During the writing of a book for my family in 2014 about my career as a photographer and producer of film and video, I discovered that a desert adventure I had been a part of in 1990 was still of great interest to the public on the internet. Unfortunately, everything found was full of misinformation. The true story was about the creation of a quarter of a mile size Hindu design called a Sri Yantra that was discovered by an Air National Guard recon aircraft flying over the Alvord Desert in Oregon that year.
After spending several weeks researching and cataloging what was found, I made a decision to produce a documentary that would clear up all the unfounded stories both in script and videos posted on the web.
Once I found my camera master video tapes I had recorded in 1990 of the actual creation of the design, I had them transferred to a digital format. At that point, I called my friend, Bill Witherspoon. He was the creator of the idea to make the design on such a large scale in the Alvord Desert. I told him what I had found and that I wanted to produce a documentary to correct all the wrongs. He said he would support me only if the true story was told.
I began my research that Fall and by the Spring of 2015, I was confident I had a good outline of the story. I continued researching by calling retired National Guardsmen who said they would be available to be interviewed for the film.
During that summer and into fall, I continued to develop scripts and began to develop a plan to produce a detailed animation sequence of the creation of the Sri Yantra to support the video footage I had recorded myself in 1990.
As the year ended, I began making plans for the spring and summer of 2016. First, I asked as many of the actual design crew as possible to return to Fairfield, Iowa in the Spring so that I could interview each one. Fairfield was the home for most of the crew in 1990 and was also where Bill and his crew began to set the plans for the adventure we all experienced in the Alvord Desert all those years before.
Knowing I had a production crew scheduled and with the crew members who could come for the dates set for April of 2016, plans were finalized for the first production shoot.
On the last day of shooting, Bill called us from his home to say he was going to the local coffee house on the square in Fairfield and wanted us to meet him there. We were just finishing our interview with our last crew member, Bob Hoerlein, at his art studio and had to transfer all the camera hard drives to one of our master terabyte hard drives for safe keeping before heading back to St. Louis. I told Bill we could not come and would see him at his home before we left town.
When we finished, we headed to Bill’s house to leave his laptop there which we had been using. Just as we got to Bill’s house, he called to say, Don’t leave until I get there, I have something to tell you.
A few minutes later he pulled into the driveway. When he told us who he had met and what was said at the coffee shop, everything about how we felt about the documentary changed. As we all said later as we pulled onto the highway heading to St. Louis — That was unbelievable.
Fairfield is an interesting town in the southern part of Iowa — a place where celebrities gather because it’s a hub for those practicing Transcendental Meditation. So it wasn’t a shock for Bill to run into a friend at the coffee shop who was sitting with a celebrity. But this one was one of the most famous actors, directors and award winning narrators in the film business, Peter Coyote. Peter has narrated most of producer director Ken Burns’ award winning films. Most of his films are among the highest grossing documentaries that have ever been made.
Bill said that he wanted to know about the documentary we were producing and said, “The film sounds very interesting. Tell your producer to call me, and I will be happy to do the narration for the film.” Wow, it was all hard to believe as Bill handed me Peter’s phone number saying, “He said call him anytime.”
I did call him later that summer, and we set a tentative date for late January or early February to lay down the narration needed for the film. This we all agreed had put our film into a much higher category than it may have ever been before.
As the summer ended we began rough cutting the film and scripting the animation I had been working on. Library video footage was purchased, and I had started selecting musical scores needed. We were deep into the production now and excited about the possibilities.
During the Fall, I created all the scripts for Peter Coyote. These scripts took on a special narrative. After watching several of the documentaries he had done for Ken Burns, I noted his style and pacing. I took great care to write, thinking of him and how he would present my words.
I reached him while he was in Canada working on a film. He said he would be back at his home in Northern California by late January. He gave me a phone number for a studio close to his home where he said he used to do all of Ken Burns’ scripts. He said that a date around the end of January would be good and that once I had booked time there that the studio would call him to confirm the date. I asked him, “Should I send you the scripts now?” What he said then was not what I would have ever expected. He said, “No, I never read any scripts until I’m in the studio and ready to record.” He laughed and said, “Not even for Ken Burns.”
I did see an interview with Ken Burns almost a year later, and he told the same story to the host who was interviewing him.
The documentary film that will be released this Fall explains how the discovery of a majestic design in the Alvord Desert in southern Oregon became an unfounded mystery that has lasted for over 30 years. The story of this carved design is a compelling tell on many levels.
When the design was discovered, ufologists and researchers identified the design as a Sri Yantra with an origin dating back 6000 years and was known by eastern religions to have cosmic powers. Researchers reported that campers a few miles from the site of the design had seen strange lights in the night sky over the area, while other reports said that dead animals were found a few miles from the design’s location. These investigations reported by the press led the public to speculate on the possibility of this being an alien message.
The documentary finally reveals what really happened and why and how this geometrically perfect creation was made. Told with a mix of interviews and narrative by the design crew themselves provides context, perspective and insight to the truth.
The foreward and narrative weaved throughout the film is delivered by Peter Coyote. Peter is an American actor, author, director, screenwriter and narrator of films, theater, television and audio books. He has narrated over 175 documentaries. His distinctive voice helped him win a news & documentary Emmy Award in 1992 for narration of “The Meiji Revolution” episode of the PBS
series, “The Pacific Century,” as well as a primetime Emmy Award in 2015 for Ken Burns’ documentary “The Roosevelts.” In recent years, Peter has narrated the acclaimed documentary “Vietnam” and in the spring of this year narrated the documentary “Hemingway” about famed writer Ernest Hemingway for Ken Burns.
As a producer and director of film and television since early 1980, I am excited for the public to see my documentary, “Sri Yantra Oregon Desert Mystery.” This is the story of the largest Earth carving of its kind ever found in the United States and possibly ever found on Earth. This is the story that tells the truth of what really happened.
You will be able to stream the film on vimeo.com/ondemand this ftouchedall, and you can purchase a DVD of the film on Amazon and other sites that promote and sell movies.
This film would not have been possible without the support of Bill Witherspoon and all the design crew, who gave their time and talent to me during the production of the documentary.
My thanks to Bill especially. Without his contribution to the film it could not have been made. The scripting of the narrative he gave throughout the film was instrumental to the story being told, giving it legitimacy and strength that was necessary to convey the truth.
I can’t thank John Reichert enough for all his time and professional work over the last five years. His talent in all areas of the production made it possible for the film to be completed successfully.
To my daughter, Jamie who has helped me so much and has always been my light at the end of many dark tunnels. She was there for me from the beginning, cheering me on and giving her talented input to all the scripting that was created, not only for the film, but for all other writing needed to promote it, thank you from my heart.
To the rest of my family and my friends for their support all these years, thank you! Your encouragement and support since the fall of 2014 was a driving force for me to continue to strive for the film’s completion.
Do you believe in magic? Many of my experiences during the production of the documentary I worked on during the last five years have in many ways been magical for me. Producing a film on any level can be very enjoyable while also being very difficult. As we ended production and began post-production, I knew the documentary would be all I had hoped it could be.
My recording session with Peter Coyote to read the scripts for the documentary was scheduled for January 19th, 2017. Peter could not have been nicer, and the session took approximately an hour. He took a few minutes to read through the scripts and said, “Let’s do a complete first take, and you can tell me if I need do read anything differently.”
When we did start recording, it became apparent to me that he was reading ahead of what he was saying and making changes to portions of sentence as he went. He would stop and say, “Jim did you see what I did there, and, is that okay?”
I, of course, said yes and that it was great. Everything he changed only made the script better.
After the second read was finished, he then said “Jim, I think you have a winner here.” As I pulled myself back down and into my chair, I thanked him for his kindness, saying that I would send him a copy of the film when it was completed. I couldn’t have been more pleased with the recording session.
With Peter’s narration, along with the crew’s interviews, editing could begin in earnest. During the edit, we realized that we must ask the crew to come together again and return to Mickey Basin in the Alvord Desert where it all started. This would be an excellent way of ending the film.
Plans were made and a production shoot was scheduled for the 5th of September, 2017. Twenty-seven years to the day in 1990 when the National Guard first said it had a photo of the Sri Yantra taken from one of their reconnaissance aircraft. That date, like many dates during the production of the film, took six months to happen. September was decided on because Bill was aware that the temperature during the summer months would be intolerable in the desert and after September the weather would be unpredictable there.
The three days we had there proved to be magic on many levels. When we returned to our original camp site, a discovery of a found object used to make the design years ago brought the story full circle for all of us. The experience of 1990 again became fresh for everyone and helped remind us all of the adventure we had experienced.
During the next eight months, John Reichert, my producer and co-editor and I worked long hours editing for the master. We needed to have it completed by June of 2018 in order to submit it to several selected film festivals. Once we had accomplished that, we decided to screen the film locally in the St.Louis area.
I rented a local theater and John and I watch the film on the big screen by ourselves so we could make adjustments if necessary before conducting screening with real audiences. We were happy with the quality of the film and only made a couple of color corrections based on what we saw. I then decided to have a premier screening in Fairfield, Iowa in September. After notifying all the crew members, friends and family about the options for the screening date, September 20th was selected.
Our plan was to advertise in the local paper that free tickets would be given for two screenings of the film on that date starting at 2pm and then again at 5pm at the local theater. We planned to have a meet and greet party afterwards and then a dinner. There were so many requests for tickets that a third screening was scheduled for the next day at 1pm to accommodate everyone. At each screening extra seats were brought in even after arranging for the third showing.
The film was a great success and after each showing we had a question and answer session with the audience which was a lot of fun. The film was awarded the “Gold Award” by the Oregon International Film Awards Festival on November 5th, 2018.
During the late Fall of 2018 and early 2019, we began preparing for a release of the film and a marketing campaign. After meeting with a marketing firm who specializes in promoting products using social media, we realized that the public was beginning to turn more to streaming film content than going to their local theater. After investigating all our options, we decided to market and distribute the film ourselves before going to a mainstream distributor.
The experience I had in the Oregon Desert in 1990 turned out to be a big part of my life over the next thirty years. I left there feeling I had experienced something few people would ever experience in their lifetime.
After being there for eleven days, I said goodbye to Bill, his son Miles and Bill’s friends and drove out of the campsite at Mickey Basin heading for the hard road 50 miles away. I was going to Boise, Idaho, where I would stay the night and fly back to St. Louis the next morning.
After reaching the hard road and turning east, I saw to my left high on the mountains that there was a forest fire burning. It was of no danger to me, and I did not see any fire trucks heading that way at the time.
As I picked up speed, something caught my attention ahead. As I got closer I realized it was an elk cow trotting along the road in the same direction as I was going. Wow, I thought, she must have come from the mountain fire area that I could still see. She never changed course as I reached her, and as I slowed, she was beside me on the west side of the road. I traveled alone beside her for at least a half of a mile before picking up speed and traveling on to Boise. I drove east for almost twenty miles and saw no other cars on the road.
Ten miles later I saw a fire truck heading in my direction and passing me. I was sure they were going to fight the forest fire. I thought this was a fitting way for me to say goodbye to the Oregon Desert and to the state of Oregon — a place full of experiences and adventures like few people would ever experience.
Reaching Boise about 4 o’clock that afternoon, I treated myself to a big burger and coke before having the Subaru I had rented cleaned and returned to the rental company at the airport. That night, and for the first time in almost 2 weeks, I finally could call home to say that all was good, and that I would be flying home in the morning.
Landing in St. Louis, I was met by my sister Norine and my daughter Jamie who had come to pick me up. The first thing Jamie said was, “Dad, you look like an Indian!” I had not thought about it, but 10 days in the desert had browned my body for sure. I was really tanned.
I knew Bill was going to stay at Mickey Basin a few more weeks, so I made no attempt to call him until he returned to Fairfield, Iowa. Three weeks later I got a phone call from him which sounded like a script from a movie. Yes, he had been home a few days, and his first words to me were, “Have you seen the news?” The Sri Yantra had been found.
When Bill called me weeks after he had left the desert, I was shocked to hear that the Sri Yantra design had been photographed from a National Guard reconnaissance aircraft flying a training mission over the Alvord Desert. That plane must have flown over the design shortly after Bill left.
The guard finally issued a news release weeks later saying that they had investigated the site and that it was man made and not an extraterrestrial event. Skeptics including news organizations and so-called experts in paranormal events reported that it was a government coverup of an alien message and opened their own investigations.
The story over the next few weeks was reported worldwide in newspapers and television. Bill called saying that one of the ranchers in the area close to the desert had told the authorities that Bill had made it and that he had just been called by a television station asking for an interview.
During the next several weeks Bill and the crew including myself were contacted and asked about the Sri Yantra by the media. The Bureau of Land Management had called Bill saying if he was the one who made the design, he would be fined $100 for defacing the dry lake bed. Bill, of course, said he was the one and he paid the fine.
I was contacted by KGB television from Portland, Oregon now knowing that I had recorded the creation using broadcast equipment and asked if they could get some of it. I first said no and then after talking to Bill agreed to send them about 90 seconds of my footage in return for them sending me their first newscast and helicopter footage they had recorded and used for on-air reporting. They were more than happy to exchange their footage for mine as I was giving them an exclusive on the story. They sent me their footage on two broadcast tapes, and I took my footage to a St. Louis NBC Station where they uploaded mine via a satellite feed.
As the fall months of 1990 past the story faded from the news. I packed my camera master away and returned to my work of running my very busy production studio.
During the next 10 to 12 years I did visit Bill many times in Fairfield and he continued to travel to the Oregon desert and do more large creations. It would be another twelve years before our relationship again took another turn.
When I was asked to go to the Oregon desert in 1990 by a friend, I said yes. The trip sounded exciting and I trusted my friend Bill Witherspoon who was an artist. He said he was going to create an art project and wanted me to come and video tape it for an art video he wanted me to produce. I trusted Bill and knew he had spent many months over several years there painting.
After arriving at the remote location in the desert and meeting Bill’s friends, I found out that the art project wasn’t about painting. Bill and his friends were gong to create an earth carving a quarter of a mile in size in a dry lake bed there. Really hard work, sweat and pain went into creating the Sri Yantra design in the Oregon desert that late summer of 1990.
I had brought a high end broadcast recording system and knew that I had to protect it from the heat and dust of the desert. Bill did not want any tire tracks anywhere on the dry lake bed where the design was being made so that meant I would carry my equipment in and around the work being done.
Each day as the design got bigger and bigger I had to walk further and further to gather footage. At the end of each day everything had to taken back to my tent for save keeping.
After five days I realized my body had become stronger and was changing. Walking at least ten miles every day filming and helping the crew when I could had made me fitter than I had ever been.The food Bill was preparing for all of us daily and the two gallons of water I was drinking each day had cleansed my body and my soul. I was performing differently, I was getting stronger, and mentally more relaxed, only thinking of what I was doing in the moment. Thoughts of my business and my family faded behind what I was seeing and doing in this remote part of the world.
By the ninth day almost all of the plowing to make the furrows that marked the lines of the Sri yantra design had been made. From the ground and from any part of the design you could only see lines or furrows going every which way. After all the days of working none of us had seen the design from above the ground. The crew was sure it was as perfect as they wanted it to be. I really never knew exactly how they had made it. They continually studied geometric formulas and checked and rechecked their measurements, because if they made a mistake in their first markings of the design, the furrows would then be wrong and could not be erased and that would mean the design would be wrong and the project would end in disaster.
As the day ended, Bill said he and I along with his son Miles would travel to the top of a four thousand foot mountain to the North the next day to see and film the design from there.
During that evening, I could only think of the adventure that awaited me the next day.
After nine days of working with temputures of 90 to 100 degrees, the quarter of mile size design we had been creating was almost complete. Bill decided that he and I and his son Miles would drive to the top of the mountain directly north of Mickey Basin to shoot video of the design from there that afternoon. I had to leave the next day and drive back to Boise, Idaho in preparation for flying home early the next day.
We decided that the afternoon sun would show the plowed furrows of the design best and Bill thought it would take us about three hours to reach the top and find the best place to film the design. He was sure he could find the way to the top because he had been there in years past exploring.
We left about 1:30pm driving in Bill’s truck thinking we would get to the top by 3:30 pm, shoot our footage and be back at camp before dark around six thirty.
Although the mountain was only a mile from where the design was being made we would have to travel twenty or so miles behind it before finding our way to the top. We left traveling on an old wagon trail for about twenty miles and got to the back of the mountain and found that the road stopped there.
We continued up and through sage brush around rock formations that were in our way until almost getting stuck on one of the big rocks. Bill decided to back track and find a better way many times. Traveling slowed as the terrain became more difficult. We reached the top about 5pm, two hours longer than we had thought. We spent another thirty minutes finding the right spot to view and shoot footage of the design.
Bill, Miles and I were excited to see the Sri Yantra design far below.
It was perfect and truly majestic. The crew looked like ants as they walked through the quarter of a mile design working.
Bill and I carried my camera and tripod and a full size car battery to the location we had picked to do the filming from. By the time I was ready to shoot it was about 5:45pm and the sun was near the edge of a mountain to the West. In a nonmountainous area sunsets can still be seen until 7:30 or 8:00 pm, but in the mountains at 6 pm the sun can already be below and behind the mountains.
It was still light and we could see the design, but when I powered up my camera and looked into the black and white viewfinder it was difficult to see. The light was dropping at a quicker pace with each passing minute. I did get my footage and we hurriedly packed and headed back down the mountain. The truck’s headlights showed the tire tracks we made coming up and that is what we followed. Several times I had to walk in front to lead the way down the mountain. It was precarious to say the least.
We pulled into our camp at 10:30 and were greeted by the crew, who had been getting worried about us. It was an adventure for sure.
Bill Witherspoon and I had left our camp in the Oregon Desert heading for the town of Burns 100 miles north to get needed provisions. After leaving Burns, Bill wanted to show me Steens Mountain southwest from there before returning to our camp at Mickey Basin. The view at 9000 feet high from the top of Steens Mountain was spectacular and being there was a great experience.
After a really interesting day of exploring the desert region west of the city of Burns, Oregon, my friend Bill and I headed back to our campsite deep in the Alvord Desert. The Alvord Desert area that was south and southwest of Burns, Oregon was a desolate desert region. There were a few ranches, but no gas stations or stores of any kind for 80 miles.
Once the sun dropped below the horizon and without a moon to shed some light, the night turned to complete darkness. Bill and I had left our camp about 8:30 in the morning and now found ourselves returning at about 10pm in total darkness.
Once off the 18 mile county-maintained dirt road, we began driving on a small sage brush lined wagon trail that would take us the 30 miles to our campsite at Mickey Basin. The only light came from our headlights.
I was glad Bill was driving, because even in daylight and with many side trails it was hard to find your way. After about five miles, Bill stopped and said he had made a wrong turn. I said, “Are you sure?” He said he was, because he could see the outline of a mountain to his right, and he was sure all mountains going to Mickey would be to his left. We turned around and drove back to a fork in the trail, and he turned to the left, and we were back on track. With more than 20 miles to go to our camp, Bill laughed and said we would not be lost again. Suddenly, something hit the side of the Subaru Wagon. Then, like a sudden rainstorm, jack rabbits began jumping in front of the car and hitting the sides in rapid succession. We stopped the car. Bill said that they must have been attracted by the lights. We started driving again and rabbits by the dozens continued to jump in front of the car and jump into the side of the car. Suddenly, a coyote jumped in front of the car and like the rabbits was killed instantly. Unbelievably this rampage of suicides continued for the next 10 minutes. I quit counting the hits after 75 and am sure the number of dead jack rabbits numbered closer to 100.
When we stopped next to Bill’s truck at the camp, the crew, who were waiting for us, saw the blood and rabbit hair in our bumper and grill. The Subaru would have to be run through a car wash for sure before I returned it at the airport. Everyone agreed that they had never heard of a freak of nature like this before. One for the books, for sure.
After five days in the desert, I was ready to go on a day trip with my friend Bill to get more food supplies. Tools and aluminum wire were needed to complete the majestic design that was being created in the desert. Miles, Bill’s son, would stay with the crew working while we were gone.
Bill and I loaded a couple of ice chests, two 5 gallon gas cans, my camera gear and my equipment batteries into my rented Subaru SUV. My batteries were out of power and Bill was sure we could charge them at the hardware store in Burns where we were going. I had been charging some of them using Bill’s truck battery, but that was problematic. The truck had to be running to do it, and gas was a priority because the nearest gas station was 100 miles away.
We left at 8:30am as the crew walked out into the lake bed to begin their work. We got to the Mann Lake Ranch road on the county-maintained dirt road about 10am and headed for the hard road another 18 miles that would take us to Burns.
Bill and I had a great time talking about the project and his excitement of seeing it come together. He was also excited to take me to Steens Mountain after we left Burns. Steens Mountain was the highest point in the desert, and he was pretty sure from its height of 9000 feet that we may very well be able to see Mickey Basin where our camp was 50 miles across the desert floor below it.
We arrived in Burns at about 12:30pm, got the aluminum wire and the new tools, plugged in my batteries and headed to the local grocery store. After the ice chests were packed, we picked up my charged batteries and gassed up. Bill suggested to my delight that we stop and get a milk shake and burger before heading to Steens Mountain… Oh yeah, real food.
Steens Mountain was almost 100 miles from Burns to the West. After driving about 70 miles on a hard road, we turned on a dirt road that would take us up the mountain to the top. The dirt road was well maintained, and we got to the top at about 4pm. The sun was already in the Western sky. The view was breathtaking, with clouds you could almost touch above and blue sky and more white puffy clouds that stretched for what Bill said was 80 or more miles. I took still pictures here and some great video footage of Bill that I was sure could be used in his art video.We stayed for most of an hour before leaving.
As we drove down the mountain, Bill said he knew a lookout point where we could stop, rest and meditate before heading back to camp. Later, as we reached the hard road, night fell and our headlights were the only source of any light. We never passed another car or saw another light. Even though we were on the hard road, we were in the desert away from real civilization. As we passed the Mann Ranch Road and reached the wagon trail, I was happy Bill was driving. There was no moon and everything was black except what was being illuminated by our headlights.
To rent or purchase our film visit: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/sriyantra
The fourth day in the desert started out much like the day before. Bill prepared the same exact food, and we began drinking what was left of our water. It was decided that we would go to a spring Bill knew about 2 miles from where we were after we stopped work for the afternoon in order to bathe and fill our water containers.
Shortly after we began our work that day, Bill looked up to see a dust trail heading in our direction about 3 miles away. Bill, Miles and I, who were closer to the dust trail than the rest of the crew, began to walk in that direction. Just then, Bill said, “Looks like a motorcycle! We must stop him before he goes through the design!”
We raced to the edge of the circles just as he reached the dry lake bed a mile from us. We ran further toward him, waving our arms in the air and jumping up and down.
It was a man on a motorcycle, and he slowed and came to where we were standing. He stopped and turned off the motorcycle. Bill said,“Hello, we wanted to stop you before you ran through a design we are making here. The man was dressed in brown overalls and wore a vintage brown leather pilot’s cap. He looked like he had stepped out of a “Mad Max” movie.
“Hi, my name is John Kasher, and I have a ranch on the other side of the mountains. I’m scouting for desert deer.”
He looked past us, but of course, he saw nothing but a few lines and asked us what we were making. Bill explained that it was a carving of an ancient Hindu design.
The fellow who was short on words said, “Okay, I’ll go towards the mountain and cross the lakebed there.”
He kick started his vintage motorcycle, waved and left in a dust cloud heading north and away from the design. In minutes he disappeared into the sage brush and behind the mountain to the North.
All was saved and as we walked back to our work, Bill said, “That’s the first time I have ever saw anyone out here. I’ll have to ask my friend who has the ranch east of here across the mountains about that fellow.”
That afternoon we bathed in the spring Bill took us to and filled our water containers. We again began working on the Sri Yantra design that afternoon and worked until about 10pm. The crew was sure most of the marking
would be completed by the end of the next day. Everyone was eager to begin the carving using the garden plow. Bill had fastened it with a blade that would cut 10 inch furrows and spread the dirt on each side of it at just the right angle.
Bill told his friends that he and I would be driving back to Burns in the morning to pick up more food supplies and more aluminum wire needed and that we would be gone most of the day. Another evening in the desert ended under a full moon.
I was there in the desert to gather video footage for a video that would showcase my friend Bill Witherspoon’s art work. When he called me in May
and said he wanted me to go to the Oregon Desert, I was very excited. He said it would be an adventure and talked about camping for weeks. He did say three of his artist friends would be there to help, but I didn’t realize what they would be doing. Bill, I knew, had gone to the desert many times to paint landscapes and skies, and I thought that was what he and his friends would be doing on this trip. What I found out once there was that he and his friends would be creating a giant design, not painting.
There are many incredible pieces to the gigantic puzzle that was before us. A lot of it had to do with how this quarter of a mile square design was created, and why it was being made. For sure, the entire design had to be marked by using a light number one pencil before applying a black Sharpie to it. The light pencil could be erased, but the Sharpie would be permanent and could not be removed.
The most incredible part of doing the construction was that at no time during the creation of the design could any of us see the whole design from the ground level. At most, you could see a city block size view of the lines just marked or carved. The crew would study the blueprints and review geometric formulas Bill had calculated before every new element of the creation was marked.
This beautiful, yet complicated, design had to be exact. Bill had read ancient Indian sanskrits from thousands of years ago that gave specific instructions regarding the steps necessary to create the design regardless of its size. If at any time the creation was not being correctly made, lines of its form would not coincide with added lines, and it could not be completed.
Every day was much like the day before except that the design was getting larger and larger. The crew worked in pairs and then together at times and were constantly on the move. This was an extraordinary project on any level, created by hand and under extreme conditions. Although I was there and helped from time to time, I had no idea how they were making it to perfection.
Early in the marking of the design, the crew marked the outermost circles of it. This had to be completed before the marking of the triangles and pedals inside of it. The outer circles were actually four equal circles about 6 feet apart and would be three miles in length from their start to finish; its diameter would be a quarter of a mile across. The crew of four, each tied together with wires and marking poles connected to the center pole, started their work to make the circle. I set up my camera at the start point to record their work. As they went from left to right, moving further and further away to a point which was a quarter of a mile from me, they looked like black specks across the dry lake bed. More than two hours later they returned to the end mark exactly on line from where they had started.
To rent or purchase the film go to: vimeo.com/ondemand/sriyantra