B.C. prof in­clud­ing crop cir­cles in his para­nor­mal re­search

Calgary Herald - - CITY - JEN­NIFER SALTMAN

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

KARL-JOSEF HILDENBRAND/AFP/GETTY IM­AGES

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.

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