What crops up in certain circles

by Lorin Michel Wednesday, August 3, 2011 10:04 PM

I had some strange things happen today regarding family, and I was ranting a bit because I believe that ranting is something that everyone should do every once in a while if for no other reason than to get it out of your head and into the ether where it can be more easily managed. Bobbi asked me, in the midst of my angst overload meltdown, what I would be blogging about today since I didn’t seem to be very celebratory. She asked with love, affection and concern. I retorted: crop circles.

So without further ado, allow me to commence with a celebration of the patterned flattening of wheat, barley, rye, corn or rapeseed. These incredible occurrences have been happening for perhaps as long as hundreds of years, but mostly they’ve been capturing the attention the world – and not always in a healthy way – since the 1970s. According to the venerable Wikipedia, some 26 countries have reported cases of approximately ten thousand crop circles since the disco days with 90 percent of those in Southern England, appearing near such ancient monuments as Stonehenge and Avebury, a Neolithic henge monument, the largest stone circle in Europe. Circular coincidence?

Supposedly the crop circle phenomenon was started in 1978 by Doug Bower and Dave Chorley. To prove their point, they even demonstrated their prowess in the tall grass by making a circle in an hour. Until their revelation, made in 1991, all sorts of theories grabbed onto the minds of the common and uncommon man. Some suggested that the circles were the result of extraordinary meteorological phenomena based largely on a hypothesis posed by amateur scientist John Rand Capron in the 1880 publication of Nature. In it he stated that he had “found a field of standing wheat considerably knocked about” and “as viewed from a distance, circular spots… suggestive of some cyclonic wind action.”

That’s some wind.

There is also the paranormal belief that the circles were messages from extraterrestrial beings. ET evidently phoning home. This theory was largely proven false in the hugely disappointing M. Night Shyamalan film “Signs.” Some new agers also related the circles to Gaia, or Mother Earth, stating quite factually that the circles came from global warming and human pollution. Even animals were suspect. In 2009, the attorney general of Tasmania stated that Australian wallabies had been found creating crop circles in fields of opium poppies. No confirmation of whether they were just stopping to smell the flowers.

Historically, the Mowing-Devil made the Hartford-shire news in 1678 when Satan himself evidently mowed down someone’s crops following a dispute over harvesting. No evidence of anyone sporting horns and a tail, other than the family bull, was ever found.

The Mowing-Devil

Crop circles have been the subject of documentaries (Discovery’s Crop Circles: Mysteries of the Fields) and competitions in Berkshire, England. And artists like Rod Dickinson and John Lundberg have been creating crop circle art in the UK and around the world since the early 1990s.

I think crop circles are metaphors for the circle of life, the beauty of the earth and a celebration of the imagination. They are the personification of artists taking the world into their hands, literally, and creating visual wonders for all to see. And that’s worth a good rant any day.

A crop circle from Rod Dickinson’s Circlemakers. Can you see the face?

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