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.)
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.
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…
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.