From the Fortean Winds perspective, the first reliable report of a crop circle comes from Volume 22 of Nature – a Weekly Illustrated Journal of Science in 1880. A gentleman by the name of John Rand Capron wrote “The storms about this part of Surrey have been lately local and violent, and the effects produced in some instances curious. Visiting a neighbour’s farm on Wednesday evening (21st), we found a field of standing wheat considerably knocked about, not as an entirety, but in patches forming, as viewed from a distance, circular spots they all presented much the same character, viz, a few standing stalks as a centre, some prostrate stalks with their heads arranged pretty evenly in a direction forming a circle round the centre, and outside there a circular wall of stalks which had not suffered. I could not trace locally any circumstances accounting for the peculiar forms of the patches in the field, nor indicating whether it was wind or rain, or both combined, which had caused them, beyond the general evidence everywhere of heavy rainfall. They were suggestive to me of some cyclonic wind action, and may perhaps have been noticed elsewhere by some of your readers.. “
While our research methods would indicate this is the first credible report of crop circles, there are certainly many more perspectives. Ancient Alien theorists and others believe this phenomenon dates back tens of thousands of years. They’ve postulated crop circles are used for everything from communication to time travel. While these theories are interesting and compelling, we find little scientific and measurable evidence to directly support them.
Seminal Ancient Alien Theorist Erich Von Daniken points to 19th century tales of faerie rings as evidence of the crop circle phenomenon prior to the 1880 article. However, faerie rings or fairy circles are caused by fungus. It’s a naturally occurring ring of mushrooms which occurs in open grassy fields. It was misidentified and branded a “witches circle” in 19th Century Europe and likely before. The myth was that witches wore down the fields dancing in rituals. Later, this became aliens.
When it comes to crop circles as complex as those found in the above photograph, one can see where the alien hypothesis comes in. The designs are remarkably intricate and the method of creating the crop circle is not always apparent. Hoaxsters have attempted to take credit for well…all of them. Yet, it should be noted that these two gents could not have been quite as prolific or as detailed (with the method demonstrated) to have created all of the crop circles appearing in the Wiltshire area.
An intriguing minority of crop circles remain unexplained in their origin. A British researcher named Colin Andrews working for Laurance Rockefeller estimates 80% of crop circles are hoaxes. He suspects the other 20% may have something to do with changes to earth’s magnetic field. His research is ongoing and involves instrumentation. So, we’ll look forward to his results. Clearly, if we accept the 1880 report of a crop circle as evidence of some of the modern phenomenon, there is more to it than a couple of drunks with boards on their feet. While we wait for more data, those 20% of unexplained crop circles remain ripe for theory.
Some researchers and members of the public have attempted to decode the messages and below are a few samples of the messages which have been interpreted.
A binary code message: In 2001, a crop circle in England was claimed to contain a binary code message that, when translated, allegedly revealed the phrase “Beware the bearers of false gifts and their broken promises.”
ASCII image of a face: In 2002, a crop circle appeared in Hampshire, England, which some interpreted as an ASCII representation of a face. They believed it resembled the Chilbolton face depicted in a previous crop circle from 2001, which they associated with extraterrestrial communication.
Mayan calendar date: In 2009, a crop circle appeared in Wiltshire, England, depicting a pattern resembling a Mayan calendar. Some claimed that it indicated a specific date related to the end of the Mayan calendar in 2012, associating it with apocalyptic prophecies.
Alien DNA code: In 2011, a crop circle in Wiltshire, England, was claimed to contain a pattern resembling DNA strands. Some individuals suggested that the arrangement of the strands represented an extraterrestrial genetic code or message.
Solar system alignment: In 2012, a crop circle appeared in Hampshire, England, depicting a series of concentric circles and lines. It was interpreted by some as representing the alignment of the planets in our solar system, possibly conveying an astronomical message.
Mathematical formula: In 2013, a crop circle in Wiltshire, England, displayed a complex geometric pattern resembling a mathematical formula. Some proposed that it contained encoded mathematical knowledge or a scientific equation yet to be deciphered.
Barcode message: In 2015, a crop circle appeared in Wiltshire, England, featuring a pattern similar to a barcode. It was claimed that decoding the barcode could reveal a hidden message or information, but the specifics of the message remain unclear.
Fibonacci sequence: In 2017, a crop circle in Wiltshire, England, displayed a spiral pattern resembling the Fibonacci sequence, a mathematical sequence found in nature. Some individuals associated it with sacred geometry and suggested it held esoteric knowledge.
Crop circle “language”: Some researchers propose the existence of a hypothetical “crop circle language” with recurring symbols and patterns across different formations. They claim that this language could convey complex messages, although no consensus or widely accepted translation system exists.
Sound wave representation: In 2020, a crop circle in Dorset, England, was interpreted by some as a representation of a sound wave pattern. They speculated that the pattern could potentially encode an auditory message or information.
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