Crop Circles and their Message


David Pratt

June 2005, April 2010


Part 1 of 2


Part 1
    1. Introduction
    2. The Doug and Dave scam
    3. Crop-circle evolution
    4. Characteristics
    5. Scientific research

Part 2
    6. Eyewitness reports
    7. Anomalous effects
    8. Geometry
    9. Hoaxers and debunkers
  10. Human interaction
  11. Explanations
  12. Meaning
  13. Sources / credits


Milk Hill, Wiltshire, 12 August 2001. The largest crop pattern of all time, 878 feet across, consisting of 409 circles.

1. Introduction

    Every year 150 to 300 patterns of flattened plants appear in crop fields around the world. They have been reported on every continent, in over 50 countries, but the majority have appeared in southern England. Since the early 1990s, the original simple circles have developed into huge, intricate, geometrical patterns of stunning precision and beauty. Most appear in wheat, barley and oil-seed rape, but they have also been reported in rye, oats, flax, maize, sugar cane, peas, potatoes, sunflowers, grass, fruit orchards, rice paddies, snow, and ice.

    Over the years, crop formations have been attributed to a variety of mundane causes: drunks armed with string and planks, wild young farmers, disillusioned art students, out-of-work journalists, overapplication of fertilizer, interference from mobile phones, squabbling birds, geometrically-gifted cows, and sex-mad hedgehogs. Although the general public, mass media and scientific establishment tend to dismiss the entire phenomenon as the work of human pranksters, there is strong evidence that an unexplained force and guiding intelligence are at work.

2. The Doug and Dave scam

    On 9 September 1991, the British tabloid Today ran a front-page story headlined: ‘The men who conned the world’. The story claimed that all the crop circles in England were the work of two pensioners, Doug Bower and David Chorley, aged 67 and 62 respectively. Their tools included a four-foot plank of wood and a ball of string, along with a piece of wire dangling from a baseball cap to serve as a sighting device, enabling them to construct perfectly straight lines by focusing on a distant object – at dead of night!

    To flatten the crop in areas that did not overlap tramlines (the tracks made by tractors when spraying crops), they said they had stood inside a tramline and then jumped or pole-vaulted into the standing crop; this would involve pole-vaulting a distance of up to 35 feet – an Olympian achievement! They said that the idea of making crop circles had come to them after a boring evening at the pub in 1978, and their only motive was to ‘have a laugh’. Not only had they never been caught in the act, but their wives had never even noticed their nocturnal absence.

Fig. 2.1 Doug and Dave demonstrated their skills with this 1991 crop formation – after a pint of beer too many by the looks of things.

    They showed that they could create crude circular designs in broad daylight – but lacking the geometrical precision, complexity and beautiful crop lays found in the finest formations. At that time, the ‘circles’ had already evolved into complex pictograms, but Doug and Dave could not convincingly explain how they had created these. They could not even duplicate on paper a Celtic cross design they claimed to have made. Confronted with evidence that they had nothing to do with certain formations, they began to backtrack. Even if their grossly exaggerated claim to have made 250 crop circles in England since 1978 were true, that would still leave 1750 formations in England and other countries unaccounted for, as well as numerous pre-1978 formations.

    This did not stop the public at large swallowing the idea that all crop circles were made by humans. Many people find this far more palatable than the possibility that unsolved mysteries are taking place in the fields. So Doug and Dave certainly ‘conned the world’ – though not in the way most people think! Despite their ‘retirement’, the crop circles were back as usual in 1992 – but without the intense media interest.

3. Crop-circle evolution

    When Doug and Dave claimed to have invented the crop circle phenomenon as a joke in 1978, they weren’t aware that almost 300 documented formations predated their alleged exploits. There are sporadic reports of crop circles being found in England throughout the 20th century. But reports actually go back several centuries earlier.

    In 16th and 17th century folklore we find stories about fairies and elves seen dancing in the fields and leaving circles of trodden grass. The earliest representation of a crop circle occurs in a woodcut from 1678, which depicts the ‘Mowing Devil’ reaping a field of oats into a flattened circle. The story behind it is that a farmer refused to pay the amount asked by a particular reaper, muttering that he would rather the Devil took his oats. During the night strange sounds and lights were heard and seen, and the following morning the farmer found part of his crop lying in neat circles.

Fig. 3.1 The Mowing Devil.

    In 1686 a British scientist, Robert Plot, published a book entitled A Natural History of Staffordshire, which contained accounts of geometric areas of flattened plants found on both arable land and pastureland. He describes not only circles but also spirals and squares within rings, up to 150 feet across. He reports that the soil under them was much looser and drier than normal, and that a whitish, musty substance or hoar, ‘like that in mouldy bread’, was sometimes found on the plants. He hypothesized that the designs were created by lightning exploding from the clouds. In July 1880 the science journal Nature published a letter from a scientist who described finding multiple circular areas of flattened wheat on a farm in southern England. He suggested they were the result of ‘some cyclonic wind action’.

Fig. 3.2 One of Robert Plot’s illustrations of a crop design.

    There are sporadic reports of simple crop circles in the UK the first half of the 19th century, especially in southern England. Rural folk often regarded them as bad omens and the work of infernal spirits. Since the late 1970s the number of circles has increased dramatically, especially in the southern English counties of Wiltshire and Hampshire, and the designs have become increasingly elaborate. Single swirled circles gave way to multiple circles, sometimes arranged nonrandomly. The first quintuplet (a circle surrounded by four smaller, evenly-spaced satellite circles) appeared in 1978. Later, quintuplets appeared with rings connecting their outer satellites, creating ‘Celtic crosses’. Circles with multiple concentric rings around them also started to appear.

Fig. 3.3 A quintuplet, Beckhampton, Wiltshire, 3 August 1988.

Fig. 3.4 Triple ringer, Warminster, Wiltshire, July 1990. Note the seemingly randomly-placed mini-circles or ‘grapeshot’, a common feature in the early days.

    1990 saw the first pictograms, consisting of long chains of circles, rings, rectangles, straight lines, and tridents, ‘keys’ or ‘claws’. Whales/dolphins and insectograms began to appear the following year. Crop glyphs from 1994 included ‘thought bubbles’, which by incorporating crescents mutated into glyphs resembling spiders and scorpions. That year also saw the first astronomy-related glyphs, which include galaxies, asteroid belts and planetary orbits. Since the late 1990s the formations have developed into spectacular and incredibly complex geometrical designs or mandalas. Sevenfold geometry first appeared in 1998, ninefold geometry in 1999, elevenfold geometry in 2000, and thirteenfold geometry in 2003. Since 1999 several crop formations have created the illusion of being three-dimensional.

Fig. 3.5 Alton Barnes, Wiltshire, 11 July 1990. This huge pictogram gained worldwide publicity and attracted thousands of visitors.

    In total, over 10,000 crop formations have been documented worldwide. Over 700 of them appeared in 1991. Of the 229 formations reported from around the world in 2004, 33.9% of them appeared in England, where crop circles tend to cluster around sacred megalithic sites such as Stonehenge, Avebury and Silbury Hill. Other countries with crop circles included Germany (13.2%), the USA (9.2%), the Czech Republic (8.4%), and Italy (8.4%).

Fig. 3.6 The ‘Tetrahedron’, Barbury Castle, Wiltshire, 17 July 1991. The day after it appeared, a British newspaper ran a photo of the design with the headline, ‘Now explain this one’. The area of the central circle is equal to the sum of the areas of the three smaller circular forms on the triangle points: 31,680 sq feet (see section 12 for the significance of this number).

Fig. 3.7 ‘Scorpion’ or ‘dragonfly’, Bishops Cannings, Wiltshire, 15 July 1994.

Fig. 3.8 Galaxy design, West Stowell, Wiltshire, 23 July 1994. It has been interpreted as showing a conjunction of planets in the constellation Cetus that occurred in April 2000.

Fig. 3.9 ‘Spiderweb’, Avebury, Wiltshire, 11/12 August 1994. The shimmering effect is created by the crop being laid in opposing directions.

Fig. 3.10 Solar system glyph, Longwood Warren, Hampshire, 22 June 1995. It depicts the Sun, Mercury, Venus, the Earth’s orbit, Mars, and Jupiter’s orbit. According to Gerald Hawkins, it shows a planetary alignment that occurred on 6 November 1903, the day the Wright brothers proved that man could fly, and again on 11 July 1971, during Mariner 9’s journey to Mars.

Fig. 3.11 ‘Julia Set’, Stonehenge, Wiltshire, 7 July 1996. This spiral of 151 circles, measuring 915 feet along its central spine, appeared in broad daylight in full view of a busy road, just opposite Stonehenge, within a 15-minute time-window (according to testimony from pilots, a farmer, a security guard, and motorists calling the police). A professional surveying engineer said it would take him about two full days to lay out the design.

Fig. 3.12 ‘Koch fractal’, Milk Hill, Wiltshire, 8 August 1997. Two engineering firms estimated that staking out the 346 reference points required to construct the 71-metre-wide design prior to flattening the wheat would take 6.5 to 7.5 days, or 11 days if done under cover of darkness. Yet the formation had definitely appeared overnight.

Fig. 3.13 The ‘Flower’ and ‘Grid square’ appeared on the same night, Etchilhampton, Wiltshire, 1 August 1997. The square within the circle is gridded with 28 by 25 narrow, ruler-straight channels.

Fig. 3.14 Hackpen Hill, Wiltshire, 4 July 1999.

Fig. 3.15 3-D ‘ribbon’, Beckhampton, Wiltshire, 28 July 1999.

Fig. 3.16 14-pointed star, Roundway, Wiltshire, 31 July 1999.

Fig. 3.17 ‘Magnetic fields’, Avebury Trusloe, Wiltshire, 22 July 2000.


Fig. 3.18 ‘The angel’, Great Shelford, Cambridgeshire, 25 July 2001. The radiating lines that make up the robe are about six inches wide. Successive lines sweep alternately outwards then inwards, covering a total length of over 4000 feet.

Fig. 3.19 240-metre-wide ribbon design, Stonehenge, Wiltshire, 4 July 2002.

Fig. 3.20 Petal design, West Overton, 21 May 2003. The plants in this glyph had been gently brushed over into a near-vertical position, so that from the air the formation is barely visible. As the undamaged plants recovered and rose towards their normal, upright position, they did so in alternate bundles, producing a rippling, standing-wave pattern.

Fig. 3.21 Hackpen Hill, Wiltshire, 20 July 2003.

Fig. 3.22 Huish, Wiltshire, 20 July 2003.

Fig. 3.23 North Down, Wiltshire, 10 August 2003.

Fig. 3.24 200-foot-long formation, East Field, Alton Barnes, Wiltshire, 19 June 2004.

Fig. 3.25 ‘Sun wheel’, 300 feet across, Silbury Hill, 3/4 August 2004. This formation appeared in outline the first night, and was completed the next night. Some researchers assume that this means it must be man-made, but there is no conclusive evidence of this.

Fig. 3.26 ‘Eye’, Silbury Hill, Wiltshire, 9 July 2005.

Fig. 3.27 Woolstone Hill, Oxfordshire, 13 August 2005.

Fig. 3.28 ‘The towers’, Waylands Smithy, Oxfordshire, 8 July 2006.

Fig. 3.29 Uffington Castle, Oxfordshire, 8 July 2006.

Fig. 3.30 Sugar Hill, Aldbourne, Wiltshire, 1 August 2007.

Fig. 3.31 West Woods, Wiltshire, 9 August 2007.

Fig. 3.32 West Woods, near Lockeridge, Wiltshire, 17 July 2008.

Fig. 3.33 Hillside Farm, West Woods, Wiltshire, 20 July 2008.

Fig. 3.34 Cherhill, Wiltshire, 7 August 2008.

Fig. 3.35 Kingston Coombes, near Waylands Smithy, Oxfordshire, 29 May 2009.

Fig. 3.36 Heptagonal design, Milk Hill, Wiltshire, 2 June 2009.

Fig. 3.37 Silbury Hill, Wiltshire, 5 July 2009.

Fig. 3.38 Morgan Hill, near Devizes, Wiltshire, 2 August 2009.

4. Characteristics

    In the best ‘authentic’ crop circles, the flattened plants tend to be largely undamaged (until visitors arrive!) and to continue growing, whereas in hoaxed circles the stalks are generally broken, crushed and often killed. The stalks of flattened vegetation in genuine formations are bent at angles of up to 90 degrees, and are often laid in a strikingly intricate and beautifully woven fashion.

    Circular components of a design are usually swirled clockwise or anticlockwise from a centre point outwards. But instead of the swirl going round and round out from the centre in a tight spiral, as tends to be the case in man-made formations, it often flows widely outwards, sometimes in a distinct S-shape. Spirals are often made of thin strips, not 3-ft-wide swaths, as when planks or garden rollers are used. Where different flows merge, the plants tend to be plaited over and under one another, suggesting that all the plants have collapsed in opposing directions simultaneously.

Fig. 4.1 Crop lay resembling rippling water, typical of large, complex glyphs. Note how the crop is elegantly laid in thin bundles. Roundway, 1999.

Fig. 4.2 Mini-circle or ‘bird’s nest’ in the 1997 Milk Hill formation (fig. 3.12).

    The centre of a swirl of crop is often marked by a bare area of soil or a ‘hole’ in the middle of a whorl of stems, and is frequently offset from the mathematical centre, sometimes by several feet. In some formations individual stems have been drawn into the outer edges of circles from behind standing crop, which clearly precludes the use of physical implements. The direction of crop flow is often different below the top layer of flattened crop. Multi-tiered, multi-directional layering has never been replicated by the use of feet, planks, garden rollers or plastic pipes.

Fig. 4.3 The floor lay of the 1994 galaxy formation (fig. 3.8) showcases the circlemakers’ precision.


Fig. 4.4 West Overton Hill, Wiltshire, 8 August 2009. Each of the three central circles has a different lay pattern, including weaving and plaiting.


Fig. 4.5 Dragonfly, Little London, near Yatesbury, Wiltshire, 3 June 2009. The realistic veining on the wings ranges in width from about 15 inches to 2 or 3 inches.

    The circle-making force can apparently discriminate between the maturity of plants, for less mature plants, whether standing in a row or scattered throughout the flattened area, are sometimes left standing. The force also seems to be able to select between plant species, as red poppies or thistles may be left standing amid flattened barley or wheat. This feature, too, rules out the use of planks and garden rollers. The force is so precise that curtains of wheat one stalk wide are sometimes all that separate one circle from another.

Fig. 4.6 A discoloured and stretched node with a 90-degree bend.

    Biophysicist William Levengood and a number of other researchers have discovered that flattened plants frequently have enlarged nodes (the little ‘knuckles’ along the stems of corn-type plants) and sometimes have ‘expulsion cavities’ in the same areas, where moisture seems to have exploded outwards. Seed germination trials have shown that when a formation occurs in immature crop, the seedlings usually do not develop, or their growth is severely reduced, but if a formation occurs in more mature crop, the seeds grow at up to five times the normal rate. (See next section.)

    60% of circles appear on rainy nights. Yet farmers and researchers often notice that there is no mud on flattened crop, which there would have been if it had been flattened by humans using mechanical implements. Moreover, readily crushable balls of chalk are sometimes found intact beneath the flattened plants. And when a formation occurs on soil containing small, sharp rocks such as flint, the stems rest on top of the rocks without leaving crease marks, showing that no weight has been applied.

    The soil inside crop circles often shows differences with the soil outside them. In one Canadian formation, for example, the soil had been baked as hard as cement, whereas the rest of field was moist and muddy. Reports of baked soil under flattened plants in crop circles also come from other countries, such as Russia. In 50% of crop circles the soil inside is noticeably drier than outside. (As indicated in section 3, this was also reported by Robert Plot in 1686.) Many of the effects on plants and soil are consistent with the generation of intense heat during the creation of crop circles.

    Strange substances, such as jelly-like or powdery deposits, are sometimes found on the plants and soil inside crop circles. Powdery deposits that have been identified include high-purity silicon dioxide, magnesium oxide, and magnetite (magnetic iron ore). The latter may be meteoric dust, which is constantly drifting down through the atmosphere to the earth’s surface; the concentration in circles is up to 600 times higher than the normal value, indicating the presence of strong magnetic fields around crop circles.

    Nearly 90% of UK crop circles appear over aquifers and/or over chalk and greensand (an olive-green sandstone). They are often aligned with ancient sacred sites and with ley lines or lines of earth energy, as detected by dowsing. The positioning of crop circles is sometimes undeniably nonrandom. For instance, three identical whale-like pictograms from 1991 formed a perfect isosceles triangle across several miles when linked with lines on a map.

    Some formations seem to make use of tractor tramlines as guidelines, but others don’t. Many formations have appeared in Canada, yet Canadian fields are sprayed by airplanes so there are no tramlines to provide hoaxers with easy access to the fields. In the UK, pictograms often used to be surrounded with dozens of mini-circles, or ‘grapeshot’, a couple of feet in diameter, located in places that cannot be reached on foot without leaving obvious traces. Doug and Dave’s pole-vaulting yarns have become comedy legend.

    In the case of a small percentage of formations, both simple circles and complex designs, there is clear visual evidence in the newly-planted field of the previous summer’s crop circle. The new plants in the area where the previous circle was located may be shorter or taller than the surrounding crop or slightly different in colour. This effect usually lasts no more than two years after the original formation.

    Dead wild animals are rarely found in crop formations, but there have been a few exceptions. Some birds had apparently been caught up in the creation of a 1993 formation, and had been blown apart and disintegrated by the force. Mixed in with the blood and feathers were minute bits of flesh, but there were no bones, or any distinguishable or recognizable parts. Laboratory tests on some of the remains confirmed that they belonged to an ‘exploded bird’.

    Two dead porcupines were found in two different Canadian crop circles. One had almost disintegrated into blackened parts and the other had been squashed like a pancake. Scrape marks and a row of standing broken quills indicated that the latter porcupine had been dragged to the centre of the formation from the perimeter. The flow of flattened quills on its body went in the same direction as the lay of the fallen crop. Analysis of the other porcupine showed that the blackness of the remains was not due to burning. Most animals probably sense something is about to happen and run away, but porcupines respond to danger by simply raising their spines and sitting tight.

    In one crop formation, numerous dead flies were found stuck by their tongues to the seed heads of the plants, with their legs and wings spread out widely, as if in a spasm. Some appeared to have exploded. Other flies were still in a perfect state, but most were nevertheless dead. Some were still alive but stunned, and after being liberated from the plants, they flew away. F. Grassi argues that a fungus (Entomophtora muscae) is the most likely explanation, rather than some mysterious circle-forming mechanism.

5. Scientific research

    The work of the BLT research team (consisting of John Burke, William Levengood, and Nancy Talbott) has placed crop-circle research on a firm scientific footing. Of the 300 or so crop formations sampled and examined since 1990, more than 90% showed anomalous effects in plant tissues and/or the soil. During this period, three research papers have been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals,* establishing that the creation of many crop formations involves something much more intriguing than human pranksters with planks and boards. Sceptics have objected that much of the BLT’s work has not been conducted in a double-blind manner (so that experimenter bias might have influenced the results), but they haven’t been able to show that the anomalous effects in question can be produced by flattening crop by mechanical means.

*W.C. Levengood, ‘Anatomical anomalies in crop formation plants’, Physiologia Plantarum, vol. 92, 1994, pp. 356-63; W.C. Levengood, ‘Semi-molten meteoric iron associated with a crop formation’, Journal of Scientific Exploration, vol. 9, 1995, pp. 191-9; W.C. Levengood and Nancy P. Talbott, ‘Dispersion of energies in worldwide crop formations’, Physiologia Plantarum, vol. 105, 1999, pp. 615-24.

    As already mentioned, the forces involved in creating crop formations can physically alter the tissue of the flattened (and sometimes the internal, upright) plants in several ways. Stalks are bent up to 90 degrees without being broken, particularly at the nodes, as if the plant tissue softened significantly at the moment of flattening. This is even true of oil-seed rape (canola), which is normally as stiff and brittle as celery, and snaps if bent more than 40 degrees. If young, vigorously growing plants are flattened mechanically, node bending always occurs over time due to phototropism (a plant’s natural tendency to reorient itself to sunlight) and gravitropism (a plant’s natural tendency to reorient itself to the earth’s gravitational field), so these natural forces must be ruled out before concluding that node bending in crop-circle plants is meaningful. After mechanical flattening, even young and vigorously growing wheat takes about five days to produce significant bending at the nodes, whereas in some crop formations bending of 40 degrees or more is observed within 48 hours (

Fig. 5.1 Marked bending at the base of oil-seed rape plants.

    Stalks of flattened crop are usually enlarged and stretched, as if they have been heated from the inside. Sometimes this effect is so powerful that the nodes literally explode, blowing holes in the node walls and spewing sap outside the stalk. Elongation of the top (apical) node in particular has been found to be statistically significant relative to control samples in several hundred crop formations which have been investigated, though it is not always visually impressive. There are known mechanisms that explain an increase in node length after a crop is flattened, such as gravitropism, but some studies suggest that this mechanism cannot account for node-length increases of more than about 20%, whereas increases of up to 200% have been measured in crop formations. Node expansion is not always entirely confined to plants within the flattened area of crop, as if some spillover of the energy involved has occurred.

Fig. 5.2 Comparison of nodes within a crop formation (left) and from 75 feet outside it (right).

    Node elongation and expulsion cavities have been induced in plants in the laboratory by placing them in a microwave oven for 20 to 30 seconds. Microwave radiation heats the moisture inside the stem which, as it turns into steam and expands, either stretches the more elastic fibres at the top of the plant, or blows holes in the tougher nodes farther down the stem.

Fig. 5.3 Expulsion cavities in wheat.

    In their 1999 article, Levengood and Talbott argue that crop formations are created by plasma vortices, which emit microwave radiation and thereby produce heat. In 2001 Eltjo Haselhoff wrote a comment on their article, pointing out a couple of serious errors and arguing that crop formations were created by a point-like or spherical source of radiation rather than a plasma vortex.* He reported a study of plant samples from two circles in the Netherlands, which appeared after lights were seen above the field. Samples were taken along three diameters. The greatest node lengthening was measured at the centre of the formation and declined towards the rim. He concluded that this was consistent with heat being induced by a small electromagnetic source 4.1 metres above the field. A curious and unexplained finding was that the node-length changes along each sampled diameter, on either side of the circle’s centre, precisely mirrored each other, but each diameter’s node-length changes differed from those found along the other two diameters.

*E.H. Haselhoff, ‘Dispersion of energies in worldwide crop formations’ (Opinions and comments), Physiologia Plantarum, vol. 111, 2001, pp. 123-4; Haselhoff, 2001, pp. 71-81.

    Grassi et al. have attempted to debunk the articles by Levengood, Talbott and Haselhoff and their claim that electromagnetic radiation is involved in the creation of crop circles. In particular, the three researchers are accused of following flawed sampling and analytical procedures, and of data selection. Grassi et al. also contend that heating alone could not produce the node elongations measured. Haselhoff has published a rebuttal of some of their criticisms.*

*F. Grassi, C. Cocheo and P. Russo, ‘Balls of light: the questionable science of crop circles’, Journal of Scientific Exploration, vol. 19, 2005, pp. 159-70; Response by Haselhoff and further response by Grassi et al., Journal of Scientific Exploration, vol. 21, 2007, pp. 576-82.

    Germination tests show tremendous differences in the development of seeds from flattened and nonflattened plants. If a crop circle occurs before the flowering of the plant and the development of the seed, the plant’s somatic (nonreproductive) tissue continues to develop normally, but seed development ceases or is impaired. If a circle occurs at a slightly later growth stage in young crop where the seed is still forming, the seeds are smaller and stunted, and exhibit reduced or repressed germination. In more mature plants, seeds are visually stunted, but the effects on reproduction vary. In mature plants with fully formed seeds, seeds often exhibit a massive increase in vigour and a growth rate up to five times that of control seeds.

    Measurements in two crop formations only a few hours old revealed that the stalks of flattened plants were left with a surface electric charge. The degree to which the stalks were bent over was proportional to the degree of electric charge on them. Studies show that the cell wall pits in the thin bract tissue surrounding wheat seed are abnormally enlarged and that bract tissue shows increased electrical conductivity, consistent with exposure to an electric charge.

    Microscopic particles of unusually pure iron (assumed to be meteoric dust) have been found in two thirds of the 32 formations from which soil has been sampled. Sometimes clusters of these very small, spherical, magnetic particles are found; sometimes larger spheres are discovered adhering to bits of soil covered or intermixed with a partially-melted glaze of the same material. The particles are usually found clustered around, or just outside, the perimeters of circular crop formations, as if the centrifugal force from a spinning vortex is distributing this material to the edges. But sometimes the particles are concentrated in soil at the centres of circles, with amounts dropping off toward the perimeters, while in other cases the material is deposited linearly, usually in increasing amounts toward the perimeters. If crop circles are made by plasma systems, this would explain the attraction of magnetic dust particles, since plasma spiralling around geomagnetic field lines creates its own magnetic field. But the different distribution patterns of the magnetic dust are puzzling.

    An x-ray diffraction study of clay minerals in crop-circle soils, conducted by the BLT team from 1999 to 2001 with the assistance of independent scientists, revealed that specific clay minerals (illite/smectites) exhibit a subtle but statistically significant increase in the degree of crystallization (i.e. greater ordering of the atoms). Increased crystallization has never been reported previously in surface soils. It has been seen only in sedimentary rock that has been exposed to the pressure of tons of overlying rock and to heat from the earth’s interior for hundreds or thousands of years. Clearly, if geologic pressure had been present, the crop-circle plants would have been obliterated. The crystalline change could also be produced by intense heat (at least 6-800°C over a period of many hours), but this would have incinerated the plants.

    The plants in the sampled circles showed the well-documented changes (elongated nodes, expulsion cavities) regularly found in crop circles not created by mechanical flattening. The plant changes and increased crystallization occurred at the same sampling locations, suggesting that whatever caused the plant changes, also caused the soil changes. Yet the intense energy required to produce the soil effects would have destroyed the plants altogether. A mineralogist involved in the study concluded that an energy currently unknown to science must be involved.

Fig. 5.4 Geometric and nongeometrically downed crop in the same field.

    Areas of randomly flattened cereal crops – called ‘lodging’ by farmers – are a common occurrence worldwide, and are usually attributed to overfertilization and/or weather damage. Aerial photos frequently reveal areas of irregularly flattened crops in the same fields as geometrically flattened patterns. A very significant finding by the BLT team is that nongeometrically downed crop sometimes shows the same bent and elongated nodes that are found in crop circles. This suggests that the same formative forces are involved, but that sometimes they act chaotically rather than in an ordered fashion. The same anomalies are also found in tufts of standing plants inside crop circles – clearly not a result of mechanical flattening.

Crop circles and their message: Part 2