This article is about my research on crop circles in Wiltshire, England. I went there together with two friends more than ten years ago, in 2011. It was such great fun to be in an area where many crop circles appear. The result of my research, of course, was not conclusive, but I hope the pleasure of being there and the strange experiences I had might give you a good reason to visit the area yourself.
What is a crop circle?
A crop circle is a complex, often geometric shape formed by flattening grain or another crop. The majority of patterns are found in cereal crops like wheat and barley, but circles have also been seen in oilseed rape, maize, linseed, grass, and even borage – to mention a few. They arise mysteriously, usually at night, often while people are guarding the fields with night vision goggles and cameras.
Do Humans Make Crop Circles?
Humans probably make crop circles. However, some crop circles seem to be very complicated and are responsible for strange occurrences.
In some fields, one finds evidence in the form of white powder, scorch stains, and exploded grain nodes. In addition, there are stories of orbs or light flashes that crop circle watchers saw in the night. The crop circle community is full of strange stories.
Therefore, some people believe that crop circles are expressions of extraterrestrial beings, powers of thought, or messages from mother earth herself. No one knows precisely, and that is why they are so fascinating. It is challenging to differentiate truth from fiction.
John Wheyleigh made the video shown above. It is a controversial clip from 1991, now proven to be a hoax.
Objective Research into Crop Circles
The question is whether one can do objective research into crop circles. The people who consider it a hoax are as persistent as those who believe that something mysterious is going on. Therefore, as a down-to-earth Dutch woman, I used my own approach. I collected stories of other investigators and looked at what I could find out by myself while visiting crop circles.
The scientific research of W.C. Levengood and Nancy Talbott “Dispersion of Energies in Worldwide Crop Formations” seemed to be a good starting point for this approach. I also found some Dutch books about the subject and read some articles on Scribd.
But above all, I decided to enjoy my trip to England and visit as many crop circles as possible.
Crop Circles from the Air
Crop circles are meant to be seen from the air. It is possible to fly over the crop circles in a plane from the Wiltshire Microlight Centre. They are tiny planes that take off and land on an airstrip in the grass. As an alternative, one can take a helicopter from Thruxton aerodrome or use a drone to take pictures of the formations from above.
I asked Pilot Martin from the Wiltshire Microlight Centre if he had an explanation for the crop circles.
“One of the circles we are flying over right now was formed in half an hour. Exactly between the two regular 20-minute flights I make with people like you. I did not see anybody in the field and can not explain who made it. I have been flying over them for years but still find it puzzling.”
He pointed to a seemingly simple circle of about 30 meters in diameter. The centerpiece was just next to the tractor lines. The crop circle had a kind of woven pattern from above.
That afternoon, we decided to visit this particular crop circle. From the ground, it was not very impressive. The woven pattern visible from the plane looked like a messy group of superimposed stems. In the center of the circle, there was no evidence of tools being used. Apparently, no peg or stick was used to serve as a guide for the crop circle creator.
Emotionally, however, something did happen. I experienced the circle as soothing. That was striking because other circles we had visited before had no effect whatsoever.
It seemed to me, this circle wanted to be a kind of bridge between the world of everyday life and the “relaxing world of crop circles.”
A pleasant side effect was the pain in my knee disappeared. The pain had bothered me for a couple of weeks. I had felt sharp pain shoots in the morning, but the 4-kilometer walk back to the car was painless.
Was this real, or was I just fooling myself?
If we are to believe Martin’s story, someone or something made this crop circle within half an hour. From above, you can see a pattern; on the ground, you can’t. Of course, the pleasant feeling I felt is a purely subjective perception, and the fact that my knee no longer hurt was a nice side effect. But nevertheless, I really started to enjoy the research, and being open to the magical aspect certainly contributed to that.
A Special Crop Circle at Honeystreet
If we hadn’t been driving for miles behind a tractor, we probably would never have gone off the main road to look at the longboats in Honeystreet. Driving on the left is challenging for a Dutch driver, but overtaking on those narrow roads is impossible, my steering wheel being on the ‘wrong side’ of the car.
We walked along the canal and suddenly saw a formation on the other side. After a short search on the map, we discovered the ideal way to visit it.
The farmer had discovered this formation a month ago before it was completely finished. In my opinion, this proved that the circle was human work. Let’s face it, aliens wouldn’t leave a half-completed circle to finish it a few days later, or would they?
When we arrived, someone had finished the crop circle. We didn’t know what it represented at the time, but it felt special. It seemed complex to us, with small paths and many bends. We also saw ‘mini-circles’ on the sides of the main formation with the vertical grain still in the middle.
Later we took a picture from the sky. Unfortunately, it was already a bit damaged.
White Powder in Crop Circles
In this circle, I noticed something strange: white powder.
At first, I thought they were bird droppings, but then I decided to look closer. It was more like a fine powder. In the absence of a clean test tube or bottle, I took a stem with some white powder stuck to it. I placed the stem carefully on the parcel shelf in my car. Maybe I could have the powder examined back in the Netherlands.
White powder has been found in some crop circles since 1996. Dr. W.C. Levengood investigated this substance. It turned out to be a sodium-lime-silicon (SiO2) compound.
Silicon dioxide, also known as silica, is an oxide of silicon with the chemical formula SiO2, most commonly found in nature as quartz and in various living organisms. In many parts of the world, silica is the major constituent of sand. Silica is one of the most complex and most abundant families of materials, existing as a compound of several minerals and as a synthetic product. Notable examples include fused quartz, fumed silica, silica gel, opal and aerogels. It is used in structural materials, microelectronics (as an electrical insulator), and as components in the food and pharmaceutical industries.
Unfortunately, my white powder had disappeared after two days, so I couldn’t have it analyzed anymore, but I took the stem home as a souvenir.
Using Dowsing Rods in Crop Circles
There is plenty to buy in the shop in Avebury for lovers of mysteries. When we entered, someone was paying for dowsing rods. I also want them, I decided. I had never used them before and longed to try them out in crop circles.
That afternoon with the new acquisition in search of crop circle “number 45”. This is the 45th circle reported in 2011 in the crop circle café (Silent Circle in Yatesbury). This formation was discovered on July 26, which was less than a week ago. A reasonably fresh one!
When we wanted to enter the formation, a young man asked two pounds per person for the farmer, a standard procedure when you visit a crop circle, although the price now (2022) is between three and five pounds. Compensation for the farmer is always given and appreciated.
Marja (the most down-to-earth of the three of us) wanted to try the “dowsing rods” for fun. So, with the two copper stakes in front of her, she walked through the sprayer tracks to the crop circle. Suddenly a scream. “They are moving!”
And for a fact, when she stepped back, they pointed forwards; stepping forward, they turned to the right.
We looked around, and to our astonishment, there were two small crop circles between the sprayer tracks. The circles were so small that they were easy to overlook, but they were apparently clearly present for the dowsing rod!
There were no footsteps or tracks to be seen. No one had visited these small circles yet. Maybe they were even newly laid!
The dowsing rods were still very active when we arrived at the large formation; they seemed to have their own life! I got a hunch that this circle had something to do with activating chakras. Again, utterly subjective, of course.
There were a few exciting knots in the grain. Braided baskets, it seemed.
But we got the best overview when we flew over it with Martin. What a beautiful formation!
The Roasted Fly
Usually, you are alone in a crop circle or with a few people. At least that was our experience. But there are also organized trips, so occasionally, the contents of a coach are emptied into a formation. Often these groups perform rituals in the middle of a circle with the result that there are feathers, stones, and sometimes written notes in the center of circles.
These groups never stay long; they visit many places in one day. After meditating, the participants walk around in the crop circle.
Perhaps these people are more intuitive because of the meditation. I always find it interesting to see if they might find something I hadn’t noticed.
This was certainly the case with the person who discovered this dead fly (or maybe it was another creature) that was stuck to the grain.
I had read that you often encounter scorch marks in crop circles. I had already seen them in another formation, but up to that point, I dismissed it as vandalism. But for this fly, I had no such explanation.
Accused of vandalism!
We had a bizarre experience in a formation near Devizes. The farmer came to the field to collect money.
Just before we wanted to walk into the formation, we saw two thin lines. One of us decided to follow these lines. Suddenly the farmer started yelling at us, convinced that my friend was trampling his crop.
We showed him the thin lines. He soon realized we could never be responsible for them.
Then he showed us a picture of the formation.
The new lines were not visible on it. The latest lines were probably from young people on motorcycles, he theorized. In the meantime, our friend had returned and informed us that the lines just stopped into nothing. No motorcycles, then.
This crop circle also seemed complicated. The surrounding circle consisted of stems that formed a kind of braid pattern. However, when we flew over it a couple of hours later, it looked more like lacework.
Investigating crop circles is fun. Wiltshire is a beautiful area with lots to see. Stonehenge, Avebury, and Salisbury are mysterious and beautiful places in this area.
I can recommend Wiltshire to everybody who loves strange stories. And while you are there, don’t forget to investigate the crop circles if they are there. I am certain you will fall in love with them!
Formations appear in the summer period in grain fields, maize fields or rapeseed fields. Keep in mind that these fields are a source of income for the farmers. In general, the farmers are not so much angry about the fact that there is a formation on their land, but the way visitors behave is a source of irritation.
In most tourist offices you will find a crop circle etiquette booklet.
Online, you will find sites where the latest formations can be found. Sometimes with coordinators, which you can set on your GPS. My favorite site is Monique Klinkenberg’s cropcircleaccess.com. Monique was a successful Dutch businesswoman before giving up everything to look for the origins of crop circles.
In the summer, you can go to the crop circle center to get the latest information. In the summer months you have a nice exhibition about the phenomenon on site. The address is:
Crop Circle Exhibition & Information Centre
Honeystreet Mill Cafe
Honey street, near Alton Barnes, Pewsey SN9 5PS Wiltshire United Kingdom
If you are in the region, don’t forget to visit Glastonbury. In the summer, there are lectures about Crop Circles.
Places to stay
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