News Stories

Cropcircle Update: Silbury Hill

Michael Glickman - Reprinted by permission of SC Magazine, the prehistoric manmade mound in the middle of crop circle country in the U.K. It seems appropriate to record the circumstances, or at least that part of the history which we know.

An American couple visiting the area climbed the Hill on the afternoon of May 29. Scrambling to the top, they found an apparently bottomless hole, several feet in diameter, right at the center of the flat circular area. They had no way of knowing that it had only just appeared. They were bemused by yet another example of English eccentricity: leaving a dangerous pit, without even a handrail, on top of a national monument.

However, as world spread, English Heritage, who are charged with stewardship of the Hill, moved into action. The area was barricaded off in a rather ineffective way (as we will see) and two "security guards" were posted to smoke and read the paper in their van until it was time to go home to bed.

A day or two later, workmen were seen hauling scaffold poles and corrugated metal sheets up the sides of the Hill with bright blue synthetic rope. They were to construct a large square lid which they hoped would cap the hole against further rain penetration and unwelcome access by the unauthorized.

The local Gazette & Herald of Thursday June 1st gave the event front page coverage with a supplemental article inside and several color photographs. They reported the views of Chris Gingell, the property manager for The National Trust, which works closely with English Heritage. He suggested that the hole was, in fact, the collapse of a vertical shaft dug in 1776 by the Duke of Northumberland. The heavy rain, he said, has caused the damage.

There seems to be no information on the refilling of the 130 feet deep hole after the failure of the enterprise. The Duke and his associates were not pursuing historical or archaeological truth; they were looters. For centuries the locals had believed that a solid gold replica of King Sel, mounted on his horse, was at the center of the mound. Northumberland, who was already a renowned pillager of antiquities, obviously thought that Silbury was a profitable bet and set up his expensive project using Cornish tin-miners under the direction of a Colonel Drax.

It had been assumed, over the ensuing 224 years, that the Drax shaft had been filled, and the first reaction among the engineers and consultants brought in as advisers was one of some bewilderment. How could rainfall, no matter how heavy, cause a volume of earth to compress so catastrophically? The truth soon became clear. The shaft was never filled, it was merely plugged at the top.

Little analysis is needed to understand this. The Duke lived at a time when all ancient mounds were believed to be burial sites. The smaller ones had yielded ornaments and artifacts of some value. It was perhaps logical to assume Silbury, the biggest of all, would give up the biggest treasure. When it became clear that Northumberland's efforts and investment would not be rewarded, he must have looked for the cheapest way of ending the project. He did not refill the hole, as had been assumed until now. He simply plugged the opening.

Now, whether the plug was 3 feet or 30 feet thick will forever be a mystery. The mining practice of that era was to bridge heavy pieces of timber, probably oak or elm, over shaft and to load earth (or in this case, chalk) on top of them. More than two hundred years of dampness reduced the strength of the timber, while the recent heavy weather saturated the chalk plug until it reached sufficient weight to cause the rotten support timber to fall.

English Heritage seems to be making all the right moves. They are aware of Silbury Hill's importance to many of us in the crop circle community, and they are committed to informing the public of their intentions. Geological and engineering investigations are still taking place. It is likely that, when decisions have finally been taken, the void will be backfilled, using chalk to match the original construction.

This is a brief summation of the events from one point of view. However, there are other realities as well and we, in the crop circle world, are aware of this. I would like to also present a parallel narrative.

The Gazette & Herald reported that, in the early morning hours of Sunday, March 25, a young man driving towards Marlborough past the pub called The Waggon and Horses saw a flattened oval with numerous colored flashing lights near Silbury Hill. As he approached the Hill, he saw that the lights, which were white, red, green and blue, were positioned above it. He could not tell if the lighted object was stationary on the hilltop or if it was hovering a short distance above it. There were no other vehicles on the road and he was very frightened by what he'd seen. He raced home.

The report quotes the National Trust as confirming that, as far as they were aware, there had been no gatherings at Silbury. The telephones at the Waggon and Horses had not gone down. Police recorded no other reports of sightings, but by the following week, in response to the article, several people came forward to confirm that they had also seen the lights.

On the night of the 5th or 6th of May, two women on a cropwatch at Knap Hill saw a light display over Silbury which lasted about an hour. They saw what they could describe only as "slow lightning," a golden light, zigzagging downwards towards the Hill. They later realized that, from another direction, this might have been perceived as a spiral or coil. Another witness on the same evening saw a similar light show over Silbury, but viewed from the west. For her, the light was silver rather than gold.

Before the hole arrived, the triangle-in-a-ring sequence of crop circles began at East Field on May 21st, although his type of design had already been seen elsewhere, at Farmingham, Kent on April 25. Shortly after that, on May 31st, the Lockeridge Hill formation arrived, then , on June 2nd and 3rd,the circle at West Kennett. There were several sightings of lights around this formation, one involving lights which appeared to move from the top of the Hill into the formation. Subsequently, on the 11th of June, exquisite formations arrived in a field west of the Hill. I know of no anomalous events associated with those formations.

When the hole was first announced, the news spread like wildfire through the crop circle community. The general view was that the energy contained in the Hill had been "uncorked." There was a sense that the timing was perfect. Many noted that the event occurred almost precisely two months after the sighting of the colored lights. There was, initially, a logical disbelief that the hole could have fallen inwards. We thought, as did everyone, hat the shaft had been properly refilled, and there was nowhere for the earth to go.

People were so moved by this event that a small group, on at least three occasions, braved the guards and penetrated the capping. On the third visit, they made it into the hole, 33 feet down, with floodlights and video cameras. An unknown lateral tunnel, was discovered and filmed on this occasion. It sloped downwards for about 18 feet at a compass bearing of 200 degrees, before it was itself blocked with soil. This side tunnel was clearly part of the Northumberland/Drax works.

So what conclusion can we come to? The conventional view, supported by English Heritage and anyone wishing to cling to the mechanistic explanation, is that the supports to the original shaft plug rotted and collapsed. At one level, this cannot be challenged.

But what about the other events? What about the widespread feeling of "rightness" about the idea that the Hill's energies had been uncorked? What about the central role the Hill has played in the development of the crop circle mystery? What about the immeasurable, unknowable energy that many of us are certain it emits? What about the strange fact that the Hill is constructed of alternating layers of organic and inorganic materials, exactly like Wilhelm Reich's orgone accumulator, which displayed powerful and inexplicable effects?

We had few crop formations before the Hill collapsed. Afterwards, we've had our most magnificent season ever, with formations so intricate that there can be no question that they were made by unknown hands.

There is a powerful lesson here. We have here two parallel realities, and neither one truly cancels out the other. Maybe it's not a question of one explanation or the other being correct. Maybe both forces-the mechanistic and the unexplained-were working together to "uncork" the energy of Silbury Hill.

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