WHAT ARE CROP CIRCLES
Crop circles are large circular depressions or patterns that appear overnight in the middle of grain fields (mostly wheat and corn) when the crop is quite high. The phenomenon has spawned its own science: cereology. Crop circles is also part of the UGM category (Unusual Ground Markings), which also include “tripod marks”, saucer nests,burn marks, etc.
Most crop circles have been found in the southeast of England since the early 1980s, but others have been reported in the United States and
Europe. Some have been exposed as hoaxes, but others remain unexplained. Crop circles range in diameter from as small as 3 metros (10 feet) to over 100 metros (315 feet). They appear overnight, and no tracks leading up to them are found, suggesting some external force from above is responsible. Visually, the stems are partially flattened, and entangled or intertwined. The plants are all bent and face the same direction, clockwise or counter clockwise. The crops are never damaged, broken, or show signs of forced bending. The plants continue to grow normally throughout the rest of their growing cycle. UFO sightings, moving orange lights, “whooshing” or warbling sounds usually preceed the formations of circles.
For the UFO crowd, the circles are signatures left behind by visiting spaceships. For mother-earth mystics, they’re the manifestations of deep waves of natural energy. For psychics, they’re the conscious results of remote-viewing experiments. For fringe physicists, they’re the tracks of ionized plasma whirlwinds. But the most likely is that the pranksters or circlemakers are human that take fun in building such weird circles. As yet no conclusive evidence has been found for any of these theories
CROP CIRCLES HISTORY
One of the earliest reports was in Lyon in 815AD, and a late 16th Century woodcut depicts the devil mowing a field into patterns. They began to appear in significant numbers in the fields of southern
England in the mid-1970s. Early circles were quite simple, and simply appeared, overnight, in fields of wheat, rape, oat, and barley. The crops are flattened, the stalks bent but not broken. As the crop circle phenomenon gained momentum, formations have also been reported in Australia, South Africa, China,
Russia, and many other countries, frequently in close proximity to ancient sacred sites. For the thousands reported every year, the vast majority go completely undetected. Most of the complex formations occur in the
United Kingdom and they are also more likely to be detected because of the country’s smaller land mass.
Over the last 25 years, the formations have evolved from simple, relatively small circles to huge designs with multiple circles, elaborate pictograms, and shapes that invoke complex non-linear mathematical principles. Since the early 1990s, however, the phenomenon has grabbed world attention, as the formations evolved into enormous, increasingly mathematically complex and perfectly executed shapes appearing in fields, often near the sacred sites of Wiltshire.
The largest to date, a perfectly formed spiral formation 244 metres in diameter, composed of 409 circles covering almost the entire field, appeared overnight on a rainy night at Milk Hill in Wiltshire Aug. 12, 2001.
The movie Signs, starring Mel Gibson, while universally scorned by serious crop circle researchers, nevertheless renewed interest in crop circles after years of the phenomenon being dismissed in the media as a sophisticated hoax, following the announcement of two elderly landscape painters named Doug Bower and Dave Chorley who confessed in 1991 that they had been making crop circles in English grain fields since the 1970s after reading about the Tully, Australia Saucer Nest of 1966. The truth is that they were both unable to draw a decent crop circle in daytime and to remember the exact location of their exploits.
WHERE TO FIND CROP CIRCLES
Each year more than 100 formations appear in the fields of southern
England. About 10,000 crop circles have been documented worldwide since records began to be kept in the ’70s. Not including this year’s formations, England tops the list with around 1,784, followed by the U.S. with 228, Canada with 135, Germany with 105, Australia with 71, the Netherlands with 62, Hungary with 23 and Japan with 19, most of them appearing in rice paddies. Dozens of other countries on every continent have also reported small numbers of simple formations.
Wiltshire County, UK is the acknowledged center of the phenomenon. The county is home to some of the most sacred Neolithic sites in Europe, built as far back as 4,600 years ago, including
Stonehenge, Avebury, Silbury Hill, and burial grounds such as West Kennet Long Barrow. Some pretend that crop circles are usually aligned with ley lines, so you may discover new crop circles by following the lines
In 1991 two retired lanscape painters Englishmen, Doug Bower and Dave Chorley, proclaimed they were responsible for all the crop circles in
England since 1978, starting as a joke to make people think UFOs were landing.
They demonstrated their technique for the cameras with a 1.2-metre board attached to a rope they hung around their necks. One held one end of a string in the centre to determine the radius while the other held the other end and stomped down the plants with the board. Newspapers and TV stations around the world trumpeted the solution to the crop circle mystery.
Since Doug and Dave’s “retirement” in 1991, another generation of hoaxers has appeared. The only group to go public calls itself the Circlemakers (http://www.circlemakers.com). They have not taken credit for any one formation in particular, except a few commercial exhibitions (Mitsubishi, Weetabix) and a couple of television programs (History Channel, …), saying that revealing which circles they’ve created would ruin the mystery and appreciation for what they call their “land art.” To date, they have not responded to numerous challenges to reproduce any of the complex formations in front of witnesses.
John Lundberg leader of the Circlemakers, considers their practice an art. Lundberg estimates that there are three or four dedicated crop circle art groups operating in the
United Kingdom today, and numerous other small groups that make one or two circles a year more or less as a lark. Two phenomena appear to be pushing the evolving art.
To combat a widely promulgated theory that the circles were the result of wind vortices—essentially mini-whirlwinds—crop artists felt compelled to produce ever more elaborate designs, some with straight lines to show that the circles were not a natural phenomenon, said Lundberg. The other impetus is true of all art forms: Artists influence one another, and designs evolve in response to what has been done before.
The crop circle season extends from roughly April to harvesting in September, although the best time to make a circle is in mid to late June. When still immature, wheat rises back toward the sun, making a circle look brushed rather than flattened, said Lundberg.
While the relationship between crop artists and cereologists is uneasy, the relationship between artists and farmers is mutually beneficial. Farmers provide the canvas, the artists bring in the tourists. The circles are a major tourist attraction, spawning bus tours, daily helicopter tours, T-shirts, books, and other trinkets. The circles draw people who believe the formations have a unique energy. They visit the formations as a sort of spiritual
Mecca, to meditate, pray, dance, and commune with worldly spirits. Farmers frequently charge a small fee or have a donation box for people who want to enter the circles. In 1996 a circle appeared near
Stonehenge and the farmer set up a booth and charged a fee, collecting 30,000 pounds (U.S. $47,000) in four weeks. The value of the crop had it been harvested was probably about 150 pounds ($235).
HOW TO MAKE CROP CIRCLES ?
Anybody can make a crop circle with simple tools. The only tools you need are rope, boards or metal pipes and a willing crew. Here is a common way of making crop circles.
1 A stake is hammered into the field at the center of the area where the circle will be created.
2 A rope is tied to the stake and stretched to the edge of the circle.
3 A crew member at the end of the rope makes a perimeter by walking in a circle around the stake.
4 Boards or heavy pipes are then dragged over the crop to flatten plants within the space.
5 Outside the new circle, rings can be made by leaving sections of the crop undamaged.