In researching what is known about the phenomena, I have arranged my findings in order of least to the most peculiar.

Proceed at your own risk.

To begin with. . .

As with all such paranormal phenomena, two schools of thought invariably form in regard to the question of the true origin and nature of an event. There are those who tend to believe in a fantastic or supernatural cause, and those who believe that such events have mundane terrestrial solutions. Specifically, Crop Circles are believed to be created by either advanced life forms ‘not of this earth,' or by pranksters.

There is compelling evidence to support both arguments, and those arguments are quite furious.

One of the points made by those who believe circles to be of extraterrestrial origin is that it is unlikely that so many circles could be created world wide by hoaxers. Approximately 150 to 200 appear each year in England, and in the early nineties, the number was often between 250 to 350. While circles have been reported world wide, England is considered by far to experience the largest number of formations than any other country.

In researching the phenomenon, I discovered that false-circle making at the turn of the millennium remained a popular pursuit in England, akin in many ways to graffiti artwork, where artists use unique circle making signature techniques to identify their works, and where impressive circles are sometimes ‘tagged' by other artists; making their own small additions to an existing pattern in order to claim false ownership of a given creation. It would seem that such activity might explain the unusually large number of formations found in England as opposed to other parts of the world.

Using simple devices, (sticks and ropes, measuring tapes and poles stuck in the ground), it has been demonstrated on numerous occasions that even the most spectacular geometric crop circle formations can in fact be created in the dead of night in only a few hours by small groups of dedicated "crop circle artists". Simple psychological tricks as well as the addition of queer or even radioactive substances have been reported to have been included in the centers of formations in an effort to persuade crop circle researchers that a given creation hails from mystical sources. Often, crop circle researchers are eager to delude themselves with pre-biased and non-critical research, so that such tactics often prove successful. This combined with basic human ingenuity serve to make false circles very convincing.

This does not, however, reduce to mundane explanation all of the circle formations which have been documented. There have been reports of circles found in the snow on mountain sides, with no foot prints or visible means of getting to and from a site. 'Tram lines', the longitudinal lines in many crop fields made by farm vehicles and used by human circle makers to access a site without leaving tracks, are not always in evidence; some circles have appeared in fields where, as with the snow formations, there are no means for a hoaxer to approach without leaving tracks.

There have also been frequent reports of electrical equipment such as cell phones and various recording devices failing abruptly upon entering the perimeter of some formations. Cereal seeds found within formations which are considered to be authentic have been shown to be strangely crisped and dehydrated as compared with seeds found immediately outside the same formation. Plant stalks within formations considered authentic are reported to not have been broken, even in mature fields with thick and brittle stems, being rather bent at 90 degree angles at ground level. --In some circles, this happens at the cereal stalk's ‘knuckle' closest to the ground, while the stalks which make up secondary shapes in some patterns are bent at the second knuckle up the plant stem.

In some circles, where there is crisping, there are also 'blowouts' at the bend points resulting from the rapid heating of water in the stalks so that it steams and bursts the plant; an indication of a force perhaps similar to microwave energy being in evidence.

Black helicopters have been reported, photographed and video taped circling low over some crop formations indicating interest by whatever agency is responsible for black helicopters.

Seeds taken from circles considered to be genuine germinate in peculiar ways as compared to control seeds.

--These among other claims, would seem to suggest phenomena un-reproducible by hoaxers, though such reports may be of questionable value due to the personal biases of the researchers.

When it comes right down to it, the only reliable way to determine the truth of any such matter is to get out there yourself and be both as critically analytical and open-minded as possible.

In any case, these points are all fairly common knowledge.

The material I found to be new and most peculiar, however, was in a secondary layer of the information. It appears that many hoaxers have reported witnessing strange phenomenon while at work in creating their circles, including brilliant lights flashing, luminous objects hovering a few feet above the ground, and white floating disks appearing in photographs of completed circles shot during the day, --to name a few.

Prominent hoaxer, John Lundberg, through public notoriety as a circle maker, has been commissioned by numerous news agencies and corporate advertising interests to create crop formations for various purposes. He has convincingly explained how many of the formations researchers believed genuine were in fact created through simple and mundane technique, in some cases by his own group. Included here, however, are two quotes of his regarding paranormal events he claims to have witnessed:

"Part-way through the construction of the formation, there was a powerful burst of light; we all stopped, looked around, and after a bit of head scratching continued the formation. This was followed soon afterwards by an identical burst of light. I later described the experience as analogous to having a flash gun let off in my face, with the light blinding."

"I consider the circles we've put down to be genuine. There is no intention on our part to deceive. Our work generates response, often from other circle makers, and can sometimes act to catalyze a wide range of paranormal events. I still believe there is a genuine phenomenon, but I now also believe that we're a part of it."

As it happens, many hoaxers, including both, 'Dave and Doug,' (made infamous by world-wide media as the pair who originally came forward to claim responsibility for many crop circles), have histories of personally studying U.F.O. phenomena, and believe that there are real paranormal activities at work despite their own efforts to create misleading crop glyphs.

Now, one might be wise to keep in mind that those who make false circles are probably also capable of making statements like these with the intent to mislead and add to the air of excitement invoked by performing a successful hoax. However, if such statements are genuine in nature, it would suggest that hoaxers are not so terribly different from those they seek to fool. In any case, this only serves to add to the peculiarity of the crop circle phenomenon.

Anyway, as promised, I have saved the most exotic piece for last. This information originates from a channeled source, (see Cassiopeia), claiming to be a group of non-corporeal higher beings directly responsible for crop circles.

The Cassiopians explain that the crop patterns are a diary of events which detail through mathematics the current state of reality on our plane of existence, knowledge which they feel is of service to provide in what they describe to be the final years of life as we know it. This knowledge they explain is not so much an overt effort to communicate than to merely make available the possibility of learning to those with the tenacity to unravel the various puzzles involved. They claim that this action is required of them since sharing is their prime objective in existence, but that overt acts and communications are a way of compromising free choice, which is tantamount to breaking the most sacred law of Creation.

The circles themselves, they explain, are created through ‘electromagnetic field transfer.'

Further to their claim is that there are altogether three groups at work; 1. Themselves, 2. Hoaxers, and 3. The military in conjunction with malevolent higher beings with the intent of sowing fear and creating misleading data. --Those circles which damage the crops are considered to be works of either hoaxers or the military/alien group. Genuine circles, it is claimed, do not interrupt the life process.

Several film documentaries have been made regarding the Crop Circle phenomenon. One of the more elaborate was released In 2002, "Crop Circles, Quest for Truth" directed by William Gazecki. A fascinating addition to the film was a sequence where one of the crop circle researchers describes a frightening run-in with the CIA which threatened him and wanted him to recant his claims about the authenticity of crop circles.

So that's that; as complete a bit of Crop Circle research as I was able to compile. Take it as you will.

Crop circles are patterns made in fields of wheat or corn by enterprising artists and hoaxers. Only a few were made before the late seventies, by people who often wanted attention for their farm or town. In 1978 Doug Bower and David Chorley changed that by starting their thirteen year long series of circles in fields all over the UK. This work, along with that of other teams, would eventually attract thousands of believers and even spawn a new branch of pseudo-science, cereology, dedicated to its study.

For the first two years of Doug and Dave's work, hardly anybody noticed the circles or cared where they came from. Besides a few police reports called for by angry farmers, there simply wasn't any attention payed to them. Creating circles is a lot of work, taking six or more hours in the dark to complete, and after two years Dave was ready to quit due to disinterest. Fortunately, Doug figured out that in order for people to become interested in the circles, they had to be able to see them clearly and appreciate their largesse and layout. He found a field with an overlooking road, and the pair made a circle there one summer night. Twenty-four hours later their work paid off with massive crowds and television coverage.

Doug and Dave invented all of the methods they used to make the circles. They used wooden two-by-fours steadied by two ropes and pressed down upon with the feet to flatten the crops. For straight lines they would look through a wire loop attached to a baseball cap at a distant landmark or star, and move the two-by-four along while keeping the landmark steady. For small, filled-in circles they used wooden planks of different lengths pivoted around one edge. When larger circles or outlines were called for, they used a bucket filled with sand and a rope, tracing out the circumference of the circle with the rope making the radius. Doug and Dave were also accomplished watercolor painters, and spent much time perfecting the shapes that they would put into fields. Making crop circles became an art.

In 1991 the pair came clean, giving the Daily Mall copies of every design they'd made, every photograph they'd taken. It was truly a grand denouement, and the paper released it in a series of six issues. David Chorley died of cancer in 1997, after telling Doug Bower to continue trying to convince the world of the hoax. In 1999 Bower did a BBC special (then at age 74!) once again showing off his technique and trying to convince the world that the circles were, indeed, a hoax.

Of course, people who go for pseudo-science often aren't the types that are easily convinced by facts, and a few cereologists weren't too embarrassed to continue their study of the circles. Fortunately for them, teams of artists all over the world had picked up the crop circle meme, and began implementing their own circles in North America and Australia. Today the "mystery" continues, with teams creating subtle and mathematical designs and experts claiming the designs are far too subtle and mathematically precise to have been made by teams.

Essentially, by what is being said here, despite the 'extraterrestrial' connotations, almost everyone is benefitting from the creation of crop circles. Media gives attention, which benefits the farmer who cares for the land. The teams that are being paid for it get both money and another notch on their belts. Reporters covering it garner attention for themselves, especially in small towns.

So here's the real question... How are these teams bending the stalks in such a way that they don't break? Is it like working with reeds when weaving baskets? Do they wait until just after a nightly watering and then get busy? No one really knows and, in truth, there is only a select group that wants to.

A lot of people like the idea that there's something 'mysterious' out there, creating these things. They're curious enough without being too curious. They want to believe, but they refuse to go out and try to prove their beliefs to themselves. Or, they're just too lazy to go into the work that it would take to prove their own beliefs.

Some, like myself, believe that yes, there are other beings out there. However, I don't feel the need to try to prove this. It's a great big universe out there... who are we to say that we're the only ones in it?

Still, there are those who actively disbelieve such a thing. They're allowed since there's no die-hard evidence to prove it either way. The debate is just going to go back and forth in the meantime, with one group trying their hardest to discredit the other.

I'm sure the teams will continue on, like they have been, while the researchers will go on denying that the teams are doing things so well. It gives the farmers something to talk about and it gives the common man something to take his mind off his troubles.

Sounds good to me.

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