First International Tele/Video Investigation (TVI) of a Crop Circle Formation
Photo by Brad Zweerink, Media News Group.
discoveries of several crop circle formations in Solano County,
California, USA have initiated several interested investigators
into the science of investigating crop circles. As is typical
of many new investigators, they inevitably reach out to others
in the crop circle research community for guidance, and this new
group of researchers in California did so in an unprecedented,
On July 16,
2003, after several e-mails back and forth between crop circle
researchers in Michigan and California, Steve Moreno, Director
of PsiApplications in Fairfield, CA offered to provide a live
broadcast from the recently discovered Vacaville, CA ‘Insectoid’
crop circle formation as a way to collaborate on the investigation
of this crop circle in a corn (maize) field. Of course, the Michigan
researchers accepted this exciting offer immediately! Knowing
that crop circle investigations need to be done sooner, rather
than later, we hastily arranged a date and time for this broadcast.
On July 17,
2003, Steve Moreno and myself (Jeffrey
Wilson) did a ‘dry-run’ and tested the technology
and methodology we would use for this unprecedented type of investigation.
Steve, in California, would use a video camera to record the images
directly into a computer, which would then be sent through the
Internet using Yahoo Messenger. We would also be in contact via
phone. We managed to work out a few technical difficulties, and
proved that the system could work. We decided to carry out the
investigation the very next day.
I then sent
out a number of invitations to crop circle researchers in the
United States and Canada who we knew had experience in investigating
corn crop circle formations, and who we had been in contact with
about the Vacaville formation already, to join us for the world’s
first International Tele/Video Investigation (TVI) of a crop circle
was to have Steve and his team of researchers broadcast live video
through the internet from the Vacaville formation while we were
simultaneously on an audio conference call beginning around 7:00
pm EDT/ 4:00 pm PDT on Friday, July 18. All the researchers contacted
expressed excitement and willingness to participate in this unique
collaboration, although not all of them could arrange to participate
on such short notice.
On July 18,
2003, Steve Moreno, Reuben Uriate, MUFON State Director for Northern
California, and Alan Weiblen, PsiApplications Executive Assistant
went to the Vacaville site, braved the 100 degree-plus afternoon
heat, made their way through the thick corn foliage, and arrived
inside the formation and began to set up their equipment. They
wired their video camera to their laptop computer, then wired
up a cell phone to broadcast wirelessly to the Internet using
Yahoo Messenger. Although Yahoo Messenger has both video and audio
capabilities, they restricted their wireless broadcast to video
images only to use all the available bandwidth for the video stream.
They used a second cell phone to be in audio contact, and contacted
us in Michigan right on time. At my home, in Dexter, Michigan,
Dr. Charles Leitzau,
MUFON consultant, and myself parked ourselves behind my computer
- each of us with a wireless phone in hand, waiting for the first
video broadcast. In Wixom, Michigan, Todd
Lemire, the Chief Investigator for Michigan MUFON also was
at his computer waiting to receive the video broadcast, while
I would narrate via Yahoo Messenger for him. In Toronto, Ontario,
Canada, Mike Bird, MUFON Ontario Provincial Director and Canadian
Crop Circle Research Network (CCCRN) member also joined us
(after about the first hour- he needed to solve his own technical
problems) to receive the broadcast, while also on 3-way audio
conference call - relayed through my phone in Dexter.
researchers encountered a few technical difficulties in the field
to begin with (which, I stress, was NOT due to any anomalous energies
from the formation), but at 8:25pm Eastern Daylight Time / 5:25pm
Pacific Daylight Time, they solved the issues, and the live video
feed from the Vacaville crop circle formation commenced. The era
of Tele/Video Investigations (TVI) of crop circles has now begun!
power in the cell phones and the computer gave us about two hours
worth of connection time and we managed to accomplish several
worthwhile results in that limited time. Here, I want to quote
Dr. Charles Leitzau, because he has outlined the specific scientific
observations and experiments done collaboratively through this
I am still so amazed at what we accomplished in our spirit of
open cooperation yesterday, that I cannot find any words to
express its profound significance, which goes way beyond just
the creation of a new application for cutting edge technology.
is my first piece of feedback for those involved. However, aside
from the valid scientific discoveries, the amazing example it
sets for the synergistic multiplication of progress through
free collaboration demands that we share the knowledge of our
achievement even before we have finished the project and analyzed
all the data.
those of you learning of this for the first time, the logistics
of this accomplishment are relatively simple. Using video, and
wireless web technology through the medium of Yahoo, combined
with wireless and land-line telephone conferencing, a group
of seven diverse investigators spread over two states and Canada,
thousands of miles apart, collaborated to carry out a "real
time" field investigation of the famous, Vacaville, CA.,
"Insectoid" Corn, (maize) Formation.
do not intend for this to be a "news release," therefore
more specific details will, no doubt, be presented by others
in the group. However, this is my first opportunity to share
some of the concrete, scientific results which we accomplished.
Vacaville field and video team consisted of Steve Moreno, Ruben
Uriarte, and Allen Weiblen representing several different research
groups including "PsiApplications," and "MUFON."
They broadcast images over Yahoo from within the formation demonstrating
observations they had made themselves, and carrying out specific
investigations resulting from continuous, simultaneous, conferencing
with the entire group. Communications on this end were coordinated
by Independent Investigator, Jeffrey Wilson, from his home in
Dexter, Michigan, where I, Dr. Chuck Lietzau, joined him as
part of the scientific analysis team. Mike Bird representing
the Canadian Crop Circle Research Network as well as MUFON was
on a direct phone link from Toronto where he was also able to
receive the video from Vacaville and be an active part of the
collaboration about specific activities for the broadcast team
to carry out, by phone. Chief MIMUFON Investigator Todd Lemire,
following the video at his home in Wixom, MI., shared his expertise
through the use of both a “chat window," and his
"streaming video" which was also on-screen. Together,
the diversity of abilities and spectrum of personal experiences
with similar formations that we were able to share, coupled
with video and voice communication in response, allowed us to
conduct a more perceptive preliminary examination, along with
some conclusive scientific analyses, than would have been possible
by any one team alone. Other investigators in the forefront
of crop circle research were invited and were unable to join
us or proved unavailable.
that is my real purpose for this message. Valid scientific research
is exciting, but tedious and time consuming. This part of the
collaboration is still ongoing. While it may involve another
collaborative "Tele/Video Investigation," we have
found that scientific measurements of valid samples is perfectly
possible using scanned images that include a metric ruler. This
will eliminate the time delay involved in shipping the numerous
samples required. A single, 2 hour "TVI" such as we
carried out represents only a fraction of the time required
to plan and carry out the acquisition, and measurement of relevant
samples, but does represent the all important, "preliminary
survey," which helps to set the course of further investigation.
Even so, and despite the ever-present technical difficulties,
which were NOT related to energy-interference within the formation,
we were able to make some firm conclusions, including a statistically
valid scientific investigation. My hat goes off to the intrepid
crew in Vacaville, who entered the field by climbing a ditch
in the near-hundred degree sunlight, then, as they left in the
gathering darkness, found themselves confronted by a, now, water-filled
Every fact must be validated and taken into account. Early on,
it may not be possible to know specifically what will prove
to be crucial in the course of ongoing investigations to ultimately
determine the authenticity of the formation.
1) (Conclusively verified by scientifically valid statistical
analysis) THE DENSITY OF MOTHS IN THE FORMATION'S FIRST
TWO CIRCLES IS SIGNIFICANTLY GREATER BY A FACTOR OF 17 TIMES,
THAN THAT IN THE STANDING CROP SURROUNDING IT IN THE FIELD.
This is determined by the analysis of specific "walking
transects" which compare equal areas of the "left
antenna," "head," 1st pathway, and second circle
combined, with surveys taken in the standing crop which appropriately
match area traversed and location. This could not have been
designed and carried out without the TVI collaboration. The
local, CA., Dept. of Agriculture has speculated that this formation,
(the "Insectoid"), may represent the first known occurrence
of the European Corn Borer in California's history. It is a
moth common out East and encountered in the Fremont [Michigan,
near Hemlock] maize formation here last year , the larvae
of which bores recognizable tunnels in the maize stems, sometimes
causing the stems to break at the site. While there may be possible
natural causes for the presence of moths in the formation, their
distribution is an ANOMALY until further explained. If the larvae
were pupated in stalks that were downed, they may have been
exposed to greater heating by the sun resulting in earlier emergence.
It may be natural for the adults to congregate in open areas
to mate. However, if this were the case, there most likely would
have been a greater number of adults in the standing crop with
their density increasing towards the formation. Instead, they
were almost totally absent from the standing crop. Another possibility
is that the larvae or pupae in the stems of the formation plants
may have had their life cycle accelerated by the effects of
the energies involved in an authentic circle's formation. Further
investigation will be necessary to choose among these or other
hypotheses should the distribution of the moths prove crucial
to the determination of the formation's authenticity.
2) (Verified by on-site and on-screen collaborative analysis)
EVEN IF THE EUROPEAN CORN BORER, Ostrinia nubilalis,
IS PRESENT, THEIR LARVAE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR DOWNING THE
PLANTS IN THE FORMATION.
Corn borer damage in stems leaves behind a recognizable tunnel,
usually filled with sawdust-like, chewn material, called "frass."
The field team was able to verify the observation made by collaborators
from on-screen, close-up images, detailing the absence of the
highly characteristic damage at the site of the horizontal separation
zone through the nodes of a number of stalks examined during
the TVI session.
3) (Verified by on-site and on-screen collaborative analysis)
THERE ARE AT LEAST 3 DISTINCT, MACROSCOPICALLY APPARENT,
"PHYSICAL SIGNATURES" CHARACTERISTIC OF THE DOWNING
A) Plants, horizontal at the base, which are still connected
to the original "root basket,” and continue to grow.
These may put out new prop roots at the first few nodes along
the horizontal length, and then begin a quick recovery to upright
position about the 4th node from the ground.
B) Plants vertical to a higher node, such as the third from
the ground, where the upper stalk is "severed" across
the middle meristematic plane of the node but continues to remain
attached and dangling by a few fibers.
C) Plants similar to "B" above except that the upper
portion is completely "severed" and absent from connection
to its lower stalk. See "4" below for special significance.
4) (Verified by on-site and on-screen collaborative analysis)
Many downed formation plants are vertical to a higher node such
as the third where the upper portion is completely "severed,"
AND COMPLETELY MISSING FROM THE VICINITY. In
one specific trial, one of the on-site field team was directed
to use himself as the center of a sampling circle of 5 feet
diameter and individually document each severed plant within
this sample area. All "severed" plants in this sample
quadrat were separated at the middle of the third node from
the ground. In 4 cases, the severed portion was still present,
barely attached to the lower, upright stalk by a small number
of fibers. HOWEVER, in 8 cases in which the stalk was completely
severed, the missing portions of the stalk were completely ABSENT
from the vicinity. The litter on the ground consisted only of
dried leaves from this year's crop and one extremely weathered
cob from last season's crop. The upper potions of these 8 plants,
consisting of an estimated length of 3 through 5 feet each,
were APPARENTLY REMOVED from the site. This sample scientifically
verifies the anecdotal reports in newspapers that many, perhaps
several hundred, stalks are completely missing without a trace.
report prepared by Chuck
Lietzau, MUFON Consultant.
As Dr. Leitzau
has concisely recounted, several scientifically verifiable results
were obtained in this initial TVI, which I would like to elaborate
on (All photos by Mike Miley http://firstname.lastname@example.org/lst?.dir=/Vacaville+Corn+Circle
The CA researchers
reported that they had seen these moths only inside the formation,
but not while walking through the field, so we had them test their
observation. Again, as Dr. Leitzau recounted, there was 17 times
the number of moths in the formations’ first two circles
as compared outside the formation in the standing corn. Why from
only the first two circles? As the CA researchers reached the
3rd circle, they reported that it had been flooded – the
field’s irrigation system had been turned on. They decided
wisely not to press on at that point. As Dr. Leitzau also noted,
this resulted in the CA researchers encountering a water-filled
irrigation ditch when they exited the field – which had
been dry when they entered two hours before (this caused a bit
of a problem trying to get across it exiting the field).
of the corn borer comes into play here, because that has been
suggested in past corn crop circle investigations as a possibility
for how the stalks of corn are cut, broken, or flattened. But
this was verified through careful examination NOT to be the case.
of multiple mechanisms of damage to the corn stalks in order to
create the circles and pathways of this formation. It is important
to note these various ways (flattened but not damaged and continuing
to grow, severed stalks which are barely still attached, and completely
severed stalks) occur almost uniformly throughout the entire formation
– that is to say in any given area of the formation you
can find any of the 3 mechanisms including side by side by side.
The severed stalks were measured to have been ‘cut’
almost all at 9 inches from the ground (although the range was
from 7-10 inches), and all at the 3rd growth node:
of stalks is not a new phenomenon. Paul Anderson, Director of
CCCRN, contacted me after I reported this detail on CropCircleNews.com,
and said he had seen this same anomaly in two corn crop circle
formations he investigated near Mission, British Columbia, Canada
in the fall of 2002 (http://www.cccrn.ca/intro.htm).
Last summer, on the campus of Fresno State University, in California,
a 125ft long formation in corn also had ‘cut’ or ‘severed’
stalks in it, although university officials wouldn’t allow
any outside researchers to conduct any investigations there (http://www.fresnostatenews.com/2002/August/CropCircles.html).
Back in April of this year, a “T”- shaped formation
was discovered near Defiance, Missouri in a dry lakebed full of
tree saplings. The saplings had been cleanly severed by some unknown
As has been
reported elsewhere, and also by these CA researchers (verified
via the TVI) is that much of the severed stalks/plant material
in this formation is missing – the stalks are just not to
be found – possibly as much as 40-60% of the stalks in the
affected areas. This was found to be the case by the first investigators
on the scene. To give you an idea of how much plant material that
is – this formation is 569 feet in length, the six circles
range from about 87 feet in diameter to about 23 feet in diameter,
and the pathways as long as 86 feet. There are hundreds, if not
thousands, of stalks missing. Also, to give you an idea of where
in the field the formation is located, we also timed how long
it took the CA investigators to walk from the formation to the
closest exit point of the field: 8 minutes. This is the largest
corn crop circle on record in either the USA or Canada.
of time of this formation’s appearance has also been narrowed
down to a short 4.5 hour time frame. At the nearby Nut Tree Airport,
the Administrative Secretary stated that she, two other pilots,
and her daughter flew over this field at 2:15 PM on the Sunday
(July 6th) this formation was discovered by Blue Ridge Aeronautics
pilot Lou Tobin at approximately 6:45 PM. She, and her daughter,
stated emphatically that 'it was not there', because they live
across the street from the field, and they always look down to
find their house as they fly over the area. This narrows the event
date and time to this 4.5 hour window during the hottest part
of the day in which temperatures easily reach 110 degrees and
more in the field. This gives rise to another anomaly in the formation:
that much of the plant material, especially the leaves on the
ground inside the formation was found to have turned brown and
was dry or dehydrated when the formation was first investigated
– creating the initial impression that formation was ‘old’,
or had been there for possibly a couple of weeks. But the eyewitnesses
have clearly shown this not to be the case.
astutely pointed out that on the north side of each circle and
the pathways, the first 5-6 rows of standing corn adjacent to
the downed corn was ‘bowed’ – most severely
the closest to the flattened corn; less ‘bowed’ the
farther away the standing corn was – and was more extreme
in the smaller circles:
from Toronto added that he had seen a similar effect in a 99ft
long, dumbbell-type corn circle formation near Orilla, Ontario,
Canada in September of 1993. He reported that the western side
of the perimeter of the formation had a “shifted”
type effect. The best way I suggested to describe it would be
a ‘wake’ or wave-like effect going out into the standing
corn for several rows.
The CA researchers
have recorded this event for posterity, and we have agreed to
plan a second TVI in the near future to continue the investigation.
As Dr. Leitzau said
this is just the first phase of the investigation of this formation.
This technological experiment has turned out to be a very positive
collaborative experience that hopefully will set a precedent for
crop circle investigating! This first international attempt at
TVI from a crop circle formation was nothing short of an exciting,
incredible success! A huge thank you to Steve Moreno for suggesting
the TVI idea and providing the lion’s share of the technological
equipment, and to Reuben Uriate and Alan Weiblen for helping to
operate the equipment and being our ‘tour guides’
in this formation. I just cannot stress enough how important it
was to have had the breadth of experience of this entire group
of international researchers collaborating together for this investigation.
Each one contributed and helped direct some part of the process.
It was a richly rewarding experience! “Armchair Investigator”
has just taken on a whole new meaning . . .
CONTACT INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE ON THE RESEARCHER PROFILES PAGE
July 19, 2003
Researchers’ contact info: