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Samarth Vyas

Mysterious patterns which have been appearing off and on in the farms of different countries have perplexed the researchers to no end. Who makes these amazing, nay, breathtaking patterns amidst standing crops, how does he (or they) make them, and for what purpose? Nobody knows the answer

Crop circles: How the mysterious designs crop up in the fields? Any strange happening which cannot be scientifically explained once and for all tends to become controversial and keeps on surfacing from time to time instead of receding into the background of the public memory. Such a phenomenon keeps hovering between the realms of fact and fable. Appearance from time to time of the mysterious patterns amidst the standing crop, or the crop circles as they have come to be known, in the farms of Great Britain is precisely such a strange and inexplicable phenomenon which the researchers have not been able unveil and explain ever since its first appearance in 1976. These patterns which resemble some giant’s seal markings were first observed amidst the crop of barley in the counties of Wiltshire and Oxford. The giant ’s s eal-like pa tterns w e re so contemporary and artistic that calling them circles would have been a crass misnomer but many smaller or bigger circles do form a major motif of these patterns. The term crop circle to denote the mysterious pattern made by some unknown being by mowing down the standing crop of a farm was coined by a researcher named Colin Andrews in the decade of 1980s and was immediately adopted by the news media. The name crop circle gained currency

because the most outstanding f eature in the se m y sterious pat terns as seen from their aerial photographs was a number of small and big concentric or connected circles. Even when the pattern included tracery-like design it invariably originated or culminated in a circle. Crop circles of the recent years are quite different from those which had appeared earlier. Not only is there considerable variety of pattern but also considerable increase in their size. Comparatively simple patterns have given way to more intricate ones. In

Parallel furrows seen in this photo of a farm in England are man-made but who could have made that round seal-like pattern on the farm is an unresolved mystery Safari July, 2011 19

Crop circles mystery

Although there is considerable variety of design, at least one big circle or a number of smaller ones is indispensable motif in all the crop circles

Wiltshire and Oxford counties it has been observed that where ripening barley or mustard crops would be standing in the spacious farms in the soft evening sunligh t, ther e would be large, highly in tricate, mysterious crop circles as the first sunrays of the next morning light up the countryside. Another mystery observed in crop circles during the recent years is the increasing depiction of symbolic patterns. A fairly large image of Yin and Yang had suddenly cropped up (doubtlessly made during the previous night) in a farm in Wiltshire on the morning of May 25, 2009. This is an ancient Chinese pattern which symbolizes two mutually opposing forces of Nature. These forces exist in the human bodies, in the society and in the world but they must exist in the state of equilibrium. According to the ancient Chinese system of medicine, imbalance between Yin and Yang caused due to any reason in the human body must be set right with the treatment through acupuncture. During the same month there appeared a different type of crop circle in Oxfordshire in which there was depiction of a jellyfishlike shape. But the most amazing as well as complex crop circle which was reported only a few months earlier was the one which depicted a mathematical symbol. Although this crop circle was circular in shape, its mazelike inner belts depicted the numerical value of pi (Ď€ ) i.e. 3.141592654. Inner belts of this crop circle showed 20 Safari

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each digit o f pi ( π ) calc ulated up t o nine decimal places in their proper order. All the above men tioned digits we re depict ed with great precision in the inner belts. The crop cir cle of such outstanding precision as we l l as originality o f approach has not been replicated since. How was it made within a few hours during the night-time and who could be its creator is a baffling question. Wiltshire and Oxford coun ties s h ot in to the limeligh t due to the se novel crop circles. Local farmers, innk eepers, restaurateurs and air taxi operators who enabled the curious tourists to have a bird’s-eye view of the crop circles started doing brisk business as the believers in supernatural phenomena also started visiting these crop circles as the bonfide researchers. Unprecedented rush of the visitors for a glimpse of the amazing crop circles had to be seen to be believed. (One farmer was able to rake in 30,000 pounds as entry fee alone from the visitors within a short period of four weeks against the loss of yield worth about 150 pounds attributable to the crop circle). If neighbouring counties such as Hampshire were added to Wiltshire and Oxford, the rate of appearance of crop circles started touching one per day. No doubt, crop circles were a good augury for local tourism business but they also became the subject of serious scientific research among the scientists. Many researchers who had disdainfully brushed off early crop circles of the 1970s as the handiwork of a few intelligent pranksters found their interest awakening after the appearance of novel crop circles mentioned in the previous paragraph. They even held a convention at Marlboro in August, 2009 where a number of foreign researchers besides the British exchanged their findings and views. The incident of 1976 which is considered as the firstever in the string of mystery and suspense thriller-like crop circles, was purely accidental. It took place in that period of summer when tender grains in the ears of wheat plants start ripening and it fell in the lot of one Hampshire farm-hand to be the first person to see that

Crop circles mystery strange sight, the like of which had never been seen or and promptly ignored it. heard of by anyone before. As soon as his eyes fell on it The series of incidents which followed in the while walking along the Motorway A34, his feet became footsteps of what was widely believed to be some kind petrified. Wheat plants of the farm by the roadside were of practical joke till today continued. Crop circles started waving in the wind but there was no such pleasing appearing mysteriously in the farms in various counties. movement behind the first few rows. It was because the As repeated instances of crop circles depicting some plants in that part of the farm were lying on the ground. unexpected patterns started appearing at the daybreak As the first impression nobody would think anything in the farms which were lush with the ripening crops till unusual had happened merely because some plants had the previous evening, the atmosphere of caper started been uprooted. Some stray cattle might have trampled giving way to the one of seriousness and every new standing crop while grazing unchecked during the night. crop circle came to be regarded as an enigma in itself. Similarly, the crop in some part of the farm could have Scientists were also perplexed as this was an entirely been laid low by exceptionally strong gust of wind or novel phenomenon which had never been reported even the farmer himself might be responsible for delibefore and they did not know if this mystery had any berately decimating the crop with a bulldozer or a roller. connection with science at all. Crop circles simply did None of these seemed possible to the farm-hand. not fit in any established scientific principles. In the Why should the farmer destroy the crop that was meanwhile new crop circles kept on appearing in various ripening? Further, there were no marks of any heavy counties and by 1980, i.e. in the period of four years vehicle on the ground to indicate its use for destroying their number surpassed 100. Thereafter there was a spurt the crop. The plants had been uprooted in a circle which in crop circles and their number started touching 100 was so precise as if it had been marked with a pair of every year. It should be remembered that climate of giant dividers. It was quite large The crop is invariably found flattened in a circular shape or in a Britain is much colder than that and too accurate a circle to have uniform direction and in undamaged condition as if it has been of India and has only one carefully and tenderly pressed down been made with a bulldozer or a h a r ves ting season in the ro l ler. The area outside the month of August which is the periphery of the circle had been peak of summer season. untouched as not single plant had Hence, appropriate time for been damaged. In short, there spectacular crop cir cles is we re no impressions on the restricted to the months of July ground which would have been and August only. invariably left by a vehicle. On the In spite of such a severe other hand, neither cattle nor the restricting fa c tor there wind could have flattened the appeared no less than 300 crop crop in a geometrical shape. circles in the record-breaking When the farmer himself saw the year of 1989. By the time the mysterious carving up of the farm, number of recorded crop circles after the farm-hand reported it, was approaching one he was also amazed to no end. millennium mark in England, Within a couple o f days the the news came that the amazement of both of them invisible mould responsible for made the front page o f the mysterious crop circles had newspapers accompanied with l eaped o ver the seas big photograph. The response surrounding Britain and had which this news item drew from started showing its art in other the unsuspecting readers was countries (mainly European) as exactly the same as would have well. Besides the crops of been drawn by any senseless wheat and mustard, puzzling story. Most of the readers of mould of crop circle went to newspapers (and every scientist) work in the farms of maize, dismissed this incident as the soya bean and sugar beet in product of some prankster’s brain the countries as diverse as Safari July, 2011 21

Crop circles mystery Russia, New Zealand, Turkey and Japan and soon thereafter came the turn of the U.S.A. and Australia. Initially scientists did not consider it worthwhile to spend their time and efforts on crop circles because of unmistakable signs indicating their man-made origin. Many of these crop circles were such perfect circles that they c ould not hav e been made without prior measurements—and the crop was so accurately mowed down that one could not but suspect the use of some hitherto unknown engineering equipments. Speaking about the patterns of crop circles, either the crop standing in the center of a crop circle was

Circular pattern of the crop circle: Note the passage connecting two circles in the photo above whereas the photo below depicts close-up of the crop laid low in the shape of a whirlpool

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flattened and that in its periphery was left intact, or the crop in the center was left untouched while that surrounding it was flattened. There were comparatively few crop circles which showed an amalgam of both the patterns. Another conspicuous characteristic of the crop circle patterns used to be a band or bands connecting a sub-pattern or a number of them with the main design of the crop circle. These ramrod-like bands used to be so straight that they could not have been made without using a ruler. One puzzling aspect of the flattened crop in the crop circle used to be apparent ease or the smoothness of operation because neither the stalks nor the ears containing grain were damaged in any way. The researchers have not come across damaged or trampled plants in any crop circle. What surprised the researchers most was that the flattened crop was always found on the ground in such a position as if it had been left behind after having been trapped in a whirlpool—and not in a haphazard manner either but in a dis tinct ‘domino e ff ect ’ making a continuous inward curving line from the outermost edge to the center. (photo, left). Interestingly, it has been observed in a number of crop circles where there are two or more circular patterns that while crop has been laid low in a clockwise manner in one pattern it has been laid low in anticlockwise manner in the other pattern. Further, the flattened plants did not wilt and become write-off eventually as happens in such circumstances, but they continued to remain healthy in their supine position and bear as many seeds in their ears or bear as healthy tubers, under the ground, as other healthy plants. Ev en a fter kno wing the main chara c te r i s tics of cr op cir c l es the researchers were not in a position to surmise much about them. Actually they were in a position to make negative surmises rather than the positive ones. Instead of answering the question who is making these crop circles, they can say with certainty who could not have made these crop circles. Neither the domestic cattle nor wild animals lik e s tag can be held responsible for the crop circles. They can not even think about drawing such artistic patterns let alone executing them. They

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Crop cirles: How the mysterious designs crop up in the fields?