Making Unsigned Circles, A Documentary Film
Written By: Poppy Paulos
“Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.”
-Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
In August of 2001, I was blissfully unaware that an explosive event was about to reshape the American psyche. My attention at the time was consumed by a hauntingly beautiful pictogram in a wheat field far away in Chibolton, England. Hexagonal pixels made of standing wheat and the size of tractor tires were defined a large humanoid face which neatly laid out over hundreds of feet in an unharvested field of ripe crop. This I soon learned was a crop pictogram, commonly known as a crop circle.
Day after day, I revisited the sight on my computer and searched the Internet for any related material that would explain to me how such an enormous and seemingly impossible artistic feat could be executed in the dead of night. Without witnesses to dispel the myth that ETs and UFOs had been responsible for the art work, I was left to ponder possible scenarios. Could there be unknown energy devices and government Black Ops involved? Or were hoaxers responsible, laying their claim each year to some of the thousands of complicated mathematical patterns around the globe?
When unexpectedly a few nights later, a startling sister communiqué to the face appeared in the same field, and was thought by the experts and investigators to be an other-worldly response to our 1976 Arecibo Message, I was hooked…and lost no time immersing myself into this mystical world, where science and mathematics elegantly intertwined with art and communication!
“Wherever your focus goes, so follows your energy.”
Captivated by the phenomenon , I studied as many of the crop circles as I could find on the Internet. My thought process began a transformation. Internally, in my very essence, I felt as if I were breaking free, gathering my inner strength, spreading my wings, and emerging from my self-imposed cocoon into a new and glorious world. Soon, I was virtually consumed by my quest to learn more about these mysterious things. And I became determined to experience them personally.
I had read somewhere that you need only voice your desire; give it a name, a time, a place. It is only then that The Universe, God, the interconnected Supreme Unconscious, with its infinite desire to create, would deliver the booty. Somewhere in those moments of total absorption I took control of my life, and consequently made an announcement to my husband, my friends, and my family,
“I am going to England to see the crop circles for myself in the summer of 2002.”
Armed with memorized mantras, dreams verbalized, and my plans written on cue cards pasted to mirrors, I valiantly entered the year 2002. But unlike past years, I made no resolutions to give up anything. My resolve was to move forward, step by step, and watch for the road signs, coincidences if you will, that would validate my being on the correct pathway.
The first clue that the Universe was engaged with me on this self-proclaimed quest came in the form of a large billboard on Wiltshire Boulevard in West LosAngeles. It was a cryptic message, no words, simply a large red design of …a Crop Circle!
While more billboards appeared across Southern California, I was excitedly anticipating the daily announcements that began each year in late spring announcing the arrival of new and exquisite patterns in the English fields. I feverishly read every article that I could find written on the Internet by circle researchers and investigators. Names such as Colin Andrews, Lucy Pringle, David Kingston, Steve Alexander, Michael Glickman, Linda Moulton Howe, and others became as familiar to me as Mel Gibson and M. Night Shamaylian, monikers that soon joined the crop glyph on billboards throughout the U.S. heralding Hollywood’s big-budget movie, the mid-summer release, Signs.
It soon became my focus to attend a crop circle conference in England in July, before Signs was scheduled to be released in Los Angeles. There I would be brought face to face with people whose articles I had read, and whose exquisite photographs I had spent countless hours dissecting. The bonus was that the yearly conference took place in the historic and quaint town of Glastonbury, well-known for its cathedral and King Arthur. The promoters promised tours into the circles themselves, and I yearned for the enlightenment that was sure to be a part of the entire experience.
“If you don’t run your own life, someone else will.” -John Atkinson
Having the means to travel to England for a week, what I needed most was some guidance on where to stay and how to get around. I contacted a crop circle photographer, Stuart Dyke. Via emails he graciously suggested B&Bs in the Marlborough area, being, he noted, the most convenient for crop circle touring. The Glastonbury Symposium staff were also enthusiastic in welcoming a visitor from California, so I was feeling comfortable about undertaking the adventure solo.
Not to be so unceremoniously dismissed, the all knowing Universe intervened. I had some months previously scheduled an eye surgery to be completed before the end of June. Sometimes, however, the outcome of an event is diametrically opposed to one’s expectations. And so it was…my cornea became damaged by the surgery, and travel in July was out of the question.
To the reader this might not look as if it were a proper road sign, but in retrospect, I can assure you that it was just what the Universe intended. I had successfully been delayed. Apparently July was not the month to undertake the journey.
Foolishly believing that all was lost in going to England, two weeks later I happened to sit in on a conversation with the organizer of the International Student Film Festival Hollywood. Suddenly, and without forethought, an idea popped into my consciousness. I boldly asked the festival organizer if I, not being a film student, could enter a 15 minute documentary film into his festival. In order for a film to qualify for entry into the festival, the project needed only to have a film student as a major component. My belief that I would be going to England was reignited.
By coincidence, but more than likely another road sign that I was on the right path, my college roommate called to tell me that her son was coming to Los Angeles. Holt, she said, had just received his university degree in film making, and would be looking for a job in “The Industry.” I excitedly proposed that he join me on a trip to Wiltshire. Like any young university graduate, he was confidant that he could do the job, all of it: cameraman, schlepper, driver, etc. The only thing lacking was the video camera, and he knew just the one he wanted. With several close losses on EBay, I dug my heels in to buy the camera Holt had suggested to me and became determined that the next camera would not slip out of reach. In stepped the Universe again, and I purchased from seller, Mystic Hawk, the Canon digital video camera that would serve us well in capturing some extraordinary interviews and aerial footage of English crop circles.
With my finances unexpectedly improving, I decided to enlarge my core crew. Invited to join me on the adventure was my friend, actor John Rixey Moore. Rixey had first introduced me to the phenomenon. With his skills as a conversationalist and story teller, I was confident that he would be the perfect interviewer. My sister, Rosely, rounded out the crew and was happy to tag along as our “best boy.”
“The beauty of simplicity is the complexity it attracts.” -Tom Robbins
One afternoon, as Holt and I checked out the newly purchased video camera, the mail arrived. A curious manila envelope caught my eye. Below the unfamiliar sender’s name was typed ‘Stevens Family,’ my maiden name. I slipped the letter out and quickly perused it. The words ‘Wiltshire’ and ‘England’ grabbed my attention. What’s this?! Typed on the page were the words “…another relative of ours who resides in Wiltshire, England…” “Oh my God, THIS is a SIGN!” I exclaimed. In my mind, the trip was now set in cement.
Flights booked and lodging secured, there was just one thing left to be done. I had never made a film before. I didn’t have the slightest idea about “lights, camera, and action.” I needed some instruction, but from whom, I wondered? As if by magic, a catalogue arrived advertising a plethora of weekend seminars in LosAngeles. Flipping through it, I came upon the ‘2 Day Film School.’ Was it simply a coincidence, or divine grace, that it was scheduled to be held the week before my departure? The class was intensive, but it delivered on its promise to teach everything a ‘wannabe’ film maker would need to know.
“It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one, than to have an opportunity and not be prepared.” –Unknown
My crew and I felt the electrical energy of a project blessed by Higher Powers. Our feelings were validated the very first morning in England. Before leaving Los Angeles, I had drawn a simple design of an imaginary crop circle, three adjoined circles with smaller circles centered in each. As an experiment in collective consciousness, I asked friends and family to meditate on it while we were away. To our utter amazement, our first lodging host showed us a gift he had received the night of our arrival. It was a large, rectangular, antique wooden box with three round glass gauges aligned on top, and in the center of each, was a dark circular knob. He was as incredulous as we when I presented my drawing!
Buoyed by this sign that all was looking favorable for our project, we arrived in Cheesefoot Head for our first interview. In spite of the rain that began just as we concluded our interview with Paul Vigay, and the warnings from local farmers that harvesting would begin early, our spirits were high. Holt had spied our first crop circle in a dry wheat field as we drove on to Pewsey, and we could not have been more optimistic about what lay ahead.
After a hearty English B&B breakfast the next morning, we were taken aback to discover thatour scheduled appointment with Freddy Silva was literally a stone’s throw away, just down a short country lane. We interpreted this as another syncronicity, just one of many more that continued to surprise us throughout our trip.
For us, one of the most beneficial of these heaven-sent signs occurred one afternoon when we dropped in at the Silent Circle Café. Charles and Frances Mallet had graciously agreed that I could do a short BBC radio interview from there. As I concluded my conversation with the radio host, Holt tapped me on the shoulder and pointed outside to a crowd of people seated around picnic tables. I could not believe our “luck” when I discovered that the woman who was at the center of the gathering was none other than the well known American paranormal investigator, Linda Moulton Howe! she had stopped in Wiltshire to see the latest crop circles on her way home to Philadelphia from a conference in Norway. Linda agreed to be miked and we fortuitously captured some of our best footage that afternoon. Another chance encounter came again at The Silent Circle Café that brought us face to face with the venerable crop circle investigator, Michael Glickman. His subsequent interview also contributed significantly to the success of our project. David Kingston, Lucy Pringle, Freddy Silva, Isabelle Kingston, and so many other crop circle researchers and enthusiasts, gave us much useful fodder for the film.
Almost as if it were a blessing for my success, I took to the skies one morning in a small plane intending to enjoy the panoramic landscape neatly unfolding below me which was punctuated by the occasional crop formation. The flight was as exhilarating an experience as I have ever had in my life. Then, quite unexpectedly, the pilot instructed me to look towards the east where I caught sight of a bright red rectangle among the verdant green quilt work of parceled land. “That’s a field of poppies,” he said to me, “and we have no idea how it came to be there!”
“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” –Pablo Picasso
Upon our arrival back in the States, Holt was hired almost immediately as a production assistant for a popular weekly television show. Consequently, he became unavailable to edit the footage in time for the student film festival. Undaunted, I was certain that our footage was unique, and deserved the right of passage to be made into a genuine film We had captured not only great interviews, but some of the only aerial video that existed on one outstanding formation that summer, the Crabwood Farm alien face and disc.
Was it luck, or Supreme Guidance, that I soon found a former BBC documentary editor to help me bring my dream to reality? Was it only chance that a major distributor asked to represent it? And is it just too random in the scheme of things that Unsigned Circles was good enough to air for the first time on a major network, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation? Primetime, even! Those questions I leave for you to ponder…
To read more about Unsigned Circles, or to order DVDs, please visit http://www.unsignedcircles.com