I’ve blogged about the doomed Crop Circle Challenge and we’ve chatted about it on Fortean Radio (www.forteanradio.com) with grim regularity, but just to recap : the Challenge offered £100,000 to any circle maker or team of circle makers who could replicate the Galaxy formation that appeared near Milk Hill in 2001. However, the Challenge fell on its arse for several reasons. Firstly, the conditions that had to be satisfied were nothing short of ridiculous (a fact they later admitted themselves). Secondly, the issue of the existence of the aforementioned £100,000 concerned many. From the organisers there was scant evidence of the existence of the money, nothing more than curt responses from the challenges solicitor. Despite calls to post online the legal documents the challenge claimed to have generated with Chancery Solicitors, nothing was ever forthcoming.
Now, with the corpse of the challenge floating in the water, why am I dredging up another episode of this crop circle buffoonery? Well, there has been an on-going conflict in cyberspace between two researchers. This is nothing new, the subject is full of circular arguments between such researcher-types. But as a by-product of these keyboard warriors battling about “who-said-what-where and when”, the identity of those behind the Crop Circle Challenge has now been called into question, and as a result some unsettling questions have been raised. But, let me tell you how this business began…
The argument started (sort of) around Andrew Pyrka’s footage of a UFO at Barbury Castle. Andrew claimed it was a UFO and subsequently sold the footage to film-maker Terje Toftenes, for a crop circle documentary Terje was making. The cameraman filming Andrew Pyrka and the UFO was Paul Jones, and the pair split the £500 from Toftenes between them. At the time the opinion on what was being filmed was split between those who thought it was a UFO and those who thought it was a tethered blimp or balloon. Now, much later, in steps Charles Mallett, operator of the Silent Circle Café and Monique Klinkenbergs second in command at the Crop Circle Information and Co-Ordination Centre (Instigators of the doomed Crop Circle Access Pass scheme). Charles and Andrew were once quite close but over time they have fallen out, with the bickering between them going back some time now and growing more nasty as time goes on. Charles wanted Andrew to quit the crop circle scene and was using the footage of the Barbury UFO as leverage, especially after Paul Jones confessed to Charles that the footage was indeed a hoax and claimed that himself and Andrew knew it was a hoax after viewing on a large screen. (Paul has since repaid his share of the money to Terje) Charles issued an ultimatum that Andrew was to hand over control of his ‘Report a Crop Circle Formation’ Facebook page and never darken crop circledoms door again. (Some claim he was trying to blackmail Andrew but let us not get into the legal definitions of blackmail, suffice to say some degree of coercion was taking place behind the scenes).
So this tit-for-tat nonsense (which is what passes for much crop circle research nowadays) has been going on between Andrew and Charles, who is now an admin for the Crop Circle Challenge facebook page. (The Crop Circle Challenge Facebook page has been the hub of the recent anti-Pyrka tirade, consisting of those who are all of the same opinion regarding Pyrka and anyone else who happens to support or side with Mr. Pyrka.) With Charles seeming to be the most dominant voice on the page, a few people have begun to ask: just who is Janez Ferjancic? Now, Janez was originally the main voice of the Challenge but for someone at one point heading a very vocal challenge that received a lot of publicity, he seems quite camera shy. Janez’ facebook profile is very suspicious – no friends, one photo (allegedly of him) and the only ‘likes’ are generally crop circle related. To the seasoned social media types, it looks like a fake profile or what is known as a ‘sock-puppet’ profile. Other google searches reveal very little about him.
If you perform an image search on Janez’ only profile picture, it shows that the image hasn’t been stolen from somewhere else (a common trick by those creating sock-puppet profiles). Now this has given rise to those who believe that Janez doesn’t exist. If we google ‘Janez Ferjancic’, we find that in 2004 he wrote some articles for ‘Share International’ magazine (Share International is an organisation banging on about the Maitreya and is fronted by Benjamin Crème. The article is typical ‘Space Brothers’ nonsense, implicating the Space Brothers in the creation of crop circles etc). So, Janez Ferjancic, exists as a person. Possibly.
Now, many people have pointed out that Janez has refused in the past to post a video concerning the Challenge on youtube and has refused calls for a skype conversation. He seems very shy indeed. No-one has actually seen him. Which is strange, because in the early days of the challenge, circlemakers had to give lots of personal details, including their crop circle making CV, so such transparency seems slightly one sided if Janez isn’t even prepared to show his face. (Some believe the challenge was nothing more than a poor attempt to flush the names of circlemakers into the public domain with the lure of a fictitious £100,000 prize fund)
As a result of this some have now claimed that Janez is in fact nothing more than a Charles Mallett sock puppet. There are of course some people who could potentially identify the real Janez. One would be Chancery Solicitors (don’t hold your breath, client confidentiality and all that), Sarah Miles (urine drinking former Hollywood actress) who allegedly stumped up the £100,000 quid must surely know who Janez is. Benjamin Crème and Share International must have some idea who Janez is. In time, someone must surely start asking them some questions around this issue.
Crop Circles are beset by those who use ‘the truth’ as some pseudo-new-age mantra, and yet are often guilty of conveniently ignoring ‘the truth’ when it applies to them. Most of those in the land of crop circles have an agenda and are rarely what they claim to be. For a lot of people all of this is really important as potentially there are those who are appearing to be very truthful yet may actually be attempting to manipulate the public in a huge scam. Other well-known crop circles figures have previously used the relative safety of the fake/sock-puppet profile to launch attacks on others. It’s a well-used technique.
In this little spat that started with an argument about alleged faked UFO footage lots of other little snippets burst forth with all the sniping: well-known crop-circle people paying known circlemakers for tip-offs of where the circles have, ahem, appeared, claims of faked ‘evidence’ of weird goings-on etc. The real truth of the goings-on of the crop circle world rarely bubble to the surface or maybe rarely bubble-up beyond those closest to the core of the subject. Ultimately, there has always been a huge oral history of ‘who-did-what-where’ in the world of crop circles.
Despite all this, the questions still linger for now: Who is Janez? Was there ever any prize money?
Will the real Janez Ferjancic please stand up?