The Crop Circle Phenomenon
By Wiltshire Crop Circle Study Group
The Wiltshire Crop Circle Study Group was started in 1995 to study the phenomenon of crop circles and inform the public about what is happening in the fields of Wiltshire. This year we have recorded more than 60 formations most of them in close proximity to ancient monuments such as Avebury, West Kennett Longbarrow, Silbury Hill, the White Horses and in the Vale of Pewsey. For those new to the subject the study of crop circles started in 1980, although unusual impressions in crops and other vegetation have been noted throughout history. Much data has been accumulated since then. The number of recorded designs since the 80s exceeds 6,000 and seldom have there been any repeats, only expansions on themes already established or new designs altogether. They are found worldwide mostly in cereal crops, including maize, but also in any ground covers that can take an impression such as fields of vegetables, rice paddies, grassland, woodland (where trees are bent), sand, earth, ice and snow. Wiltshire in England is still the most active area for crop circles.
Over the years samples of thousands of plants and earth have been analysed in laboratories. The results show that the formation of crop circles generates an intense heat that makes the cells of the plants swell up and bend, and that transforms the composition of the soil. Based on these observations, scientists have concluded that crop circles appear within seconds, otherwise the fields would catch fire, especially at the end of the summer when the crops have turned to straw. Notwithstanding this, in great part due to negative media campaigns, many people still think that crop circles are made by people, but this assumption is supported neither by facts nor common sense. The documenting of this subject alone demands huge efforts, but it is nothing compared to what would be required to construct in the dark, often in bad weather, large numbers of huge, complex geometric shapes perfectly adjusted to the topography of the terrain, year after year, in a small, intensively watched area without anyone ever being detected.
In spite of twenty years of disinformation the phenomenon has persisted and the complexity of the designs has carried on evolving. In effect, we are at the receiving end of a transmission started in 1980 that is gradually intensifying. The patterns are meaningful and they can be deciphered through their geometry, mathematics and reference to ancient symbols and the resultant information is important for mankind at present.
The season started earlier than usual this year on 14 April in oilseed rape and swiftly progressed in barley. There is not enough room to explain every design, but we hope the small commentaries on the main pages will give our readers an idea of the intensity of this phenomenon.
2009 was a wonderful year. More formations were officially open to the public than ever before, with many farmers requesting donations and welcoming visitors to the designs and this system was most appreciated by those wanting to explore the circles for themselves.
Formations of special interest from 2009
In addition we have selected a few formations below that stood out due to the unusual circumstances that surrounded them.
Waylands Smithy – 29 May 2009: ‘The Jellyfish’
At approximately 600ft long this formation made the national press with several newspapers showing a renewed interest in Crop Circles. Most of the journalists, uninformed on the subject, claimed that this pattern showed a revival of crop circles after “many quiet years” – the odd 60 - 80 designs that appear in the UK every summer having completely passed them by! In barley, it was one of the most impressive designs to arrive in the early part of the season.
Text ©2009 Francine Blake and Clare Oatley
All photographs ©2009 Olivier Morel.