Crop circles, who makes them?


"Just as you cannot do very much carpentry with your bare hands, there is not much thinking you can do with a bare brain."

Bo Dahlbom "Computer Future"

That crop circles exist is a known fact, the question remains however as to who or what makes them.

Crop circles were not known prior to 1970, apart from the one reported exception of the Tully, Australia Saucer Nest of 1966. Crop circles first appeared in the UK in the 1970's, starting with simple circular patterns and developing over time into huge and complex geometric formations. In 1991 two elderly landscape painters named Doug Bower and Dave Chorley confessed that they had been making crop circles in English grain fields since the 1970's after reading about the Tully, Australia Saucer Nest of 1966. The pair demonstrated how they did it for a film crew and told how they had devised the idea over a pint or two at their local pub. It would appear that the Tully, Australia Saucer Nest of 1966 is the earliest reported crop circle, although it is not what may be recognised today as a typical crop circle.


What is the Tully Saucer Nest story?

The following article is from (August 2003). I have reprinted the story as it appears in all its glorious entirety so that you make up your own mind and not accuse me of putting my own slant on it. This is it, where it all started:

"At 9:00 am on January 19, 1966, a calm sunny day, a 28 year old banana farmer named George Pedley was driving a tractor near Horseshoe Lagoon on the property of Albert Pennisi, near Tully, in tropical far north Queensland, Australia. When he was about 25 yards from the lagoon, he heard a loud hissing sound above the noise of the tractor.

Suddenly, an object rose out of the swamp. When I glanced at it, it was already 30 feet above the ground, and at about tree-top level. It was a large, grey, saucer-shaped object, convex on the top and bottom and measured some 25 feet across and 9 feet high. While I watched, it rose another 30 feet, spinning very fast, then it made a shallow dive and took off with tremendous speed. Climbing at an angle of 45 degrees it disappeared within seconds in a south-westerly direction...

Another surprise came when Pedley rounded the bend of the road and came to the spot from which the object had risen. There in the lagoon was a large circular area that was clear of reeds and in which the water was rotating slowly. It had not been like that three hours earlier when he had passed the lagoon. After looking around, he got back on the tractor and left.

A few hours later, at about noon, Pedley returned to the lagoon for a second look. The scene had changed, because now the circular area was covered by a floating mass of green reeds that were distributed in a clockwise radial pattern. The circular mass of reeds was about 30 feet in diameter.

Pedley was by now excited enough about what he was seeing to go and tell Albert Pennisi, the owner of the sugar cane farm land on which the lagoon was located, and another friend. Pennesi recalled that his dog had acted strangely that morning, barking madly and heading off toward the lagoon at about 5:30 am. Pennisi and the other man were amazed by the circular mass of reeds. Wading out to the mass, they found that they could swim under the mass of reeds and that the lagoon floor beneath it was smooth and showed no traces of roots. Oddly, the outside edges of the mass of reeds angled down, similar to the shape of a saucer placed face down. Pennisi went and got his camera and took photographs of the mass of reeds, which was now beginning to turn brown on its top surface. George Pedley reported his experience to the Tully police that evening, and they in turn reported it to the RAAF after making a trip to the site the next day, January 20.

Within days, the media had picked up the event and the area was filled with investigators, many of whom were trying to prove theories as to the cause of the "nest" such as helicopters, big birds, crocodiles, reed-eating grubs, and whirlwinds of one sort or another. Pedley's UFO sighting was all but overlooked in the flurry of explanations. During the course of the investigations, as many as five other "nests", all smaller than the original, were discovered. In some of these, the reeds were rotated in a counter-clockwise direction and a couple of them showed signs of burning in the center of the nest. Samples of the original nest were sent to Brisbane for analysis, but nothing unusual was detected. Other than being part of the "nest", the only unusual thing about the reeds was that they turned brown in about 8 hours, whereas reeds uprooted by hand in the lagoon took three days to turn brown.

In another unusual twist, Albert Pennisi told a reporter from the Sydney, Australia newspaper The Sun that he had been dreaming about a UFO landing on his property for a week:

I'd get them almost every night. And they were beginning to worry me. I couldn't understand them. It was always the same. This thing like a giant dish would come out of nowhere and land nearby. And I would watch it in my dream and get real afraid before it went away. Then on Wednesday morning about 5 o'clock my dog suddenly seemed to go out of its mind. It was howling like a mad thing and raced off towards the lagoon.

What happened at Horseshoe Lagoon? There was never any evidence that there were any helicopters in the area nor any demonstrated reason for one to be over the lagoon. There was no evidence that crocodiles made the nest and analysis of the reeds from the nest showed no trace of "reed-eating grubs." There was no known bird that would or could make such a nest in three hours.

The best explanation that the RAAF could offer was that the nest was created by a willy willy, a type of small whirlwind known to occur in the area.

Although a conclusive determination could not be made, the most probable explanation was that the sighting was of a "willy willy" or circular wind phenomenon which flattened the reeds and sucked up debris to a height of about 30 feet, thus forming what appeared to be a "flying saucer", before moving off and dissipating. Hissing noises are known to be associated with "willy willies" and the theory is also substantiated by the clockwise configuration of the depression.

However, such whirlwinds, except when they occur in the desert as dust devils, normally accompany thunderstorms, and although the Tully event occurred during the rainy season, January 19 was a sunny day with little or no wind. Pedley described what he saw as a blue-grey object shaped like two saucers face to face. This description doesn't sound like a whirling mass of swamp debris, and there was no fallen debris in the area where the dissipation would have occurred. Finally, how does the whirlwind explanation account for the fact that the water was clear when Pedley looked the first time, yet was covered by the mass of reeds when he looked again three hours later?"


So there we have it, the first reported 'crop circle' story, all about a flying saucer making a reed bed to nest in! Either that or it was made by a willy willy! And what an industry that very silly story has launched, especially the tourist industry. There are are now companies that fly in tourists, many of them Americans, to the English countryside 'hot spots' and give guided tours of the crop circles. I wonder if these tourists are aware that there are crop circle groups, such as 'Circle Makers' that specialise in making crop circles? They will even make them to order! 'Circle Makers' have produced such 'circles' as an advert for Weetabix and a portrait of Richard & Judy, popular TV presenters in the UK. Circle Makers have their own web site at In case you may wish to order one.

Impressive though these man made crop circles are, it is not definitive proof that all crop circles are man made, you will have to make up your own mind on that score.

In my determination to find a good explanation for crop circles - other than the man-made ones - I trawled the Net looking for information, and soon came to the conclusion I wished I hadn't bothered. Theories abound. There are theories that cover Whirlwind Vortex, Plasma Vortex, Earth Energies, Extra Terrestrial Origin, Underground Archaeological, Hoaxes, God Force, Military Experimentation, and so on. Apart from Hoaxes, they all seem ludicrous to say the least. If you wish to pursue the matter further then go to Yahoo, for example, and type in "crop circles".



We can broadly categorise these theories into three main types: Natural phenomena, extra-terrestrial and hoaxes.

With regard to natural phenomena, although these theories contain lots of pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo, they all fail to explain how natural forces could make such perfect geometric shapes in such unnatural patterns.

Extra-terrestrial? I don't think so! See my page UFO's : Fact or Fiction? Why would they do it? I suppose you could argue that after employing fabulous technology to travel through interstellar space, that upon arrival in Earth orbit they ponder on the best way to communicate with us and come up with the superb idea that flattening some corns of wheat to make pretty pictures in a field would be the ideal method. Great. Makes a lot of sense to us dumb Earthlings.

Hoaxes? Seems a pretty good bet to me. Yes I know that some of the patterns look a bit tricky, but there are some pretty smart people about. To say that these patterns are beyond the ability of mankind is a bit of an insult to the intelligence of mankind. Why they would want to do it is another matter. Anyway, who is to say the photographs are not faked? Some that I have seen look decidedly suspect to me. I have even received an email to say that the photograph of a crop circle that I have used at the top of this page was shown on a TV documentary with two guys showing how they faked that photograph.


How to make a crop circle

I find it odd, to say the least, that people refuse to accept that crop circles could be man made because of their complexity but are happy to accept that it could be the work of aliens. supply some useful 'insider' information on their web site including how long it took to make some of their crop circles. One formation made for The Daily Mail was 300 feet across and made in 4.5 hours. Another was 200 feet across and made by three people in 2.5 hours, and yet another was 218 feet across made in just 2 hours by only two people.

It is also interesting to note that Circle Makers say that it is easy to see that crop circles are man made because of prominent construction lines that underlie the paths of flattened crop that circlemakers use to lay out the geometry of the design.

Taking the opposing view that the crop circles are not man made we have the web site This site tends to lean to the mystical and spiritual aspect of crop circles, stressing how in the main they appear around ancient sites such as Stonehenge, Avebury and Silbury Hill, all in southern England. They say that "Crop circle researchers are increasingly being asked to use creative and innovative thought as part of their investigation process. Some current field research uses meditation. lights and musical sounds in an effort to communicate new patterns into the fields as the circles phenomenon has been seen to interact with the human mind.".

A very different approach to Circle Makers!


So, to sum up, what do we have?

1) We know crop circles first appeared in the UK following that silly Australia Saucer Nest story of 1966.

2) We know that crop circles were started in the UK by two pranksters, basing their idea on the Australia Saucer Nest story of 1966.

3) We know crop circle started with simple circles and gradually, with practice, progressed to more complex geometric shapes.

4) We know we have Circle Makers who regularly make crop circles.

5) We know it is a simple matter to make large, very complex circles in a few hours under cover of darkness.

6) We know that man made construction lines can be found under the circles.

7) We know that some of the photographs are fake.

What else do you need to know?

What do I think?

I definitely rule out aliens, I think that's absurd. Natural forces? I very much doubt it, the patterns are too geometric for that. Hoaxes? Yes, I think so. We know that some crop circles are man made, some of the hoaxers have come clean and demonstrated for the TV cameras how they did it. This doesn't prove that ALL crop circles are man made of course, but it's the only suggestion that makes any sense to me. That is providing that you regard grown men stomping through corn fields at night as sensible.

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