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Crop Circles: What Is Behind These Complex & Intricate Works of Art?
Making sense of the crop circle phenomenon, including the science and possible explanations.
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When I say “complex” and “Intricate works of art,” I am referring to just that. Documented designs that have appeared in crop fields all over the world continue to bewilder and perplex researchers.
They truly make one question the nature of reality, and how little we know about our world.
If these designs are indeed hoaxes, then the makers have obviously succeeded in capturing the attention of the world in a way that not many works of art ever achieve.
This article will use a few examples to explain what makes these formations so interesting and mysterious to those who study them and will explore the leading theories in the field.
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What Makes Them So Mysterious?
There are two main factors that have made these formations so mysterious, the designs and the way they are made. These two factors alone desperately beg the question, who has the technology to create them?
What most people don't know about complex crop circles is the fact that there are differences between circles where plants are broken by what is clearly some sort of mechanical action, and those where some form of energy has exploded the nodes in the stalks, which causes them to fall over in a particular way.
It’s not conclusively known how this is done, but the effect has been replicated by highly localized microwave heating. This type of technique causes water inside the stalk to vaporize and dislodge. As a result, the stalk flops completely over to one side.
Which ones are made by humans? I’ll leave that up to the reader to decide. But we will get to some examples that show some interesting plant abnormalities.
What Science Has Uncovered: Strange Plant Abnormalities
During the 1990s, multiple specific plant abnormalities were repeatedly documented in several hundred different crop formations that occurred in North America and several European countries.
In-depth laboratory examination of thousands of these crop circle plants and their controls by American biophysicist W. C. Levengood discovered the presence of consistent changes in the circle plants which were not present in the control plants (plants taken at varying distances outside the crop formations, but in the same fields). These are changes which control studies revealed could in no way be caused by simple mechanical flattening of the plants (with planks, boards, cement rollers or human feet).
It was discovered that these changes could only be replicated in a lab using sophisticated technology.
The most consistent alteration in cereal crop formations takes place within anatomical structures known as stem pulvini, or growth nodes. In the majority of cases, the nodes on the formation plants are expanded relative to normal.
Intriguing, isn’t it? These changes can occur with certain directed energy methods which some experts believe are caused by classified military weapons testing, specifically directed energy weapons. We’ll get to that later.
A detailed 1999 study published in Physiologia Plantarum titled “Dispersion of energies in worldwide crop formations” by Levengood and colleagues examined expulsion cavities in corn with exploded nodes.
“The findings reported here lend further support to a decade of research which suggests that over 95% of worldwide crop formations involve organized ion plasma vortices that deliver lower atmosphere energy components of sufficient magnitude to produce significant bending, expansion and the formation of unique expulsion cavities in plant stem pulvini, as well as significant changes in seedling development. Here we demonstrate that, in a number of formations, quantitative node alterations can be directly related to fundamental concepts of electromagnetic energy absorption...In addition, we demonstrate that details of flattened, intertwined crop patterns can be described by the application of fluid dynamic principles governing the interaction of rectilinearly moving vortex pairs.”
Access the full paper here.
In 1994, Levengood published a paper titled “Anatomical Anomalies in Crop Formation Plants” explaining the following,
“Plants from crop formations display anatomical alterations which cannot be accounted for by assuming the formations are hoaxes. Near the soil surface the curved stems often form complex swirls with ‘vortex’ type patterns. In the present paper, evidence is presented which indicates that structural and cellular alterations take place in plants exposed within the confines of the ‘circle’ type formations, differences which were determined to be statistically significant when compared with control plants taken outside the formations. These transformations were manifested at the macroscopic-level as abnormal nodal swelling, gross malformations during embryogenesis. and charred epidermal tissue. Significant changes in seed germination and development were found, and at the microscopic level differences were observed in cell wall pit structures. Affected plants also have characteristics suggesting the involvement of transient high temperatures”
To summarize, there are four scientifically-documented visible plant changes which are hallmarks of genuine crop circles.
Elongation or stretching of the apical node (the first node beneath the seed-head), as compared to the control nodes.
Expulsion cavities (holes blown out at the nodes, usually found in the 2nd and/or 3rd nodes beneath the seed-head), as compared to control plants at various distances away from the formation.
Distinct bending of plant stems, at the nodes, which can occur at any or all of the nodes
Inhibited seed head development, which is usually apparent in crop formations which have occurred fairly early in the season but are being examined 3-4 weeks later, and in many cases the glumes have been found to contain no seeds at all.
An example of severe node expansion from a 1995 crop circle taken from Levengood’s paper (cited earlier) can be seen below.
Another example of complexities found.
In 1996, geologist Diane Conrad visited a crop circle which had occurred near her home in Logan, Utah. The formation caused quite a stir locally.
This particular formation also had significant node length increases and expulsion cavities, as seen below.
W.C. Levengood's hypothesis is that some sort of atmospheric plasma system might be involved given the fact that plants and soils at many crop circle sites had been shown to exhibit abnormalities consistent with their exposure to brief bursts of intense heat. Also pointed out was the fact that plasmas are known to emit microwaves when they spiral, and thus could be a possible source of this heat.
Conrad wrote her Master's Thesis on heat effects on clay minerals and knew that certain expandable clays in the soils at crop circle sites may provide more evidence of this heating action. If the soils, and these expandable clay minerals, had been exposed to unusual heating there would be a change in the degree of crystallinity in the soil.
Since Ms. Conrad was familiar with both the particular measure of crystallinity (the Kubler Index) and the X-ray diffraction (XRD) methodology utilized to obtain this information, she decided to carry out preliminary testing on the 1996 Logan, Utah crop circle soils.
Conrad's results showed that a soil sample from the affected crop did have increased crystallinity. She then took the 3 remaining samples and heated the first in a conventional oven for ten minutes at 93ßC and the second for ten minutes at 287ßC; the third was microwaved for two minutes to determine the effects of energy at different wavelengths on the crystal structure. In these three heated control samples the Kubler Index consistently decreased (from 1.0 to 0.07), with the microwaved sample producing a Kubler Index most similar to that of the circle sample.
This explains why multiple times the characteristics in complex crop circle crops can only be replicated in a lab using microwaves, suggesting that whoever is making crop circles is obviously utilizing some type of technology.
I mean, it’s not hard to believe, these formations are so complex, detailed and precise that it’s almost impossible to imagine some of them being made in a few hours during the wee hours of the night by humans with boards. Not to mentioned, no entry or exit marks can be found in many complex circles.
“These results, although very preliminary, indicate an increase in the ordering of the crystalline structure of the illite fraction of the clays in the Logan cropcircle soil--a change indicative of exposure to external energy. Additionally, the change observed in the circle sample was closely approximated by exposing control soil to microwave radiation."
Other strange findings at multiple circle sites include a 'magnetic glaze' material sprinkled over the affected areas. This was discovered in a 1993 British formation and has since been found at some other sites.
In Levengood’s 1999 paper, he explains the following:
“ Detailed studies of this glaze, including scanning electron microscope (SEM) and energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), disclosed the presence of pure, iron oxides which had literally heat fused onto soil and plant leaves within very localized, plant swirls located within the boundaries of much greater circular regions of flattened plants.”
The below data comes from a 1998 mustard seed circle:
For all of these reasons and more, Richard Taylor, director of the Materials Science Institute and Physics Professor at the University of Oregon stated in 2011 that “crop circle artists are not going to give up their secrets easily.” He believes that unknown artists are venturing “into the countryside close to your homes” to “carry out their craft, safe in the knowledge that they are continuing the legacy of the most science-oriented art movement in history.”
He was aware of the differences mentioned above it seems, because he stated that people with access to global GPS systems, lasers and microwaves are probably the culprit.
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Why Haven’t People Been Caught In The Process?
Some of these formations are so immense and complex as to defy reason.
After all these decades, none of the perpetrators have been caught in the act of making any of the truly extraordinary formations. And to think that some of them are made only during nighttime hours is hard to fathom.
Some formations even have crops that were completely pushed down without ever having been broken. In some cases, they’ve been bent just inches above the ground.
Unfortunately, none of this type of information and the unique characteristics of complex crop circles are ever mentioned when the topic is covered within mainstream media. Instead, big media has gravitated towards circles made by clear human hoaxers.
One of many examples often cited includes one from Sept. 9, 1991, when the British newspaper Today ran a front-page story under the headline “Men Who Conned the World,” revealing that two mischievous friends from Southampton had secretly made more than 200 of the patterns over the previous decade. This story was covered by multiple mainstream media networks and still is.
“The unveiling of the "Doug and Dave" hoax itself was a notable example of media promotion. The two British retirees enjoyed front-page articles in the international press and special placement on prime time on world TV programs, a treatment usually reserved for major world events or announcements supported by heavy, professionally-managed advertising budgets. Their "revelation" had an immediate, irreversible effect of locking the concept of crop circles as a hoax in the mind of a very large public, most notably the academic and 'intellectual' community.”
- Dr. Jacques Vallée, renowned UFO researcher, computer scientist, astronomer. “Jacques Vallée: Of Crop Circles, meme wars and web-based flypaper.”
One thing is clear. For the crop circles where the above-described type of techniques are being used, those who are making them must have a tremendous amount of resources, people, and money at their disposal, not to mention the skills necessary to make such a large and mathematically perfect design. It would indeed, as Dr. Taylor (mentioned earlier) suggests, be the most science-oriented art movement in history.
The above-mentioned facts are a large reason these formations are so mysterious. Perhaps the largest is simply their precision, designs and complexity. Some of them truly leave you in awe.
The crop circle you see below, for example, appeared in 2002 in a field near Crabwood, United Kingdom. Yes, it was real. It’s been filmed from helicopters, documented and photographed. It caused quite a stir. It shows what appears to be an extraterrestrial face along with a binary code.
It garnered a lot of attention and has been researched by multiple scholars from all over the world.
Here is some more astonishing helicopter footage of this particular circle taken by the photographer of the photos posted below, Lucy Pringle. You can see people standing in the crop circle here as well, it’s quite detailed footage.
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Who could do something like this? Who could design a binary code and implant a face within a crop in the dead of night in only a few hours, leaving no entrance or exit marks, while being so artistically and mathematically precise?
Miia Pitkonen is one of many scholars who have examined this particular circle. She is a physicist from the University of Helsinki in Finland, specializing in medical physics. You can view her curriculum vitae here.
Clearly, she has an interest in this phenomenon because she published a paper titled “Crop Circles and Life at Parallel Space-Time Sheets.” It’s a two-part series, and in it, she examines the Crabwood crop circle.
“Crabwood message consists of two parts. An alien picture and a picture representing spiral like bit sequence starting from the center of the picture and proceeding counterclockwise. It has been proposed [59, 60] that the message is coded using 9-bit code and that 8-bit portions obey ASCII code. With this assumption the message reads as:
‘Beware the bearers of FALSE gifts & their BROKEN PROMISES. Much PAIN but still time. EELI!UVE. There is GOOD out there. We OPpose DECEPTION. Conduit CLOSING\’
Obviously there are one or two incomprehensible words involved (EELI!UVE). There are also two variants of the message in the net. OPpose appears at Paul Vigay’s homeopage and Oppose at at Martin Keitel’s homepage. In the following both options are considered. One could consider the possibility that the message has a much deeper layer than the somewhat oracle-like statement in ASCII code, and that the presence of the little inconsistency might be intended to make clear that a deeper level is involved. What these aliens would like to communicate is something very essential about themselves as a life form. The image of an alien accompanying the bit sequence indeed suggests this. This something very essential could obviously include the code for translating ordinary DNA triplets to amino-acids. Perhaps also the code for translating the exotic RNA doublets to the analogs of amino-acids.
These analogs could even be electromagnetic waves. There could also be other codes: just at the time when the Crabwood message had arrived I developed entire hierarchy of cognitive codes based on Mersenne primes and regular polygons constructible using only compass and ruler. The first guess is that the message should be represented by some universal code. The appearance of 3 × 3 = 9-bit code words decomposing naturally to 3 sequences of 3-bits suggests that a cognitive code consistent with genetic code might be involved.
This guess was very useful in that it led to the identification of the genetic code of exotic RNA and the decomposition of 3 3-bit portions also suggests immediately that information about RNA is in question.
It however turned out that ASCII code is the proper manner to interpret the message, ninth bit serves as a separation sign only. The interpretation relies on extremely general aspects of the ASCII code: capital and small letters correspond to amino-acids and capital and small forms of a given letter denote for the same amino-acid. Control signs denote the amino-acidic counterparts for the code associated with the exotic RNA. The ordering of the symbols does not matter. One could also use different kinds of symbols: only the numbers of various kinds of symbols telling how many code words are mapped to a particular amino-acid (or whatever counterpart of it) matter.”
In her paper Pitkonen also provides an analysis regarding a broadcast (known as the “Arecibo” message). It was put together by Carl Sagan and his colleagues in 1974. It was sent into space via radio waves at a special ceremony to celebrate the remodelling of the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico. It was the most powerful broadcast ever deliberately beamed out into space.
Directed at a star cluster sitting approximately 25,000 light years away, it consisted of a pictorial message depicting our planet’s location in our solar system, the core principles of our math and science, and the NASA antenna used to transmit the signal in the hopes that it would be interpreted by extraterrestrial intelligence. The message also included details about human beings, such as our physical appearance and DNA code. The signal was a million times stronger than the typical TV transmission.
27 years later in 2001, a pattern in the form of a response to the 1974 broadcast appeared right next to Britain’s largest telescope, the Chilbolton observatory. It’s home to the world’s largest fully steerable meteorological radar.
The response contained details about the supposed ‘beings’ that sent it, including their physical appearance and DNA code. It also included details about their solar system.
Who Or What Is Making Them? The Leading Theories & Explanations
It’s hard for me to believe that these formations may be the result of natural phenomenon. I think it’s quite obvious that there is an intelligent mind/consciousness behind these creations. The two leading theories in field are covert military operations/testing and/or extraterrestrial/extradimensional phenomena.
Dr. Jacques Vallée is a long time and well respected renowned UFO researcher, computer scientist, and astronomer. Vallée co-developed the first computerized map of Mars for NASA in 1963. He seems to believe these creations have a military weapons testing aspect.
He wrote the following in a 2010 article titled “In Search of Alien Glyphs (or are they microwave blasters?)”
“In Sept. 1991, I published in a New Age magazine my own hypothesis about the Crop Circles phenomenon. I speculated they involved a military aerial device (not a space-based instrument) for generating such designs using focused microwave beams, such as a "maser." At the time nobody wanted to hear that the beautiful pictures in English corn fields might be crafted by a technical team inside some lab, bouncing signals from a hovering platform and using individual corn stalks as simple pixels to calibrate a lethal device.”
In his article, he goes on to argue that military Microwave weapons testing furthers his hypothesis, citing an article from New Scientist which, at the time, wrote about newly declassified weapons testing developments.
“The next weapon in the US army's arsenal could be a laser-guided microwave blaster designed to destroy explosives. The weapon, called the Multimode Directed Energy Armament System, uses a high-power laser to ionize the air, creating a plasma channel that acts as a waveguide for the stream of microwaves.
The device could destroy the electronic fuse of an explosive device or missile, such as a roadside bomb, or immobilize a vehicle by disabling its ignition system…. Further work on the system could also allow it to be used against people, delivering electric shocks. The weapon's range will depend on the laser-generated channel. Previously such channels have been limited to tens of meters, but (the Army) believes it may be possible to extend this to a kilometer or more.”
“The development is hidden in plain sight, which is the best way to keep something secret, and it is camouflaged sociologically by clever use of misdirection (actual hoaxes, later "revealed" to the world press) and the public's continuing belief in first-order alien communication.”
Perhaps this theory is plausible. Perhaps there are multiple different causes for this phenomenon, and military weapons testing is one of them.
Just imagine, if a technology can do what’s described earlier in this article to plant biology, what could it do to human biology? It would be great if technology was used for good. If humans were morally and ethically in the right place, we would advance more than we can imagine. It’s not technology that’s the main problem, it’s the consciousness behind our technological development that determines our path. Do we use groundbreaking discoveries to make weapons, or do we use them to serve humanity?
Now, let’s get back on track…
There are a few videos floating around out there of what appear to be military helicopters flying around crop circles, and even balls of light (of different sizes) seen hovering and moving over many of these formations, and the military ‘interacting’ or ‘intercepting’ them.
There are also multiple accounts of people witnessing a UFO actually making a crop circle. This is perhaps why Vallée mentions “hovering platform” above, he may say these are classified military craft, while others believe they are from a ‘higher’ intelligence.
I wonder, UFO lore seems to be embedded throughout different stages of history via artwork, oral stories, and the printing press. I ask myself, if UFOs were associated with crop circles, why isn’t there more evidence throughout history? These creations seem to be a more recent phenomenon.
According to Discovering Britain,
“The first crop circle ever reported was in 1678. According to the story, a farmer and a crop mower were arguing about the cost of harvesting the farmer’s oat field. The farmer was furious at the mower’s price, and stormed off swearing that the Devil himself should harvest the crop.”
This is one of the earliest records/stories on a crop circle I could find.
It’s perplexing to think about, because there are so many reports of strange craft that are associated with this phenomenon, and they are highly complex, as you can tell if you’ve read the article.
It’s either a very real ‘other worldly’ phenomenon that may suggest that there is actually some good ‘out there,’ or a very clever, very highly sophisticated hoax used for other reasons, while simultaneously ‘messing’ with the consciousness and beliefs of humans. Who knows?
The fact that UFOs are indeed real (we are still discovering who is manning them), and have been documented for quite some time makes one wonder.
Contact stories of hundreds of thousands of people that seem to corroborate in many ways, as well as the stories that have been shared throughout history by countless cultures, military and intelligence personnel suggesting we have and are being visited by non-human intelligence also makes one wonder.
Is the UFO phenomenon connected to the crop circle phenomenon? Perhaps. Or maybe it’s something we have yet to discover. Either way, it’s worthy of our curiosity.
What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments about this phenomenon below.
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