Most of us are somewhat familiar with the phenomenon of crop circles. They are formations that appear suddenly and mysteriously overnight. With the light of the morning sun, a farmer will notice that his crop field has been turned into a work of art. News reporters will flock to the sight to get footage of the mystery. Scientists and researchers will arrive to study the formation and determine if it is an authentic crop circle or a hoax, and people will flock to the sight to feel the energy emanating from the site and discuss what could possibly be responsible for the formation.
Energy fields? A mysterious weather phenomenon? Aliens? Or, are crop circles simply another form of human expression, created under the secrecy of darkness? Historically, crop circles have been described as far back as the late 17th century. However, they became more prominent in the 1980’s, and the numbers of crop circles appearing since then has steadily increased over the years. As the years have progressed, the artistic content of the crop circles has also progressed. In the 1980’s most crop circles were just that – circles.
Today, crop circles are created that portray everything from spider webs to elements of quantum physics. It is also interesting to note that 90% of reported crop circles appear in southern England (Silva, A brief, par 3). There are two camps existing when it comes to crop circle formation. There are those who believe that crop circles have some spiritual meaning or power and that they are created by beings or a force more powerful and knowledgeable than mankind. Then there are those who believe that they are strictly man-made, with the only meaning being of artistic value or to keep the mythology of crop circles alive.
What is it that causes people to believe crop circles are of a divine origin? There are several distinctions linked to authentic crop circles that people claim cannot be recreated by man. The most significant distinction is said to be the way in which the stalks are flattened. In hoaxes, some sort of object must be used to flatten the stalks, which leads to breakage of the stem. In authentic crop circles there is no damage to the stem, it is merely bent at a 90? angle. Researchers think that the plants have been subjected to a flash of extreme heat that changes the crystalline structure of the plant.
It has been stated that the plants will still continue to develop normally if left to mature. Another characteristic of authentic crop circles is the presence of high amounts of electromagnetism in the area. Electromagnetic fields occur naturally on earth, and in areas where the fields are abnormally high it has been reported to change brainwave patterns, resulting in “heightened states of awareness and healings. ” It is also not unusual for people to feel ill when they are near crop circles (Silva, A brief, par 10). Hoaxes are reported to lack these characteristics.
In addition, you will often be able to locate the post holes used to measure from the center of the circle, and with 60% of circles being created on rainy nights, footprints are easily distinguished (Silva, 1998). What proof exists that crop circles are man-made? In 1991, two Hampshire, England men confessed to the media that they were responsible for the creation of crop circles that had been appearing in the area for the past 12 years. They claim that the idea struck them one night as they were walking home from a pub, discussing the phenomena of UFO’s.
They thought it would be interesting to see what the public reaction would be if they flattened a large, perfect circle in the middle of a field. They had no idea the sensation it would cause in the media. Other individuals began making crop circles, and they gradually became more and more intricate (Case, pars. 5-6). Rob Dickinson and John Lundberg, members of a group of artists named “Circlemakers”, described what it was that drove them to create what some would call “hoaxes”. For Dickinson, it was “the gradual realization that the formations were the work of human hands” that led him to attempt making his own crop circle.
He claims that upon completion of his first crop circle, he felt that he had been mistaken in his conclusion because his crop circle was a “horrible mess”. However, days later he read in the local paper that his circle had been deemed “authentic” by a well-known local investigator. For Lundberg, it was simply an outlet to express himself artistically “outside the gallery walls”. He was also intrigued with having something he created being compared to the work of a “being of non-human origin” (Leaders, pars 4-6).
Dickinson and Lundberg have created a website that contains a “Beginner’s Guide” for circle making. The basic tools necessary are surveyors tape, a board 1 – 2 meters long with a rope attached at each end to form a single loop and a plastic garden roller. Tips are given on how to address the major points of crop circle authenticity, for example, the bent – not broken stems, how to approach the center of the intended formation without leaving a noticeable trail, and how to scout a location that is naturally high in electromagnetic energy.
Despite people like the Circlemaker members coming forward to admit their role in the making of crop circles, there remain a large number of people who continue to believe in the paranormal explanations. They maintain that while some crop circles are obviously man-made, that there are still differences in some formations that defy explanation. Perhaps they are correct, or perhaps it is simply that attempts to debunk a theory can make it even stronger to the people who wish to believe it. Works Cited
Beginner’s guide. Circlemakers. June 19, 2007. <http://www. circlemakers. org/guide. html> Case history. Circlemakers. June 19, 2007. <http://www. circlemakers. org/case_history. html> Leaders in the field. Circlemakers. June 19, 2007. <http://www. circlemakers. org/leaders. html> Silva, Freddy. A brief education of crop circles. June 19, 2007. <http://www. cropcircles. net/> Silva, Freddy (1998). NBC to lead new wave of crop circles debunking. June 19, 2007. <http://www. lovely. clara. net/crophoax_debrief. html>