Crop Circles

Crop circles ('agroglyphs') caught the media's attention and shot to prominence in the 1970s, although reports go back as far as the 17th century. Today they are largely ignored and written off as hoaxes. Despite that, there are still rashes of sightings and many 'cereologists' still study and write about them. Crop circles were the inspiration for the 2002 M. Night Shyamalan movie "Signs" and you can even buy a variety of stuff such as wall calendars illustrated with them.

What Are Crop Circles?

Crop circles are areas of flattened crops that occur without explanation in a field. A distinguishing feature is that they appear regular rather than random.

The design of crop circles varies from simple circles to far more intricate designs, some reminiscent of fractal geometry. They often have at least a degree of symmetry.

Another interesting feature of crop circles is that they usually seem to appear over night. Some have chosen to read this as evidence of the fact that they are man-made.

What Causes Crop Circles?

There are many possible explanations for crop circles. Many are, without doubt, man-made hoaxes. A number of people have come forward over the years and "confessed" to making circles. Often their methods for doing so without disturbing the surrounding crops are highly ingenious.

Although it is a fact that many crop circles are fakes, the known hoaxers do not account for all known circles. As with UFO sightings, although the majority can be explained there is a core that remains interesting. The fact that many crop circles are hoaxes does not necessarily mean that all of them are hoaxes. We cannot tell for sure how all crop circles come about.

Some of the theories behind the origin of these remaining crop circles include:

Aliens
A popular theory is that crop circles are made by alien visitors. Sometimes the circle is thought to be caused by the alien ship landing. Some of the more complicated crop circle formations could, it has been suggested, be aliens trying to communicate with us.

Weapons
A technological explanation proposed for the circle phenomenon is that it is the side effect of some weapon being tested. One suggestion is that is could be some type of satellite mounted weapon, possibly a microwave beam. Such ideas lead naturally into the realms of conspiracy theory

Natural Phenomena
A rare natural occurence could possibly be the cause of some circles. One suggestion is that the flattened fields could be the result of ball lightning.