What Is A Crop Circle?

Crop circles, who creates them and why? Though documented and studied, they remain a modern day mystery.

Unlike some types of paranormal activity, crop circles leave behind plenty of evidence to document. They've been widely photographed and studied from all possible angles. Nonetheless, their true origin remains a intriguing mystery.

Although they are commonly believed to be a modern phenomenon, the circles are mentioned in texts back to the year 1678. Crop circles are patterns found in fields, over tree-tops, and in ice and snow. They're most often found in wheat or corn fields, but have been seen in fields of oat, canola and barley.

Crop circles in England have gotten the most attention, but circles have been found in the United States, Canada, India, Czech Republic, Australia, the Netherlands, among other places. To-date approximately 9,000 have been reported and documented throughout the world, with England claiming the majority.

Reports of crop circles in more recent times began in the 1970s. Two gentlemen, sitting on a slope near Warminster, England, witnessed a circle being formed in the moonlight. It occurred at a distance of one hundred feet from where they were sitting. A large, circular area of collapsed plants occurred in under thirty seconds. Other reported sighting of circles being formed, also appear within a matter of seconds.

As might be expected, a number of crop circles have been hoaxed. Two elderly gentlemen in England called Doug and Dave are the most famous pranksters. Their method utilized string, and planks of wood.

However, experts can distinguish a genuine crop circle from a hoax. Hoax circles require a physical object to flatten the crop to the ground, resulting in the breaking of the plant stems. In genuine formations the stems are not broken, but only bent, about an inch off the ground. The plants are subjected to a short and intense burst of heat which softens the stems to drop just above the ground at 90 degrees. They reharden into their new and permanent position without apparent damage to the plants.

Left untouched, they will continue to ripen and grow. Thus far, farmers and plant biologists are baffled by this event. Other physical changes in the plants themselves are used to identify a genuine crop circle. Farmers have reported greater crop yields in the years following the appearance of formations in their fields.

Crop circles have complex woven patterns of swirled plants. Not only do the plants swirl clockwise or counter-clockwise, but sometimes certain sections will swirl one direction and layers on top go another. In other instances, the stalks are woven like a piece of loose cloth on the floor of the formation. Aerial photos show the patterns are often imprinted on the earth in alignment with tram lines or darkened sections on the earth.

Crop formations are sometimes accompanied by sightings of strange lights and crafts beaming shafts of light into the field on the previous night. This of course, lends credence to the extraterrestrials theory. Nighttime is the most popular time for the formations, particularly between 11:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m.

Besides human hoaxing, there's no shortage of theories on how and why the formations are produced. A few are:

1) a satellite apparatus hovering above the earth

2) whirlwind or friction generated by vortexes

3) earth energies

4) nature spirits

5) collective unconscious

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