The Crop Circles Phenomenon

crop circlesCrop circles are different geometric designs created on fields of crops like barley, wheat, linseed, rapeseed, soy, corn and rye. The patterns are made by flattening the crops to produce a circular outline, or a series of circles that would make out multiple circular outlines linked together.

Before the shapes made in the making of crop circles evolved into more sophisticated shapes other than circles, researcher Colin Andrews conducted a study regarding the phenomenon. He termed the patterns done on the crops as plain circles, thus the name, crop circles.

In forming the circles, there are several theories surrounding it, ranging from naturalistic reasoning to the paranormal. The natural explanation delves from the theory that crop circles are man-made. For those on the paranormal side, on the other hand, these patterns are made by UFOs. Though many circles are now believed to be artificial or man-made since there are those created by artist John Lundberg among others, the belief that these are crop imprints left by UFOs still remains.

Paranormal explanations

Way back in the 1970s, crop circles first made its way into popular media and were subjected to several paranormal beliefs. These opinions ranged from certain phenomena concerning geology to evidences of extraterrestrial messages left for humans to understand.

In one study, it has been claimed that ionized air was the main reason behind the crop circles. Also called plasma vortexes, the ionized air would form over a cluster of crops, causing the nodes to explode and the crops to become bent. Some other theories are attributed to natural phenomena like tornadoes or the mysterious and infrequently-documented ball lightning.

Further, crop circles found near barrows, hill figures with chalk horses, and the famous Stonehenge made these formations part of the beliefs of New Age groups, which they claim belong to a network of ancient sites emitting a form of mystical energy. It is because of these ideas that New Age believers gather around these sites to meditate.

Sightings of UFOs have been reported on fields which in turn lead to the theory that crop circles are associated with them. There are a number of witnesses claiming that they have seen UFOs flying over them and have had captured photographs of them, skeptics still called them off as hoaxes.

Naturalistic explanations

Since the idea of crop circles have entered into popular culture, there have been many literary publications about them. Most of them state that the circular formations, no matter how they are made, must be free of any paranormal or supernatural concept.

The theory that several of them are man-made is gaining a lot of followers, since it has been proven that they can be done with human hands. With ropes, planks of wood, and measuring implements, plus a bit of experience and creativity, an average person, especially a crop circle artist, can make one. This practical reasoning is enough among skeptics to dismiss the paranormal ideas associated with the crop formations as a hoax.

Nevertheless, despite the practical explanations behind the creation of crop circles, the supernatural and paranormal beliefs associated with it will simply not go away.

Image Source: Wikipedia

 
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