- THE enduring mystery of Wiltshire's crop
circles is coming under the gaze of one of America's wealthiest men.
- Laurance Rockefeller is funding research
into the puzzling patterns that have spawned a host of theories embracing
everything from alien spacecraft to freak wind conditions.
- Mr Rockefeller, a member of the fabled
dynasty that has inspired songwriters and society page editors, has hired
former local government officer Colin Andrews to dig deeper into the riddle.
- Mr Andrews, formerly of Andover but now
based in Connecticut, will be flying surveillance flights over Wiltshire
next month hoping to record new discoveries.
- He has compiled the largest database
on the subject and advised several
- governments on his findings.
- He was asked to present his work at the
United Nations headquarters in New York in 1994 when his close friend Reg
Presley, lead singer with The Troggs, flew to America to attend.
- Mr Rockefeller, aged 89, a New York billionaire
and former U.S.congressman, has had a long interest in UFOs and similar
- His grandfather was the legendary John
D Rockefeller, who amassed a fortune from oil interests.
- Speaking from America yesterday, former
Test Valley borough council engineer Mr Andrews said: "He asked me
if I would like to submit some research projects to him which he might
be able to help finance.
- "With his help we engaged staff
in my Connecticut offices and also flew regular flights in aircraft over
Wiltshire and Hampshire last year.
- "The office is now equipped with
seven computers and staff are working on crop circles data from around
- "Global positioning technology has
helped us via satellites to locate each formation and to be able to return
after harvest to carry out measurements, including magnetometer readings
which have shown some fascinating results.
- "Numerous farmers have shown concern
over the level of hoaxing. This is a problem
- but is not only a matter of criminal
activity but also something a little deeper.
- Hoaxers themselves have confidentially
stated that strange light phenomena have been experienced around them while
they have been making crop circles during the hours of darkness.
- "Some have even been certain that
that within minutes of finishing a crop formation, additions have mysteriously
been added before sunrise.
- "Mr Rockefeller has funded a special
investigation into all aspects of hoaxing and this is already under way."
- Mr Andrews has already discovered that
some circles have a "magnetic fingerprint" resembling snowflake
- His findings will appear in a book he
is writing called Cosmic Artist.