Crop circles, those enigmatic and visually striking patterns etched into fields of wheat, barley, or canola, have long been subject to controversy and speculation. Despite evidence refuting their otherworldly origins, some persist in attributing these formations to extraterrestrial activity. The link between unidentified flying objects (UFOs) and these intricate designs traces back to a pair of friends from Winchester, England: Doug Bower and Dave Chorley.
In 1978, during the peak of the UFO craze following reports of a supposed extraterrestrial crash in New Mexico in 1947, Bower and Chorley, seeking a bit of amusement, conceived a plan in a local pub. Armed with boards, rope, and wire affixed to a baseball hat, they ventured into a field, creating their own imitation UFO landing site. Initially unnoticed, the duo made multiple attempts over years before the media caught wind of their creations. With UFO enthusiasts flocking in, they revealed their artistic hoax, laying bare the origins of these crop circles.
Since then, crop circles have evolved into both an art form and tourist attraction. While their allure as extraterrestrial relics has diminished, devoted believers known as “croppies” still maintain the belief in alien origins. However, marketing ploys have exploited these formations for diverse purposes, from promoting the Olympics to advertising computer chips.
These circles, meticulously formed by artists using wooden boards, have surfaced worldwide, from intricate patterns in southern England to reported “plagues” in the U.S. state of Illinois in the 1990s. Some formations, like those observed by Chorley and Bower, were found in Australia but were attributed to natural phenomena during the wet season rather than extraterrestrial involvement.
The history of crop circles, with roots dating back centuries, includes a 1678 chapbook called “The Mowing Devil,” which chronicled a farmer’s refusal to pay for oat-cutting, attributing the task to the devil himself. Additionally, famous formations like the “Julia set” near Stonehenge in 1996 sparked excitement with supposed sudden appearances, only later revealed to be creations by human hands.
Among the quirky instances, Tasmania’s opium fields in 2009 saw wallabies inadvertently cause circular patches after ingesting opium poppies, leading to disorientation and “getting high as a kite.” However, for those entrenched in the allure of the unknown, the association between these circles and extraterrestrial life endures as a staple of science fiction, despite the clear human origins behind these captivating formations.