(photo “Synchronicity” by Flickr user leef_smith, used under Creative Commons license)
Fifteen years later, the Whitley County Crop Circle still resonates with me. Part of the reason is that I had so much darn fun messing with earnest weirdos and suspicious, grizzled paranoiacs. Another reason is the set of coincidences that just seem (taken as a whole) to be slightly less than probable.
First, there was the tape. The recorder into which I repeated those “paranormal energy readings” stayed running in my jacket pocket, unseen by the people we encountered. It was, honestly, pretty funny. I played the tape for others one time, a few weeks later. Among those listening was my future wife and—five years later when we re-met, coincidentally, at a party—she remembered that tape vividly. I’m not saying we got married because she enjoyed the crop circle tape, but it didn’t hurt…
The tape disappeared after that one airing. I’m not saying it was taken by the government, but I don’t think I lost it. Maybe, it simply didn’t need to exist past that first listen. Yes, I know that makes no sense. I’m not sure it has to.
The UFOIA certainly did exist, and I was the lead investigator for Strategic Investigation Team 1310. They no longer do, though. I can find no trace of them on the internet, aside from a “UFO Directory” listing linking their old, now vanished AOL homestead website. The UFOIA provided a useful fiction for Doug and I to look at the crop circle, which led to the tape, which helped lead to my current happy life. Like the tape, the UFOIA vanished when no longer needed.
I certainly didn’t imagine the crop circle. The newspaper reported it and an experienced crop circle investigator named Roger Sugden looked into it. I ran into Sugden a few years ago at the Indiana MUFON state meeting. He told me, vaguely, that there were some “very unusual” circumstances to the Whitley County circle.
The upshot to all this is vague and I’m still working it through in my mind. Like just about every “paranormal” phenomenon, I think these things have meaning that is more significant on an individual level than on a universal, scientific one. The experience was meaningful for me and my life. The fact that it was in all likelihood a hoax doesn’t change that.