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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Crop Circles - A Simple Guide

What are crop circles?

Definition: Crop circles are sizeable patterns created by the flattening of crops such as wheat, barley, rye, or maize.

Crop circle theories

There are a few trains of thought of what causes crop circles...

Man Made: In 1991, self-professed pranksters Doug Bower and Dave Chorley stated that they had started the phenomenon in 1978 by making actual circles on crops with the use of simple tools such as ropes and planks.  

Weather phenomena: (taken from wikipedia)
Some people have suggested that crop circles are the result of extraordinary meteorological phenomena. This hypothesis probably originated from a 1880 publication in nature by investigator and amateur scientist John Rand Capron. Part of the publication reappeared in the January 2000 issue of Journal of Meteorology:

The storms about this part of Western Surrey have been lately local and violent, and the effects produced in some instances curious. Visiting a neighbour's farm on Wednesday evening (21st), we found a field of standing wheat considerably knocked about, not as an entirety, but in patches forming, as viewed from a distance, circular spots... I could not trace locally any circumstances accounting for the peculiar forms of the patches in the field, nor indicating whether it was wind or rain, or both combined, which had caused them, beyond the general evidence everywhere of heavy rainfall. They were suggestive to me of some cyclonic wind action...

Paranormal: Some people believe they are messages from extraterrestrials. Other theories are they are a meteorological phenomena or something to do with ley lines.

Animals: In 2009 it was discovered that wallabies in Tasmania that were high from eating poppies were running around in circles creating crop circles. I think its safe to say that is not the cause of most crop circles ;-)

Personally, I tend to lean toward them being man-made but some are so complex that its baffling to think how people could make these in such a short time without being seen, although not impossible of course.
Its easy to pass them off as man-made due to the admission of Doug Bower and Dave Chorley amongst many other people who admit they've created crop circles. But what about the crop circles that were around before those two? Above is the 1880 account and here below could be the first account of a crop circle.

Crop Circles in History (from Crystalinks)

No one knows how far back in history they go. Allegedly, the earliest recorded crop circle is depicted in this 1647 woodcut called the Mowing-Devil.

This image depicts a strange creature creating a circular design in a field of corn. The legend suggests that the farmer, disgusted at the wage his mower was demanding for his work, insisted that he would rather have the devil himself perform the task. Proponents of the belief that crop circles are either naturally caused, or are formed by as yet unknown entities, often support their viewpoint with this old tale. It is worth noting, however, that this is little more than a tale - the circular formation supposedly caused by the creature may be coincidental, or may have been caused by any number of natural or human processes.

So, are crop circles one big hoax or something more?

Where are crop circles seen? How come not many are reported in some countries and more in others?

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