Crop circles are large patterns that appear in fields of wheat, rye, barley and similar crops. The patterns can be intricate geometric, circular or abstract and are usually formed when the stems of the crop are broken at ground level or at node points and flattened to the ground in the same direction.
While some crop circles can be explained, others remain a mystery. The crop circles that cannot be proven to be man-made often exhibit peculiar characteristics that are difficult or impossible to duplicate.
The First Crop Circles: Work of the Devil
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The earliest recorded account of a crop circle was in the 17th century. A woodcut image portrays a devil cutting circles in a field with a scythe. The accompanying pamphlet explained that the farmer was furious with the price the mower was charging for his work and said he would rather have “the devil himself” do the mowing. As the story goes, that night the crop lit up as if it were on fire. In the morning there was a crop circle, courtesy of Satan.
Crop Circles Blamed on UFOs
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As time went on, people started seeing lights in the sky that they could not explain. Finally Satan was cleared of the crop circle mischief and the blame was placed squarely on aliens and their spaceships. To this day, crop circles are often associated with UFO sightings. In 1966, in Tully, Queensland, Australia, a farmer said he saw a flying saucer rise 30 to 40 feet up from a swamp. When the craft was gone, the spot where it had landed had reeds woven clockwise on top of the water.
The video above purports to be raw footage of UFOs creating crop circles. The camera is shaky right up until the action begins and it lines up perfectly to film a focused clips of flying saucers zapping fields. Judge the authenticity for yourself. UFO hoaxes are incredibly common.
Many of those who believe flying saucers created crop circles also believe that the patterns in the fields are actually messages from an intelligent life form – perhaps a warning about the environment and the fate of the planet we call home.
The Phenomenon Spreads
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In the 1970s many crop circles popped up across the English countryside. By the 1980s the phenomenon became more widely publicized and crop circles appeared around the world.
Early crop circles were generally simple circular patterns. However, as time passed the designs became more intricate and symetrical and some even have 3-D effects from a bird’s eye view.
Man-Made and Crop Circle Hoaxes
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In 1991 two men announced they were responsible for crop circles and that the idea had been a prank they thought up in a pub back in 1976. Doug Bower and Dave Chorley demonstrated how they used only four-foot planks, rope, hats and wire to create flattened crop circles.
John Lundberg founded Circlemakers.org in 1995 and his group has proven that “authentic” crop circles can, in fact, be faked. Matt Ridley, another crop circle maker, has written about simple techniques used to create crop circles that fool even the “experts.” Instructions on how to create crop circles are widely available online and crop circle competitions are regularly held in the UK.
Advertisers have also gotten in on the crop circle action. Now crops that are regularly seen from the air are valuable ad space and custom-color crop designs cover the fields.
Too Complex to Be Man-Made?
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Despite plenty of evidence and confessions of crop circle makers, some people still believe they are an unexplained phenomenon. The argument is often made that the designs are too complex and perfectly executed to be man-made.
Crop Circle Research
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The Discovery Channel commissioned five aeronautics and astronautics students from MIT in 2002 and asked them to create crop circles. Crop circle researcher Nancy Talbott consulted with the Discovery team and advised that there are three common identifiers that set “real” crop circles apart from man-made or faked ones.
According to Talbott, unexplained crop circles feature elongated apical plant stem nodes, expulsion cavities in the plant stems and the presence of 10–50 micrometre diameter magnetized iron spheres in the soils, distributed linearly. The team failed to create a crop circle that met these three requirements.
Recent Crop Circles
(images via: ufo-reports)
In 2009, there have been many new crop circles reported across Europe. One of the most notable was a 600ft jellyfish that stretched across a barley field in Oxfordshire. It was one of the largest and most unusual crop circle designs seen to date. Is this a message from another galaxy, a warning to protect our planet – or simply a reminder from other residents of earth? You decide.