Doug Bower interviewed by Clas Svahn, August 1992
Svahn: We would like you to say something about the early days when you started to make circles, where was it?
Bower: My friend and I we used to visit the Winchester area, especially on summer evenings to look at the countryside; being both artists we could appreciate the countryside, and at that time in 1978 the UFO business was at its heights in this country and I said to my friend ‘If we were to put a circular mark in this cornfield they would probably think when they discovered it that a UFO had landed during the night and it would cause quite a bit of interest’. This we did but it was about two years of circle making from then on, 1978-80, but no one seemed to take much notice of them at all simply because we were putting them in fields that couldn’t be seen by the passing motorists or cars, but the big punchbowl near Winchester, which is 200 foot deep, that wasn’t ploughed at the time, but in 1980 they ploughed it, they planted corn in there, which gave us a wonderful opportunity to put a circle down in there so that all the passing motorists could see it on their way through, and within 24 hours the first report in the newspaper was of this circle and it went along in leaps and bounds ever since.
Svahn: What were the reactions from the beginning?
Bower: Well, the UFO society, they didn’t know what to make of it at first, and after 18 months [to] two years they sort of poo-pooed [dismissed] the idea that it wasn’t a UFO after all, but in that time quite a few societies had been formed by circle researchers, and even to this present day there’s quite a number of societies that have been formed in researching these and they’ve all got their beliefs as to what’s causing it; they’re still no further forward now after 14 years than they were on the first occasion in 1978.
Svahn: Have you been using the same technique during [all] these years?
Bower: Not really. We did it on our hands and knees for the first two years, which was a bit hard work really, and then we put our heads together and decided to do the stick with the rope wound on it and to walk round, which was much easier of course.
Svahn: When was that?
Bower: That would be about 1982 I suppose [when] we started that.
Svahn: Did it change – This new technique – did it change the circles?
Bower: No, not at all, because the first occasion when we started [we used] an iron bar which was about 5 feet long and we both could kneel down side by side and lifting the bar together, so the same operation was pushing the corn down half-way up the stalks and going round in a clockwise direction.
Svahn: And what kind of circles did you make in the beginning?
Bower: Well, probably about 40-60 feet across, and why we changed the patterns over the years was because Dr Terence Meaden, the Head of the Tornado Research Institute [sic] from Bradford-on-Avon, he kept insisting that he had the answers to all this by saying that it was different types of wind that was causing all this. Had it not been for Dr Meaden I suppose really we would have continued just in [making] the circles themselves, but we sort of made up our minds that we had to get rid of Dr Meaden by putting a circle [ie a ring] around the outside [of] the circle and then two circles [a second ring] round [the outside], one going one way and one going the other, clockwise and anti-clockwise, but Dr Meaden seemed to come up with an answer for all the different patterns that we did, then we started the four satellites, north, south, east and west, and he had an answer for that as well, and then of course in 1990 we started the first of the pictograms
Svahn: Are you the man behind all the pictograms?
Bower: Yes, we started the actual circle phenomenon in 1978. Prior to 1978 anyone that thought there were any circles prior to that were looking at storm damage, heavy rain and winds can make a sort of a circle but nothing like [those] we were making in 1978.
Svahn: But there must have been other [hoax] groups as well making circles?
Bower: Yes, well the group from Beckhampton near Marlborough [the UBI], they started copying us five years ago this summer [ie 1987]; they must have come up to the Winchester area to see what we were doing and then they went back to do [their own circles] – and the same thing applies when you hear of circles being in different parts of the world, because people from Germany, from your country [Sweden], France, Italy and America, they come over here to see what we were creating and they go back home and they say, ‘Well look, we’ll do some over here, and lo-and-behold the next thing you know they’ve got some in America, some an Sweden, some in France, and that’s it; but there’s no such thing as a genuine crop circle only what we made and what we started in 1978, I can assure you of that.
Svahn: Did you have any contact with the other groups that were hoaxing?
Bower: None at all, we don’t even know to this day who the other people are in Wiltshire, but of course, before we released the news last September that we’d made the circles they weren’t aware that they weren’t copying something genuine, but when we released the news in September that we were the ones that started it in 1978 they realised then that they were only copying us, and that is what they’re still doing today.
Svahn: When you did all this I presume that you may have left some kind of a trace, some clue?
Bower: What do you mean? Footprints and that sort of thing?
Svahn: No, [I meant to say] a clue for the researchers.
Bower: Well no, not really, it was all a kind of fun thing, we were only doing it for a bit of fun – a big joke, and we had no intention of taking measurements or anything else you see so therefore when the so-called researchers ask us ‘What proof have you got that you did so-and-so?’ we can only say ‘Well we did it’, we’ve got nothing written down because we had no intention of doing that in the first place.
Svahn: So you kept no records or anything?
Bower: Well not really, we have a map with a red spot on it for every location that we’ve done since 1978 but my memory is so good that I can recall every location that we’ve been to in all those years.
Svahn: How many are there?
Bower: Well, we were doing about 25-30 circles every summer, over a period of 13 years, so it runs into several hundred.
Svahn: I understand that you started doing this on Friday nights?
Bower: Yes, well David and I, my friend, who is also an artist as I mentioned before, for quite a few years before the circles business started we used to go out on Friday evenings for a drink of beer and to talk about paintings, and it was only one evening in 1978 that we decided to put a circle in a field and then most of our Friday evenings were taken up with circle making until someone came up with the remark that ‘It’s a very peculiar thing that most of these circles seem to be appearing on Friday nights’, so when we got to hear of that we decided to go out [on] Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday [sic] to try and fool them; and then we realised then that it wasn’t any good to stay in one locality like the Winchester area because they would suddenly say that it’s someone very local doing this, so we decided to go further afield. Then we decided to go to Warminster and Westbury – which is the home of the UFO business – and on one occasion we went to Eastboune, Alfriston, which was a 200-mile round trip, and Wantage to the north, which was quite a long journey as well, and by spreading them around a bit it would make them think that it was something genuine that they were looking at.
Svahn: Which is the farthest place you have gone to?
Bower: Eastboune, which was 100 miles each way, we went there on about three occasions.
Svahn: When you look at these circles you see this layering people talk about. Can you describe how you make this layering?
Bower: Well it’s just a case of going around pushing a stick round in a clockwise direction, we did create a radial swirl, which came from the centre out to the outside, but the patterns just evolved just like that. We can’t really explain it, it’s just that with the method we were using that was the pattern and the flow of the corn as it was done...
Svahn: And you never used anything else but a stick?
Bower: No never.
Svahn: How long would it take to make a complex pictogram?
Bower: Well a pictogram I suppose really there’s not quite so much corn flattened down in a pictogram as there is in a large circle, for instance a circle 60-80 feet across, that could be accomplished in about 20 minutes and a pictogram [is] a little more complicated but I suppose half to three quarters of an hour to complete a complicated pictogram.
Svahn: So, if you could describe a typical night when you would go out, what time did you go to the pub?
Bower: Well, first of all let’s take a summer evening, which is this time of year, June, July or August, when the corn is ready for circle making, we would… I would call David about eight o’clock in the evening, we would then journey up towards Winchester or round the countryside whilst it was still daylight, and we would locate a field, pick a field out, not too near houses, not being overlooked or anything like that; and then we would go to the pub and have a drink and decide on what sort of design or pattern we would do, and then before we finally decided on it, when we left the pub it was just getting dark, then we would go back to that field and make sure that there was no one in the locality at all. If there was a car park, even if there was a couple that were courting in the car, we would finish with it and go somewhere else, we would never take chances and that’s why we didn’t get caught in all the 13 years we were doing it, so if everything was all clear when we got back to the location, as soon as it was dark we would don our wellington boots if it happened to be wet, or we would take our necessary sticks with us and then go into the field. In fact each one was like a commando raid really.
Svahn: What did your wives think about this?
Bower: Well my wife didn’t know anything about this for seven years. We kept it a secret from her, and one day my wife said to me, ‘the car needs servicing very regularly, I notice with all this mileage that’s going on the clock’, and my wife… I used to go out with my wife for a picnic on Sundays and… but of course the fact that David and I were going out for four evenings a week, the mileage was getting quite high, and the car was having to be serviced more regularly, so she confronted me one day and she said, ‘I want an answer to why all the miles are on the clock so soon,’ and she said, ‘What are you doing on these nights that you go out?’. So, by that time I had four huge albums of press cuttings that we’d taken [sic] over the years which was [due to] the publicity that we were looking at, and I laid them out on the work bench in my shop and I said, ‘Well here’s the answer to all the mileage,’ and she turned the pages over and looked at it all, she knew of the circles because I used to go out on Sundays with her and say to her, ‘I hear there’s a circle at such-and-such a place,’ and we’d go and look at it; but she didn’t know for seven years that we were doing them, but she looked at the albums and all the press cuttings and she said, ‘That doesn’t really tell me anything you know,’ so we had to finish up by going out with her and she would stay in the car while we went into the field to do one, and then we would take her back the next evening to see what we’d done, so we had to reveal that to her, and Dave’s wife didn’t know right unit last September!
Svahn: Quite a surprise for her!
Bower: Well of course, Dave didn’t have any transport you see so I was the one clocking up the miles.
Svahn: [At] some of the circle sites [the] circles have been situated some way from the tramlines. How did you [do this]?
Bower: Well, it’s very strange this because in the last several years a lot of researchers have found underlying paths, which means that when Dave and I used to walk down the tramlines – the tractor lines in the field – we would then walk into about the centre of the standing corn, but of course by doing that we’d left a footpath; we used to take big steps but you were still leaving a bit of a footpath in before you could start a circle, but we didn’t take much notice of this because the circle that we were going to make would cover up the marks that we’d made getting into the corn. But some of the researchers had carefully lifted some of the corn and could see the underlying path as they call it, where we went in you see, but of course although they said that they had the proof that it was hoaxing, the other people, the diehards, they still insisted that it was something genuine.
Svahn: But sometimes you must have jumped into the field from the tramline or something?
Bower: Oh yes, you could take quite a big step I mean, and start it from there.
Svahn: So you never used any sticks or poles [to get across the standing corn]?
Bower: No, nothing at all.
Svahn: I wonder, how did you pick the fields? You wanted to have a field that was not very near houses…
Bower: That’s right. Well there’s lots of fields like that in the countryside. In the first few years we had to get a location that was downland so that the people on top of the hill could look down like an aerial view of it and see what we’d done, hence we went to the White Horse at Westbury, and Cley Hill at Warminster, which was several hundred feet high, and we used to do the circles at the bottom, but when the [crop circle] societies were formed we realised that these people were flying over the fields practically every evening so it didn’t really matter if you put them in fields that the motorists couldn’t see, because we knew that the people in the aircraft would be spotting them the next night. So our early business of getting hills – it just didn’t matter where you put them in the end.
Svahn: Sometimes you can find a hole in the centre of the circle, did you make any?
Bower: No, we never used any poles, nothing hammered in, nothing at all like that, no. The only occasion – on two occasions we dug a hole to make it look as if the Martians had landed and taken a soil sample away – when we went to Wantage, which was north of Newbury, we did a large circle there one night and we did a runway out from the circle and we dug a hole. We took a bag with us to put the soil in and we brought that back and we dumped it on the way back Southampton, and apparently the UFO society at Swindon discovered this [hole] and they even put a policeman on guard the next day, all day; but the other occasion of course was at Stonehenge, which was last year , we also did another runway, we dug a hole there and we put three meteorites in there and two gallons of river water from the River Itchen in Hampshire – [it would have been] no good putting tap water in, because they would probably get it in the laboratory.
Svahn: There was a strange hole in the circle at Childrey.
Bower: Was that in Wiltshire?
Svahn: In 1985 I think [actually, 1986].
Bower: No, we never done any circles at all near Marlborough or Wiltshire [sic]; we have done them in Wiltshire, which is Westbury and Warminster of course, and of course near Stonehenge, but nothing… no we did the one at Stonehenge, there was a hole at Wantage [this is the same circle Svahn was referring to as ‘Childrey’, although Bower apparently did not recognise it under that name]. That was all to confuse the so-called experts you see, [to] keep them/make them scratch their heads all the time.
Svahn: What counties in the south did you not make circles in?
Bower: We didn’t go to Devon or Cornwall, we went to Hampshire, Wiltshire, Berkshire and Sussex, and that would be about [all] the counties that we were travelling in.
Svahn: It was too far away to go [Devon and Cornwall]?
Bower: Well yes really, it was really, just for an evening, I mean the one we did at Eastbourne that was 100 miles each way and that was quite enough for one evening, we didn’t leave Southampton until 7 o’clock in the evening and we got home about 2 o’clock in the morning.
Svahn: During 1991, how many circles do you think you made that year?
Bower: Well it would only average about 20-30. I’ve since heard just recently that when the so-called experts were looking at all these if a pictogram consisted of three circles we would only count that as one but they would count it as two or three, hence the larger number of circles that they said they’d found, because a lot of the pictograms in Wilshire consisted of quite a number of circles, but as far as we were concerned we only counted that as one pattern.
Svahn: Did you mention any of the circles in 1991 which you did?
Bower: We were the first ones to put the pictogram down, the first one of all, there were no pictograms until we put the first one down – which was at the bottom of Cheesefoot Head near Winchester [May, 1990] and that was on the TV news that same evening, and then of course the lads from Wiltshire came up to see what we were doing and they went back and started doing patterns similar to what we were doing… The first one of all consisted of a circle connected with a corridor with another circle at the end like a dumbbell and then with two boxes on each side, that was the first one, but they’ve all been photographed, as you probably know.
Svahn: Yes, did you leave a sign in [any circles] in 1991?
Bower: Last year we signed most of them with two Ds, I’m Doug and the other chappie is Dave – Doug and Dave, and we used to put two Ds in the cornfield, but of course the so-called experts poo-pooed [dismissed] that, they said it was eyebrows or half-circles.
Svahn: Why did you do that?
Bower: To let people see eventually, because we did intend to release the news, we can’t keep on [hoaxing] forever, and we thought we’ll sign them [so] that when it does come to light that we did all the circles over the years we did sign them, being artists.
Svahn: So when did you decide to let the people know that you were doing these circles?
Bower: Last September.
Svahn: You decided last September?
Bower: Yes, just before that I suppose, yes.
Svahn: Was it you that approached TODAY [newspaper] or was it TODAY that approached you?
Bower: No we rang the TODAY office from my shop here, yes…
Svahn:: And what did they say?
Bower: They didn’t know what to say at first, and I said ‘How would you like a solution to the crop circle phenomenon’, and they said ‘Oh yes?’, and I said ‘Are you interested?’ and this went on for about seven or eight minutes I suppose. I said, ‘Well if you’re NOT interested we’ll ring off if you like’, he said ‘No, just a moment’, he said ‘We’ll send a journalist down to meet you’, and I said ‘If you would like to meet us in the Wessex Hotel in Winchester at half past ten tomorrow morning’, I says, ‘We’ll tell you the full story if you’re interested – that’s how it came about.
Svahn: And how come you chose TODAY?
Bower: We rang the Daily Mirror first of all and they turned it down, they weren’t interested, so I take [read] the TODAY newspaper each day, that’s my newspaper, and I said that will be the next one we’ll ring, so that was that. So the journalist came down and they spent nearly a week with us and finding out all about the story, and that was that.
Svahn: Some people say you were paid for [making] all these circles.
Bower: We had a small sum but not a great deal of money, no, no. We had lots of interviews over the telephone, we did chat shows and we did TV interviews [and] we did two demonstrations. The TODAY newspaper wanted us to do a demonstration in a field of corn at Sevenoaks in Kent, and when that was complete they telephoned Mr Pat Delgado, who was the leading researcher at that time, they telephoned him and asked him if he would care to come down to Kent that afternoon and tell the farmer whether he considered it a genuine circle or not; and Mr Delgado walked into the field – we were in hiding, we were up the road about four miles out of the way – and Pat Delgado walked into the field, apparently – the farmer told me afterwards – and he said, ‘It’s the finest thing I’ve ever seen in my life’, he said, ‘it’s absolutely genuine’, and he didn’t really want to leave it for quite a while; [but] eventually he did leave to go home, and we were brought back in view, the helicopter took the photographs from the air, and on the following Sunday we all agreed that we would go round to his home, which was the day before the news was to break in the newspaper on the Monday, [and] we would break the news gently to him so that he wouldn’t have a heart attack because of all the hard work that he’d put in for many many years; and this was decided on, so the photographer and journalist went round to his house first, knocked on his door and told him that ‘We’ve got some news about the corn circles for you, we’ve got two chaps outside in the car..’, we were round the corner, so when we eventually arrived at his house he immediately recognised us because David and I had always met them, shaking hands with them up on the hills each night for years, and of course we were gleaning information from them for many years and he immediately recognised us and asked us in, and he gave a bit of a speech and he said, ‘To be quite honest,’ he says, ‘... I’m quite relieved it’s all over’, and [then] his daughter interfered and she said, ‘I think we’d better ring your partner’, which was Mr Colin Andrews, ‘... and get him over here’. He came over and, of course, when Pat Delgado broke the News to him he was absolutely furious [but] within 2-3 days Pat Delgado had retracted all his statements and said that it was so dark when he arrived at the field [at Sevenoaks] at half-past four in the afternoon that he didn’t know what he was looking at – or words to that effect – and [that] ‘... Everybody makes mistakes, so it wasn’t a genuine circle after all’, but up until that time Pat Delgado said it was genuine and he thought that the TODAY newspaper was going to quote him as being the expert once again to looking at one of the finest circles and patterns he’d ever seen, but little did he know that in two days’ time that the whole world would know that it was Dave and I that had done all the circles... [correcting himself]... not all the circles, as I say, [but] some of the circles – but that particular one we did, and then of course we did a demonstration for the media at Chilgrove in Sussex, where there were so many people trampling over that after we did it that they called it ‘a pathetic mess’, which was a bit unfair really.
Svahn: It was a typical circle [in] the beginning?
Bower: Oh yes, that was the pattern – the ladder circle – that we were doing, yes...
Svahn: But it was not a mess when you made it?
Bower: No, not really, no. The only thing is that the corn was over-ripe and instead of the ears of the corn being straight up they were curled over, consequently when the corn was [laid] down the ears of the corn were coming up; but of course everyone was trampling over [the corn], there were about 20 film crews there trampling over it – I mean this is what’s done the damage over the years, you see the methods that David and I used to put these circles down with the sticks did not damage the crops in any way whatsoever. The only damage that was done to the crops was the hundreds of people that would go into the farmers’ fields, trampling on it and destroying it. In fact the farmer at Sevenoaks when we did the demonstration there, the next day he put his combine harvester in and he salvaged every grain of corn, but no one had walked on this you see.
Svahn: Did you at any time leave tracks straight into the circle that later on was explained as early viewers entering it?
Bower: What do you mean? The underlying paths?
Svahn: No, sometimes you can see a circle and a track leading in from the road.
Bower: Yes, well instead of the general public walking down the tramlines, the tractor lines, to look at the circle, they were walking through the growing corn, so consequently when the photographs were taken a week or two later there were all the pathways leading into it and the farmers were getting very annoyed about it.
Svahn: And this you must have been aware of?
Bower: Oh yes, but there was nothing we could do about that.
Svahn: But I mean you didn’t take advantage of this and sometimes leave a track by yourself?
Bower: No, no. We went in without any damage whatsoever. We didn’t want anyone to know that we’d been into that field at all. We wanted to let them think that either something had come down from above without no tracks whatsoever...
Svahn: I’m very curious about Barbury Castle and the Mandelbrot formation.
Bower: Well the Mandelbrot set was Cambridge students wasn’t it. It’s obvious really, that’s what that was – and I should think people along the same sort of lines were doing the other complicated ones as well. I think it was getting a little bit out-of-hand really, ’cos I mean Dr Terence Meaden completely disbanded [abandoned his recognition of] the pictograms in the end.
Svahn: Have you done any circles this year ?
Bower: No. We’re retired now [laughs].
Svahn: And you’re not planning to write a book or something?
Bower: Well yes, we’ll probably write a book. It’s taking time but I suppose it’s just as well that we didn’t launch a book on the market in September because there’s not very many people [researchers] that have accepted our story, so I think – and if we can prove, I suppose one day we will have a meeting with these people to show them and explain to them. You see, at the demonstration we did at Chilgrove, we offered them a meeting with all of them – on camera – to show them everything that we’d used – show and tell them everything that we’d done – but they refused!
Svahn: Which ones?
Bower: That was Mr Colin Andrews and Mr Pat Delgado. They said they didn’t want anything to do with it on camera at all, but I suppose really, when you think about it, I suppose really they didn’t want egg on their face really, did they, because this is what it will amount to, it’s what they’ve made of it over the years. I’ve no objection to what people can find in the circles, if they say there’s energy there or they get some bit of pleasure from it; but it’s the conning of the people out of all this money – I mean it’s a very lucrative industry now, with all the books that have been published and the meetings and things. I mean we have a three day [CCCS] seminar in Winchester shortly, that’s £160 each to attend that, but I mean it’s a lot of money, and you get people coming from America and overseas, there’s all their air fares, their hotel expenses, because they’ve been made to believe that this is something genuine. We’ve tried to tell them that it’s not something genuine at all it’s us, this is us that’s done it!
Svahn: So how do you feel about the accusations that you are agents and government spies?
Bower: [Incredulously] Yes! I know, it’s incredible what we hear and what we read about. I mean it’s a... it’s given me a good insight into the human being since this has all taken place because I really didn’t expect anything like this, with all the remarks that have been passed and the lengths that they’ve gone to. And I hear that they even got in touch with the CIA in America and all this business, it’s ridiculous really isn’t it! But there you are, it’s what they’ve made of it, not what we’ve done. We’ve not conned anyone out of any money whatsoever and we’re very sad to think that it’s reached these proportions, and it’s even getting greater by the day isn’t it really. But no one wanted to accept our story simply because being a lucrative industry they were a little bit reluctant to let go of it I suppose.
Svahn: What about this curious little thing the ‘MBF Services’ here [that] I’ve heard about?
Bower: That was just a joke as far as the Editor was concerned. It was just something that he put on the bottom of the story.
Svahn: Do you know what it stands for?
Svahn: I’ve heard [that] it stands for (not another circle on) My Bloody Farm.
Bower: [Laughs] Oh is it! Well that could be, but They won’t believe that.
Svahn: It’s fictitious?
Bower: Yes, oh yes, of course it is, yes. But they don’t want to believe anything at all. I mean to take for instance the story of the grasshopper warbler, which is a bird – a bird that sings in this country – you might have them in Sweden, I don’t know – but I’m also a wildlife sound recordist, and I’ve spent many years going out in the evenings recording the sounds of wildlife for posterity, and I’m quite conversant with different sounds that birds and animals make. Well David and I attended a meeting in Winchester one evening which was being put over by the so-called researchers, and during the evening’s programme after showing some slides and things, one man [George Wingfield] related the story of how he heard this strange sound, which he thought was alien, and I knew immediately what he was listening to, he didn’t play the tape at the meeting he just spoke about it, and I’ve been in the countryside at night and I’ve heard grasshopper warblers – which is a trilling noise – and this bird sings all night in the cornfields, and I’ve also heard it at Cheesefoot Head, where, apparently, these researchers heard it at the time, but the story goes that several members of the society walked down into this cornfield this night and they heard this sound and one man [George Wingfield] actually spoke to this bird and asked the bird for him to make a circle for him: ‘Will you please make me a circle’. Well, I mean it’s absolutely ridiculous really isn’t it, but anyway they went back and they got a tape recorder and they made a tape recording of this bird song and at this meeting in Winchester, when it was question time at the end of the meeting, I went up to the stage and I said, ‘If you don’t mind me saying so,’ I said, ‘... I’m a wildlife sound recordist and I think the sound that you heard that evening was a grasshopper warbler.’ Well, they almost threw me out of the hall ’cos they didn’t want anything to upset what they thought it was. Anyway, since then, this chappie [Ken Brown] has written away to the British Library of Wildlife sounds in London and asked them for a copy tape of a grasshopper warbler song, and he asked these researchers to have a meeting one afternoon to bring their tape that they’d recorded and play it alongside the tape that he’d got from London, and of course they’re identical, it’s the same bird; and they still wouldn’t believe that, so they said they’d have to have it analysed properly, which he did and they still don’t believe it at all!!
Svahn: Are there any people in the circle research business that you think are doing a good job?
Bower: Well they’re all doing research but I mean if they were to listen to us they wouldn’t need to bother anymore would they really. It seems ridiculous for me for it to carry on, but as I say, if they’re happy doing that and they’re not conning people out of a lot of money OK, let them carry on, but I’m a little bit sad to think of the proportions it’s got to over the years and little did we think when we made that first circle that night that it would ever get to these proportions, and I don’t know where it’s going to end.
Svahn: What about the Australian circles, I understand that you lived in Australia?
Bower: Well I lived in Australia from 1958 to 1966, which was eight years, and of course there was a report of some UFO nests in Tully in Queensland I think, and I’ve always been interested in that sort of thing and of course when Dave and I were on the hill at Winchester one evening I remarked about the saucer nests that were found in Queensland and I said, ‘Let us put a circle in the cornfield’ and of course there it was...
Svahn: But you never made any circles in Australia?
Bower: No, no, it didn’t even enter my head then.
Svahn: It was an inspiration for you?
Bower: That’s right, yes.
Svahn: The first one, the very first one in 1978, where was it?
Bower: That was at the bottom of Cheesefoot Head near Winchester, that was the first one, that was quite a bit of fun on our hands and knees that night, wondering the next day whether it would be in the newspapers but it was 2 years before we got any publicity at all.
Svahn: Do you understand people that ask you for evidence all the time, they want to know proof of what you are saying?
Bower: Well of course this is what they are asking, we would have been able to tell them a lot had they accepted the meeting we offered them last year at Chilgrove, which they refused, but we will eventually have a meeting with them so that we can show them once and for all, but it seems to me the type of people that we’re dealing with they’re not going to believe anything at all! I think whatever proof you give them, you can give them a demonstration, which we’ve done, and they say ‘That’s rubbish’, but you can show them all the items of tools and things you’ve used, the sticks and the so-called things, and they still don’t want to believe that. They only want to believe what they want to believe – which is bringing them in lots of money.
Svahn: But you say you can remember nearly every single circle you have made, or most of them?
Bower: I can remember, even to this day, every location that we went to over the thirteen years.
Svahn: So you could produce a list?
Bower: I’ve got a map, I’ve got a map with a red spot for every location and if we ever do have a meeting with these people I shall ask them to bring the same map and for them to put a red spot on every location that they know of – they’ve got records of all this – and then someone can compare the two maps.
Svahn: Would it be possible for us to see the map here?
Bower: No, I don’t want to show that because I’ve not shown anyone at all yet. It will be eventually shown, when we have a meeting with these people, because we’re not going to take this laying down so-to-speak. We’re going to show and convince these people, if we can, that it was us that started this and the story that we broke to the world last September  is absolutely true! We can answer any question they would like to put to us, we’ve got nothing to hide. Had we been making this up – which a lot of them said it was a hoax story – had we been making this up we’d have to be the finest actors in the world! How can we be confronted on TV and asked all sorts of questions if we didn’t know what we were talking about? We’ve got nothing to hide at all.
Svahn: But of course the map may be useless if you wait too long, you have also have the chance to accumulate facts about the circles...
Bower: Well no, I’m sure there’s lots of formations whose location has never been published in the books. It’s no good saying that you could have looked at all the books that we’ve published because every circle that’s been recorded hasn’t been put in the books. There’s been lots and lots more and we know for a fact that there’s lots of circles that we’ve done that there’s never been any mention of at all in any of the books that have been published.
Svahn: How many could that be?
Bower: Well I don’t know off hand. I haven’t really gone into it really, but there are quite a few, there must be. I mean Colin Andrews has got a databank in his home of all the locations of everything that they’ve looked at, we don’t know of that [information], but we know what we’ve done and we can show what we’ve done eventually and if they don’t want to believe it, well, what can you do? We’ve got to show them, all we can do is answer their questions, show them these things that we’ve used. If they don’t believe that well I mean you can see what sort of people we’re up against.
Svahn: But you never brought a camera or anything else to record what you were doing?
Bower: We used to go up the following evening to look at what we’d done the night before, because you couldn’t see in the dark of course. We were quite thrilled when we were getting towards Winchester to have a look at the punchbowl to see what we’d done, and then of course if it was useful we’d take a photograph of it.
Svahn: Were there any circles that you were not satisfied with?
Bower: Sometimes they would go wrong and sometimes it was so dark – there were only two occasions in the thirteen years that we were doing circles – that it was so dark that we couldn’t see our feet – and we got into the field and we couldn’t see our feet – and we got into the field and we just couldn’t see what we were doing and we gave it up – but that was only two occasions. The rest of the time, when we started doing some of the complicated pictograms, you’d have to think a little bit more what you were doing then; and sometimes you would go in the wrong direction and you would realise then, once the corn was down you couldn’t pull it up anymore, and then we would either have to tread it down in some sort of a pattern – but there were several occasions when that happened.
Svahn: Can you mention any sites?
Bower: Well there was one at Pepperbox Hill near Salisbury. We were doing the flower pattern then, which was the petals...
Svahn: Which year was that?
Bower: That was last year .
Svahn: And what went wrong?
Bower: Two of the petals went wrong I think so we had to more-or-less tread it down and we weren’t very happy with that; and on another occasion I think we were doing the four satellites when the string got caught up with the top of the corn and gave us a false reading on the string and we finished up doing five satellites instead of four, but when you go back to look at it the next evening you’re pretty disgusted so you get away as quickly as you can really.
Svahn: What about the Celtic Cross?
Bower: That was the Wiltshire chappies did that [the United Bureau of Investigation], we did the four satellites – north, south, east and west [ie a quintuplet], but the Celtic Cross – I don’t know whether they refer to that as the Celtic Cross do they? I think it’s just three [outer satellites], or just four?
Svahn: [Showing Bower a photograph] I meant this one.
Bower: Oh, that’s what they refer to as the Swastika.
Svahn: Oh yes, the swastika. Was it by your hand?
Bower: Yes, we were the first ones to do that, but that… and we found the field in Wiltshire, we waited there and we made the mark around first of all with the string, and we put four markers in a cardboard cut out on the end of a stick, which was the north, south, east and west, and then we had to go directly to cross it, and the first way we went we went crooked, and we said we’ve got to do something about that now, so we just trod it down into sections, and then after that when the crop circle book The Corn Circle Enigma [sic] was published, lo and behold the circle that we did was on the front cover! But we were told later than that that there were two of these [swastika] circles of the same design in that field and we assumed then that the photograph that was on the front cover of the book was the people from Wiltshire [the UBI] that had copied our first attempt and they made a better job of it than us and that was what they used, but our first attempt went wrong.
Svahn: The most famous – at least abroad I think – is the 1990 Alton Barnes [formation].
Bower: Yes it was quite large it generally consisted of corridors and circles really and outcrops, but I’ve a funny suspicion that the farmer that charged a pound to go into that field two years running had something to do with that. I won’t say for sure but it seems very strange to me that he would charge a pound to go into the same field two years on the trot. Whether anything is going to happen this year I don’t know!
Svahn: So you didn’t make that one?
Bower: No, we’ve done nothing in the Beckhampton area at all.
Svahn: This year  [there’s] a snail in the Alton Priors field....
Bower: Is there? No, we’re not doing anything like that. We’re not doing anything this year.
Svahn: And they are charging a pound [for entry].
Bower: Are they? Already? Oh, I didn’t know that. That’s news to me. I think it’s looking a little bit ridiculous isn’t it. Once, yes but not twice or three times. I mean the year the farmer at Alton Barnes charged a pound to go in we went up the road three quarters of a mile, there was another farmer charging a pound to go and see some triangles, and another mile up the road from him was another farmer charging a pound to go and see what he had in a field, so it was becoming a bit of a racket really.
Svahn: You never made [any] triangles or such things?
Bower: No. We didn’t go much on triangles really [laughs].
Svahn: What about the eye witnesses who are seeing – in broad daylight – wind coming in over a field and making circles?
Bower: I’ve been on the middle of a hot air whirlwind, which you get on summer days. In fact only this last year I was on top of Pepperbox Hill near Salisbury, the corn had already been cut and it was layered in layers of... streams of corn/straw... and [on] this very hot day, and this hot air whirlwind came right across in front of me, it picked up the straw – larger than a motor car – and it took it up to about two thousand feet in the air, going round and round and round, and it was twenty minutes before the last of that bit of straw fell down, and I think anyone that remarks about being in the centre of a whirlwind, I think it’s a hot air whirlwind which you get in summer months, I’ve seen the whirlwinds pick up bails of straw and they’re quite heavy and this is what happens really, but there’s no such thing as a genuine crop circle.
Svahn: Isn’t that too much to say really?
Bower: No, we started it in 1978. Where’s the photographic evidence of anything like our circles before 1978? When you consider all the thousands of aircraft that flew over this country during the war years where are any photographs of any circles that looked as clear cut as what we were doing. There’s plenty of circles that look like circles, but they're storm damage, the wind and the rain create those that looked like circles. Even today there’s been a lot of damage in the past few weeks with the heavy rain, and a lot of them look like circles, but they’re not clean cut [like] what we were producing, and the walls of the corn are perfectly straight all the way round you see, but a whirlwind doesn’t act like that, it’s ragged edges and rough.
Svahn: You sometimes see a little pyramid in the middle [of the circle]...
Bower: Yes, yes. We can leave all those, yes.
Svahn: And you’ve made them?
Bower: Yes, we’ve done the little bits in the middle, yes. You just go around with your stick, and instead of the... going round all-the-way, you just leave a little clump. We’ve left sometimes just six stalks of corn standing. Yes, there’s all sorts of things you can do really. It’s been quite a lot of fun over the years, we’ve had a good laugh about it. We’ve had a good laugh making them and we’ve had a good laugh at the so-called experts and what they’ve made of it, but it’s become a little bit overdone I think – as the years have gone by. I don’t like to see people conned out of money and taken for a ride because we know what it is, it’s only flattened corn after all, isn’t it!
Svahn: You sometimes regret starting all this?
Bower: Um, not really. No, no. We’ve had a lot of fun out of it, but as I say... I appreciate the amount of research and work and expense that a lot of people have gone to, but we didn’t ask them to do that, it’s just what they’ve done on their own you see. I’m just wondering whether after seven years – we’ll say half-way through the programme of doing circles – I’m just wondering whether if we’d revealed it then, because I can remember saying to David ‘One day, when we’ve got to release this news that it’s us that’s done it, I can tell you now, they’re never going to believe it...’
Svahn: And you were right?
Bower: Yes!! And they’re not believing it now. There’s going to be a lot of proof, somehow or another that we’ve got to produce. We’re putting our thinking caps on, there’s got to be a lot of proof shown to these people, 100 per cent proof it’s got to be, and I’m just wondering what their reaction’s going to be in our attempt because we’re not going to give up. Although I say we’re retired we are not going to give up, we’ve got to convince these people and the people that have been taken for a ride – they’re the people I’m more concerned [about] than anything – not the researchers, the researchers have done all this themselves. It’s all their expense for travelling around the countryside measuring them up or when they start charging people exorbitant amounts of money to go into meetings, and all this sort of thing. I think it’s very unfair to think that people are believing what they [the researchers] are saying and... it’s just not on, and I don’t like that. And so we’ve made up our minds that whether it takes one year, two years or five years, we are going to eventually knock these people down because we’ve just got to, because it was us who started it and we would like to finish it nicely.