Vital Signs: A Complete Guide to the Crop Circle Mystery and Why It Is Not a Hoax
Crop circles, those beautiful and complex patterns that are visible from the air in fields around the world, have long fascinated the public, media, and scientific community. Vital Signs is a comprehensive guide for newcomers to these puzzling patterns and an essential history for those who are already intrigued. Illustrated with hundreds of full-color and black-and-white photos, this chronological and photographic history is an accessible discussion of the various crop circle theories, physical and statistical evidence, and the surprising effects these formations have had on observers and researchers.
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A Crop Circle Encyclopedia, October 13, 2003
Reviewer: dennidove from Freedom, CA United States
Vital Signs is the most comprehensive guide to the beautiful and enigmatic crop circles ever written. Andy writes in a very clear and easy to read style, putting together an enormous amount of information, combined with loads of wonderful photos, many of them in color.
This book is a "must read" for any crop circle enthusiast.
A definitive history of the crop circles, May 1, 2003
Reviewer: Michael Miley from Sonoma, CA United States
When Andy Thomas' Vital Signs first came out in its UK edition in 1998, it was quickly seen as one of the best historical surveys of the post-1978 crop circle phenomenon. As a longtime editor of the journal of the Southern Circular Research group (now known as Swirled News at www.swirlednews.com), as well as a top-notch researcher himself, Thomas had been looking long and hard at the crop formations, from every angle, both inside and outside the glyphs. With great persistence, a feisty spirit, and often hilarious drama at such venues as the annual Glastonbury Symposium and the International UFO Congress, Thomas remains one of the fiercest defenders of the true crop circles, and a defender as well of the hard research that's been done on the phenomenon over the years. I'm happy to see that Vital Signs has come out in an updated version in the US, incorporating the glyphs from the intervening years, including the 2001 season. Readers unfamiliar with the first edition will want to buy this version, one of the best overviews of the phenomenon.
Vital Signs begins with a painstaking presentation of the ground-level data, including the unusual layering and swirls of the downed crop, while providing important details of the scientific work that's been done analyzing the effects on the stalks and soil, establishing the reality of the phenomenon beyond all the hoaxing. It then goes elaborately into what's seen from up above: the pictorial shapes and beautiful geometries, uncovering the mathematics encoded in the shapes. Along the way, we also learn of the strange balls of light (BOLs) seen hovering over the fields and of the effects of crop circle energies on electronic equipment and the biological systems of humans and animals. We're treated too to eyewitness accounts of crop circles forming, including the important recent case in Amsterdam when Nancy Talbott-a key scientific researcher and member of the BLT Research Team-along with Robbert van der Broeke, saw three powerful tubes of light descend into a bean field outside the van der Broeke home, only to discover a few minutes later that a structured crop circle had appeared in the field. It's stories like these that lead one to believe that crop circles are a key part of the worldwide UFO phenomenon.
One of the great strengths of Vital Signs is the year-by-year chronology it provides, as well as the beautiful photographic gallery that accompanies the text, including a central color section. It's a chronicle that not only describes the fascinating evolution of the crop formations over the years, but also the rabid atmosphere of controversy that has grown up around them: are they manmade, anomalous, or a mixture of both? How can you tell the real from the hoaxed and what's the percentage of each? Are the simple ones the true phenomenon, or are some of the more complex formations real as well? As Thomas juggles the assertions and denials on both sides of the fence-as well as the natural, supernatural, and ufological theories as to how they're made-what finally emerges is that, if any of them are not manmade (and much evidence supports the idea that many, perhaps most of them are not), then we have a genuine mystery that's growing in scope around the world. However, it's only ongoing, careful research that has the power to cut through the fog of disinformation. Vital Signs is a great introduction for those confronting the crop circles for the very first time, as well as a primary resource for long-time researchers still dazzled by the mysterious signs in the fields.
-Michael Miley is a contributing editor to UFO Magazine (US).