Jacques Vallee is a computer scientist, partner in a venture capital firm, and author of more than 20 books, including Passport to Magonia: From Folklore to Flying Saucers, The Invisible College, and The Network Revolution.
In Sept. 1991, I published in a New Age magazine my own hypothesis about the Crop Circles phenomenon. I speculated they involved a military aerial device (not a space-based instrument) for generating such designs using focused microwave beams, such as a "maser." At the time nobody wanted to hear that the beautiful pictures in English corn fields might be crafted by a technical team inside some lab, bouncing signals from a hovering platform and using individual corn stalks as simple pixels to calibrate a lethal device. So my paper was met with dead silence.
More recently, however, New Scientist has run an article titled "Microwaves could defuse bombs from afar" (April 18, 2009 issue). It begins: "The next weapon in the US army's arsenal could be a laser-guided microwave blaster designed to destroy explosives. The weapon, called the Multimode Directed Energy Armament System, uses a high-power laser to ionize the air, creating a plasma channel that acts as a waveguide for the stream of microwaves."
These things are typically revealed 30 years after they are tested, which fits well with the heyday of the crop circle frenzy.
It is interesting--and sobering--that nobody picked up on the New Scientist article either. The New Age folks were too busy deciphering the Alien Glyphs... while the scientific community had been hoodwinked by a few cleverly revealed and widely publicized hoaxes, and had long dismissed the whole thing.
New Scientist went on:
The device could destroy the electronic fuse of an explosive device or missile, such as a roadside bomb, or immobilize a vehicle by disabling its ignition system.... Further work on the
system could also allow it to be used against people, delivering electric shocks. The weapon's range will depend on the laser-generated channel. Previously such channels have been limited
to tens of meters, but (the Army) believes it may be possible to extend this to a kilometer or more.
This is consistent with the hypothesis I had presented, of beams from a low-observable dirigible (such as the object an English friend of mine, an Oxford physics professor, saw from his glider in England, which was a perfectly-reflecting cylinder) using corn fields as a convenient calibration target. Why this isn't obvious to the paranormal research community is a complete puzzle to me.
The development is hidden in plain sight, which is the best way to keep something secret, and it is camouflaged sociologically by clever use of misdirection (actual hoaxes, later "revealed" to the world press) and the public's continuing belief in first-order alien communication.
Is there a lesson for us in here somewhere?