About Crop Circles
The inexplicable formation of flattened circles in fields of crops has gripped our imagination since the first recorded evidence in a seventeenth-century woodcut. They range from complex geometric patterns and DNA symbols to more delicate versions that look like snowflakes and spiders’ webs. While enthusiastic hoaxers may be responsible for many crop circles and patterns, not all can be dismissed so easily.
In the mid-1980s, the crop circle phenomenon gained momentum, as hundreds of patterns began appearing in the fields of southern England. More outlandish explanations – flying saucers, fairies, field sprites and the Devil himself – were quickly laughed off by a sceptical media. But “natural” explanations, such as rolling hedgehogs, mating foxes, plasma clouds, whirlwinds and changes in the earth’s magnetic field hardly seemed more credible. Within a few years, many commentators had agreed that the circles were all just a big hoax.
Soon newspapers were revealing how gangs of tricksters armed with ropes, planks, surveyors’ tape, stakes and plastic garden rollers were touring the shires to make their mark in the dead of night. These groups of hoaxers even gained a measure of notoriety and were given names – Merlin & Co, The Snake, Spiderman, The Bill Bailey Gang – but the undisputed grand old men of British “cereology” were known simply as Doug and Dave. In 1992, Doug Bower and Dave Chorley admitted to devoting more than twenty-five years to making crop circles. This seemed ample proof for the sceptics that all circles were hoaxes. And yet a couple of successful pranksters working for a few years in southern England could not explain historical and worldwide reports of crop circles. This was certainly not the end of the story…
from "Encyclopedia of the Paranormal" by Rupert Matthews
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