Friday, October 18, 2013

Life and Times of Lefty Levengood

Biophysicist William C. Levengood recently passed away. Mr. Levengood, who suggested during telephone conversations in 2010 that I call him Lefty, lived to see many decades of the ufology circus and its tent of hypotheses, research, exaggerations, hoaxes, lies and everything else it contains. As many are aware, Lefty became well known around ufology for his willingness to try to apply scientific research to what he termed crop formations and bovine mutilations. He conducted experiments in his Michigan laboratory and did field work.

I contacted Lefty in 2010 in order to inquire about some points he had previously addressed in some of his research. He was quite willing to discuss his work with me and agreed it would be a good idea for me to record our conversations. He proceeded to tell me about such things as the "most unusual crop formation" he had ever seen. That was of reasonable interest coming from a guy who stated he had personally examined plants from over 300 formations. The most unusual, Lefty explained, was located in Kansas.

"It had no bent nodes," he said, "the crops were not knocked down, there were no expulsion cavities, there were no visible signs, except, in these circles, the wheat grew at a different (increased) height!"  

The formation was further described in Crop Circles, Part Three, one of a series of posts I published in April and May of 2011 with the help and contributions of stiver. This week stiver pieced together some more of Lefty's statements from my 2010 interviews and offered them below:




My personal favorite Lefty story was about a female self-described abductee and an experiment that involved hair curlers and mustard seeds. Lefty instructed the woman to place a curler containing seeds in her hair each night before bed. She would then label each curler with a date while keeping a journal of any unusual experiences she might perceive. Again from Crop Circles, Part Three: 
He [Lefty] said the woman followed instructions very well, doing an excellent job of documenting details of her activities. Every seven days Levengood would retrieve the hair curlers from the previous week while supplying her with seven more, each packed with a plastic capsule containing seeds. He would then dig the plastic capsule out of each returned curler, review the related written information, and, interestingly enough, plant the seeds. He eventually came across the journal entry indicating an experience of high strangeness and the corresponding plastic capsule.
“My God, I was dumbfounded,” Levengood recalled.
The two halves of the capsule shell were melted together, he said, and the entire capsule appeared to be imploded. He carefully worked at the capsule long enough to separate the two halves, at which time he said it made a whooshing noise, indicating it had been placed under some kind of vacuum.
It was heated, of course,” he said...
According to Levengood, the seeds were not wasted. Quite the contrary. Levengood stated the seeds in question grew with “increased vigor,” significantly outgrowing the other seeds!
Controversial and willing to take the heat, pardon the pun, Lefty contributed significantly to the UFO community in a variety of ways. In addition to his clever experiments, he also published a number of professional research papers. Lefty hypothesized that some crop formations may result from natural phenomena and that ion electron avalanches might play key roles. Some of his peer reviewed research papers were challenged and some were not.

My interest in Lefty's work wound The UFO Trail through several circumstances, one of which was the blog of Dr. Jacques Vallee. Suffice it to say the doctor had some of his own extremely interesting ideas about crop formations that offered possible explanations much more down to earth than popularly discussed.

The publishing of my above referenced series of posts on crop circles also resulted in some exchanges with the ever skeptical Lance Moody. I recall that Lance challenged some of the material, resulting in what I recall to have been a productive exchange of credible information and personal interpretations between Lance and I. That interaction indeed built a foundation for what became my respect for Lance Moody's opinions, as well as increasing my appreciation for constructive critical inquiry, an activity that Lefty, as well as Lance, also encouraged.

William C. Levengood was not without controversy. Neither was he without critics. He did, however, do more than his part in challenging researchers to up their crop circle and cattle mute games. If more accurate ways to interpret and analyze the phenomena than currently employed are not utilized in our lifetimes, it's no fault of Lefty's. 

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