B.C. prof including crop circles in his paranormal research
When Simon Fraser University professor Paul Kingsbury tells people that he spends his time studying the people who investigate aliens, ghosts, sasquatches and other paranormal activity, he doesn’t get the strange looks you might expect.
“The most common reaction is absolutely affirmation, or that’s brilliant or interesting. I’ve not received a cynical or a dismissive reaction,” said Kingsbury. “I’ve garnered a lot of respect and intrigue.”
Two years ago, Kingsbury, who is a cultural geographer, received a $183,000 grant from Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council to study paranormal investigators and their motivations. Now halfway through his project, he has gone ghost hunting, interviewed alien abductees, and attended conferences on UFOs and sasquatches.
His latest research brought him to the south of England, where he took time away from visiting family to attend a three-day conference in Devizes on crop circles. You read that right — crop circles.
“The crop circle was a new direction in the project,” said Kingsbury. “Like sasquatches, UFOs and ghosts, crop circles are in many ways a very controversial and mysterious phenomenon.
“They are different, though, because they are very tangible.”
Kingsbury said crop circles are a worldwide phenomenon, and even appeared in B.C. almost 20 years ago when 10 circles were spotted in an oat field near Vanderhoof airport in 1998. Three years later, a pilot saw six circles in another field about five kilometres from the Vanderhoof airport.
Kingsbury said the conference was fantastic for his research.
He found that people were less interested in the origins of the mysterious circles — theories includes aliens, aquifers, energy fields or manifestations of divine feminine energy — than they were in their beauty. At crop circle sites, people lay down in the circles, meditating and embracing.
“There’s a great deal of passion and desire among the crop circle enthusiasts,” Kingsbury said. “I think it’s important to understand why there would be so many people spending a lot of time, energy and money on these paranormal phenomena.”
When asked where he thinks the circles come from, Kingsbury said some are definitely made by humans, but there are those that defy explanation.
“I’m open to possibilities,” he said, carefully. “I try to occupy a middle ground.”
His work with crop circle enthusiasts will form part of his research, which will continue for another couple of years. The end goal is to publish three journal articles and a book, but before that he has some other ideas, including co-authoring a paper on UFO research and going on an expedition
A crop circle in a cornfield near Raisting, southern Germany in 2014. Simon Fraser University professor Paul Kingsbury has taken an interest in crop circle enthusiasts.