Crop circles are the strange patterns that appear mysteriously overnight in farmers’ fields—provoke puzzlement, delight and intrigue among the press and public alike. The circles are mostly found in the United Kingdom, but have spread to dozens of countries around the world in past decades. The mystery has inspired countless books, blogs, fan groups, researchers and even Hollywood films. Crop circles and their mysterious origins have spawned years of debate and speculation about whether or not they are formed by aliens. Some people believe that crop circles are used as a message from a foreign species. That perhaps they represent some sort of alien language. Others believe that they are a hoax by people who wish to scare or stun the people who view them. But whatever the reason people believe what they do, crop circles have a long and vibrant history that has many legends swirling around it.
The first appearance of a crop circle was in England 1678. The “Mowing Devil” was the first reported incident of a crop circle, and the farmer who found the circle said that there was a devilish entity that visited his farm. That goes against the usual descriptions of crop circles because they are typically described as being patted down into the shape and not cut. Since then, many crop circles have popped up in the countryside of the United Kingdom, but throughout the years, crop circles have begun to appear in other countries. In 1966 in Australia, a farmer said that he saw a flying saucer leave a swampy area, and when he investigated the area he found a circular pattern lain into the reeds and swamp grass. The crops in his field were trampled or cut down in the shape of a circle. The circle was recorded on a wood engraving.
The theories on the origins of crop circles are wide and varied. One explanation in the 1980s said that they are formed from overactive hedgehogs. Another theory says that specific wind patterns to an area could cause the crop to lie down. One theory includes earth’s energy fields and meridians. The force of the energy on the land would cause the crop to fall. But many people who believe in an extraterrestrial origin think that aliens use their enhanced technology to send energy down from outer space to create patterns in the crop. Others still believe that spaceships are the cause for the varying patterns in the ground.
Benjamin Radford, a contributor for LiveScience, said that one case from the United Kingdom in 1991 had two men come forward and admit to creating hundreds of crop circles, which leads people to believe that mostly the circles’ origins are very human. They were inspired by the case in Australia, so they tried to blame the circles on UFOs. Many of the examples of crop circles being linked to UFOs gets confused about whether it’s really about the UFO or the crop circle. Like with the case in Australia, the legend becomes more about the sighting of a UFO or an alien spaceship than it is about the actual crop circle. It’s an interesting debate that is waged between believers in science and believers in the supernatural. Many people, like the man in Australia who allegedly saw a UFO by a crop circle, claim that they can see unusual light sources or flying objects near the place they find a circle. Others, and the vast majority of people who investigate crop circles, believe that it is pure science and trickery that form these circles.
At any rate, with the technology and advancements that we have in this day and age, it doesn’t seem so unlikely that a human could make such a sophisticated design in crops. Taylor notes that crop circle artists aren’t going to give up their secrets any time soon, either. Whether the creation is supernatural or not, the mystery behind the creation of the circles is still key to holding people’s interest in the designs. The human race has advanced by leaps and bounds in the last century and certainly has the capacity to develop technologies beyond our wildest dreams that could be the source of crop circles.