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Crop circles are depressions that "mysteriously" appear in agricultural crops - primarily wheat, barley and rye. They began to appear in Britain during the 1970s. Their mystery originates from the complex designs and "architecture" of the circles and the absence of any footprints or paths around them. Advocates of a paranormal cause point to alleged references to crop circles in history and the various civilizations that have employed the circle as a sacred or magical symbol. The Mowing Devil that can be found in illustrations from the 17th Century, the fairy rings and round dances of pagan mythology, and the petroglyphs and cave paintings of early humans, are all thought to be connected with modern-day crop circle phenomena. A mysterious energy is also said to exist in and around crop circles due to radioactivity, internal heat, static electricity and the phenomenon of "trilling." The electromagnetic effects usually inspire claims of UFO activity. Crop circles are also said to appear the morning after UFO night sightings - providing further support of alien handiwork. Believers also associate crop circle formation with animal mutilations. The crops are also said to be genetically altered. Gaia hypothesis advocates add that the crop circles may actually be originating from inside the earth and are Mother Nature's way of showing scars and symptoms of disease due to environmental destruction caused by humans.
Skeptical Perspective
With each theory proposed, a "new" type of crop circle emerges to disprove any sweeping generalization that any one explanation can provide. First, the smaller circles and mazes were explained by animal and rodent activity. The effect of helicopter propellers was also employed as a possible explanation. Dr. Terence Meaden advanced what he called "the plasma theory" which blamed the wind for crop circle formation. The idea that the crop circles were hoaxes by modern-day tricksters was also proposed and two men from England, Douglas Bower and David Chorley actually confessed to creating a few of the designs that can be found in Britain. They also demonstrated how the feat was accomplished and the rise in crop circle formation afterwards is thought to be an example of "copycat" hoaxes. Some people attempting to find a natural explanation also referred to the possible side-effects of microwave irradiation from the "Star Wars" program that was initiated by the US in the 1980s. Ancient designs are usually explained as spiritual and religious symbolism created by civilizations in an attempt to communicate and pay homage to the gods. No consensus, however, has been reached about the possible messages and meaning behind the symbols.
- Ray Holmes (Engineer)
CSICOP Resources
Skeptical Inquirer Online Articles

Aura Photography: A Candid Shot
Bra Hazards and Carpet Circles


Skeptical Briefs Online Articles
Skeptiseum Online Exhibits
Other Online Resources
NESS Encyclopedia: ��Crop Circles
Skeptic's Dictionary: ��Crop Circles
The InterNet Skeptic: ��UFOs et al
sci.skeptic FAQ: ��Crop Circles
Annapolis Valley Skeptics: ��Crop Circles
Pro-Paranormal Online Resources
Alien World:Aliens & UFO Phenomena

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