How I got duped by crop circle science. Nancy Talbott vs. Matt Williams

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, Feb 3, 2016.

  1. That seems to be Kripal's take, as he quotes Pauli -> "It is my personal opinion that in the science of the future reality will neither be “psychic” nor “physical” but somehow both and somehow neither."

    Kripal calls this the Super Natural, that our world just has some weirdness to it but this weirdness is part of us and our lives all the time.

    One thing I've noticed is if you travel around America, not to mention other parts of the world, many people have a weird story or two. Some Psi effect, maybe an encounter with the dead, maybe just some odd lights or shadows or some against-the-odds perfect synchronicity.

    It doesn't necessarily effect their day to day life, save perhaps giving them some sense of purpose or just the realization that science cannot capture every aspect of reality.
     
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  2. Rob Irving

    Rob Irving Member

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    That's not quite what I meant, though I note the similarity to one of my favourite quotes, from Geraldine Finn: We are always both more and less than the categories that name and divide us.

    What I meant was that once a 'fringe' subject becomes universally recognised and understood it ceases to be on the cultural or scientific fringe. Once it becomes mainstream it is no longer 'paranormal' nor 'supernatural' within the culture that has adopted it. (Of course, in cultures unaffected by the Enlightenment, there's no such thing as 'supernatural'.)
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2016
  3. Typoz

    Typoz Member

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    A novel way of referring to the scientific establishment ;)
     
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  4. Rob Irving

    Rob Irving Member

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    Incidentally, do you have an address for The Scientific Establishment?
     
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  5. Trancestate

    Trancestate Member

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    As a matter of fact, Ian, she has a list for 16 crop circles sampled in 2009. Of those she believes six were formed by "plasma discharge". An additional five she believes were possibly or likely formed in the same manner. She discounts three of the circles as "mechanically flattened" and doesn't have enough data to form an opinion on two more. The list can be found near the end of a three-page report authored by her, entitled,

    PLANT ABNORMALITIES INDICATE PLASMA DISCHARGE
    IN 2009 UK CROP CIRCLES


    The report is worth reading in its entirety, in that it deals with specific formations for which, in some cases, good photographic evidence of man-made construction can be found in online archives. For those formations, this evidence automatically makes irrelevant her reported plant sample anomalies, and demonstrates that such anomalies are more common than she would have us believe.

    That Talbott rejects such photographic evidence as a means of distinguishing "genuine" circle formations from man-made ones is bizarre, not to mention highly unscientific. Her position only makes sense when you consider that virtually every complex formation betrays signs of human construction to those with a trained eye. If Talbott were to accept these evidential signs as valid, there would be no point in obtaining field samples for any but the most simple and primitive formations.

    For those unaccustomed to spotting artifacts of human construction, Matt Williams explained some of them in this video from 2008:

    How to work out a crop circle is man made GUARANTEED!

    He focused on foot lines, stomp marks and construction errors. I share his implicit view that, unless one believes non-human intelligences would deliberately and consistently mimic human techniques of circle construction, and in the order humans would make them, these artifacts are telltale evidence of the human origin of complex formations.

    I must back up a bit by saying that the quality of crop circle photography varies considerably. It's often challenging to find high-resolution photos shot from just the right angles to capture details of human construction. In many cases, the details are often subtle in even the best photos. One reason for this is that not all formations are photographed soon after discovery, so crowds trampling the crop may unwittingly destroy evidence. Another reason is that circle makers sometimes adopt crop flattening techniques that, for large portions of the formations, can all but make foot lines and stomp marks invisible to the camera. In formations where construction details are scant, or when photographic quality is poor, I think only experienced circle makers are qualified to offer evidence of human creation.

    With these thoughts in mind, I've scrutinized photos for many of the formations referenced by Talbott in her report, and found what I believe to be unmistakable evidence of human construction in the majority of them. I'll list them in another post, along with pertinent remarks about the details, followed by some of Talbott's comments.

    Doug
     
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  6. Trancestate

    Trancestate Member

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    Toward the end of Nancy Talbott's three-page report, PLANT ABNORMALITIES INDICATE PLASMA DISCHARGE IN 2009 UK CROP CIRCLES, she lists 16 cases in which crop formations were sampled and evaluated (and one that wasn't). I list them here for convenience:

    (01) June 12th, Yatesbury "Phoenix"..........plasma discharge
    (02) June 13th, Milk Hill #2............................plasma discharge
    (03) June 27th, Honey Street circle..................plasma discharge
    (04) July 6th, Honey St. "addition"...............possible plasma discharge
    (05) June 21, 23 & 30, Milk Hill "3-phase"..possible plasma discharge
    (06) June 21, Milk Hill small circle.....................no data
    (07) June 23, Milk Hill "addition" (#4).........plasma discharge
    (08) July 5th, Silbury Hill "Mayan Mask"....possible plasma discharge
    (09) June 24th, Rough Hill "Mushroom"....plasma discharge
    (10) June 27th, South Field...........................possible plasma discharge
    (11) July 28th, Winterbourne Bassett (cut).......likely plasma discharge
    (12) July 31st, Winterbourne Bassett #2....plasma discharge
    (13) July 29th, Ogbourne St. Andrew................inadequate data
    (14) July 19th, Martinsell Hil..............................inadequate data
    (15) May 25th, Windmill Hill...............................mechanically flattened
    (16) July 14th, East Field "woven"....................mechanically flattened
    (17) July 24th, Smeathe's Plantation................mechanically flattened

    For those cases in which Talbott thinks a plasma discharge was (or possibly was) the causative factor in producing plant abnormalities, I found nine formations (names bolded above) for which there are online photos that I could evaluate for evidence of human construction. In seven of them I think the evidence is good enough to dismiss Talbott's findings, and suggest that the abnormalities she and BLT have documented are probably a lot more common than expected. If this is indeed so, her methodology is useless for distinguishing "genuine" from man-made formations.

    What follow are the photos I've found that I think best set forth the man-made evidence for Talbott's sampled formations, and in most cases, directly contradict her findings. For each formation I offer my evidence, and when pertinent, Talbott's comments. Finally, it should be noted that she wrote this caveat prior to describing her findings:

    Because in-depth sampling and subsequent intensive laboratory work was not carried out in 2009 we cannot be 100% certain that the visible plant changes we found are absolute proof these formations were genuine. But an educated estimate can be offered in several instances.

    1) 2009 YATESBURY PHOENIX (CHERHILL)

    YATESBURY PHOENIX (CHERHILL)-01.jpg

    Evidence for man-made origin:
    a: Stomp marks, fairly well defined on left side.
    b: Enlarged foot lines for inner boundaries of tail feather section, apparently leading to the center of the circle located between the bottom halves of the wing feathers. Also, a partially obliterated foot line at the top of the circle.
    c: Circles on either side of the creature's neck are not symmetrical. The group on the right appears to be arranged badly.

    2) 2009 MILK HILL #2, (ALTON BARNES)

    MILK HILL #2-01.jpg

    Evidence for man-made origin:
    a: The intersections of outer partial rings.
    I'm guessing the main order of operations here was to first lay down the small center circle, followed directly by the inner ring. Next the six-pointed star was formed. After that the outer partial rings were formed by connecting each star point with the next-plus-one point. After all the rings were finished, the ring intersections were used as the centers for the formation of the outer circles. Finally, the crop inside these circles was stomped down, leaving shadows of the ring intersections.

    MILK HILL #2-02.jpg

    b: Another view of the same formation, showing concentric stomp marks for two of the outer circles.

    Talbott's comments: Even with only three sets of samples and controls we can be very close to certain -- with clearly visible apical node elongation in nearly all the samples and expulsion cavities not only in nearly every 2nd but also 3rd node--that this formation was not flattened with planks or boards.

    4) 2009 HONEY STREET, PHASE 2, (ALTON BARNES)

    HONEY STREET, PHASE 2 (Steve_Alexander).jpg

    Evidence for man-made origin:

    a: Very faint stomp marks appear to be visible along the lower outer rim of this formation, as well as in some of the structural lines within. Regrettably, the resolution of this image is too low to state anything definitive.

    Talbott's comments: We thought it would also be helpful to note Charles Mallett's usually very reliable field observations regarding this formation: he states he observed a "significant number" of biological anomalies ("blown" nodes and/or elongated nodes) in Phase #2 (http://www.silentcircle.co.uk/rpt092.html).

    5) 2009 MILK HILL #3, 3-PHASE (ALTON BARNES)

    MILK HILL #3, 3-PHASE (Olivier Morel)-01.jpg

    Evidence for man-made origin:
    a: Fairly well defined stomp marks.

    MILK HILL #3, 3-PHASE-02.jpg

    Viewed from another angle, showing:
    a: Stomp marks.
    b: Faint foot line across circle. The line was laid down first, then the circle was centered on it.
    c: A crudely made branching line.

    MILK HILL #3, 3-PHASE-03.jpg

    Another view showing stomp marks and a much clearer trace of the widened foot line crossing the large lower circle (sorry, forgot to mark it with a letter!).

    Talbott's comments: And so, in spite of my original impression that this extraordinary formation was almost certainly mechanically created (not least because it's appearance was so singular), after seeing the clearly elongated apical nodes in all the sample sets from all 3 phases, and after seeing the control plants for Milk Hill #4 which were all taken from the SW corner of this same field, I think it's possible this one could be the "real McCoy."

    7) 2009 MILK HILL #4 (ALTON BARNES)

    MILK HILL #4.jpg

    Evidence for man-made origin:
    a: Widely spaced outer rings, vs.
    b: Narrowly spaced outer rings.

    There's really not much to say about this simple formation except its apparent errors, and the perspective might have something to do with that. I would not say this photo is good evidence for man-made crop formations.

    More pics to come! :)

    Doug
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2016
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  7. Ian Gordon

    Ian Gordon Ninshub Member

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    Wow. Absolutely terrific detailed work, Doug. Thanks so much for all of that effort. That seals it for me.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2016
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  8. Trancestate

    Trancestate Member

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    8) 2009 SILBURY HILL MAYAN MASK (WILTSHIRE)

    SILBURY HILL MAYAN MASK-01.jpg
    Evidence for man-made origin:
    a: Very well defined foot line for the large inner circle.

    SILBURY HILL MAYAN MASK-02.jpg

    Another view of the line.

    SILBURY HILL MAYAN MASK-03.jpg

    Another view, showing lots of minor construction errors:
    a: The edges of the bottom three feathers on the right are pointed instead of curved, and second feather from the bottom is noticeably wider than its counterpart on the left.
    b: There's a hole missing in this feather.
    c: This feather has two transverse lines when it should only have one. The line directly below the hole was placed in error.
    d: The bottom transverse line in the feather on the right is too low. It should be raised to make the feather more symmetrical with its counterpart on the left.
    e: This object (whatever it is) is wider on the left of the vertical bisection than the right.
    f: The left fang (?) is thinner than the right, owing to 'e' above.

    Talbott's comments: We can offer only a tentative conclusion regarding this formation's origins based on (a) the fact that node bending was filmed within a half-hour of the circle's discovery, (b) the node bending is downward (instead of upward as would be the case if caused by photo- and/or gravitropism), (c) there is moderate apical node elongation in the few samples we have, and (d) there are some expulsion cavities in the 2nd nodes -- all of which indicate exposure of the plants to energies known to be associated with a plasma discharge.

    9) 2009 ROUGH HILL MUSHROOM (WILTSHIRE)

    ROUGH HILL MUSHROOM-01.jpg

    Evidence for man-made origin:
    a: Traces of the foot line running through the centers of all the circles. It was laid down before the circles, and each of the circles is centered on it.
    b: Foot lines used to construct the circles, visible from below.
    c: Concentric stomp marks inside some of the circles.

    ROUGH HILL MUSHROOM-02.jpg

    Another view showing more easily discernible traces of the foot line used for later construction of the circles.

    Talbott's comments: The plant changes found in Sample B (taken from the small "grapeshot" on the left, nearest the tramline in photo above) revealed a clear reduction in seed-head development -- which was not seen in Samples A and C, taken from larger downed-crop areas. All three sample sets did contain expulsion cavities in all of the 2nd nodes beneath the seed-heads, as well as in some of the 3rd nodes.

    10) 2009 SOUTH FIELD, ALTON PRIORS

    SOUTH FIELD-01 (Lucy Pringle).jpg

    Evidence for man-made origin:
    a: A few well defined stomp marks in the upper-left "wing".
    b: Alignment errors (tips of the "tail" don't line up symmetrically with the circle they're connected to.
    c: The "ding-dong" at the top of the photo doesn't appear to properly line up with the "bird" and the large circle it's connected to. Furthermore, what's with the squishing together of the fanciful "glyph" lines near the top of the photo?
    SOUTH FIELD-02 (Phillipe Ullens).jpg
    Another view, showing some well-defined stomp marks under the right "wing", along with the alignment errors mentioned above.

    12) 2009 WINTERBOURNE BASSETT #2

    WINTERBOURNE BASSETT (Olivier Morel).jpg

    Evidence for man-made origin:
    a: Well defined concentric stomp marks for nearly every patch of flattened ground in this formation. They're even visible in some parts of the circles. In addition, it's easy to see circle lines crossing other circle lines. An experienced circle maker could probably use this information to determine which circles were laid down first.
    b: This crescent seems to me a little smaller than the others.

    Doug
     
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  9. Alex

    Alex New

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    excellent. thx.
     
  10. Rob Irving

    Rob Irving Member

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    What about this Doug?

    crosshatch(72).jpg

    Delicate? Messy? Intricate? Stomped?
     
  11. Ian Gordon

    Ian Gordon Ninshub Member

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    In the interview, in relation to the blinding issue, Alex brings up Colin Andrews' blind testing of BLT's plant analysis in 1995. This surely isn't new for the people who are already closely keeping up with the crop circle topic, but last year Andrews spoke out when Nancy Talbott made certain claims on the Coast to Coast show. So did key members of Talbott's sampling team. Reading this raises other concerns for me about BLT's methodology.

    See the following links:
    www.colinandrews.net/Crop-Circles-BLT-Wrong.html
    http://www.colinandrews.net/Nancy-Talbott-BLT_Blind-Test_Lies-Coast-to-Coast-Letter-Shelley2015.html

    Andrews on his blind testing and Levengood's response/report:

    These samples were sent according to the BLT protocol to Levengood’s lab. Despite Talbott's assertions otherwise, they were clearly labeled as a crop circle and wind damage and as two separate events in the same field. This can be viewed on the video and is supported with documents on the website link. They were also photographed and the images were included with the samples. It is disingenuous indeed to claim Levengood thought the samples were different areas of the same circle.

    Levengood’s report on these samples (published on the website) states that they were ‘among the best examples of the real crop-circle forming energies’ seen to date. He disputed that the lodged plants were caused by wind damage and postulated that the lodging was caused by the same energy as created the crop circle, but that the energy was interrupted before a crop circle formed, as is clearly seen in his report. (above link)

    Prior to any public discussion about the blind test, the video was sent to Nancy Talbott of BLT for an opportunity to explain. Communication of this sort is standard scientific procedure. Talbott refused to comment, suggesting it was beneath consideration, and has maintained that stance after repeated requests (see website). She continues to refuse a serious discussion and even the latest interview on Coast to Coast does not address why two separate and clearly defined areas of flattened plants were found to be formed by real crop circle energy, when, as seen on the blind test video, they were not. This most important point was missed by George Knapp, understandable because this is not his subject of expertise.

    Sampler Shelley Bourne:

    James and I had been talking to each other for a number of weeks about the doubts we had with the result's (sic) that Levengood was sending to us, it was then we decided to flatten some wheat and send samples to Levengood and from the results we had back we knew that he was doing something wrong during his research process (everything came back positive when we knew this was not correct).

    Why did Nancy Talbott say that she had sent us out to sample the circle at Leckford (the blind test site) when we were the only ones that knew what we were going to do? Nancy Talbott did not decide which circles we sampled because more often than not we knew about them and had sampled them before she even knew they existed. The only occasion that Talbott sent us to sample, was a field next to Silbury Hill that was almost completely flattened by lodging. James and I spent hours doing this and got no results back and I must say this happened quite often.

    By the way, in the interview Nancy Talbott says William C. Levengood only used the title "Dr." "towards the end of his career". He died in 2013, but in that first link above Andrews has a letter written to him in 1993 where Levengood is using the title "Dr".
    dr leven.jpg

    Also, Talbott seems to have resorted to the same sort of "you are not qualified enough to understand this" response to Andrews as she did with Alex.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2016
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  12. malf

    malf Member

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    Looks like a different crop/grass?
     
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  13. Trancestate

    Trancestate Member

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  14. Alex

    Alex New

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    good nugget :)
     
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  15. Nicole

    Nicole New

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  16. malf

    malf Member

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    Ok. Perhaps barley that's been cut long and regrown? From above I think we can see the path of the tractor/mower.
     
  17. Rob Irving

    Rob Irving Member

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    Malf, it's just relatively young barley, not ready to be cut for another month or so. I put it up here because it presents a different appearance to the examples Trancestate put up. The lines you see are, yes, tractor lines but for spraying rather than cutting.
     
  18. malf

    malf Member

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    I'm talking about the concentric/spiralling tractor lines from the centre of the circle. If it was cut young, say a foot high, like any other grass it will resprout. This explains the more 'bushy' growth in the circle compared to the more normal barley appearance outside the ring. Under that scenario I suggest that the photo was taken a week or two post cut.

    Alternatively the affected areas could have been sprayed young with some sort of toxin or growth hormone to encourage anomalous growth in the plant.

    Either of these could have been carried out by the (trickster?) farmer (who was not only allowing visitors onto this conveniently accessible site, but had also installed a donation tin!)
     
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  19. Rob Irving

    Rob Irving Member

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    Malf,

    1. It wasn't cut.
    2. There was no immediate difference between the flattened plants and the standing plants, except that some were flat and some were standing.
    3. Most fields in Wiltshire are conveniently accessible.
     
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  20. malf

    malf Member

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    1. Says you. ;) It's hard to see from the photos. Perhaps just driven over. I am sure we are seeing concentric/spiral tyre tracks from above.
    2. Ok. Driven over.
    3. Hmmm...


    [​IMG]
     

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