Interview with filmmaker and crop circle researcher Suzanne Taylor examines the enduring scientific mystery of crop circles.
UPDATE 10/16/2014: Soon after publishing this episode the good folks of the Skeptiko forum started tearing apart the Crop Circle phenomena and many of the claims made herein. I got the story wrong. The best evidence suggests Crop Circles are a man-made phenomena. Claims of paranormal activities surrounding the making of, and being in, crop circles may or may have merit, but should considered separately. These claims shouldn’t obscure the evidence suggesting Crop Circles are man-made by ordinary means. I hope to do another show on this in the near future.
Crop Cirles are a Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for an interview with Suzanne Taylor creator of the acclaimed documentary film, What on Earth? Inside the Crop Circle Mystery. During the interview Taylor explain why crop circles defy explanation:
Alex Tsakiris: If you want to advance the hoaxer theory — that each and every one of these are a hoax — you have to account the scale of these complex creations. You have to explain how, in one instance, 35 of these could be created overnight in South England. I mean, you are talking about an army of people, and army of well-organized hoaxers that have incredibly advanced knowledge of geometry, and artistry, that are so committed to this, and yet, remain completely anonymous. Think about that, how many people it would take to create 35 crop circles overnight. And how would you keep them all silent about doing it?
Suzanne Taylor: Well, all perfect questions, and look at the biggest one ever, which was in 2001, it’s the size of—now, you have to picture — two football fields. There are 409 separate circles. Many of the crop circles are composed of other kinds of shapes as well. This one happened to be all circles, in a very sophisticated geometric pattern. No mistakes…just for that particular formation it would’ve taken an army to do, presuming they could have. You’re talking about four or five hours of darkness at night, because they’ll be seen in the fields if they’re doing it in the daytime. Well, it boggles the mind…that cannot be. So even though the mind wants to say, ‘It’s all people,” when you look at the evidence it’s more clearly in favor of the fact that there’s a mystery over the fact that people have made it. You cannot explain the phenomenon this way.
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Alex Tsakiris:Today we welcome filmmaker Suzanne Taylor to Skeptiko. Suzanne is here to talk about her film What on Earth? Inside the Crop Circle Mystery to tell us about her experience researching the crop circle phenomena. Suzanne, thank you so much for joining me. Welcome to Skeptiko.
Suzanne Taylor: Oh Alex, I’m honored. You have a lovely reputation and I have listened to a bunch of your shows. And you are a good guy.
Alex Tsakiris: Well thanks, that is so nice to hear. You know, this movie of yours – it has been out for a couple of years but it is still extremely relevant. It has also received very high praise from all sorts of well-known folks. Tell us a little bit about how you became involved in this research. I get the impression from watching the film that you have compiled a lot of these interviews over many, many years. Can you tell us a little bit about the history of the film?
Suzanne Taylor: Well actually I am not a filmmaker who went out and found the subject. I was deeply involved in the crop circle phenomenon and was so taken by how it could affect mass consciousness. I kind of made a vow that if I was going to do anything unique with my life, which has always really been about raising consciousness one way or another and that is all the kind of project and event that I have produced. But if I was going to do something truly unique that no one else was going to do, I was going to tell the world about crop circles. Not that we know where they are coming from. The only thing we can say definitively is not us. Of course that is hoax thing aside – we know that just as in every category of life and there are the terrorists in the political world, we have the hoaxers in the crop circle world to keep us on our toes. But hoaxing aside, we have a genuine mystery. And if anybody were looking at the evidence you would see that the evidence points to the fact that we can’t make these things. And even though the rational mind says oh, come on, people go out and stomp them. But when you take material into the laboratory and you get biological changes to the plants and chemical changes to the soil inside crop circles with real experiments done with real scientific protocol. Then you know – heads up, it is worth paying attention to. It opens us to mystery. It opens up to what is beyond this. Who knows, I mean really we are so definitive in being skeptical. Oh no, anything beyond 3D reality here we are very skeptical about. Well why, why not be curious? Much more propitious, you know? That lets new stuff come in. So my involvement with the circles went back to the fact that I was producing events and projects and had to do with consciousness and the circles just came along as another topic, another subject matter that was intriguing. But it was so intriguing that I got more and more pulled into it. I went to England to visit the circles. I was part of that whole community over there, and there is one. The circles are focused in England and they are in 40-some-odd other countries as well. But you have this little area in England where you know every growing season every summer you are going to get crop circles. And it is a tourist attraction and a whole world over there. And I became part of that world. I would speak at the conferences, I would write pieces about them. Just as people from all over the world gather in England every summer, we call ourselves ‘croppies,’ and we are the people who write the books and get the information out and take the pictures and what have you. And it is a little community of us and then we go back home to all the various countries we come from and spread the word. So in the course of all of that I said, well, how do you really spread the word? You make movies. And I had been an actress. I was not unfamiliar with the world of film and so I just stepped over to the other side of the camera and said okay, I am going to get movies to happen. And indeed I have done that.
Actually, there was an earlier film ten years ago called Crop Circles: Quest for Truth. I was the executive producer of that one. I put it together and somebody who had an Academy Award nomination was a documentary filmmaker for that film Waco. It was one of the biggest documentaries ever until Michael Moore came along. And so he was fascinated by the circles and so he was the actual filmmaker of that first film. But then I put together that shoot. I knew more about the phenomenon than he did. We were in England for a ten-week shoot. And he was doing a kind of history of the crop circles. And when that was finished I thought, ‘You know, there is another film here – the passion of the crop circles.’ Why are these people like me, although I haven’t given up my life? Many of those people who are part of that croppy world have actually given up careers to go and be crop circle people. And they are fascinating people – mavericks and interesting people, mathematicians, brilliant geometers. What is the story here? And I knew the story because I knew all these people. So I knew who had the best stories to tell, I knew who was credible. So it took me six years to make the movie and I would return each summer and shoot some more. And the movie actually came out in the end of 2009. It is what you could consider an evergreen. There is one reference in it to an event that has actually happened, so when I say it is going to happen I dated the film. But in terms of the information, it wasn’t about crop circles. It was about the 2012 end of the world.
But when I finished the film it is the same story, the story about the circles hasn’t changed. There hasn’t been a new, startling development that would make the movie I did obsolete in any way. So it is what we call an evergreen. And its huge claim to fame, as you mentioned, it was well received. It got a really good review in the New York Times and it is a good thing I didn’t die of a heart attack. Any filmmaker could dream of any filmmaker making any film that gets a good review in the New York Times. And actually somebody took a video of me as I was opening the paper and I am so hysterical with it that I couldn’t even put it on Facebook. I look like a mad woman. So I think that answers your question, Alex.
Alex Tsakiris: No, no, it did and from a very deep – this is almost too inside baseball to even touch on, but even though the New York Times felt compelled to write a positive review they did have to slip in that little tip of the hat to the mainstream, little green men, kind of reference. So I thought that was just fascinating. Okay, we’re going to write a good review but don’t worry guys, we are still part of the team and it is the little green men thing.
Suzanne Taylor: Yeah, and I took it as charming. I actually called the reviewer to thank her and in the course of the conversation – uh oh, she said I can’t say this, but we are just chatting now. I said to her I was so grateful she wrote a good review because so many people are just skeptical from the get-go and it doesn’t matter. They are going to write the skepticism, whatever they see in front of them and I said that to her. They are going to say where is the other side, the other side being hoaxes? If you have a bank invention you should have bank robbers there doing your testimony. No, no, we don’t want the hoaxes to have any say, they are terrible, they are criminals. So I said to her, ‘I get this from critics, where is the other side?’ And she said, ‘You know, I didn’t review the film you didn’t make, I reviewed the film you did make.’ And I thought, ‘Wow, may I quote you?’ And she said, ‘No, you can only quote my actual review.’ So we got little green men in there but it is a sweet review. It is a lovely review.
Alex Tsakiris: I did want to return to one part of what you talked about, and that is your personal experience, your bio, your background. You know we were chatting about this just a second ago before we got on the air and that is that we all have this tendency to talk about our background and weave it together into this tapestry that makes sense and you have done this consciousness work in conferences for a long time and you have evolved into this, but there is another way to read your story. I think you are very open about it on your website but you kind of tell your whole story. It is very open and very honest and what I took away from it was this appreciation for how one person in a very humble way really uses your approach to this and can really make a difference. And you have made a difference. You have made a difference in these consciousness conferences that you have kind of spearheaded and brought so many people in and then you have made a substantial difference, a real measurable difference in this crop circle phenomena and bringing that to public awareness, as you have just talked about. So one I want to tip my hat to you and say thank you for doing this kind of work because it is hard, it is not really appreciated a lot of times by a large number of people and you are going to get a lot of scorn and ridicule and that kind of comes with the territory. But tell us anything you can about your personal experience through life, I guess, and why you felt compelled to stick your neck out there in such a way and try and make a difference in this way.
Suzanne Taylor: Some of us just get a mission, Alex. I don’t know. I just have this mission to make the world better and when I stumbled across the human potential movement many years ago that was the better the world needed to be. We needed to wake up and we needed to see the bigger picture. I am a Phi Beta Kappa summa cum laude graduate of NYU. I was always good at getting things right. And I would come home with a 98% and my dad would say, ‘Where are the other two points?’ And he was sort of kidding but you know, it was a standard. My dad was the president of his Bar Association, you know? He did things well. My mom was president of the women of NYU, which she entered at age 15 and her senior year she was the president.
Alex Tsakiris: But at the same time you came to a point that al lot of people don’t come to. You came to this wakeup moment and said, ‘Gee, I have followed all the cookie crumbs like I was supposed to, done the right thing, gone to school, gotten married, done this thing, and yet who am I really? Where am I going? And I think that is a brave moment that a lot of people shy away from. They come right up to the edge of that but then they don’t push through to the other side and say, ‘Okay, I do have to try and make a difference.’
Suzanne Taylor: I don’t know, it just came with the territory and it is a very vulnerable place. It is sweet you are saying I am humble or whatever, but I also get shot at a lot. I can’t say I enjoy that but I just accept it, that is the way it goes in this world. I just keep my fortitude and my strength and I keep moving. And I almost don’t have any choice, what can I tell you? In Los Angeles my house is a gathering place for the mavericks and people sort of like me, more kind of my audience actually. It is hard to find the peers who are really out there in this dramatic way trying to really make a difference. It is a funny time, Alex, I think. You look around for who are your heroes now. And during the whole – from the 60s on with the human potential movement, we had a lot of heroes, gurus, and what have you that we looked up to and were helping us and were teaching us. But you look now and some of those same people are still doing the same thing, I presume, impressing new people who come along which are just starting to wake up. But in terms of people I would be interested to hear who you think is leading any parades now, because I love having mentors. I love having people I look up to but they are hard to find now. I mean, is that something that we can chat about, and then I can interview you.
Alex Tsakiris: That’s a very interesting question. It really, really is because I can relate to what you’re saying about this idea of heroes and role models being important in my life as I was growing up and people that I could point to. And so many of those people have really fallen by the wayside and gotten out of the game, or fallen in a different way that we no longer see them this way. In fact we see this kind of anti-hero or model of who not to be. Even look at some of the people like Deepak Chopra, who a lot of people revere and really look up to. Yet, I have some friends here in San Diego where he is based who have told me some things, some of which were in the public record, who just make you go, ‘Oh my God, it’s the same story I have heard over and over again about this fallen individual who was held in such esteem and really there is this dark shadow behind it that you don’t even want to go there.’ I am just throwing that out there and I know I am going to get feedback from people because I have never talked about that. And some of this stuff isn’t public.
Suzanne Taylor: Well I have got all kinds of names running through my head now that I better not say them. But you are right, there are lots of feet of clay out there. But I am even interested in who doesn’t have feet of clay and I am always looking for – I will tell you the person – I will give you mine if you give me yours. I will give you mine anyway. The person I look up to most in the world right now is Graham Hancock. I just love listening to him. He is so passionate and heartfelt and smart and does the field work. He has been in the trenches of wherever it is that the breakthroughs might come from and I just think the world of him, and also of Rupert Sheldrake. I loved your interview with him that you did last year, when that whole TED thing was erupting. It was such a good piece and I have already passed it along. I just discovered it recently because I am involved and embroiled in TED. So I have got my ears open for interesting things in that category. Your interview with him was absolutely wonderful. You listen to some of those things like that and you think get that in front of everyone, such basic truth being spoken. There is so much gray illusion floating around and then you get this clarity of some people that come through and I guess that is what your show is all about. But those are two of my real heroes and my fundamental hero even before that, who has been my hero for 30 years. Have you guys ever met or gotten involved with or familiar with Brian Swimme, do you know his work?
Alex Tsakiris: Just a little bit. And I saw him on your website. And I am aware of him, but not as much. I should interview him sometime. Tell me what your thoughts are?
Suzanne Taylor: He is my big hero. He is my all-time big hero who doesn’t disappoint, no clay in his feet. And he has the story of what this cosmic creation story is, the tagline on his book is ‘The universe is a green dragon.’ I have bought over 1,000 copies of that, Alex. You can’t know me and not have that book handed to you. It is the kind of basis that we all can agree one. We are not in the Judeo-Christian story anymore. Where are we? What is the meaning of life? Why are we here? And that book to me, and Brian Swimme’s work is just the bottom line of – the book is not so much objective, this, that, and the other – and it is metaphorical. And you read it and he is brilliant and he takes you into this visceral understanding of the privilege of being a human being, which really is what you come out with, and not only the privilege but the responsibility as well. And so I am big on touting Brian and that book. But when I get past those three I don’t know – do you have your tops at all?
Alex Tsakiris: I was going to say I definitely resonate with Rupert Sheldrake and from the very beginning of this show I not only resonated with his work but then in connecting with him personally. I was really impressed by his openness and his willingness to help me. I didn’t have any background in this at all and he was encouraging, he was open, and in a way that I think I have seen him be with other people along the way. And I think it is so vital in this process because it is growing this little seed of more open people who are trying to figure out some of these big picture questions that have been totally bypassed by mainstream science. It has really left people I think in this really unsettling state of saying, ‘Gee, I have these questions and everyone I know seems to have these questions. Why am I continuously told not to worry about those questions?’ Just go out and do your shopping, you know, the famous George Bush line when we were in the Iraq war. Don’t worry about any of that, just go out and shop.
Suzanne Taylor: I am glad you mentioned how nice Rupert Sheldrake is because I would also say the other two also – those are three of the nicest human beings you ever would meet as persons. And so that is very nice that they are so nice. They are not going to fall off the pedestals. They are lovely, lovely people – just the way it should be.
Alex Tsakiris: Yes. Now listen, I do feel a need to return to our topic of crop circles today.
Suzanne Taylor: Oh, what were we talking about? Right. You know what, Alex? I also want to tell people that you have mentioned my blog but I am in a transition now and I am sort of relaunching myself to come back out as the consciousness lady, which is what I was before I became the crop circle queen. So the crop circles are one track but I have gotten too identified with them, as if that is my only track. So I am coming back out with something called doorway café and if you got on doorwaycafe.com you would see a site that is being put together. We are sort of getting close but it is not quite done yet. But it is actually live.
Alex Tsakiris: So let’s return to this topic of crop circles because it is something that I haven’t talked about and I have to say when we first connected I felt the same reservation I think a lot of people do about crop circles. It is like, ‘Oh my gosh, do we really want to go there? That’s so new age. Are you going to pull out the crystals and the incense next? Not that there is anything wrong with crystals and incense but it does have this certain stain of new-agishness that maybe shouldn’t be there. And I think definitely shouldn’t be there after I experienced your excellent movie. So one of the things that I took away, really from my little Skeptiko perspective, that I would love to dig into, and that is something we touched on while you were talking about the film initially, and that is the big picture issue here is that crop circles are either a hoax, a complete total hoax or it is the most profound, paradigm shifting – and I love the way you say this in the movie. It is really a close encounter experience that everyone can enjoy, if you will. It is really one of those two. There can be no middle ground. So with that I think you can then dive in and say okay, if you are a person who believes that it is a hoax, it is a man-made, then great, go for it. But realize what is at stake here. There is really no middle ground, is there?
Suzanne Taylor: Well you are absolutely right and it is because of that I think that people are so skeptical. It is too big. It is way, way, way big. It will change the world. The last time we had a change of that significance was Galileo and they put him under house arrest for that shocking news that Earth was not the center of the universe. Thank you Copernicus. And then Galileo really got it and his society shunned him. These are too big, the mind does not want to shift everything so radically. When we change our juxtaposition to the universe we change our psyches. I am not a historian to be able to track very specifically how we went from Galileo to here but I know that at his time the world was divided into kings and serfs. It was very top – because we were the center of the universe. It corresponded to earth being the center of the universe and we were top dogs. Then somehow or another in the course putting ourselves into the proper juxtaposition of the universe where we are not so significant we ended up with democracy here. And I know if I were a historian I could track that whole evolution of thought. But it has to do with the shift of psyche. And the psyche would shift again if we were not the only intelligence – not in science fiction but in actuality. If we knew that there was other intelligence contacting us, which the circles do indicate, we would not be top dog again. Another demotion from top dog and look where we are now. Look at how arrogant we are, look at how we abuse the earth. Look how we are violent with one another. We need that – we can use that democratization again on another layer of it. We care about each other, where we are one world. If indeed you can just see the kind of play of it as it would play out aside from the psychological effect, if it were announced by the powers that be, if headlines all over the world were – we are not alone, contact in the way in which we have established, we are not alone. That is contact of sorts. So contact would be in headlines all over the world and all of a sudden the whole world is in one conversation. It is the most fascinating thing that has ever happened. It won’t go away, it is not today’s news. It will be with us forever. We are talking to each other. We are equalized here on earth as one humanity dealing with the other – but you can just see it play out in the mind’s eye and how good that would be for us.
Alex Tsakiris: Well maybe, right? I am with you right up until the end because we don’t know what the consequences would be of that. There is also another part and there are a couple of different parts that I would pull out of that. One is that I think it is interesting to really dig into explore what that means when we say this would be paradigm-shifting, this would change everything, and then look at that relative to how people deal with this topic. And I am guilty of it as well, as I just admitted. And I guess what I am getting at is something that I have experienced over and over again and that is that I think people have an intuitive knowing and an intuitive protection mechanism that doesn’t allow them to go to these topics because they do realize what they mean without even realizing it. I think people turn away from the crop circle thing, laugh it off, and I love the quote from John Mack in your movie where he says, ‘Hey, the worst thing, especially for an American male, is to be duped, to be conned.’ And there is that resistance that I don’t want to be conned, but there is also an element that I don’t want to go there because somewhere in my head at some level I realize the impact that this will have. I have seen the same thing with religious folks, you know when you start really pulling apart Christianity or any religion and you start pointing out the ridiculousness of some of the historical evidence and then there is this – I don’t want to go there because I have already thought through the chain of events and where that would lead, along the same lines of what you are talking about. I wonder if you have any thoughts about these two worlds that we live in, the world of what could be and what we do know is the potential for change and the potential for a radical paradigm shift and how we balance that with the comfort and security we have that hey, everything is going to be okay. My life, as you talk about in your life story and your kind of very domestic and ordinary life, and then what it took for you to break out of that, I think there is a parallel there that most people reach that same point that this crop circle phenomena pushes you to and then they turn back and go no, no, that is okay. Let me go back to kind of my normal life. Do you have any thoughts on that?
Suzanne Taylor: Well I think you have said it all and it is absolutely right. It is too radical and this is a very complex world we are living in, there are a lot of gears that are meshed to have it working the way it is working, including a power structure that is very happy to have it working that way.
Alex Tsakiris: Insists, demands can only operate if it works that way. And that is one of the things I wanted to pick on and I am sorry to jump in there but it is such an important point to me, when we look for governments to make a proclamation of disclosure on UFOs, when we look for governments to resolve the ridiculous science versus religion thing. And we look for governments to step in and say in some way that this materialistic paradigm that says we can just go and do and consume to no end, which really has to come to an end. If we are expecting that, we are expecting the machine to turn around and eat itself. The only way this culture, this machine that we have built, can go forward, is in the way that it is going forward. That is my opinion. I don’t look for the big change, the big transformation. The gears, like you said, are too intricately engineered to operate within each other and there are too many people who love the game just the way it is to really expect this to change.
Suzanne Taylor: Well I would make a couple of comments about that. One would be that you are absolutely right, that things would be really radically disrupted. The psyche, you resist that. We are just not ready to make those leaps. They are too big. But the other thing is that look at the state we’re in – we are not in Ozzy and Harriet land and everyone knows that we are in deep trouble. And so when the crop circles came along in my reality, where I was interested in this shift and how it might come about, at the same as we resist the radical change we need that radical change. We need something that jars this gear mechanism that is so tightly meshed. Little things don’t—you know, it’s fingers in the dyke. But we need something to really make us think again about everything, and the crop circles could do that. We’re so really foolish not to be curious about them because they could be so helpful to us. But at least we do know that we are not in smooth times, that we are hitting a wall, that there’s talk about humanity destroying itself. I mean, boy is that is sort of new on the table, and in the face of that—my goodness, let’s look to all of these radical possibilities. I’m going to have something on my website, on Doorway Café, that’s going to be thinking outside the box, and I’ve primed it with a few of my thoughts about what radical things might happen to upend everything, and I’m inviting submissions for other people’s ideas about what those things might be. We should be talking that way, that’s the kind of talk we should be engaging in.
Alex Tsakiris: Yes, yes I agree. And at the same time, this is such a wonderful conversation and it could be so far-flung that I always feel a need to pull it back because I do have to tell you; my again—return to my experience and watching your film was one of a lot of new information. I’m almost a little bit embarrassed, I’m like, ‘Gee, why don’t I know more about this?’
Suzanne Taylor: Well your media has not been kind to you, Alex. The media does not bring you the latest news from the front of crop circles, they’re very cynical and very skeptical, and mostly they ignore them. But when they do something, it’s always with that sort of sly wink of ha ha ha, you know?
Alex Tsakiris: And the other part of it is even though I was aware of some of the information that you provided in the film about some of the scientific evidence about the bending of the crops and some of the ideas about the scope, and some of the ideas about debunking the debunkers. I think what your film does for anyone who hasn’t done a comprehensive review of this phenomenon is, it lays it out in a very systematic way that someone can go through it. I want to bring a little bit of that to our audience so that they can have some of that, and let’s return to this idea that we both felt comfortable with, the big picture here is that folks, this is either a hoax, or it is an enormously important paradigm shifting close encounter. There’s no other way to explain it, we have this phenomenon that you can reach out and touch in these fields and it’s happening at a scale that we can’t explain. So we either have to explain it in conventional means, or we have to jump over to the other side and say, ‘This is totally beyond our ability to explain it.’ So let’s debunk the debunkers, lay out what they have to overcome, the evidence that they have to overcome in order to advance their theory. Their theory again, let’s be clear—each and every crop circle formation throughout time that they’ve been recorded, every one of this is a hoax. That’s the burden of proof that they have, if they’re any who are not, or we suspect that they are not, then that theory has to kind of fall away. So let me pick this one place out of the film that I thought was quite extraordinary and quite new to me, and before I dive into it, tell us about the journal nature, the scientific journal nature and the publication in 1880 and what it contained.
Suzanne Taylor: Every hundred years or so in the media of the day, whatever it was, starting in 1678 for the first time, in a wood cut—in a pamphlet, we had a picture of a crop circle and a little story, we always date what was the first time you ever saw a crop circle referred to. It’s just a little 1678 wood cut if you—it’s called the Mowing Devil it’s come to be called, and it’s all over the net if you want to look it up. So the 1890 one where a scientist was in a field in England, and he’s reporting out circles everywhere. I say the evidence is in the favor of being a mystery even though it’s counter-intuitive, you think, ‘Oh no, that’s too big. Well wait a minute, sorry about that, it is.’
Alex Tsakiris: The evidence point in that direction, that’s one of the reasons I take people back to this 1880 publication in Nature, because besides the date which is stunning for most folks like me, who whether we want to or not have been susceptible to the skeptical hoax or idea. If you’re going to explain this as a human phenomenon, as a hoax, then you have to go back and explain for example—this. This observation by J. Rand Capron, this guy in England who is a well-known scientist. What I found striking, is he in very detailed terms talks about the phenomenon in some of the same ways that you’ve investigated and told people about in the movie, that this is clearly not a man-made phenomenon. Because the way the wheat in this case, is laid down and placed in this kind of pattern where it’s pushed down and not broken and it swirls around. Here this guy in 1880, he’s describing exactly the kind of phenomenon that you described in the movie, and how people can tell almost at first sight whether this was a man-made crop circle or whether it couldn’t be explained in those kinds of conventional terms.
Suzanne Taylor: What I’ll tell you Alex, also in recent years, earlier on in our modern phenomenon, you could indeed look and say, ‘Oh no, that’s a sloppy mess, that’s a hoax.’ If you asked one of the original hoaxers what about geometry, which the circles are brilliant at, they said, ‘What? What’s that?’ So they were just laying down sloppy patterns, but over the years, the hoaxers have gotten much better at flattening crop. They’ve gotten good geometers, the shapes are good. So you have to look beyond the obvious—the most obvious, and ascertain whether you’re dealing with a real one or not.
Alex Tsakiris: Again Suzanne, I’d look at it from a historical perspective, okay great, the hoaxers have evolved. Why would we then say that in 1880, the hoaxers had evolved to this extent, that doesn’t fit. That doesn’t make a lot of sense. Again—all we need—
Suzanne Taylor: Well it also doesn’t make sense that your cell phone stopped working, and your batteries that were fully charged are drained inside the circle.
Alex Tsakiris: Tell us about the physical, electrical effects that have been observed by some people who are well qualified to see if that’s really happening. That’s a pretty easy observation to make, but particularly for someone who has a little bit of skill with electronics. They can say, ‘I walked inside the circle and the camera went dead, I walked outside of it, the camera came alive. Same with my cell phone.’ There’s a lot of that going on isn’t there?
Suzanne Taylor: Well the batteries don’t recharge, but the cell phone will not work in the circle, not always, but enough. And then you hold it out over the edge, where the standing crop is in the field and it’ll be working. The batteries that drained in the cameras don’t come back. We have one story we tell in the movie of a camera crew from television that came back to the studio and this was earlier on when they were shooting film, and they had nothing on the film, just white light. There’s so much of that electromagnetic interference going on in the circles that something is going on. There’s some kind of energy in there that you can’t account for in any of the terms that we understand that science works. So you have the kinds of things that happen inside the circles themselves, including things like braided crops. It’s not just laid down, in some instances, it’s very intricately braided, I mean, what?! You’re going to have little weavers sitting on the ground there in the four hours of English darkness braiding the crop? I don’t think so. So you have the things that are—the physical evidence, or physical anomalies in the circles, and then you’ve got what happens, the results of laboratory analysis. It was a stunning lab work that was done on the soil inside a crop circle where they ascertained that the crystalline structure of one of the elements in the soil does not occur on Earth, on surface soil. In fact, you could expect that crystalline structure to be hundreds of miles way down deep beneath the crust where the pressure from the top and the heat from the bottom had cooked it for millions of years. You would expect that kind of crystalline structure, and there it was on the surface soil inside a crop circle, so you look at stuff like that and go, ‘Wait a minute, this is beyond anecdotal or somebody’s particular story.’
One of the reasons that I was never particularly a UFO person any more than the next guy in the diner, because it was so ephemeral, somebody would say, ‘I saw—‘ and then, ‘Well, where is it?’ and who knows? Did they or didn’t they? But the circles are there, they stay there until the crop is harvested. You can examine the material, you can have actual physical evidence, and so that’s why it intrigued me so much, where the UFOs never attracted me as a field of study, or something to spread the word about. But the circles were different, the circles we actually could get the proof, but now what we need is attention. Proof proof is one thing, but the people have to know that the proof exists, and that’s why I made these movies.
Alex Tsakiris: Yes, yes, excellent. I just want to touch on one more aspect of the proof that I pulled out from the movie, that really struck me, and I just want people to be aware of. And that’s the overall scale of this. So again, if you want to advance the hoax or theory that each and every one of these are a hoax, you also have to account for one, the scale of these complex creations. So anyone that goes online and looks at photography, or watches again, the excellent cinematography in your movie, and the stunningly beautiful crop circles that are in it, you have to explain how, like in one instance, 35 of these could be created overnight in South England. I mean, you are talking about an army of people, and army of well-organized hoaxers that have incredibly advanced knowledge of geometry, and artistry, that are so committed to this, and yet, remain completely anonymous. Think about that, how many people would it take to create 35 crop circles, and how would you keep them all silent about doing it?
Suzanne Taylor: Well, all perfect questions, and look at the biggest one ever, which was in 2001, it’s the size of—now, you have to picture, two football fields, there are 409 separate circles, many of the crop circles are composed of other kinds of shapes as well. This one happened to be all circles, in a very sophisticated geometric pattern. No mistakes, everything—so you think an army would have—just for that particular formation, it would’ve taken an army to do, presuming they could have. You’re talking about four or five hours of darkness at night, because they’ll be seen in the fields if they’re doing it in the daytime, well it boggles the mind. It just boggles the mind, you can’t—that cannot be. So even though the mind wants to say, ‘It’s all people.’ When you look at the evidence, it’s more clearly in favor of the fact that there’s a mystery over the fact that people have made it, you cannot explain this away.
Alex Tsakiris: Yes, okay. Enough on the hoaxes, actually I don’t think we can spend enough time, but maybe we have for this interview, because again, we just have to hammer this home again and again, is that the phenomenon demands an explanation in one of two ways, man-made hoaxing, or paradigm-shifting close encounter. There’s not in between here folks. Just keep drilling that over and over again, and then ask all these questions of how you would prove it to be a hoax, and then ask the next layer of questions that we were getting into before which is, what is this then? You say, ‘Why are these being created by this other consciousness, this other intelligence that’s out there?’ And you spend a good deal of time in the movie Suzanne talking about the why question, and that totally synced up with you on all the ideas you have. But let’s spend some time talking about this. Why are the crop circles there?
Suzanne Taylor: Well of course you’re now in pure speculation, because nobody is telling us. Whatever is delivering them is not giving us an explanation for why or where they come from, and it’s not necessarily extraterrestrial, maybe it’s another dimension, we just don’t know. We’ve never identified anything that can function like us other than us, and who knows what or where this is coming from. As I say, all you can do is say, ‘Not us.’ And why? Well, speculation. So you’ll hear—this is mine. Mine is, first of all some sort of underlying Star Trek idea that you can’t get interfered with by other entities in the universe that come along and save you, that’s not the nature of reality. But the—my speculation is that we’re being helped. We’re being helped by evidence that there is otherness, and that’s all we need. Each formation, many of them, the good ones, have information encoded in them, you can get formulas out of them, you can get geometric relationships out of them, you can get events on Earth that they’re pointing to out of them. And people always say, ‘What’s the message? What’s the message?’ Maybe it’s a jigsaw puzzle, and we’ll put them all together and we’ll get more hieroglyphics if you can translate them.
I don’t think so, I think we’re being bombarded with evidence that there is otherness, and that’s all we need. We don’t need them to tell us what to do or give us any specific instruction. Although, who knows if we were really accepting the fact there was other intelligence, if we were open to it, who knows what they can do to help us? They’re obviously more advanced than we are because they’re visiting us, we’re not visiting them. But just the fact of there being an otherness would be so changeful to us at a time in history when we’re getting worse and worse at managing our world, and we need some radical new premises. I think that this is a—just a steady bombardment, not too radical, people are going to become shocked and alarmed—something is out there. But gradually delivering, and delivering, and more and more, people like me saying, ‘Pay attention, pay attention.’ And at some point, some hopeful authority or breakthrough, or investigative reporter or something comes along and says, ‘Wait a minute, pay attention.’ We’ve been seasoned and sort of wild that we’ve been adjusting at some level of—you know there are lots of people who are paying attention to crop circles. Nowhere near the majority, but not just a few people either. It’s a very, very intriguing phenomenon that has a lot of people paying attention to it.
Alex Tsakiris: I think it’s interesting, I love how you framed it up as speculation, speculation, speculation, and that’s all we can do. I also liked the fact that you stay grounded in the fact that the real paradigm buster is the ‘otherness’. So there is this otherness beyond us, and that once you jump over that chasm, you can kind of figure out the rest. You’ll figure it out your way, however that way is, but you’ll have left behind that kind of hypnotic trance that we’re told, ‘Just go out and shop, that’s all you need to do, take care of your material needs.’ But a couple of things that you said in there do resonate with some of the explorations we’ve done in extended human consciousness be it through near-death experience, or medium communication, or even psychedelic experiences that people have.
And a couple things that I’d point out, that one, the messages that we get from the other, from the greater, from the more, aren’t usually clear messages that we can bring back and share with everyone as, ‘This is the tablet that I got from the mountain and here are the ten rules we have to live with.’ Whatever we can say about what this ultimate reality is, and these ultimate truths are. We can say it doesn’t seem to come down like that, there’s a lot of contradictory, or apparent contradictory information here. So I think when people try and pull apart the crop circle phenomenon and discredit it by saying, ‘Why would they say this? Why would they square the circle, and what does that mean versus this?’ It’s like maybe we’re not supposed to be able to—like you, I love the way you said it, put it all together like a jigsaw puzzle like we’d like to and say, ‘There, we solved it.’ Do you have any thoughts on our need to look for a message when really the message the has to come from within ultimately. It has to resonate with something deep inside of us, and this is my opinion. This is really about personal transformation as much as it’s about group or collective transformation, because really, you can’t have one without the other. But it has to start with personal transformation.
Suzanne Taylor: Well I’m not so sure Alex; we might have a little disagreement there. I have this feeling like, no, it’s not about personal transformation. I mean all that gross work we do whatever—examining ourselves. But this is sort of more on the surface of, ‘Oh my goodness!’ Hitting us over the head if attention is called to it, and we are told because they paid attention that something inexplicable is going on, and then I think it sort of filters down into your being of your mind is now in a different place, and you’ve been affected. Something so different than what your whole life perspective has been and what’s going on, and you just have to follow it and deal with it, and think about it, what have you. I just love the idea that it creates us as one. It creates us as one humanity in relation to the other because that’s really, that’s what we need. Once we really care about our mutuality as much as we care about our individuality, we’ll change the world. That’s the world that needs to change. The circles are such a wonderful possibility, you’re saying all those other things that are going on, you can’t pin them down and nail them down and show them as evidence. They’re too ephemeral, their too individualistic, but that’s exactly why the circles grab me as these other things. I’m interested in all of them, we can talk a lot about all that, and I’m deeply steeped in consciousness kind of work. But those circles present a unique opportunity in the hard, material world to give us the evidence of the bigger picture that we’re all part of. And the people who are enthusiastic about circles who know as much as I know, their hearts are just melted from this, really. And that’s what could happen to everyone, so wouldn’t that be a consummation devoutly to be wished for as I believe William Shakespeare said once.
Alex Tsakiris: That’s a very good point, and I’m glad that you made it, and I do have to swing around and agree with you and acknowledge what you’re saying because you’re right. The phenomenon, the way it manifests itself is very public, very much about collective group experience, and in that way it’s different, it’s very different than most abduction experiences. Abduction is kind of a challenging word, but it’s one that we have. It’s different from near-death experiences, although some of those have some group aspect to it, that’s not the overwhelming majority; it’s by far the minority of the experiences. And yet, you’re right, I hadn’t really thought about it that way, this is by its very nature—we can’t say it’s almost by its design, but we don’t know that—but by its nature, it is a group experience, it is a collective experience, it is a community experience to have these things out there like that, isn’t it?
Suzanne Taylor: Well exactly, it’s very unique. There’s nothing really quite like this, as I say, it’s why I got so fascinated with it, and I still hold hope that—my movie, which is called What On Earth?, is very well-known in the whole UFO underground world, everybody knows this movie, but getting it out to the mainstream is still a challenge. I’m still trying—Rosie O’Donnell, if she were ongoing and had her TV show, she was my champion, but she’s not out there making noise anymore, I could use one noisemaker. It is odd that there’s nobody from the showbiz world—she was fascinated by having seen my movie, but there it is. People visit all the time, how come we haven’t had any big celebrities over there? I’d take a celebrity, it doesn’t matter, somebody who people are paying attention to, get on a soapbox and say, ‘Hey world, pay attention to this.’ So I’m still looking for my champion out there, so if anybody is listening who wants to be my champion, be in touch.
Alex Tsakiris: So maybe it’s the last topic we can touch on, let’s pick up on what you just said, because we can’t get this far into this whole phenomenon, the experience that it is for so many people, and then not address the deliberate misinformation, the deliberate willful ignorance on the part of so many people that are in the mainstream media, the power structure, whatever we want to call it. How can this be ignored, and how can we possibly believe that it is not a systematic effort to ignore, to distract, to direct people away from this phenomenon. What do you make of that?
Suzanne Taylor: Well of course, that is an interesting topic, and—we go into some detail in the movie about the big shift that happened in human perception about this. Because when the phenomenon was first juicy back in the 1980s and the 1990s, the world was quite fascinated by what was going on, it was making news. Then all of a sudden, we still have people still today say, ‘Oh no, those two guys in England, those farmers, they made them all, they confessed.’ That was in 2001. So we go into the story of Doug and Dave, still infamous, those names are familiar with many people in the public because all of a sudden a press release went all over the world that said that these two guys had made them all. Well, if you stop to think about the illogic of that, these are two little farmers in England from nowhere, and all of a sudden there’s a press release that got into newspapers all over the world that debunked it? Well, we go into some detail in the movie about that and tracking where that press release came from, and it does seem to track back to the Ministry of Defense when you track back to some layers of illusion about a PR firm and what have you. So there was some apparently concerted effort on the part of the powers that be to divert attention. It doesn’t take much to divert attention from something as groundbreaking and earth shattering as this. ‘Oh yeah, good. We don’t have to think about that anymore. That’s been explained, those two guys did it,’ and that story really set the world on a different course, and ever since then, skepticism has outweighed curiosity. But you know, I don’t know Alex, I often wonder about government interference with all these things and with the UFO things. And with the UFO crowd is very convinced that there’s a campaign—a very concert campaign on the part of the government—to suppress this information.
Alex Tsakiris: Oh the evidence is overwhelming. The evidence of it happening right now, we don’t have as much. But all we have to do is look back 30-40 years in the de-classified documents and it’s clear, and then the question that one would have to ask if, why would we assume any of that has slowed down or stopped? And what evidence do we have that if our intelligence organizations were manufacturing the data, hiring the academicians, hiring people in at universities to kind of misdirect, and misinform people, why would we think that any of that has stopped? And I think the same is true here. But please, go ahead
Suzanne Taylor: I wanted to say something about my thoughts about this whole idea about government suppression. I think that perhaps we have a lot more of a romantic idea about the force of the government and their conspiring against these far-out kind of things. I think government is probably more chaotic than that. I don’t even know that there’s a real department or focus or whatever. There have been some incidents like this information that went out about Doug and Dave, and we have the Robertson panel back in the early UFO days which decided that they didn’t know what was going on and the world was curious and concerned. If they said they didn’t know what was going on, the world would really be concerned, so that the actual administrative decision on the part of government was to debunk it, to laugh at it, to ridicule it whenever it came up. That does not seem to have been rescinded at any point, but I don’t know there was ever really a focus on that, I think that decision just colored the air way back when, I think that was in the 50s, the early 50s. I think that has been the sort of [inaudible – 00:57:50] of policy rather than any back room where everybody is deciding to put down the UFOs and put down the crop circles, you know?
Alex Tsakiris: Agreed, I totally agree and I think—
Suzanne Taylor: Some people think that. Some people think that this closure has to be of some body of information that’s being kept together, and I don’t know, I’m not so sure that’s true at all.
Alex Tsakiris: I think that misunderstanding of the nature of power in influence just conspires to create this misinformation. I just got done interviewing not too long ago. Russ Baker, who is an investigative journalist and best-selling author of the book about the Bush dynasty.
Suzanne Taylor: Yes, you know I helped Russ with his website.
Alex Tsakiris: That’s fantastic—
Suzanne Taylor: Who, What, When, is that what it’s called? Who, what, when—something like that?
Alex Tsakiris: Yes, Who, What When—that’s great. Russ Baker was kind of a side step for me at Skeptiko because I stayed pretty close to the consciousness issue. But I do think I have to return the idea of conspiracies because we have to understand how these things happen if we’re ever going to unravel this. And a couple of things we talked about here that I think are important in that, it doesn’t take a tightly knit, large group of people in a back, smoky room to do these things. It takes one to two people to give a nudge here, a wink there, to approve this, to throw a little paint on this thing, and then the machine kind of works the way it works without a lot of help. The nincompoopery of the system only helps it, because then everyone says, ‘Well gee, look how incompetent this organization is, this government is, this agency is, how could it possibly create this huge well organized conspiracy?’ No, it doesn’t. It’s going to happen one way or another, you just need a couple of well-placed people to sit back and let things play out. And when things don’t quite play out the way you want, boy you just nudge it over this way. I heard an interview—and we’re getting far out of field, but that’s okay—I heard an interview and it was really a wonderful archive interview with Timothy Leary, of course the famous—
Suzanne Taylor: Ah yes, one of my favorites from way back.
Alex Tsakiris: Yes, the Harvard psychiatrist who pioneered the use of LSD, and really created a whole social revolution, what was it? Turn on, tune in, and drop out was the whole thing. And what he said which I thought was stunning but relevant, ‘What we didn’t realize for the longest time, what I didn’t realize until it was all over and I was in jail, that I had been infiltrated, I had been co-opted early on.’ And I think that’s the kind of stuff that we don’t fully work into the whole conspiracy thing. So you’re Timothy Leary and you’re going, ‘Hey man, this is great. We’re going to change the world.’ And you’re sitting right next—you’re dropping acid with the guy from the FBI right next to you, from the get-go. So you know, I think a deeper understanding of the true nature of power, control, influence, and the way that it manifests itself in these engineered conspiracies is important to really understand this whole thing. And when we return to crop circles, there is no other way to explain the stunning lack of interest. Stunning lack of interest. Because as you say, these things are right there in our face, and there are no journalists there, there are no news teams there. That deserves explanation at a much deeper—this conspiratorial kind of level.
Suzanne Taylor: Well you know one of the things that we can add to that rundown that quite accurately from my point of view that you were doing, is that the way that news works, is it runs on events. So when you have a phenomenon that is ongoing and it’s not a single event, it tends also to a whole other kind of track. It tends to be ignored. When for instance, that largest one ever appeared, CNN was there. That was an event, you know? But by and large, the phenomenon just keeps on keeping on delivering fascinating, delicious, wonderful, intriguing—but not unique as the kind of thing that the news media is set up for. So you have that kind of added kind of element that keeps this thing from really being reported on. So you have a lot of things conspiring at once in a sort of innocent conspiracy to keep the things out of the public eyes that really should be there.
Alex Tsakiris: Well Suzanne, your work is amazing and should be praised, and I’m here to praise it. So tell us a little bit about some of the new projects you’re working on, and how your work is broadening to talk about—which it has for a long time—but it’s broadening to focus on consciousness issues in general as well as crop circles. Tell us about what’s going on with you in the future, and where people can find out more about what you’re doing.
Suzanne Taylor: Well Doorway Café is my new website, www.doorwaycafe.com. Suzanne’s Doorway Café, but www.doorwaycafe.com is the URL. And you know, I’m interested in how we are going to get out of this constricted, selfish, self-centered kind of world view to where we are one humanity, it’s just the most important thing to be doing. Every issue, solving global warming, solving oil depletion, and solving all the things that challenge us, are being held in place by our worldview. Where greed tops compassion, and so I’m interested in all the ways that potentially we can break through and there will be different tracks there. One of my big tracks that I’ve been on for the last year is this TED situation. I know you’ve done other shows about it, and people can learn more about that if they get on Doorway Café. But TED became very repressive after thinking of it as the icon of intellect, and last year, they fell into the influence of the fundamentalist scientism folks. The Materialist Atheists—they have all these labels for them, but anyway, they’re the repressive fundamentalists who are holding us back from thinking these thoughts beyond scientific materialism, and TED became influenced by them. And you did a wonderful show with Rupert Sheldrake at the time that was going on, he was one of their targets. And Graham Hancock was a second target of theirs, and I, producing TEDX West Hollywood, was the third target.
And it becomes an arena for examining—not just criticizing Ted, which you know, it does have this shadow side, and it should be criticized—and of we’re going to hold it up as an icon of intellectual thought, we let’s have the representative of the highest thought and not a fundamentalist thought. And that’s why it’s a good arena for—it’s a microcosm for what’s going on in the world, where we need to get off this narrow perspective, and TED being so visible. If TED says, ‘Wait a minute; let us reconsider what ideas indeed are ideas worth spreading.’ Which is their motto, and that we have been too restrictive about our acceptance of things that are more outside of ordinary reality. Which science itself, and this whole quantum world—science is ahead—the scientists at the edge are really ahead of the mainstream, and Ted has favored this mainstream perspective. So TED is a big category for me, having both at a personal level suffered from their restrictive policies where mid-stream, they cancelled my license. Actually, when I was ready to put my event on two weeks before, after a year of working on it, they cancelled my license. And an outcry occurred because they were already in outcry because of what they had done to Sheldrake and Hancock, so us three victims are actually the opportunity for TED to reexamine itself. And as such, become the kind of platform for the world to take another look at what it considers acceptable, whereby we can really deal with this worldview that’s keeping us in this very restrictive and unpretentious place. Where we are not in the position to solve all the problems that challenge us, and we need to be. So that’s a big arena for me. And the crop circles of course, ongoingly, I’ve got my stake in them as another thing to pay attention to, and then you’ll find all kinds of other entertainments and amusements along the road to the next reality, which is our little tag line.
Alex Tsakiris: Well, great, sign me up. Or I will sign myself up at Doorway Café. So that’s terrific Suzanne, I admire your work greatly. I love your optimism, I can’t share it. I don’t see any way to turn TED around, I just think that’s—maybe there’s something to be gained just by the effort in doing it, but I think you’re deep inside the belly of the beast there. But hey, we’ll just follow your journey, and I sure hope you prove me wrong. It’s been great having you on the show, and I do hope everyone checks out Doorway Café. Suzanne thanks again so much for joining me on Skeptiko.