It’s a phenomenon that goes back centuries, if not longer, but in the last 50 years the incidence of crop formations seems to have substantially increased.
But, considering the size and complexity of many of the designs, it’s rather strange that scientific study of the patterns remains relatively scant, with conventional theory being that the majority are almost certainly the work of hoaxers.
In the United Kingdom the village of Avebury in Wiltshire is the focal point of much activity, with almost half of all crop circles found in the UK in 2003 being located within a 15-kilometre radius of Avebury’s stone circles, a henge monument that forms one of the most famous prehistoric sites in Britain.
The henge contains the largest megalithic stone circle in the world and remains a site of great importance to contemporary pagans.
Perhaps the reason for the lack of scientific examination of these formations goes back to 1991, when two self-professed UK pranksters, Doug Bower and Dave Chorley, made headlines by claiming they were responsible for a number of circles, revealing they had been making them since 1978.
Using a plank of wood, rope and a baseball cap fitted with a loop of wire to help them walk in straight lines, the pair admitted to being responsible for “all circles” made prior to 1987… and more than 200 between 1978 and 1991… even showing journalists the techniques they had adopted.
Claiming to have been inspired by Australian crop-circle accounts from the 1960s, Bower and Chorley’s revelations went on to inspire a second wave of crop artists… and far from fizzling out, the circles have evolved into an international phenomenon, with hundreds of sophisticated pictographs appearing annually around the globe… many as part of crop-circle-making competitions or by collectives undertaking commercial contracts.
A number of these designs are clearly the work of people using some form of simple technology to trample down the patterns, with the creation of the designs often taking place overnight under the cover of darkness… or during the day with more fanfare and more sophisticated equipment.
But not all circles appear to have been made in this way, some of the more impressive examples show very different methods of construction and seem to be created as if by magic… the fields being normal one minute and then mysteriously exhibiting extremely complex designs a relatively short period later.
And, rather than showing signs of being trampled, the plant nodes display evidence of being subjected to high levels of microwave energy… this “blasting” effect seemingly causing water inside the nodes to vaporise and dislodge, resulting in the stalks bending over to produce extremely complex patterns.
These designs are clearly not the work of people equipped with rope and planks… the incredibly intricate designs undoubtedly produced by far more sophisticated equipment.
One researcher in the field, physicist Richard Taylor from the University of Oregon in the United States, has noted the nodes appear to have been blasted out on one side, and not simply flattened, with his conclusion being that the creators must be utilising GPS devices, lasers and microwaves to produce such astonishing geometric patterns.
Each year many of these amazing designs appear but nobody can explain their exact method of construction and their incredible complexity. One of the most perplexing examples appeared overnight in a field near Winchester, Hampshire, in summer 2002 and was exhaustively filmed, documented, photographed and researched by multiple scholars around the world.
Created in August 2002, less than a year after the 9/11 attacks on the US, the formation depicting a “grey” alien beside a circle that’s about 100-feet across appeared in a field in Crabwood belonging to Mike Burge.
The enormous formation was about 390-feet tall and 240-feet wide and suddenly appeared overnight on 15 August. Witnesses who lived or were holidaying in the area claimed to have seen lights swirling around the field, before zooming into the sky, that were accompanied by strange pulsing noises that it was assumed were from a generator or helicopter.
One sighting came from a group of three middle-aged women staying at a nearby campsite who claimed they had witnessed “an amazing display of dancing lights over the field which kept darting about, spiralling down to the ground and then back up again; then going round in circles, then down and coming back up again before disappearing like a shooting star”.
Another witness Marie Wakelam, owner of Crabtree Farmhouse which borders the Crabwood field, claimed to have spoken to a family who had collected slightly singed and blackened stalks of wheat inside the formation. Wakelam identified this as being curious as shortly before midnight on 15 August she had detected a strong smell of burning wafting into her bedroom, which backs onto the field, as if a bonfire was lit there.
But, strangely, no witnesses were close enough to the scene to testify as to exactly what or who had created the formation.
And, adding to its mystery, inside the large disk researchers such as British computer consultant and crop-circle enthusiast Paul Vigay identified what appeared to be a message encoded in ASCII binary code.
Binary code is the basic language used by computers and also NASA when trying to communicate with other intelligences and in the 1960s ANSI (the American National Standards Institute) developed the ASCII set (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) to convert binary into our alphabet.
The system uses eight bits, incorporating zeros or ones, to make one symbol which is correlated to a keyboard for computers. So if you type an “A” it will be 0010 or a similar sequence depending on what character is typed.
The set consists of 128 characters and was used to translate the Crabwood code, which spiralled out counter clockwise from within the disk, into its decimal equivalent. Then by examining the ASCII character set Vigay and a Dutch physicist named Eltjo Haselhoff concluded the disk contained a message which read: “Beware the bearers of FALSE gifts & their BROKEN PROMISES. Much PAIN but still time. BELIEVE. There is GOOD out there. We oPpose DECEPTION. Conduit CLOSING.”
The message clearly appeared to be a warning of some kind, perhaps of an alien threat to humanity or from extraterrestrials seeking to warn mankind of impending danger, the timing of which was even more mysterious given the events that took place in the US the previous September.
And, in another strange twist, in 2009 Vigay was found dead on a Portsmouth beach under circumstances termed a “mystery” by coroner David Horsley.
The computer consultant and crop-circle specialist left behind meticulous research on the subject of formations, much of which appears on the website cropcircleresearch.com which remains one of the most informed and extensive sites on the phenomenon.
Vigay had suggested that if the Crabwood formation was genuine, which he believed it to be, then “we could be dealing with an intelligence far more advanced than previously imagined; an intelligence which is able to bypass universal symbols and interact directly using our language”.
But the mystery of the Crabwood formation doesn’t end there because it also appears to go beyond conventional thinking by displaying many other remarkable attributes on closer inspection, which American author and researcher David Flynn analysed in depth.
According to Flynn, who died at the age of 49 in 2012 after a short battle with cancer, the formation displays 59 lines of resolution from top to bottom, with the disk being 33 lines tall. So, by subtracting 33 from 59, the number derived is 26… the exact number of words included in the code and also the number of letters in our alphabet.
Then, by multiplying 59 and 33 you get the number 1,947… with 33 per cent of 59 giving 19.47. So, what’s strange about that? Well, it was in 1947 that there were a spate of UFO sightings across the US, with the alleged flying-saucer crash near Roswell in New Mexico being the most famous.
And the weird coincidences don’t stop there… the disk has 33 lines of code with a total of 151 ASCII characters in it. If you multiply 151 by 33 the result is 4,983, which surprisingly is the exact number of miles between the crash sites at Roswell and the site of the crop formation in Winchester.
The crash sites at Roswell were all on the 33.33.33 north latitudinal lines and when you add 151 to 33 it gives an answer of 184, the precise number of days between 1 January and 4 July, the day of the alleged Roswell event in 1947.
A final numerical quirk is that each ASCII character is comprised of eight bits and 151 multiplied by eight means there were 1,208 total bits in the code… the exact number of miles between the latitude of the crop circle in England and the 33.33.33 latitude of Roswell.
Obviously Flynn’s observations could be nothing more than strange coincidences or perhaps evidence of a deeper knowledge of the formation and its creators, whoever they may have been... but given the mystery surrounding this particular phenomenon there is also the distinct possibility there is a tangible correlation between the events at Roswell and Crabwood.
If the Crabwood formation was not the work of extraterrestrial entities then the only other explanation is that there are people or organisations out there willing to go to extreme lengths to create elaborate hoaxes, with highly complex information encoded into the formations. Why would anyone devote so much time and energy to a ruse and how would they keep their involvement secret?
The Winchester formation is perhaps the best example of a possible direct connection with extraterrestrials but it is by no means the only example in a field that is crying out for more research. Crop designs continue to bewilder and confound people across the world... see Part Two of this series for more strange circles that clearly support the possibility we are in contact with aliens.
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