(Investigator 135, 2010
mysterious patterns appearing in grain fields all over the world, but
more particularly in the southern and western counties of England in
the 1980s. Although first publicized about 15 years ago, in the last
few years the number of circles has increased dramatically.
usually geometrically precise, the stalks being flattened without being
broken, in a clockwise or anti¬clockwise direction. They vary in
diameter from a few metres to as much as 60 metres, some surrounded by
narrow rings, others have four or more satellite circles or "spots"
around the perimeter.
circles have been discovered — geometric patterns of several circles
and straight lines; pictograms resembling abstract or archaic
alphabets, and insectograms — stick like figures resembling insects or
"little green men." The phenomenon has baffled scientists,
meteorologists and psychic investigators alike, and organizations have
been formed specifically to investigate these bizarre appearances.
investigation, thirty circle fans camped out using the latest
technological equipment and discovered nothing. In another, two men
watched in relays, twenty-four hours a day for three weeks. Despite
their vigil, a circle formed near them unseen by the watchers. Even air
surveillance has thrown no light on the subject and a plausible
explanation had yet to be offered.
and undocumented reports, the appearance of some of the circles have
coincided with strange noises and lights, others tell of unearthly
substances and malfunctioning photographic equipment when the
investigator has entered the circle.
advanced to explain the patterns include alien visitors, downdrafts
from helicopters, a fungus, a spiraling ball of air coming down to the
ground and a "plasma vortex" — an unknown type of precisely localized
whirlwind carrying rotating electrically charged particles. The latter
postulation by an amateur meteorologist, Dr. Meaden (1990), of the
Tornado and Storm Research Organization, is considered by many to be a
researcher, Mr George
Wingfield, of the Centre for Crop Circle Studies, believes that because
the circles are so perfect there must be an intelligence directing
their creation, they are not a natural phenomenon.
to be gaining popular acceptance. The idea that the circles are created
by a superior intelligence or are signs to warn those on earth of
pending disaster, sits well with those people looking for evidence to
reinforce their belief in the existence of extraterrestrial
civilizations and alien visits to our planet. However, it is
significant that the patterns only appear in open fields and not on the
sides of hills, across ditches, hedges and other boundaries, and
further, a study of the photographs taken of the patterns will show
that in all cases there is a path, furrow or farm machinery track
leading into all corn fields which would allow ingress and egress for a
person on the ground to make the pattern. To me this suggests a hoax.
one hundred circles
were reported between 1918 and 1979, and in 1989, three hundred and
three were documented. The greatest proliferation of circles has
occurred in the English counties of Wiltshire and Hampshire (over 200
were found in 1991), and while there may have been many anecdotal and
undocumented reports of associated lights, noises and strange
happenings accompanying the appearance of a new pattern, no hard
evidence has been forthcoming.
hypotheses put forward by some theorists, it should be borne in mind
that many of the investigators belonging to or who have convened
organizations to examine the phenomenon, seek only to support their own
prejudices, their theories being based on conjecture and a
predisposition to believe in the untenable. Typical are those who claim
that the circles are formed by alien space craft landing in the fields,
or that they are messages from extraterrestrial intelligences.
former can be
dismissed in view of the diversity of shapes and sizes and the absence
of any accompanying visual sightings, and the second I would consider
to be an insult to any extraterrestrial civilization capable of
inter-galactic space travel. Why would the possessors of such advanced
technology resort to primitive pictographs to communicate with
earthlings when even a cursory reconnaissance of the planet would
reveal that we evolved beyond that stage millennia ago?
logic applied by some
"experts" to the origin of corn circles leaves much to be desired, one
claims that he can differentiate between a "genuine" circle and a
"hoax" circle because the hoax circles are too crude, then in the next
breath dismisses a circle as a hoax because it is too perfect!
formerly associate professor of physics at Dalhousie University,
Halifax, Canada, has made a study of the circles for thirty years. In
1974, he founded TORRO, the Tornado and Storm Research Organization,
and in 1988 CERES, the Circles Effect Research group. His theory that
circles were caused by vortices was initially considered to be a
plausible explanation, but in view of the many unsymmetrical and
multiple shapes and particularly the complete absence of meteorological
reports confirming such unusual atmospheric disturbances, this can be
downdraft from a
helicopter can be dismissed on several counts — the pattern shapes and
sizes, further, the extraordinary amount of air traffic and concomitant
aerobatics required to produce the patterns on an almost daily basis
would have surely incurred the ire of farmers and drawn media
attention. I would also rule out flying saucers on the grounds that
both in landing and take-off rocket propulsion would be used which
would be most unlikely to flatten the stalks in neat circles. The same
reasoning could be applied if the craft were powered by some
anti-gravity device. The fungus theory advanced by two biologists,
Michael Hall and Andrew Macara, credits a common fungus which lives
underground and attacks the roots of crops and spreads in a radial
fashion. While circles in lawns and pastures caused by the spreading of
the mycelia of certain fungi are common and popularly called fairy
rings, the odd shapes again tend to invalidate this theory.
dismiss the suggestion that crop circles are simply a hoax, when the
options are considered this is revealed as the most likely explanation.
How could it be done? One simple method is to drive a stake with a
length of string attached to it into the ground then starting at the
stake, the perpetrator holds the string and walks clockwise (or
anti-clockwise) around the stake gradually paying out the string and
working his way outwards. When the desired diameter is reached, the
string is wound up and the stake removed. Voila! A perfect crop circle!
proliferation of circles is explained by the fact that we all love a
good joke and can't wait to tell someone else, the same applies to a
simple hoax. Some enterprising farmers have got in on the act, making
their own circles and charging viewers a fee!
chapter the mystery of the circles appears to have been solved. Two
middle-aged British artists, Doug Bower and David Chorley, (1991), have
claimed responsibility for many of them. Mr Bower lived in Queensland,
Australia, from 1958 to 1966, and recalls reading a newspaper report in
1966, about a tractor driver in Tully, North Queensland, who claimed to
have seen a flying saucer ascending from a nest of swirled marsh-grass.
When he returned to England he and Mr Chorley decided to create their
own circles in 1976, "for a bit of a laugh." Thus the circles myth was
born of a prank.
of the interest
in UFOs at the time, they thought that if they created their own nest
in a wheat-field it would give the impression that something had landed
there. The publicity and speculation which followed the appearance of
the first circle added to the excitement.
years the pair perfected the technique of flattening crops in
increasing intricate patterns. They were amused when their efforts were
described as the work of a higher intelligence and researchers from
around the world began arriving to study the corn circles.
finally decided to
come clean when the government started to consider spending tax payers'
money on researching the phenomenon.
the exposure of
this hoax which has evidently been copied by other pranksters in
Britain and around the world, many people still believe that there is
proposed by George Wingfield of London's Centre for Crop Circle
Studies, and Pat Delago, author of three books on the subject, is that
of an international conspiracy — cover-up by the CIA, the French Secret
Service and the British Ministry of Defence to avert public hysteria.
the mind of the
Allen, Robin. 1994.
Cereology is Dead — Long Live Cereology! The Skeptic, Vol. 8.
No.1. and Vol. 8. No.2.
Andrews, C. &
Delgado, P. 1989. Circular Evidence. Bloomsbury. UK.
1990. Crop Circles — The Latest Evidence.
Fisher, D. 1990. "Crop
Circles." The British & Irish Skeptic. 4(2) 15¬-20.
Hempstead, Martin. 1992.
"Cereology: All You Need to Know About Crop Circles." the Skeptic.
Meaden, G.T. 1990. The
Circles Effect and Its Mysteries. Artetech.
___________ 1991. Journal of Meteorology. 16 (159) 163.
___________1991. Goddess of the Stones. Souvenir Press.
Randles, J. & Fuller,
P. 1989. Crop Circles: A Mystery Solved. Rupert.
Schnabel, Jim. 1993. Round in Circles. Hamish Hamilton. London.
Today 1991. "Men Who Conned the World" September 10, ppl-2,
[From: Edwards, Harry
c.1996 A Skeptic's Guide to the New Age]
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