the previous issue.

But of course, just because they're fakers doesn't mean it's still not paranormal:
Some argue that even so-called 'fakers' have been instructed to create patterns subconsciously by aliens wanting to send earth messages in a process called 'auto-rolling'.

Tomorrow, EoR will look at the scientific proof for BOLs creating crop circles.

Going Around in Credulous Circles 1

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