Reprint Permission Granted

Circular Times WebMag 1997

Dr. Colette Dowell





Inquiring Minds Need to Know:

John Whaley (Wheyleigh/Wabe) and the Oliver's Castle

Video Hoax Exposed -- United Kingdom, October 1997

By Lee Winterson; containing excerpts from Colette Dowell's 96 report.


On August 11th, 1996 at the Barge Inn in Alton Barnes a telephone call was received by the bar staff inquiring the whereabouts of Peter Sorensen and Colin Andrews. I took the call and spoke with a man who identified himself as a Mr. John Whaley. He claimed he was ringing to report a new formation in the area of Oliver's Castle. He also claimed he witnessed and was able to video strange balls of light hovering over the same field the morning the formation appeared. I suggested for him to come to the Barge and bring the video with him and in the mean time I would arranged to locate the people he requested to view the video. My first impression was it was like a roose to trick researchers to enter yet another formation and try to fool them into believing it was a genuine formation.


With in minutes after receiving the phone call, others and myself left for Oliver's Castle. Sure enough a formation was there. We began tramping down the hill in the pouring rain to take a closer look. Upon entering the formation I found it to be quite messy and appeared to be of poor quality. The formation did not rank very high in my standards. Upon entering the formation we did create a lot of mud, however the rain washed away our muddy footprints. The arguments that people typically use for whether a formation is hoaxed or not, is if there are any footprints to be found inside a new formation. We left the formation feeling very disappointed. I was debating at that point whether to leave Wiltshire or return to the Barge and await this mysterious caller. Due to the fact I was making a new film related to UFOs and the crop circle connection, I decided to stay.


Approximately at 10:45, John Whaley and a young chap (who quietly remained in the background) entered the pub carrying an aluminium camera case. I immediately approached him and asked if he was John, which he confirmed. Many people who were at the pub awaiting John's arrival had already left. Who remained were Freddy Sylva, Jane Ross, Michael Hubbard, Nik Nickolson and myself. John proceeded to show us in turn, through his camcorder viewfinder, his video, which he claimed to have filmed that morning. My immediate reaction was "Wow, I thought I was the luckiest man in the world." Here I was producing a film and now I had a chance to secure some rights to use the footage, but I did not push it at the time.


   Oliver's Castle Photo Courtesy and Copyright 1996 Steve Alexander

Everybody's reaction was similar to mine. I saw the video twice that night. The first time I just focused on viewing the lights, I was not aware of the formation underneath the lights. The second time I viewed the film I focused on the formation. It did not appear to synchronistically lay with the movements of the lights. I then suggested and offered John Whaley, 100 pounds cash for him to come to AVP Studio in Swindon, where I would supply him with a broadcast copy of his master so he could make copies from a master dub, as opposed to using his master. I also offered to put in writing that I would not use the footage if he would come to Swindon. He refused and said he was tired. He then left the pub leaving his telephone number with Freddy Sylva for the purpose of contact with Colin Andrews.


Then I had a meeting with Colin Andrews a couple of days later at my caravan to discuss how we might combine efforts in relocating John Whaley in the attempt to obtain copies of this footage and secure it. I phoned John everyday and left messages on his message machine, however he did not return my calls. I believe he got in contact with Colin Andrews directly and supplied him with a copy and a contract for distribution as he saw fit. As Colin stated to "execute detailed analysis of the film and to handle world wide media interest in the footage...."


He further stated that several major inquiries including the British Military (who might have been present at Oliver's Castle), were now commencing. Colin also made it clear that until detailed analysis of the footage was complete, the video would not be available; therefore the first 'classified' conclusions of the tape would be released through CPRI.


However Colin impressed the fact;

"The whole filmed sequence is just a few seconds long

and shows either a very elaborate attempt to fraud or we have

secured the most incredibly important UFO and crop circle film footage ever!"


Shortly after words Peter Sorensen was approached by John Whaley referencing to view the film and offer his comments. AVP studios in Swindon, received a phone call tipping them off to the secret meeting between John Whaley and Peter Sorensen. Who was responsible for that phone call tip? John Huckvale contacted me and suggested I intercept that meeting for the purpose of obtaining the footage for the new program on UFOs and crop circles. When I entered the pub to the astonishment of Peter Sorensen, I stared exchanging pleasantries with Mr. Whaley. I suggested that we could go to the studio in Swindon and view the footage through a broadcast monitor and view the footage more clearly with an image enhancement program. Under the advice of Peter Sorensen he agreed. We went off to the studio and proceeded to analyze the footage.


John Whaley was holding his 8-mm master tape and inserted it directly into the professional 8-mm master machine, as if he knew exactly how to handle studio equipment. I found that unusual because it is unlike any domestic equipment. We transferred the footage to a broadcast quality tape and proceeded to enhance and check the footage. Suddenly John became agitated and with a brief goodbye, exited the studio as quick as he entered it, he was very keen to leave. He obviously showed signs of discomfort. For days we continued to check and look at the footage. We became more and more suspicious as the days went on.


John Huckvale pointed out there was field discrepancies on the video suggesting at some point the video had been rendered as an animation sequence.



A video film has two fields of lines sequenced a fraction of a second apart. The two fields are recognizable because each field corresponds to a designated 'line'. One field's lines are characterized by 'odd' numbers and the other field from 'even' numbers. One video frame consists of these two fields of lines; thus creating in affect, actually two images contained within the frame. This is known as double image and this is what causes jitter on the screen. If you overlay a second sequence of film/computer images etc., on top of the original video film footage, the edited frames read out as single images,

 not double. The spheres of light on the video are of single imaging, not double.


In the mean time I faxed Colin Andrews expressing the need of caution in handling this film. We also issued Peter Sorensen a brief written report of our findings. At that point I felt no need to pursue the analysis of the film any further. Throughout the winter I continued to research ufology, have a child and recover from a brief illness totally unaware of the controversy that existed over the film on the Internet and the crop circle community. In May of 1997, while I was accessing the Internet I came across the article, "The Oliver's Castle Fraud, the Final Word" by Colin Andrews.


I was totally amazed and disappointed with the allegations Colin Andrews

made stating my alleged involvement

in making the hoax film based on circumstantial evidence.


It was clear that Colin overstepped his ground and made some false statements due to his lack of thorough investigation of the matter. However, I do not blame Colin totally as he relied on a third hand witness, Matthew Williams. Matthew Williams was employed by me as a cameraman for my film and was terminated from his duties due to certain curious activities involving a crop circle formation, which appeared in the Alton Barnes area in 1996. There were various other questionable acts of behaviour and issues I need not go further into.


All the rumours and speculations about my involvement in the Oliver's Caste footage

 was due to Matthew's false accounting of the story along with him saying

he witnessed me make the animation at AVP studio.


Whenever I am questioned in regards to my involvement of the footage only one person's name, that who's is Matthew Williams, consistently comes up as the perpetrator of the falsehoods made against me.




This is unreliable and poor quality journalism from a man who demands respect for his great knowledge and understanding of any major events involving crop circles.

Colin Andrew's article was very inappropriate and contained a lot of false statements, which have personally affected in a negative way, friends, family and myself.


There is no place for irresponsible journalism especially when people are out there seeking truths, only to be told stories which are anything but the truth.


However through all of this I will commend Colin for hiring a private detective to pursue and locate John Whaley.

(Although, commending Colin for finally hiring a detective still does not detract fromthe fact Colin Andrews

caused great harm with his punitive damaging false statements

against me (and others) serving his greed and megalomaniac mind.)


I had to turn the pages and use his detective to my advantage.




Colin Andrew's article on his home page stated the fact that his private detective had found the name of John Whaley to actually be John Wabe. He also stated John Wabe was employed by a film and animation studio in Bristol. It was at that point I decided to further Colin's investigation and take it one-step further.


From basic logical deduction I proceeded to make a list of all of the companies in Bristol and the surrounding areas which had the capabilities to produce such a film. There were very few possibilities. I began to check the facilities closest and most accessible to Oliver's Castle (due to time and location). The first company I contacted was BDC in Bath. By ringing them and simply asking if it was possible to speak to John Wabe, to my surprise, they stated that John Wabe did not actually work there but did use their facility quite often for the purpose of digital postproduction and graphic animation. They asked the nature of my inquiry and I told them I was referred to John for some price quoting on animation and just left it at that as to not arouse any suspicion. They mentioned he worked for a company called FIRST CUT based in Bristol. It was so easy to find this guy. Is it possible that BDC Studio in Bath was the facility John Used to produce the video?


There are very few companies with the capabilities to produce 3D animation. I proceeded to inquire through operator's assistance, telephone directory… the telephone number of FIRST CUT Studios, however there was no such listing. By coincidence, I was riding a bus through Bristol on my return journey home pass the HTV studio complex, which houses various digital postproduction companies. Listed on the companies index board was FIRST CUT TV. I rang the bell on the bus and jumped off immediately on the next stop. At that point I was so eager to throttle with John ,I decided to go to the information department of HTV and inquire about FIRST CUT TV…. what facilities did they provide and so on. They suggested I speak to them direct and patched me through to the FIRST CUT TV Receptionist.


I spoke to a gentleman called John Lomas, he suggested we meet me at the reception area where he would take me for a tour of his TV facilities. Lomas asked me why I was interested in the facilities, I told him I was a film producer and was looking for a local facility to cut a program. He showed me an avid 8000 Video Editing Suite and pointed to an adjoining door stating the graphics workstation was linked though a separate room. There was a client in the room with a gentleman with blonde hair who I immediately recognized as John Whaley, (John Wabe). I stood out of view from John Wabe as to not have him recognize me and suggested when I had more time I would come back at a later date and completely tour the facilities.


In order to further my investigation I had to be sure I had the right person as John Wabe whom now had blonde hair. When I first met John, his hair was quite dark. I thought it was appropriate to conduct some surveillance in the private members bar directly below FIRST CUT Studio where I went in and ordered a drink. The entire complex is protected by security cameras and guards, I was asked who I was and claimed I was working in the complex. I was not questioned any further.


I spent several days hanging out around the bar at teatime in order to get a better look at John. From that point onwards, when I felt I was satisfied I had the right person, John Huckvale and myself orchestrated a plan in which he would carry a camera and enter the studios with the intention of getting John Wabe on film behind his workstation. This was attempted on June the 4th and was successful in that respect. Later that day we reentered the FIRST CUT Studio and it was at that point I made my identity aware to John Wabe.


His first look at me entering the studio was that of displeasure while I asked him if it was possible we could discuss a piece of footage. He asked me to set up an appointment, which I did for the following Tuesday. On the Monday before the meeting he rang AVP Studio in Swindon and cancelled the appointment stating he was too busy. I contacted John Wabe via telephone and asked him why he cancelled the meeting and he suggested we not do this by telephone. I asked him directly what was his involvement in the Oliver's Castle footage. He denied any knowledge of the film. I told him we had film of him in the studio at Swindon as John Whaley and further at his workstation as John Wabe. I told him he was one of the same and left it at that. He was very evasive. I gave a great deal of thought of how I was to continue my investigation….Next…




Nippon TV contacted me as a witness for their production of the Oliver's Castle footage.

I offered the information I achieved while tracking John Whaley

and they were very keen to be involved with the expose.

We teamed our efforts and planned our doorstep challenge

and direct confrontation with John Whaley/John Wabe.


On the wall of the studio was a picture of John Wabe, of how he used to look. I filmed the photo and showed it to Peter Sorensen who identified the man's photo as the John Whaley he had met. On that basis we proceeded with the expose. To follow…. On Friday July 18th 1997, at approximately 7:30am, Lee, Peter, and seven Nippon TV camera crewmembers made their way to Bristol for the FIRST CUT Studios. The film crew went inside with cameras rolling while Peter and I sat outside in the car park maintaining communication devices. There was a technical problem with some of the communications devices, so it was difficult to ascertain what was occurring inside. However, I was able to relay to Peter some of the events which were taking place in the studio.


The business partner of John Wabe -- 'John Lomas,' was shown the footage by the TV crew

 and confronted about John Wabe's connection to it. He said that "Yes, John was involved,"

 but that the film crew would have to talk to John Wabe personally.


John Lomas left the room at this point to consult with John Wabe, relating the nature of the film crew inquiry. While the film crew was unaware, John Wabe fled out of his office, actually leaving the client he was attending there on the spot. Peter Sorensen, patiently waiting with his camcorder in the car park, saw a man coming from the building, enter a car and start the ignition. His memory raced - then clicked. Yes, this was the man he met last year and - he was attempting to escape the cameras. Peter jumped out as the camera starting to roll as John drove away. At a crucial moment of eye contact, John saw Peter recognized him, waved and smiled gallantly to the camera. As he sped away in safety I ran after the fleeing car, shouting requests if he was responsible for the footage…but to no avail. After this daring escapade, a request was made to John Lomas for John Wabe to come clean and admit his involvement.


Afterwards, John Wabe was in phone contact, stating he WAS involved

in the production  of this video but could not comment further due to an

exclusive contract with a broadcast production, DISCOVERY CHANNEL, USA.


John Wabe did make it clear that he would like this all to "Just go away."

He is not hiding the fact that it IS a HOAX.

In our opinion he has been paid well to perform this duty, and he almost got away with it.


I personally believe that this is not only a cynical attempt to extract vast sums of money from broadcasters, I believe there is a deeper darker reason for this hoax. WHO commissioned this footage and WHY? However, it reeks of a previous scent of the DOUG & DAVE scenario campaign which presented itself in 1991. Some very interesting circumstantial evidence has developed since this expose. Through inquiries in relation to John Wabe's photograph in the studio it has been revealed that it is in fact a publicity photograph for an optician company. The photograph was taken several years ago for an advertising company (Mcan Erickson) in relation to an optician's advertisement. It may be worth stating the fact that any statements I make now are purely assumptions and should not be taken as fact, however there does appear to be some interesting coincidences.


During a conversation with renowned crop circle hoaxer Robert Irving, (and who also created a cut and paste UFO photo for a Fortean Times article) in late July of 97, at the Barge Inn, I asked if he had ever been commissioned by an optician company for advertisement photos. He replied "yes, many". I also questioned if he had ever been involved with the company Mcan. He finished the title of the company (Erickson), which he agreed he had taken photos for opticians through that company.


Maybe I am grasping at straws at this moment, but could it be possible that there may be a connection between John Wabe and Robert Irving through this photo. Has their paths crossed before? In addition, John Wabe has lived in Bath where as Rob Irving has family in Bath and has lived there also. It is also a place, Bath, where Jim Schnabel has spent a great deal of time schooling in Journalism. I apologize in advance if the conclusions I have reached in regards to John Wabe and Robert Irving are totally co-incidental, however I will pursue this photograph matter and get 100 percent confirmation of whether it is Robert's photograph or not.


To many of the crop circle researchers who want to believe this is a genuine film,

it must be understood that it is not and that it should not be revered as such.


I suggest the researchers who continue spreading false statements of

"genuine footage of balls of light creating a crop circle formation..."

 despite the evidence presented;

should reevaluate their own personal agenda and

take into account the dis-information they are spreading.


We all have a responsibility of presenting factual accounts and not irresponsibly selling fairy tales to the public who intrust us for factually based information. I suggest they pack their suitcase and return home with the film and review it in the privacy of their own home.


This article is written in the attempt to portray actual events and to clear up any misleading previous articles. It was very hard for me through all of these negative allegations to continue and complete my investigation about the truth of the video. At times I felt overwhelmed and wanted to pack it up, but I felt the need to expose the truth and let dead dogs lie. I would like to thank the very few people who have reserved judgment and waited patiently for all of the facts to be collected. These are the sort of people who should be promoting crop circles and not the "opinionated", "judgmental" and "lack of evidence" grade researchers. I am undecided to where my research will go at this point. Maybe Roswell!


By Lee Winterson

Colette Dowell

Circular Times




OLIVER'S CASTLE CROP CIRCLE VIDEO CONTROVERSY: -- by Dr. Colette M. Dowell, September, 1996


THE CASE OF THE VANISHING CAMERAMAN: Hammering the final nail into the coffin of the Oliver's Castle video -- A First-Hand Report by Peter R. Sørensen (Originally written in the spring of 1997 – revised in March 1999.) © 1997 Peter R. Sørensen






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