Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Tis the season

One hot summer in the mid to late 1970s, I walked up the steep Lansdown hill above Bath toward Beckford's Tower, and turned off the road near the Hare and Hounds pub, looking for a place to lie down and enjoy the sunshine.

I went to a secluded hay field - well, more of an untended grass field really - which I had been to a few times before, and there, right in the middle of it and hidden until I walked right up to it, was a perfectly formed, plain and spiralled crop-circle.

I think it was around 1983 when crop circles first re-entered the public imagination, though they have been recorded since medieval times, and usually attributed to the Devil.  A man called Delgado wrote a book on the subject, and a fellow pioneer was Reg Presley, he of the British band, 'The Trogs'.  Yes, he with the rubber neck.

Then, 15 or more years later, I was in a light aircraft piloted by a friend of mine, and we were heading for a series of large crop-circles situated at Alton Barnes, near Avebury and Silbury Hill, which are both close to Marlborough in Wiltshire.

We circled the crops a few times, then - about a week later - I drove to the site and visited the circles on foot.  I was astounded at what I saw.

Close up, these simple but huge circles show no signs of human hand, like the broken stalks one would find if someone had actually trodden them to the ground, but it was the small details that convinced me that they were genuine - if you can use that word for something which has been made by agencies unknown.

I walked across the spirally flattened crops which formed plain circles about 100 feet in diameter, and followed small, tangential trails which lead to the perimeters of the field, and underneath the hedge which formed that perimeter.

Tiny 'eddies' - little spirals in the grass no larger than about 3 or 5 inches across - were clear in the weeds which sparsely grew beneath it, and these could have stayed completely hidden to anyone other than a committed searcher.  These were details which  - if created by a mischievous human - would have taken inhuman skill and attention to detail.  Those Alton Barnes circles were undoubtably the real thing - whatever that is.

The area I live in the South West of England, where the things seem to crop up more than other places, and I know that there are quite a few - no, many - complicated and sophisticated hoaxes which have been printed around the fields in this locale, but there is definitely something going on, and it has been going on for quite a few hundred years now.  I wonder what it is, scientifically speaking?


  1. "re entered public imagination"?

    1. Yes. I meant what I said. Previously they were attributed to 'mowing devils'.

  2. Mostly by cheeky art students, methinks. Otherwise the 'greatest', and probably most prolific, of circle makers were the legendary 'Doug and Dave'.

    1. Don't be silly, Cro. I know of no art student gifted enough to create one of those things - even a plain one. Doug and Dave were a couple of piss-heads who created a few very complex ones, then went into the nearby pub to brag about others which they had not.

      I'm talking about the very plain ones here, not the 'smiley faces' etc. of Doug and Dave fame.

  3. This is honestly, very fascinating and so mysterious.

  4. I've been fascinated by this, too. I don't think scientifically we'll be able to prove anything for quite some time. Himself likes to think it's UFOs, but i've always wondered if it were brownies or fairies.