Psychic Phenomena Crop Circles
Crop Circles: The Unanswered Questions
Crop Circles are back in the news and with them the apparently endless debate about who or what creates them. The problem with addressing the issue of how the circles or formations are made is clouded by the usual “Woo-Woo Factor”, the self-proclaimed experts or channellers whose fantastic claims scare away most sober scientists. I admit I am fascinated by the intricacy and aesthetic appeal of the most complex crop formations like this one photographed by Thomas Sutter, Jr. I would have no difficulty believing them to be human-made IF there weren’t so many unanswered questions surrounding them. Let’s take a look at the most popular “debunking” explanations.
Psychic Phenomena Crop Circles
The argument advanced most often in defence of the human-made theory is that they are created by commercial interests who stand to profit from the sale of photos, DVDs, postcards, calendars, tee-shirts, totes, etc. bearing the images of the formations. This argument presumes the involvement of corporate ‘sponsors’ or even photography companies who somehow commission and create the formations, photograph them and then manufacture goods for sale using the images. Sounds plausible, right? Except that the vast majority of formations bear no evidence of connection with any corporate or commercial entity. The exceptions were a Swedish Rail Company that put its logo in a field next to a highway (Image courtesy Swedish Rail) and two other similar ‘ads’ in the landscape and thost that have been done hoaxers using images of Homer Simpson or other easily identified products and since copyright law has not been applied to the crop formations no lawsuits have resulted from what would normally be considered a breach of copyright. One man in the UK in Devizes was sued for damages to a field and two Hungarian Agricultural students were charged and fined for creating an image on land owned by a food production corporation. The Judge in the case imposed a minimum fine on the students but a major fine on the film company and TV network that documented the making of the formation and announced it later at a press conference. Most crop formations are made in farmers’ fields overnight and only a handful of hoaxers have been identified as the “artists”. Some farmers have placed donation boxes at the entrances to their fields and an entire Crop Circle Etiquette has been adopted by those who study the phenomena to ensure that no further damage is inflicted on the farm properties.
The Fable of Doug and Dave
The next popular explanation we have is the overall claim that hoaxers are the source of all of the circles and formations and the “Doug and Dave” story is trotted out to “prove” it. The Doug and Dave theory claims that two pensioners with time to kill and nothing better to do with themselves, created the circles using boards and ropes and the BBC filmed the pair demonstrating their technique in a field of rapeseed. Unfortunately for the debunkers, the Doug and Dave hoaxer theory itself turned out to be a hoax when two pieces of evidence emerged that made the claim untenable. In the crop formations that have been studied by scientists from University of Michigan in America and by Eltjo H. Haselhoff in the Netherlands, it was found that circles and formations made by humans with boards and ropes crushed the nodes on the cereal crops and broke stems off as they bent the stalks. However, the samples taken from circles and formations that had appeared overnight on four continents (including several made on the same night dozens to thousands of kilometres apart were found to have been bent but not broken and the nodes of the plants had been radically altered by what appeared to be very high heat that caused the nodes to swell. In addition, in the crops with enlarged nodes there was no evidence of human infringement on the surrounding crops or within the tractor lines around the formations, no bent or broken stems outside the actual formations. Worse yet for the debunkers, soil samples from the formations that had obviously not been made with boards and ropes showed evidence of the same exposure to high heat for a very short period lasting no more than seconds, something akin to what a microwave burst might do.
The Experimental Technology Theory: Lasers and Micro-waves
“Aha!” said the debunkers,” that’s how the designs are being made.” “Somebody” with laser and micro-wave technology must be creating the formations.” Hmmm. Again, that sounds plausible except it fails to answer the first question regarding no one claiming responsibility for the formations. Surely a company with the time, money, technology, and manpower to launch such an elaborate operation would want to take credit for it and, of course, copyright all images of the designs to profit from them. But that has not happened. The vast majority of images of the crop circles and formations have been taken by amateur or self-employed photographers, film companies (National Geographic amongst them), and hobbyists. Furthermore, the best images have been taken from the air because most of the formations are not “readable” at ground level. And most important of all, each individual who photographs or videos or films the formations retains the copyright to their individual production and none has ever been challenged for violating a commercial copyright. As if that were not enough, many of the photographs made by individuals have been released by them into the public domain through Creative Commons as in the images in this article, thereby removing the money-making motive.
The other fact that argues against commercial sources for the creation of crop formation is the absence <of laser and micro-wave technologies prior to the 1980s when in fact crop formations had been photographed going back to the 1960s and had been described in historical documents going back many centuries. And finally, when a challenge was issued inviting anyone with the requisite lasar and micro-wave techniques to come forward and be filmed in the process of creating a formation, there were no takers.
Perhaps, the theory of last resort is the one that posits military involvement in the creation of the formations. The military has a vested interest in developing new laser and microwave technologies for all sorts of applications. True. However, the historic record shows that advances in electronic technologies originate in the private sector as was true of the Allies in WW2 who had to use civilians inventors and scientists to design, test and refine new weapons systems. The notion that the military are testing ‘weapons’ by making popcorn in farmers’ fields is, frankly, worthy of Dr. Strangelove…
© Delia O’ Riordan 2012
Images courtesy of Wikimedia Creative Commons including Jabberwocky and Thomas Sutter, Jr.
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