Crop circles, a paranormal phenomenon, aliens or simple just an elaborate hoax. The truth of it is that most people are not sure, and there are many groups that claim to have evidence supporting just about every theory relating to crop circles.
These crop circles have been making regular appearances in the fields of arable farmers for many years, and the frequency of their appearance is only increasing as we go on. The first recorded sighting of a crop circle was depicted in an English Woodcut called the Mowing-Devil in the 17th century. At this time it was unlikely that they believed that the patterns were created by aliens as the concept of aliens was considered as being blasphemy. Supporting something like that would have had harsh repercussions. This original sighting actually supports both the theory of aliens and of pranksters. It is arguable that at the time people would have lacked the skill to create such a complex and perfectly symmetrical shape. However on the other hand, since it was the 16th century, field sizes would have been much, much smaller that today, perhaps indicating that it would have been possible for humans.
In recent times the number of crop circles reported has skyrocketed. This could actually be due to two men called Doug Bower and Dave Chorley. The men claimed that they came up with the idea after a night at the local pub in 1978. In 1991 the men finally professed to the world that it was them who started the phenomenon. They claimed that they used rope, a wooden plank and a baseball cap that had a loop of wire attached to it. Doug and Dower claimed to have made over 200 of these crop circles between 1978 and 1991, and that nearly all of the crop circles made before 1987 were their doing. While these claims are certainly impressive, many who research crop circles are not convinced of their story. After they released this information in 1991, there has been a steadily increasing number of crop circles appearing each year, often more complex and larger than the last. Could this be groups of pranksters having a competition that only they are in on or could this be the work of an extra terrestrial or paranormal culprit?
There certainly are some convincing cases and arguments. Crop circles are often found near sites that were of a great importance to ancient man such as Stonehenge and ancient grave barrows. There has also been debate about whether crop circles are related to leylines (lines which run through areas of historical or natural significance). These rather strange factors have lead to crop circles becoming a part of many New Age belief systems. There have also been parallels drawn between the famous Nazca Lines and crop circles.
The main problem is that there is very little solid evidence which lends credence to the idea that crop circles were created by aliens. While there is no solid evidence, such as abnormal DNA being found, strange objects or even photographic evidence (that isn’t faked), there certainly is plenty of anecdotal evidence. An example of this would be a farmer in the 20th centuary who claimed to have seen a flying saucer over a marsh. When he went to investigate the area he claimed to have found that the reeds were interwoven into a mesh that could support the weight of 10 men. While this certainly sounds good, we have seen no good evidence, and the men at the scene could have woven the reeds together in an attempt to make their account more believable.
There is one last and rather humorous explanation for at least one crop circle. In 2009 officials from Tasmania claimed that a crop circle in an opium poppy field was in fact created by a pack of Australian wallabies.
However, the current consensus is that these are indeed created by teams of people. Scientists have explained that the larger and more elaborate crop circles were created using a high tech array or equipment, including the use of GPS, portable microwave generators and lasers.