Crop Circles

Crop circles
are flattened areas found in farmer’s fields that often form intricate patterns and are frequently of undetermined origin.

A woodcut from the 17th century called the "Mowing-Devil" is often cited as the earliest known crop circle but in fact is nothing of the sort. It is simply a rendition in picture form of the sentiments of a farmer, who angered by a laborers' excessive wage demands, stated in a pamphlet the image appeared in, that he would prefer “that the Devil himself should mow his oats." The farmer's field was apparently set afire that night possibly the work of the aggrieved laborer.

Modern day crop circles are far more complex than the straightforward oval seen in the woodcut. First appearing throughout the English countryside in the late 1970s, they have now become a worldwide phenomenon appearing in many geographically diverse countries, including Hungary, Russia, Canada, the United States, Brazil, Japan and Australia.

Modern day crop circles also seem to have an affinity for the media: Increased coverage equals an increase in crop circles. A fact which was seemingly confirmed when nocturnal pranksters Doug Bower and Dave Chorley confessed in 1991 that they had come up with the idea in 1978 while having a beer in a local pub. Loving the speculation and controversy their machinations engendered spurred them on to create patterns of ever increasing complexity. The hoax was finally brought to an end when Bower admitted to his wife and later to a British newspaper that he was the perpetrator. Bower afterwards stated that if his wife hadn’t begun to suspect him of adultery, due to the late night outings, he would have taken his secret to the grave.

In Hungary two teenagers were sued by the owners of a wheat field after creating a crop circle that attracted thousands of visitors. A few weeks after perpetrating the dastardly deed, they had appeared on television and revealed how easily they had duped the public using only the simplest of tools. The television show paid the fine.

In a new twist, crop circle competitions are now being held with prizes for the most innovative designs.

Even if the majority of crop circles are man-made there is a significant number for which there is no logical explanation, at lest so say the true believers who then offer their own exotic theories. Ideas include the paranormal, UFOs, lightning bolts, whirlwinds, messages from Gaia-Earth and messages from the stars.

It has even been suggested somewhat tongue in cheek, that crop circles are the logos of galactic corporations and Earth is in the middle of some sort of gigantic advertising blitz.

Are crop circles real, well all joking aside much of the latest evidence by scientists and other researchers would seem to indicate they aren’t? John Macnish, a BBC producer and author of “Crop Circle Apocalypse” certainly doesn't think so. The final nail coming when Doug Bower and Dave Chorley passed all the tests imposed on them by the self-professed open-minded investigator, thereby proving conclusively, at least to his mind, that their were no features of crop circles which could not be reproduced by a dedicated hoaxer. Where the rest of us stand on the issue is a matter of individual choice. The sad fact is, however, that no matter how incontrovertible the evidence, truth is often a commodity too costly for many to purchase.

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