More than a year after 'Doug & Dave'
there were substantial indications that
their appearance in the media was only
one part of a larger-scale operation
aiming to discredit the crop circle
All through the summer of 1992, a small
group of dubious individuals tried to
disturb the work of serious crop circle
researchers, through hoaxes and
disruptive and sometimes upsetting
manipulative activities. Real formations
were 'souped up' artificially, and false
pictograms were formed right next to
research stations, where they seriously
distracted researchers' attention from
the real circles.
One of the activists in this plot was
Robert Irving, also called 'Spiderman'
in cereological circles. He was a
dubious photographer who up to now had
attracted attention by tracking down
crop circle researchers during their
nightly watches and taking photos of
them. Once, when asked who paid him,
Robert Irving, a nephew of a
high-ranking civil servant in the Home
Office, apparently mentioned a
'foundation'. Irving had been a member
of the 'Beckhampton Group' of local crop
circle researchers, whose dissolution in
August 1992 goes back to a great degree
to his negative influences.
Among Robert Irving's closest friends
was Jim Schnabel, a young American who
tried to present the phenomenon in
several newspaper articles as a big
illusion, and the circle researchers as
credulous dreamers - in the quality
Independent, among other papers.
Schnabel originated from a suburb in
Washington DC and studied at Duke
University, before he continued his
studies - financed by an American
foundation - first at Lincoln College at
Oxford and then at the University of
Bath. In July 1992 he won the second
prize at a crop circle hoaxing
competition sponsored by the German
magazine PM and the Cereologist. Later
he admitted to have faked further
formations together with Robert Irving.
Were Robert Irving and Jim Schnabel two
harmless nutcases - or were their
'actions' backed by brains and possibly
finance behind them, possibly from the
secret services? To find out, the
British UFO researcher Armen Victorian
had a lengthy telephone call with
Schnabel on 30th August 1992, which he
recorded on tape. Victorian pretended to
be an African named 'Mr. Ntumba', and
claimed that Irving had already
introduced him to his secret service
activities, and that he was now
interested in collaborating with that
In the course of the conversation,
Schnabel revealed details of an
anti-crop circle plot, which in addition
to the British also involved USA,
Germany and the Vatican. The aim of the
plot was, according to Schnabel, to
discredit the crop circle phenomenon so
much that it would 'disappear' from the
media, and thus public awareness, since
it was feared that the circles could
bring about a 'change of world
In England, the tapes caused a stir,
after their publication at the Quest
International UFO Conference at Leeds in
mid-September 1992, and soon there was
some talk about a 'Circlegate'. However,
Schnabel came to explain that the whole
conversation had been a joke, saying he
had recognised Victorian and had wanted
to pull his leg. A nifty excuse.
The fact is that Schnabel said nothing
on the tape which wasn't known to
insiders long before. And his diverse
actions - together with Robert Irving -
indicate that he - whether on his own
account or on somebody's instructions -
quite obviously had an interest in
bringing crop circle euphoria to an end
and in bringing circle researchers into
The complete 'Schnabel
Tape' was published in Magazin 2000 in
Germany (no 93, April 1993), and here
follow the most interesting passages:
THE 'SCHNABEL TAPE'
AV = ARMEN VICTORIAN
JS = JIM SCHNABEL
AV: You know, there is a story...
JS: I don't quite know who you are,
so I don't want to talk about it in too
AV: No, but I've been reading some of
these magazines they have issued about
groups and these articles about the
7-foot green men... groups put out that
there's intelligence in it, etc, etc,
and now Robert Irving says that to me.
You see, I was a bit taken back. Is
there any interest from the intelligence
part in it as well?
JS: Are you talking about MI5, or are
you talking about UFOs? ...Yes, well, I
mean... off the record, I mean I think a
number of agencies throughout the world
have taken an interest in this.
AV: Well, that we've heard, haven't we?
JS: It is potentially a very
AV: I mean, how can they exploit the
JS: We believe there is certainly
something very sinister about what's
going on, er... I don't know whether you
are Christian man or not...?
AV: Yes, I am a Christian, of course I
am.... I'm a Catholic.
JS: Well, yes, yes, so am I. Some of
us feel concerned that, er...
AV: Some arms of the government are
doing something, psychological warfare
or psychotronic weaponry, you know.
JS: We think that sometimes a little
bit of intrigue... sometimes is
necessary in cases as serious as this,
um, and sometimes measures have to be
taken. But I think, I mean, overall, I
think that the phenomenon is something
which we think will disappear very
AV: How? I mean, I'm sorry, I'm just
curious. It's mind-boggling, what you
are saying! But how do you know that
JS: Well, we think that people will
no longer take notice of it, I mean, it
may continue, but, er, it...
AV: But why do you say 'phenomena'? You
proved that this is man-made... how
could it be a phenomena? Or am I in the
dark, or I've missed something
JS: Well, I think some of them are
definitely man-made; I mean definitely.
AV: But so, we are suggesting that
there's also a part of it that is
JS: I think there is a part which is
entirely sinister and I'm not sure how
genuine it is or whether it's made by
people, but it's something very
AV: Are we talking about magic, dark
JS: Possibly, yes, and I think that
AV: Now hang on, I'm getting a bit...
it's intriguing when we say dark
powers... are we talking about... sort
of... Satan and that sort of thing...?
AV: I see, so there isn't any sort of
military implication or the test of
weaponry, or anything of that sort which
JS: Oh, I wouldn't say that.... I
think it's a very complex issue
AV: Are we talking about
the part of the military wing who's
under the brainwashing, or whatever, of
the sinister forces who are doing this -
you know, making it a bit more complex?
JS: Well it's very
difficult to explain to you - to explain
the structure of some of these
organisations, but... I can't go into
detail, but, er, basically it is
something which is concerning people
worldwide and various organisations have
pooled their resources, worldwide, and
AV: How about the British government?
Are they also...
JS: Well, yes. The German government,
the American government, the Vatican has
some involvement as well.
AV: But how about Robert Irving? Does
Robert have anything with any of this to
help them along with it, to determine
what is going on?
[Note by Michael Irving of World-Action:
'Robert Irving' is not related to or
connected to me in any way. 'Robert
Irving' may not be his correct name.
Strange how another 'Irving' turned up
connected with the crop patterns; Irving
is not a very common family name.]
JS: I wouldn't want to comment on the
record or anything like that.
AV: Of course not. What you're saying
makes me worried. He is definitely on
the good side...
JS: He is... he is one of our best
[Ah! So ....!]
AV: And he is helping the governments to
determine which faction is doing this...
JS: Yes, it's very... extremely
sensitive, sensitive work as you can
AV: It is, er, now, let's see, are we
talking about military, or are we
talking about intelligence, are we
talking about the negative side, you see
what I'm trying to say?
JS: It is not quite a military thing,
but there are elements of military
intelligence which have loaned
AV: Ah! We are talking about people who
have had a career, they've left their
career, they have corporations etc. They
are developing some kind of weaponry,
and these are the testing ground.
JS: No, no, no. I wouldn't, I
wouldn't go into that, it's much more of
a spiritual warfare type of angle, I
AV: And are they trying to exploit the
populace, I mean, what are they trying
to achieve? That's what I'm trying to
JS: I think they are trying to bring
about changes in world consciousness and
... for evil, you know, not for good,
and, eh, there are some of us who are
concerned about this and would like to
see this new trend stopped.
AV: Is there any positive element in the
government who are supporting people
like yourself or Robert or anybody else
for that matter?
JS: We have support, yes,
support at the highest levels.
AV: That's marvellous. Is it the British
government or a....
JS: It involves several countries and
as I say...
AV: Are we talking NATO allies or are we
JS: NATO? ... It is not at NATO
level, but it's Germany involved, and
this country (Britain) and the United
States... the Vatican as well.
AV: I see... are we talking about….
JS: It's actually, it involves a
supernational organisation which I will
JS: Supernational organisation.
AV: Oh, good God! ... This is above my
JS: Which has ties to these countries
AV: Are we talking, for example
Trilateral, that sort of thing?
JS: I wouldn't want to get into any
AV: And the information that you gather
is passed on to the higher-ups in order
to be filtered out and deductions have
to be taken, obviously; that should be
JS: Yes, yes...
we are not only just
feeding information, we are taking