Yes folks, this week we’re going to have a chat about the most contentious of subjects; crop circles, in this Wiltshire Crop Circle Round Up 2023! And yes, I know most of them are down to mischievous groups of ‘circle makers’ but bear with me here, there’s a little more to it than elaborate hoaxes.
The whole crop circle thing started with some blokes who, having had a couple of pints at the pub, had a notion to head out into nature and create overnight masterpieces in the farmer’s fields, only to then whip the media up into a frenzy of otherworldly conspiracies each day that followed. So, with that in mind, they are a massive manmade hoax. Or are they?!
There are still a lot of strong feelings associated with crop circles. There are some people who believe none of them are hoaxes and all are caused by some supernatural, alien means. Other people are resolute that every single one of them across the world, with the majority popping up in Wiltshire, are human creations. And then, there are some people who have been researching the crop circle phenomena themselves for years, and they believe not all circles can be attributed to high jinks in the countryside.
One such person is Loren. He told us the story of The Grey Tower back in August. He’s a bit of a crop circle guru and has spent a lot of time investigating these magical circles in the corn. He realises humans generally are responsible. But here’s the thing; not for all of them! Loren’s interest centres around the energies coming from the earth and atmosphere. He discusses his findings further down in the blog. But, first, I want to give you some interesting facts and figures that come from data collected by BonusFinder in collaboration with Monique Klinkenbergh, researcher and founder of the Crop Circle Visitor Centre and Exhibition in Pewsey, Wiltshire.
The main ‘crop circle scene’ started in the 1970s but ramped up in the 80s when the infamous Doug Bower and his friend Dave Chorley were ducking out at night to create their circles in the corn. But, strange shapes appearing in agricultural fields is not a new thing. The first one that ever appeared in England was in 1678 and was called ‘The Mowing Devil’. The farmer at the time blamed it on a devilish entity in his field. But back in 1678, the Devil was generally thought to be behind most problems, one way or another. There have been many other crop creations over the years (and probably many of them were simply not recorded) before Dave and Doug started up. Whatever your feelings about crop circles, be it works of art or strange alien phenomena, it’s still an interesting topic.
Since 2005, UK Crop Circles, have documented all the crop circles that have appeared across the British Isles. You won’t be surprised to hear Wiltshire is a hotspot. Since 2005, 380 crop circles have appeared in Wiltshire. The next closest top location is Hampshire with a tally of 51 and interestingly this county borders Wiltshire. In third place, also next door to Wiltshire, is Oxfordshire with a grand total of 35 circles since 2005. Other counties, mainly in the south of England, also have a few circle occurrences but Wiltshire has the most by far.
Why is Wiltshire the crop circle hotspot?
Forget the science and the hoaxing for now and let’s think about our ancient history. Wiltshire is known for its many stone circles, long barrows, hill forts and other archaeological sites. Did our ancestors know something about this mysterious place that we don’t? Could they have known about the reported earth energies that run through these lands? If you are open to the idea of ley lines, dowsers say there are detectable energy changes within crop circles, for some unknown reason.
Could it be something to do with a geological theory that the presence of chalk and green sand rock in combination with large aquifers containing high mineral content somehow act as electrical conductors causing powerful currents of energy to flow through the ground? And this energy somehow creates these shapes from the earth, rising upwards? Well, that’s my understanding of this theory. It gets deep into the realms of science so I will say no more as I have no idea if this is even possible! Nonetheless, if it is possible, it could be some sort of scientific explanation for crop circle formations, with the Wiltshire landscape providing the perfect conditions for this to occur.
Loren has other ideas which we will come to shortly. But before that, let’s have a quick look at the crop circles of Wiltshire this year.
There are a fair few which actually sit over the border in Hampshire but they are still very much in the same area. I’ve gathered together as many photos as I can of the Wiltshire circles but if you want to see the Hampshire creations there are links at the end of this blog. There’s a chance I have missed a few so if you know of any Wiltshire crop circle creations this year that aren’t here please send me info.
Wiltshire Crop Circle Round up 2023
Nick Bull is the superb photographer and videographer of Stonehenge Dronescapes. I had the luck of running into him at Stonehenge one time and he said he was happy for me to use his work on Weird Wiltshire if I credit him. Many of the images above were taken by Nick (as shown in the captions) but I thought you may enjoy one of his videos of crop circles that appeared in May and June. You can watch it here.
Now it’s time to hear from Loren.
Will the real circle makers please stand up…
Crop circles have intrigued and mystified people around the world for a long time. In some cases, we have historical records going back hundreds of years. These intricate geometric patterns, often found in fields of crops like wheat or barley, have caused much debate, speculation, and theories about their origins. While some believe these formations are caused by natural or human-made causes, others associate them with paranormal, unknown or alleged extraterrestrial phenomena. Although as we will see, most of the known circles have indeed been created or hoaxed by humans, there is a more mysterious side to this phenomena that is often overlooked.
Initially reported in the late 1960s, crop circles gained widespread attention in the 1980s and 1990s, primarily in the English countryside with the epicenter being in the county of Wiltshire. The intricate designs, ranging from simple circles to complex geometric shapes, appeared mostly overnight, leaving flattened crops in their wake. The precision and complexity of these formations seemed beyond human capabilities, sparking curiosity and fuelling the theories about their mysterious origins.
The debate over crop circles often divides into two main camps: those who believe in a natural explanation and those who attribute them to apparently paranormal or sometimes extraterrestrial causes. Naturalists argue that many crop circles are man-made, created by skilled individuals or groups using simple tools like ropes and planks to flatten crops. These enthusiasts see crop circles as an art form or a form of social commentary, and indeed, some circles have been claimed and demonstrated to be by human creators. Maybe we could say they became rural versions of ‘Banksy’, a trickster graffiti artist in the fields of England.
However, the mystery deepens with the discovery of certain characteristics within crop circles that defy conventional explanations. Some formations display unusual properties such as bent or elongated crop nodes, altered electromagnetic fields, and anomalies in soil composition. Sceptics argue that these could be the result of natural processes or hoaxers enhancing their creations, but others believe these phenomena point towards a more enigmatic origin.
Many researchers at the height of the phenomenon during the 90s and early 2000s began to realize that there was a peculiar paradox present. There were two types of crop circles appearing. One type was clearly the work of human hands and the other anomalous type had characteristics the seemed beyond the scope of the average group of people to make.
A generalized survey of farmers and other researchers as revealed in the August 9th, 2000, edition of The Farmers Weekly indicated that 80% of crop circles were clearly man-made while the remaining 20% remained of an unknown origin. These figures still seem to hold true at the time of writing this. However, I would stress these are an average, but they do represent a fairly accurate proportionality. New Scientist Magazine ran its own investigation and article on crop circles. Surprisingly they came to a similar conclusion and ratio as the one sited by the farmers.
There is a huge amount of information and some very interesting and credible witness accounts relating to this perplexing and surprisingly enduring phenomenon of crop circles. However, there would not be time or space to include it all here as the writing would turn into a fully-fledged book!
I know that most of you reading this and Emma’s wonderful blog about all things weird in Wiltshire have an interest in the uncanny and unknown. I’m going to list a few quick, quirky and entertaining facts related to the phenomenon of crop circles for you to consider.
Ultimately it is up to the individual to decide who or what the real circle makers are.
The usual suspects
- Hoaxers, animals, including over-sexed hedgehogs running in circles
- Surprisingly poor soil (which is not the case in Wiltshire) which was the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s public explanation
- Weather and army helicopters (some apparently flying upside down?)
- The electromagnetic field of the earth collapsing unexpectedly in places
- Plasma vortexes
The unusual suspects
- Orbs of light
- Supernatural forces
- Telepathic manipulation by persons unknown (I quite like this one! I’m not saying it’s true obviously!)
- A ‘psyop’ by foreign powers
Some stranger things…
A paranormal circle turned up in the middle of a mine field on restricted and guarded MOD land on Salisbury Plain. No one saw how it was made or had an explanation for why none of the buried landmines exploded.
In and near crop circles balls of light or orbs are often seen. Sometimes the people nearest to the orbs are unaware of their presence. It seems as if these strange glowing spheres can make themselves visible to some people and not to others. They have also been recorded on film and video. Army helicopters have been recorded on video monitoring orbs over a field where crop circles have appeared.
There are documented cases of the sudden manifestation of a strange eerie presence or atmosphere and a feeling of being watched. Farm animals pick up on this too and will run wildly and howl. Strange trilling sounds have been heard and recorded in the fields along with the sudden draining of battery power and the malfunctioning of electrical equipment for unexplained reasons.
Very weird anomalous objects have been recorded on film that were not visible to the naked eye at the time. These have included ominous looking black squid like shapes that have shown up on different cameras at different locations. Some of these strange ‘ink squids’ have even been recorded on film from the window of planes flying over crop formations.
Finally, a few words on crop circle hoaxers
Over the decades some hoaxers have become better at imitating some aspects of paranormal crop circles. They can make the plant stems appear bent and not broken.
Although they have learned new tricks, they still can’t replicate the sudden internal heating of stems and the steam expulsions from plant nodes. They also can’t make the razor-sharp edges of formations or find a way to negotiate an uneven landscape like the real circles do. There are many more key points that human makers can’t produce in their hoax circles.
One other thing some hoaxers have done in the past is to trample over part of a genuine formation and then pretend they made the original pictogram. This usually involved a news crew they were showing off to.
The infamous Doug and Dave (mentioned earlier in this article) who claimed to have ‘fooled the world’ turned out to be ‘questionable’ with some of their claims. I met them both once. They were pleasant enough and seemed to be enjoying the media attention. However, their more outlandish claims of using pole vaults to run and jump into fields didn’t (excuse the pun) hold up. No traces of poles or fully grown men landing heavily could ever be found. What they were doing was trying to lay claims to making some of the genuine circles. When both their wives were approached by the press about their husbands claims of being out all night for years, the women knew nothing about this and were not aware of their apparent absence at the time. When confronted with this information Doug and Dave came up with the story that both their wives were heavy sleepers and thus were unaware of the duo’s antics!
So, what do you think?
Just before we roundup here, by coincidence, my writer and podcaster pal Peter Laws produced this interesting YouTube video just yesterday and since it involves crop circles, Wiltshire and the KLF (yes, the 90s dance music act) and a board game I really felt it deserved a spot on this blog. Have a watch! It’s a really fun mystery!
Whatever you feel with regards to crop circles, even if you are resolute in thinking that every single one is a man-made piece of art, I do hope you still enjoyed this Wiltshire Crop Circle Round Up 2023. It’s controversial and causes many a heated discussion in the world of the weird but it’s still a subject that comes up again and again (mainly because crop circles appear again and again). Whatever you think, thanks for reading and maybe we’ll be back here next year with more images and ideas!
I’d like to say a big thank you to Loren for his well-written piece, interesting facts and fantastic take on crop circles. He tells me he is launching a blog soon so follow him over on Twitter here (it’s supposed to be called X) so you can see what he is up to!
Crop Circle Research and Image Credits
A Journal of Undergraduate Writing – Crop Circles Explained by McKenzie Pendergrass, University of Missourri
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Stay spooky everyone!