Sensible Education...a major priority.
Looking back over the summer seasons some people may think we (CGI) are a bit crazy staying camped out in the open sometimes in atrocious conditions week after week... I do wonder myself sometimes! But people interested in the subject will still keep coming to see a CF (crop formation) even if the weather is unfavourable and this very fact justifies and makes sense of what we do. Progress has to start somewhere and this is our way of attempting same. A few weeks out of one's life seems small price to pay for helping with such an immeasurably confounding topic and unprecedented task! My understanding is that this level of commitment is unprecedented and one acknowledged by many visitors of which we are grateful. We feel 'beyond privileged' to be able to contribute in this way and if you know your CF history fairly well you will understand this.
Camp Hackpen Hill 2016 No 1 'Sharks' CF.
However, this is not purely about being 'at the gate' when people arrive, looking after the farmer's interests, collecting for the farmer's charity and so on. This duty is also about spreading consciousness, raising awareness and enhancing education within a population who are largely ignorant of the facts or have been reluctant thus far to accept the CF phenomenon is part of their reality. This is a highly efficient way so to do as we have a steady flow of visitors from which to sample. From a farmers point of view, if humans were doing these things on their land they would love to know who. This is one branch of CGIs brief, to determine if this is in fact the case...to separate 'the wheat from the chaff' so to speak. In 98% of cases it is clearly not humans that are responsible. This would be an easily provable fact if I presented to a court of law. The magistrate would have to find in favour of 'unknown' origin because of the burden of evidence that would overwhelmingly support the fact. This is the truth. You will need to read more on CGI pages to find out the details of this position.
It's a staggering fact that ongoing 'grass roots' education on this subject is almost non existent apart from Core Group Initiative (CGI) web site pages. Other information sharing has been limited to one or two local Wiltshire based formal 'talks' events which can often include subject matter so exotic, complicated or specialist (often off topic)it is hard for most people to gain much benefit from. The truth is that CGI have been excluded from participating at these events in the past largely as one observer noted, we are seen as a threat of some sort by the 'old-school' G1s. However, no worries, the basic truth and reality is that there are no other organised 'bodies' dedicated to ongoing day to day, 'in-the-field' research, so we share it in the field. CGI hold a privileged position one might say, with the farming community, based on help and cooperation. A new emerging and ethically correct culture of not venturing onto land uninvited has naturally curtailed much of this research activity to some extent. Reporters other than CGI, who actually seek permission, organise public entry and give service to the farmer, are non existent in the UK apart from one or two individuals who think respect is not an issue. In my view, if they wish to be responsible researchers they should act with integrity and approach the farmer for permission. If there are others they are certainly not well publicised and sharing with the greater audience, which is in my view what is needed if they are doing it with permission from the farmer.
Fonthill Down, Nr Chicklade, Wiltshire. Reported 30th May. In the above image you will notice the field is not level. In CFs where this is the case we usually find 'topographical compensation' has occurred....a necessary and very subtle adjustment so that the CF appears true and correct when viewed from above. Without this a pattern could very slightly seem 'squished-in' on one side. You could easily miss this aspect which is quite common. It is hard to tell with this particular CF as the gradient is so slight and the CF relatively small.
Fonthill Down, Nr. Chicklade, Wiltshire.
Education is not just standing upon a stage (or on website) wildly speculating about something exotic or high-brow 'speiling' that few can relate to or banging on for instance about the now well known aspects ie. bent nodes (although very useful for newcomers)...it goes far deeper than that. It is about honest and sincere, non-egotistic communication looking at the bigger picture in a comprehensive way, being realistic and pragmatic as opposed to an opportunity to self-promote, (which looks a bit sad now quite frankly and is low-frequency stuff) to feel clever, sometimes not deserved or often for financial gains. Ironically, even the "wise-men' seem to many times get even the basics wildly wrong! In truth many feel intimidated or challenged for some reason into not speaking their mind openly and honestly, almost as if they are fearful of something. Paranoia in this subject is common..many people feel insecure on many levels. There is so much deceit regards this subject going on in truth and newcomers are often exploited as they are unable to be discerning. You can always rely on CGI to be truthful and report as accurately as possible. We will NEVER lie to you!
Fonthill Down, Nr. Chicklade, Wiltshire again. Here we have a good example of 'Energy Leak' 'probability anomaly'. See how the crop remains still-standing along tramlines with the crop either side neatly laid down. This is an indicator towards a mysterious event in terms of probability. After all, if humans were involved it is highly probable the lay would be uniformly put down, logic would suggest. Humanly instigated events are rare in reality. Image copyright Richard Broome with thanks.
Effective ways of reaching and educating the public at large on a grass roots, 'nitty gritty- CF- field- observations -level' is the greatest challenge. Media will usually distort, disinform or humorise the subject treating it as something not to be taken too seriously . 'Talk' events such as in local halls can often attract diverse topic providers with presentations on obscure subjects, ancient stones , dowsing, lights in the sky, picture shows, subjective experiences (which have little or no value from a research point of view unless backed up by hard evidence) or history lessons on the finer points of Mayan culture et al. All very entertaining, nothing wrong with all that but it's not on honest, 'down to earth' true crop -formation- research which is, after all our main issue here. This is simply because 99% of people do not have the opportunity to place themselves in the field for an extended time enabling long term observations to be made. What people want to listen to I would suggest is on-topic un-sensationalised truth, plain and simple. The pages herein will give you that.
And of course there is the public relations element also. Finding a way in to smooth local tensions raised over the many years of indiscriminate visiting and to bring more harmony through acceptable means, is, in this arena, of huge value. The farmers do not wish to waste their time cutting out CCs, causing bad feeling but at the same time do not wish for their domain to be compromised by the many that are so distracted they cause damage even if not meaning to; it seems to the farmers like disrespect and invasion which attracts an understandable negative feeling within the local community. The CGI/ Charity equation addresses this issue somehow enabling both parties to find middle ground and at the same time helping a worthy cause ( right now cancer treatment fund 'Brighter Futures'.)
I find the staggered nature of the narrow line going through the tramline in this image interesting. It appears to correspond to the gradient on one side of the CF shape, perhaps associated with the compensational aspect. The topographic status of the field seems to have influenced here. If looked at from a human perspective, the natural tendancy would be to create a straight line, to follow a line-of-sight to actually create a straight line on the ground. The subtle change in topography would not be apparent at ground level.
My other thought on this staggered line is that, in this case, perhaps TC has not in fact occurred and what we see is distortion as a result of same. If the circular element centre bottom is higher in the field and the programmed projected plan was designed for flat surface, this would be the result. So, imagine lowering this element,perhaps then the line would be straight?
This whole CF thing is a steep learning curve for all and we should never take for granted or presume anything.
And then there is the research aspect of course. When one is present on a CF site for weeks on end, sometimes it is possible to do things and make observations simply not possible when visiting for an hour or so. Demographics is a good example. Talking to large numbers of people with a diverse 'take'/background on their experience and a varied knowledge base is quality feedback helping us to steer more towards a 'needs led' service. ( i.e. do you wish to know more about the factual basics or something more speculative?... although I tend not to do 'speculative' personally.) This allows us to report gathered facts rather than to merely give an opinion which can be ego-ic and is of little value within the bounds of real research as it relies upon an impression and is purely subjective. I tend to report pragmatically, upon what I actually know and witness. The sociological aspect of CF research I feel is worthy of much time and effort as after all it is the interface of CFs with Humanity that seems to be the whole point here, rather than merely the pretty patterns.
Image below: Here is my friend Ax who is holding a 'ring of weeds' we found in a CF at Wootten Rivers in 2010. The non-crop plant growing amoungst the wheat had been spun and thrown onto the inside edge of one of the circular elements of the formation as if by centrifuge. Artifacts such as this are rare!
A large percentage of the population have never even been into a CF before so basic education is required as opposed to lectures on obscure subjects/history lessons that as I have already said, often occur at formal gatherings. Other speakers hold a completely misguided 'take' on CFs having been fed complete rubbish through parties with vested interest and/or media bias etc. Education is a responsibility I personally take very seriously and do all I can to make sure that what I share is as true and accurate as possible. Many people seem genuinely relieved and even elated when informed of the facts, almost like they just needed a confirmation of something they had held in their hearts already, sometimes for a long time. On 'The Ridgeway' where CGI have been helping farmers for several years now it is possible to gain access to a healthy sample of people, as if in a street survey to some extent. Many people walk this route not at all intending to visit a CF, just stumbling upon as it were. I am beginning to realise that more folks than I first thought are quite open to the idea of the CF mystery once they witness it...seeing is believing after all! I first thought that cognitive dissonance would be more prevalent but surprisingly it is not; once people have access to quality information and all is explained properly, simply and sensibly by someone who is well grounded with no agenda the subject seems to register positively. I'm beginning to feel the message may slowly be getting through.
If you have the time please work through this website. Research and other topics are clearly tagged. By so doing you may gain a level and informative view of this fascinating subject.
I will soon publish a more comprehensive package on the most important pointers to the mysterious nature of this subject.