Crop Circle Theories

Crop circles are found in fields of grain – wheat, canola, corn, and more. These crops are flattened, often in circular patterns. Colin Andrews, a researcher, coined the phrase “crop circles” after studying circles found in farmers’ fields.

Crop circles can be found around the world. There are several explanations for them. Some of these explanations are paranormal, while others seek more naturalistic explanations like hoaxes, geological anomalies, and more. Today,it is believed that most circles are man-made; however, there are some that still defy description.

The earliest-known information on crop circles comes to us from a 1678 pamphlet. Entitled the Mowing Devil, this woodcut image shows the devil creating a circle in the field of oats. Further investigations took place in 1880, when an amateur scientist named John Capron described unusual storms and strange crop circles that seemed indicative of cyclonic wind action.

In 1966, a farmer in Queensland, Australia witnessed a UFO rise from a swamp before flying away. Upon investigating, the farmer found woven reeds on top of the water. These woven reeds easily held 10 men. Since then, around 12,000 crop circles have been discovered around the world.

Early crop circles were simple circular patterns; those occurring before the year 2000 seem to have been created using sacred geometry. Crop circles which occur after 2000 are more complex, often including mathematical designs called fractals. Some of these circles have been identified as hoaxes, and the creators have admitted such. Interestingly, after each new admission, the number of crop circles in the area skyrocketed.

In 1991, two Englishmen named Dave Chorley and Doug Bower admitted to their part in the hoax. Using ropes, planks, and wire, they were able to create a 40 Foot Circle within 15 minutes. Frustrated at the lack of publicity for their early work, they expanded into more complex patterns. Their crop circles became more complex. It wasn’t until Bower’s wife began to suspect him of having an affair that the two men confessed. Although Chorley died in 1996, Bower continues to make his circles – the most recent was created in 2004.

Since that time, others have confessed to creating crop circles. In 1992, there was even a competition in Berkshire. The winning team consisted of three engineers used rope, PVC pipe, a ladder, and a trestle.

In 1992, 2 high school students created a 36-meter crop circle in a field southwest of Budapest, Hungary. After admitting the hoax, they were subsequently sued by the owners of the land, who alleged damages to the crop. Most of the damage was actually done by thousands of visitors who flocked to the field after intense media promotion. Eventually, the TV show responsible for the interviews paid the fine and the students’ legal fees.

Despite the number of people who have admitted to fraudulently creating crop circles, many others believe that some designs are too perfect and must have a supernatural origin. Some believe that unusual tornadoes, ball lightning, and other meteorological phenomena have created crop circles. To others, especially the New Age crowd, these crop circles have been created by UFOs.

In the end, it remains a mystery.

1678 pamphlet on the Mowing-Devil.
A crop circle consisting of multiple circles. Courtesy Wikipedia.