Dark Realms - Issue 7

Crop Circles: Investigating the mysteries of the cryptic signs

Every year, hundreds of cryptic patterns appear overnight in crop fields spanning the globe. The designs are mathematically precise, made up of geometrically perfect shapes, and the patterns themselves cover acres of land. Could this worldwide phenomenon merely be an elaborate hoax, or are these patterns of alien origin, left behind as messages from extraterrestrial visitors?


Hundreds of times each year, an enigmatic force both silent and invisible visits farm fields across the world in the dead of night. It moves through the grain like the breath of some ancient, forgotten god, pushing down the stalks in some places while leaving other areas untouched. From ground level, it’s as if some minor whirlwind has touched down in the field. From the air or from a hill overlooking the field, however, it becomes evident that this is no mindless meteorological phenomenon. The silent whirlwind moves with staggering artistic precision, leaving behind arcane geometric patterns and diagrams. These so-called ’crop circles’ are invariably more intricate and breathtaking than mere circles; diagrams of the solar system and pictograms comprised of interlocking triangles and spirals have materialized in the fields with regularity.

The patterns have grown more complex over the years, but our understanding of them hasn’t even begun. What force creates them? What is their purpose? The mystery seems impenetrable and suggests the rather uneasy proposition that mankind is being confronted with an intelligence far greater than its own.


At first glance, crop circles seem to be a modern enigma. Beginning in the 1970s, reports of swirled patterns in farm crops began to attract media attention in England. The proximity of these patterns to Stonehenge, one of the most mystical sites in the world, lent the phenomenon an additional level of supernatural strangeness. Were the crop circles extraterrestrial in origin? Were they somehow connected to Stonehenge, a site whose own origin and purpose remains cloaked in mystery? The questions only multiplied as the patterns grew more intricate by the early 1990s. Crop circles, or agriglyphs as they are sometimes called, may have only captured the media’s fancy in the last few decades but their occurrences seem to extend back hundreds of years.

Crop formations may have gone unreported or not attracted much interest in the past because, prior to the twentieth century, helicopters and small planes weren’t available to give viewers the proper vantage point from which to appreciate the formations.

By the late twentieth century, however, when the world finally did begin paying close attention, the formations blossomed in richness and complexity. It was as if the author of the patterns was waiting until it had the spotlight before showing off the full range of its talents. In 1998, a seven-petalled mandala formation appeared in a field in Wiltshire, England. A three-armed spiral made up of nearly 200 small circles materialized in the same vicinity in 1996. In August 2001, the detailed image of a human face, strikingly similar to the controversial ’face on Mars,’ appeared in the countryside of Hampshire. Formations depicting astronomical concepts (such as the inner solar system from the sun to the asteroid belt) have also been found.

The astonishing complexity of these crop patterns seems also to be a reply to the two English hoaxers, Doug Bower and Dave Chorley, who claimed in 1991 to be the culprits behind the crop circle frenzy. Using sections of board tied to string, they demonstrated to the world media how to create a convincing (though rudimentary) crop circle.

Their admission cast into doubt the authenticity of many of the crop formations across the countrysides of England, but while they and other pranksters may be responsible for a small percentage of these occurrences, it is hard to believe that the hundreds of crop circles that are reported throughout the world each year are fraudulent. There is no shortage of con artists in the world, but it is altogether rare to find a con artist with the ingenuity to create a crop design depicting a conjunction of heavenly bodies over the Cetus constellation as it would appear in April 2000. Many of the crop glyphs exhibit a geometric and mathematical nuance that would be difficult, if not impossible, to replicate by human hands, though a Danish group of crop circle enthusiasts boasts on the Internet that they created a complex crop pattern that many experts claimed was authentic.


While it may be possible to manufacture a convincing crop circle, it is unlikely that human hands could genetically alter the plants in the formation, as is the case with genuine crop patterns. According to biophysicist William Levengood, plant stalks that are bent during the creation of a crop circle exhibit a depletion of water from their cells, a characteristic associated with the application of some intense burst of microwave energy. The crops, usually wheat or corn, exhibit evidence of high heat and radiation as well as extraordinary electromagnetic properties. The stalks are bent but not broken and in many cases the crop continues to grow at an accelerated rate.

Many witnesses have reported seeing small globes of light descending into the fields immediately before a crop circle appears, so perhaps these spheres are the source of the radiation.

As a whole, the scientific community is at a loss as to determining what force or mechanism produces crop circles. One of the first theories to explain the phenomenon was Dr. Terrence Meadem’s ’plasma vortex’ scenario, in which a small, naturally occurring tornado of electromagnetically charged air would strike the ground, flattening plants in a circular pattern. While this would explain the simplest crop formations, it is ludicrous to apply the theory to the enormous pictograms with representations of celestial and geometric principles; plasma whirlwinds do not think.

Some crop circle researchers such as James Lovelock and Colin Andrews have gravitated to the Gaia theory, in which the earth itself, a self-aware, sentient entity, creates these patterns in response to environmental stresses in order to provoke humans to change their earth-damaging ways and achieve a higher, more harmonious level of cosmic understanding. Similarly, some researchers claim that crop circles, which appear predominantly in southern England, are intimately related to the concept of ’ley lines,’ currents of intense, mystical energy that seem to run like veins throughout certain places on earth. Ancient peoples constructed their sacred sites, such as Stonehenge, at places where this energy was the strongest. England’s crop formations would be the result of this energy temporarily bubbling to the surface. The intelligent design of the formations would indicate that this earth energy is far more sophisticated than anyone could imagine.


If science is as yet unable to identify the force behind crop circles, can the enigma be penetrated by deciphering the patterns and pictograms in the fields? Here, too, the experts are overmatched. The crop circles seem to form an ornate visual language in which mankind is far from fluent. Some of the patterns clearly indicate astronomical concepts, suggesting that the force behind the patterns has a knowledge of and a preoccupation with the universe beyond the earth. Does this mean that space-faring extraterrestrials are the creators of these formations?

Most of the formations display characteristics of sacred geometry, an age-old branch of esoteric thought concerned with the spiritual significance of shapes and geometric patterns. This area of study persuasively argues that everything in the universe is governed by mathematical and geometrical principles; for instance, crystals are tightly packed cubes and hexagons at a microscopic level, while tiny electrons and gargantuan planets have the same kind of elliptical orbits. Even harmonic tones in music have geometric ratios. Crop formations have featured such spiritually significant shapes as the circle (symbolic of God and the creative principle since it has no beginning or end), the vesica piscis (the football-shaped area formed by two overlapping circles, associated with Jesus Christ and the Piscean age), the square (symbolic of material and things of the earth, the opposite of the circle), and other more complex shapes denoting aspects of the creation of life.

Are the authors of these pictograms trying to tell us something about our origins? Does their knowledge of the geometric architecture of life suggest that they may have played a part in mankind’s creation? The answers may lie far beyond our current intellectual grasp. It is clear, though, that some intelligent force is communicating with us, and the messages may be tantalizing insights into man’s place in the universe.