Crop circles first appeared in the West Country of England in the 1960s, soon after the first sightings of UFOs made headlines all over the world. These huge, incredibly beautiful patterns appeared in food crops overnight. With them, came reports of strange flashing lights, unusal sensations when walking in the middle of one and lots of furious farmers.
Since first appearing in England, crop circles soon migrated all over Europe and then across the pond to America. The usual explanation was that these intricate mandala-like patterns were the result of extra-terrestrial influences or other paranormal activities. Other theories included dust devils, rowdy hedgehogs and secret government experiments. The circles were just too perfect and too intricate to be made by someone at ground level. How could someone on the ground make a huge crop circle becaue the only way to see it is by air?
Quite Easily, In Fact
Crop circles are a human art form very similar to graffiti. It is meant to shock and to make to think and look at a mundane object like a the side of a building or a barely field in another way. Crop circles should be seen as yet another proof of the genius of human creativity, rather than assuming that we are all too dumb and too close-minded to think up such lovely works of art.
Crop circles have proved to be man-made time and time again. The first crop circle makers are thought to be Doug Bower and Dave Chorley, who decided to make an elaborate prank and artform at the same time. Who knows how many pints of beer when tinto the planning. When those two finally spoke out and showed how they did it, other crop circle makers slowly began to admidt their nocturnal activities. There were even several crop circle making competitions in Europe during the 1990s.
But why did it take so long to speak up when everyone was crying “UFO!” It was because they could not afford the fines for all of th edestroyed crops. They also did not want to spoil some people’s fun.
There is a strange sense of wonder to let the crop circle urban legend just keep on rolling at its own pace. It seemed to not only give the crop circle makers a good laugh, but give the viewers pleasure at indulging in their own beleifs, no matter how illogical they were. If the beleifs were giving pleasure and not huring anyone, then perhaps these was some logic to them.
Another part of the art of crop circles are the stories that people spin in their imaginations about how they were made. Although on one hand it might be sad to hear about people claiming only aliens are intelligent enough to make crop circles, the stories of their alien artist theories are very creative in an of themselves. In one sense, I’d love to see proof of life on other planets, but crop circles are not that proof.
When In Wiltshire…
This writer lived for a few years in Somerset near the Wiltshire border from 200 – 2005. Wiltshire seems to be a magnet for crop circle artists, whether the artists are those that make the circles or those that spin the stories about the possible making of those circles. I met quite a lot of people who were firmly convinced that humans had nothing to do with some crop circles. When I pointed out that the Discovery Channel gave very detailed instructions on how to make your own crop circle, I received such angry responses that I just shut my mouth and agreed with whatever they said.
I haven’t mentioned anything about crop circles until now, more or less safely ensconced in America.
But I should not scoff at those those who are convinced that aliens made the crop circles. They are freely expressing their creativity in a way that, as a professional writer, I do envy. The magic of crop circles are not in how they are made, but in how they are seen in the eyes of the beholder.
Crop Circle Contest. Science Frontiers Online. No. 83: Sept -Oct. 1992. http://www.science-frontiers.com/sf083/sf083g13.htm
“The Truth Behind Crop Circles.” (2010) National Geographic. http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/episode/crop-circles-4549/Overview
“Crop Circles: Mysteries in the Fields.” (2002) Discovery Channel. http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2002/crops-1009.html