Sometime during the night of August 27/28, 1998, British
Columbia got its first verified crop formation in the small small farming community of
Vanderhoof, just west of Prince George in central B.C. The formation, consisting of 11
circles ranging in size from 18' 6" to 99' in diameter, was located in a field of
oats next to runway #250 at the small Vanderhoof airport.
One of the first
people to see them was pilot Eric Stier. He was returning from aerial fire patrol on
Friday, Aug. 28th and was just approaching the runway at 4:15 PM when he spotted the
distinct pattern. He had flown over the same field the day before and says there was
nothing in it then.
Soon after landing,
he and friends Neil Weibe, John McQueen and Bryan Wallace went back into the air for a
second look. They took numerous photos and scrutinised the field very carefully but said
they could see no tracks or points of entry. They had no idea what to make of these
The next morning, Saturday, they
walked into the field. Still suspecting a possible prank, they looked very carefully
for paths and other signs of human involvement but found nothing. At this point, they told
the owner of Vanderhoof Flying Services Brent Miskuski of their find and he in turn
notified farmers Frank and Margaret Smith who lease the land.
Up to this point, only a handful
of people knew about the formation and so it was relatively undisturbed. However, by
Monday, the press found out and from that moment on interest and visits to the site began.
My wife Gwen and first learned
about the formation on Tuesday morning and within an hour and a half were on our way for
the 9 1/2 hour drive from Vancouver. We arrived after dark at about 9 PM. We entered the
formation at 10 AM on Wednesday.
Since numerous people had
already visited the site, it was difficult to detect certain features which would indicate
whether or not it was genuine. However, there were still numerous areas that had not been
walked on. In these areas, I found no obvious signs of damage to the stalks or compaction
of the soil. Also, the lay looked quite good and dowsing the circles indicated a strong
Related Anomalous Reports
During the three days we were at
the site, we spoke to many people who had experiences which may be related to the arrival
of the formations.
a) Many people told us their
dogs barked incessantly or acted strangely the night the formation appeared. One woman,
Rosie Martins, told us her dog was so out of control that the family cat took fright and
jumped into her son's bed to hide, scratching him badly. Another woman, Mae Frankel, said
her son's dogs were in a barking frenzy all that night. Also, Margaret Smith's mother
visited the circles and when she returned home, her dogs and cats refused to come near
her. And a couple who were visiting the formation with their small dog said the dog was
desperate to get out of the large circle.
b) A woman told us that at 2 AM
on Friday, the night the formations appeared, she saw an eerie glow in the forest a few
miles from her house. She thought it might be a fire and so woke her husband but
after an hour it simply blinked out. She said it was a fiery orange light which lit up a
large area and that there was no smoke.
c) That same Friday, during the
day, two men in a neighbouring town said they saw two silver objects rising from the lake
they were fishing on. At first it seemed they might be looking at reflections in the water
about a half mile away but then whatever it was rose and took off rapidly. These men say
they are not believers in the paranormal and seemed embarrassed by their sighting. Neither
could explain what they had seen and they did not know of the existence of the crop
d) Lars Sabbie's wife was
pulling a hay wagon with a pickup truck a few miles away from the circle field at 7:30 PM
on Monday, the 31st of August. Suddenly, the hay burst into flames. She managed to save
the truck but the wagon burned to the ground. She is a non-smoker. Cases of hay wagons
catching fire are not unheard of but are quite rare.
Over the next few days, we
collected 53 sets of stalk samples from circles and 101 controls. Each sampling contains
about 20 stalks. In addition, we took an equal number of soil samples. These will be sent
to the Burke/Levengood/Talbot team for analysis.
Crop - oats
Date of formation - night of Aug 27/28
|Size of circles:
||- in a cluster of 5
||- one was 51' diameter and clockwise
- one was 23'10" diameter and counterclockwise
- one was 50' 2" diameter and clockwise
- one was 41' 8" diameter and counterclockwise
- one was 46' 6" diameter and clockwise
||- in a cluster of 3
||- one was 19' 8" diameter and counterclockwise
- one was 19' 6" diameter and clockwise
- one was 18' 6" diameter and counterclockwise
||- in a cluster of 3
||- one was 99' diameter and counterclockwise
- one was 21' 8" diameter and clockwise
- one was 22' and clockwise
The distances that
separated the circles in each cluster ranged from 1 foot to 2' 8".
The distance between the two circles furthest from each other was 535 feet.
The closest distance to edge of field was 175 feet.
The distance of runway to closest circle is 600 feet
It is noteworthy to mention that after we had completed our sampling, hundreds of people
from the surrounding area began visiting the field. We talked to a great many of them,
always asking if they knew of any pranksters who might be capable of this or if they had
heard of the slightest rumour suggesting a hoax. Every single person, regardless of their
personal belief as to the circle's origins, said they had heard nothing. This holds true
today, 12 days later.
© Paul Anderson, CPR-Canada
(preliminary copy; spacing between three sets is greater than shown