More web-like material found in a crop circle

Previously we discussed the appearance of a filamentous web-like material at crop circles and other sacred sites. Recently, another example was reported at a ringed crop circle in the vicinity of West Kennett long barrow. The design of the circle was identical to the second phase of an event that occurred in June at East Kennett, the first of which – a single ringed circle – appeared the previous month. Similar material was discovered at this time. Microphotographs of the substance can be found here. The presence of this material so close to a recognised sacred site is consistent with our previous observations.

An earlier instance of a similar phenomenon has recently come to our attention. As reported in UFO Roundup vol 4, issue 30, in 1999 crop circle investigator Patrick Cross reported the discovery in a maize circle in Lowville, Ontario, of “a white cobweb-type material found under some of the flattened stalks.” (Source: Paul Anderson of Circles Phenomenon Research, Canada.)

Web-like material in a crop circle at West Kennett (Mariusz Szymaszek)

Spectral Traces
This white hoary material was previously described as ‘angel hair,’ a substance reportedly associated with UFO sightings. A report from 1954 tells how Ramon Estrada, of Shepparton, Victoria, Australia, collected samples of a similarly filamentous material which he sent to the headquarters of the Australian Flying Saucer Bureau (AFSB). The AFSB report described the material as:

…white in colour, silky in formation, though harder in texture. It was odourless, warm on touch like cotton, and different from cobwebs, which, after a time, are sticky and grey. A microscopic examination revealed a mass formation of uniform threads of a very fine type. A comparison with the microscopic analysis of cobwebs showed that the filaments were coarser. There was some resemblance to white raw silk or even nylon.

Bill Hodge has suggested a similarity to ectoplasm, a substance that is supposed to exude from the body of mediums during spiritualistic séances. The French physician Dr Gustave Geley, Director of the Institute Metapsychique International from 1919 to 1924, chronicled many ectoplasmic manifestations. His description suggests a consistency between ectoplasm and the material presently under investigation:

The colour white is most frequent… On touch… it can seem soft and a bit elastic when it spreads; hard, knotty or fibrous when it forms strings… Sometimes it gives the sensation of a spider’s web fluttering over the observers hand.

The surrealist George Baitaille’s Critical Dictionary defined ectoplasm as:

leaving in the hand a residue which, when dry, has under microscopic examination the appearance of epithelial cells…

West Kennett 2011
We visited the site on the afternoon of July 25th, the day of the circle’s discovery, and took samples. The site was busy with visitors, many of which were attracted to the centre of the main circle. Subsequently all that was left to sample was what Szymaszek described in his initial report as “crystallized white residue on the spider web and all plants.” This in itself is consistent with the East Kennett site.

West Kennett crop circle, 2011

Sample site: White crystallized residue at centre of West Kennett crop circle

Sample site: White crystallized residue at centre of West Kennett crop circle

Microscopic analysis
Under the microscope we can see that the material is consistent with samples taken at East Kennett and at other sites. For example, here is a sample from East Kennett:

And from West Kennett, showing the same shell-like material…

The sequence of magnification of the following sample shows the scale of the structure of the material in relation to the barley stalks…

These two further images reveal the fragility of the material structure; its delicate strands are both supple and brittle…


Spider webs revisited
One criticism that was leveled at our previous analysis comparing this material with spiders’ web is that we used the “wrong kind of web” as our comparison sample. We accept this criticism; there are many possible comparisons that could be made, and some, namely spider mites and the Ermine moth caterpillar, have already been suggested. We have now acquired samples of these and compared them to the above material. First, the spider mite…

Next, the web of the Ermine caterpillar…

Sample site: Ermine caterpillar web


Soil samples
A single exploratory sample of soil was taken from the West Kennett site, literally scratching the surface. It contained tiny iron spherules. We have decided to do further analysis and will report on this next month.

Scanning electron microscopy of filamentous web-like material found in crop circles and other sacred sites.

Previously we discussed the continuing appearance of filamentous cobweb-like material in crop circles and other sites. See: Filamentous cobweb-like material known as ‘angel hair’ found at ancient sacred sites.

Filamentous web-like material found at Cley Hill crop circle, July 2010

Preliminary scanning electron microscopic analyses of these materials has revealed structural differences between collected samples and common spider web matter. Presented here, to increasing degrees of magnification, is a series of images of fine filaments of a spider web.

Spider web

This sample had been in situ for some weeks or months at the time of collection and had trapped a predictable amount of ambient material, which is visible in the above images. (This ‘dirt’ is not to be confused with the structural matter that makes up part of the substance of the web-like material in the following images.)

Angel Hair

Two recent specimens were analysed. The first was taken from a tree trunk at Swallowhead spring, near Silbury Hill, Wiltshire. The material that was sampled is visible in the photograph featured previously.

Specimen 1

Cobweb-like material attached to tree trunk at Swallowhead spring, Wiltshire.

Web-like material attached to tree trunk at Swallowhead spring, Wiltshire.


Specimen 2

Another sample came from inside the central standing tuft of a crop circle which appeared in a barley field in East Kennett, Wiltshire, on May 17, 2011.

Filamentous web-like material in crop circle at East Kennett, Wiltshire.


Specimens 3/4

The structure of the unknown filamentous web-like material, or ‘angel hair,’ revealed in this latest analyses is consistent with that of earlier specimens collected in September 2010 from the site of a crop circle at Cley Hill, Wiltshire. In the first, the material appeared to be ‘attracted’ to a small burrow in the soil. Photographs of these were published previously in our first post: A novel approach to crop circles: ‘Ghost’ geometry as spectral traces of generative energies.

Web-like material cocooning a burrow apparently still in use by a field mouse, Cley Hill 2010.


The other sample (specimen 4) collected from the same site came from a web that had enveloped a growing mushroom.


This comparison under scanning electron microscope between the ‘angel hair’ and common spider web material appears to show that the filaments of the latter are less in quantity and more supple individually than the unknown material. In contrast, the images indicate that the ‘angel hair’ is structurally brittle in comparison. High levels of silicon were recorded in the specimens, bearing out previous descriptions of this and similar material reported at such site. Furthermore, the appearance of the non-filamentous matter forming part of the collective structure of the web-like material seems to indicate that the material is organic.

Filamentous cobweb-like material known as ‘angel hair’ found at ancient sacred sites.

Previously we reported the appearance of filamentous cobweb-like material on the surface of crop circles. This suggests signs of increased microbial activity at such sites, leading to speculation that whatever their cause enhances or intensifies, rather than depletes, the site’s natural vitality.

See: A novel approach to crop circles: ‘Ghost’ geometry as spectral traces of generative energies.

An ongoing survey of ancient sacred sites that comprise the ritual landscape of the Avebury complex has revealed more examples of this phenomenon. This suggests to us the existence of a possible link between some established sacred sites and crop circles. Our present thinking is that one aspect that links these sites is their organic nature, and that the phenomena manifests as a response to some kind of energetic activity present in the immediate vicinity.


Swallowhead spring has long been regarded as sacred and integral to the ritual landscape

Cobweb-like material attached to tree trunk at Swallowhead spring, Wiltshire.

Cobweb-like material attached to tree trunk at Swallowhead spring, Wiltshire

In the above example, the material was attached to a moss-covered willow tree trunk at the heart of the location. Its consistency resembled a light, extremely delicate floss. It gave off a weak musty odour, which, along with its general appearance, reminded our investigator of a passage in Professor Robert Plot’s treatise on mysterious ground markings – “fairy rings,” etc. – in his The Natural History of Staffordshire (1686), where he noted the interspersion of “a white hoar or vinew much like that of mouldy bread, of a musty rancid smell…”.

Overton Down

Tumuli along the ridgeway at Overton Down, Wiltshire.

Beech tree-covered tumuli along the Ridgeway towards Overton Down, Wiltshire

The next examples were discovered on tumuli (barrows) situated along the Ridgeway in Wiltshire, between Overton Hill and Avebury Down. These differed in consistency to the earlier example; in both cases their filaments were thicker and less densely compacted. Unlike the previous example,  moreover, the filaments were quite brittle to touch, differentiating their materiality to spider or  caterpillar cobwebs, which are usually flexible. The material was not sticky.

Web matter at tumulus, Overton Down

Together with its overall appearance, this material’s brittleness suggests that it was formed in a soft state and has subsequently hardened.

Web matter on beech tree stump at tumulus, Overton Down

Web matter on beech tree stump on tumulus, Overton Down (detail)

As can be seen in the above example, the web matter appears discoloured from the whitish hoar that is normally seen. This may be an indication that it has been in situ for some considerable time. Being on top of the ridge the location was quite windy, as can be seen from the following photograph. This gives an idea of the resilience of the material to its natural environment, which  suggests  a certain amount of elasticity and seems at odds with its brittleness.

Web matter on beech tree stump on tumulus, Overton Down

Our research is ongoing and we hope to continue to provide information as it unfolds. We would welcome your comments as well as any useful input you may have – if you have any experiences or photographs of similar substances found at places of spiritual power please let us know.

A novel approach to crop circles: ‘Ghost’ geometry as spectral traces of generative energies.

A speculative research paper, Spring 2011

The art of coming to terms with psychophysics is to recognise that just as a circle is either concave or convex depending on whether the observer stands inside it or outside, the mind and body, spirit and matter, are only different sides of one reality, and to learn to hold both points of view simultaneously. Art, because in contrast to routine thinking, the creative act of thought is always double-minded.

Our natural environment cannot cope with all that we demand of it. It is out of balance, and humans are partly responsible. Over the last four hundred years we have become increasingly detached from nature – indeed, modern society defines itself by this separation. It is our responsibility to solve these problems, and in order to do this we must change our attitude towards our natural resources and the way we exploit them. The solutions require that we look at the problems in a different way. A novel approach is necessary, a shift from current paradigms to new ways of thinking. We do not advocate abandoning modern science, but it may mean looking to the ancient past and to the roots of human experience and traditional knowledge in order to realise a better way forward.

Recent research into crop circles poses unique questions about our relationship with the natural world. It indicates that the possibility exists that geometrical harmonics plays a role in revitalizing and amplifying specific natural forces, and that by understanding how this works we may advance to more mutually beneficial ecologies.

We are told that it is acceptable to modify the genetic make-up of the ‘staff of life,’ grasses such as wheat and barley, and vegetable crops such as oilseed rape. We are also assured that the chemicals commonly used in agriculture do not cause any irreparable damage to the fabric of the soil, and nor to us. Yet, the evidence shows otherwise. By-products of nitrogen fertilizers in common use today are acknowledged as a major contributor to atmospheric and water pollution. The process of nitrification (that is, the biological oxidation of ammonia with oxygen into nitrite followed by the oxidation of these nitrites into nitrates) is crucial to fertility, but, as so often, artificial processes fall short of nature’s intent. For example, nitrous oxide is a greenhouse gas that is 300 times more polluting than carbon dioxide, and dangerous nitrates derived from artificial fertilizer often leak into water courses. According to the recent (2010) European Nitrogen Assessment, which looked at the causes of nitrogen pollution across Europe and the costs of cleaning it up, two-thirds of the problem can be attributed to farming practices. This presents us with a paradox, because without nitrogen soils would become depleted and everyone would starve.

In accordance with current agreements, by 2050, British farmers have to meet the Government’s climate change targets by reducing greenhouse emissions by 80% of 1990 levels. This means that over the coming years radical alterations will need to be made to the ways farmers encourage crop yield. More efficient use of nitrogen sources for growing crops will significantly contribute to this reduction. Present best practice is the development and use of nitrification inhibitors which act on the microbes in the soil that produce polluting by-products, slowing down the rate of conversion and allowing plants to access the nitrogen more effectively before it is emitted as nitrous oxide. But this is really a measure designed to counter a systematic imbalance. Instead, the challenge is to strive for a balanced system throughout.

Recent preliminary laboratory studies have shown an increase in nitrogenase expression on the rhizosphere of roots found immediately below ‘ghost’ crop patterns and the surrounding field. This indicates that enhanced nitrogenase activity was associated with changes on the surface, matching the geometrical schema, i.e. the pattern of effected crop. Subsequent analysis of the soil at certain sites suggests that this effect extends through the nitrification process contained within the geometric field. It is our intention to continue this research during the 2011 cereal-growing season with fresh crop patterns.

Geometric Field Theory
Speculations about the nature of this activity range from chemical and/or biophysical changes within the soil caused by an as yet unidentified energy source that lays the crop in geometric patterns, to trace energy generated by the presence of the geometry itself. The visible pattern may be a physical response to a force, the plants behaving just as iron filings do when they form a pattern on paper over a magnet to reveal the two dimensional form of a magnetic field. Alternatively, the geometry may be an expression of a field that is self-generated. The geometry we see is limited to the flat plane of the ground surface but the field actually exists in three dimensions extending above and below this plane. Crop circles are catalysts of conviviality, and it has occurred to us that such fields may be activated by human interaction, an idea supported by previous research into human relations with plants. Another consideration is that the field is revitalized trace ‘memory’ of an earlier presence. The relationship between sacred geometry and acoustics is also noted, and sonic resonance will be integral to our ongoing experimental work.

Some sensitive people have reported detecting geomagnetic energies through dowsing, and ancient ceremonial sites have been rediscovered through the equienergetic space they share with crop circles. We are re-evaluating the extent to which existing theories based on purely material principles are capable of explaining such effects. Microbiological research into subatomic phenomena has revealed a deep-seated interconnectivity at every level in the physical world, forming a relationship where matter and antimatter exist and interact in unity. In existing field theory, physical phenomena are explained by a combination of fields and energy, not in terms of either one. Energy may cause the field to change but the way it changes, and the form it takes, depends on its spatial structure. In other words, they act as geometrical or spatial causes, which, we propose, may have the power to affect their immediate environment.

Spectral Traces
New, potentially useful speculations unfold when we follow this line of inquiry. Did crop circles first appear at the heart of England’s wheat belt in response to depletion of natural soil nutrients? Are the energy patterns reported by dowsers spectral traces of earlier, more powerful systems? The late John Burke (formerly of BLT Research) led an intriguing study into this territory. He concluded that sites such as Windmill Hill/Avebury were used to store cereal grain, and that something inherent to these places invigorated the seeds, maximizing future crop yields. This was in response to soil depletion in the Bronze Age, not dissimilar to what we are witnessing today. Accordingly, ever-present energies are generated naturally by well-known forces but are magnified locally by geological structures called conductivity discontinuities, which create geomagnetic variations and affect telluric fields. Aquifers beneath chalk downlands are one such example, and these have been cited as a causative factor in the appearance of crop circles. What if these energy fields are attracted or otherwise interact with relational geometry? (Could the light spheres seen in and around crop circles be manifestation of this energy, or even attracted by it?) Were ancient power systems designed to generate energy fields in order to replenish the land? Our findings suggest that this is plausible. As we become reacquainted with the idea that geometry defines sacred space, and that our ancestors were aware of this and were able to manipulate these energies, it is worth asking what potential can be released for ecological benefit.

Landscape as Temple of the anima mundi
Ongoing studies indicate that whatever the cause of crop circles enhances or intensifies, rather than depletes, the site’s natural vitality. Evidence of this on the surface of crop circles has included the appearance of cobweb-like material in abundance. This is a promising sign of enhanced microbial activity, which, where agricultural and ecological benefits are concerned, is a key to efficiency; increased soil nutrition and plant growth ultimately leads to a reduction in the need for artificial stimulus. If we can learn from this and find and develop creative ways to harness these energies in subtle ways that are not detrimental to the environment – rather, the opposite, perhaps by controlled circle-making experiments – it might mark the beginning of a revolution in our relations with nature, and supernature.

At various sites it was also noticed that animals seemed to be attracted to crop circles. This first became evident by tracks, but one site in particular was visited by field volunteers regularly over autumn and winter months, and deer were witnessed repeatedly visiting the site. Birds were also attracted, but this may be explained by the fallen seeds on offer. The avian distribution of seeds would also explain the abundance of wild flowers and fungi that have been noted at harvested sites. Nevertheless, these observations invite questions as to what else might make crop circles attractive to creatures that retain their ‘extrasensory’ capabilities.

Anyone who has witnessed a climbing plant seek its nearest support, or a root seek moistness, or a carnivore’s pickiness at which insects it consumes, knows that plants are capable of intent; they are able to perceive and to react to their environment at a level of sophistication that surpasses present human understanding. Plant behaviour represents a rich vein of potential for ESP research. What if traditional botanical associations with the supramaterial world of cosmic beings, known to Vedic sages as devas, and to Westerners as nature spirits, are allegorical representations of a real truth? This is what Stella Kramrisch (1976) means when she writes that sacred places:

…are potent sites where a presence is felt to dwell. Its support is in the place itself. Whatever makes the site conspicuous or memorable is reinforced in its effect by the attention of the people directed towards and concentrated on that spot. In such places (according to the Mahabharata)  “the gods are seen at play.”

Kramrisch identifies important correlations in Vedic scripture between such sites, the ground itself and “the vital assimilation of energies of the soil into the grain and plants,” its consecration as holy ground, and the subsequent demarcation of the templum, of which the Vastupurusamandala (its ground plan) constitutes the metaphysical prototype of its various spiritual rhythms, giving the widest margin to their possibilities.

Relations between the patterns that inspire temple builders and the way nature operates unhindered by human intervention lays at the heart of ancient thinking. The ratios and proportions that define the way natural organisms develop and unfold are precisely the same as those that underpin various ancient buildings, and some crop circles. Crop circles are helping us to recognise a relationship between the geometric field and symbolism of the sacred realm, as manifest in temples, mosques, and cathedrals, and the way nature itself is structured and behaves, as manifest in flowers, shells, and other living organisms.

Studies have linked the recognition of this synonymy with the realignment and restoration of neural pathways, giving rise to corresponding experiences where subjects report a strong sense of wholeness within themselves and an enhanced sense of unity with other living things: a natural state known as vitalism. They invite immersion in natural wonder, revealing nature’s integration into the spiritual life force that humans manifest creatively through such activities as art and architecture, religion and symbolism, returning deep philosophical insights into the meaning and purpose of nature and the cosmos, and our place within it.

We argue that when disciplinary approaches are integrated co-constitutionally it can result in promising outcomes for practical knowledge. Empirical science often assumes authority outside its own bailiwick, excluding voices that play a valuable social role by articulating philosophical and aesthetic considerations. But, just as empiricism puts those elements to its test, so each should do the same in relation to the others. Once primacy is given to one above all and it begins to intrude into other domains the epistemological system breaks down. We can see physical manifestations of this in tilled soil, and throughout nature.

The present research is still in its infancy, but it indicates that the study of geometric fields has a role in future sustainable methods of soil nitrification. This thinking is based on the idea that bioactivity is triggered by a new type of causation through the agency of morphic fields (Sheldrake 2009). For example, diazotrophs (bacterial micro-organisms that fix nitrogen) demonstrate the ability to change their metabolic activities in swift response to changing conditions. As unlikely as a ‘power of geometry’ hypothesis sounds, we do not discount it simply because earlier research into the influence of two, three, and even four-dimensional shapes on local environs stands rejected by mainstream science.

Taking our lead from David Bohm’s notion of an unfolding dialogue that gives breathing space to ideas, as scientists tasked to look beyond these self-imposed limits we are committed to look into ways that may restore this harmony and to keep in mind philosophical and artistic considerations in evaluating the integrity of natural, or supernatural phenomena. We have taken the pragmatic decision to approach this subject from the philosophical stance that the natural world is an immanent, vital, emergent force, which reflects human action upon it, and that this constitutes a reciprocal exchange where we may expect to see phenomenal manifestations in return. We are determined to take a more radical approach that is more in keeping with the nature of our subject matter. In our view, novel approaches of this kind may lead to the novel solutions that are required now.

Burke, John & Halberg, Kaj (2005) Seed of Knowledge, Stone of Plenty: Understanding the Lost Technology of the Ancient Megalith-builders, Council Oak Books, US.

Kramrisch, Stella (1976) The Hindu Temple, Motilal Banarsidass, New Delhi.

Sheldrake, Rupert (2009) A New Science of Life, Icon Books UK.