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Why do people still bother to make crop circles?
Post by jenny on Jan 17th, 2004, 7:18pm

Why do people still bother to make crop circles?

John Vidal
Thursday July 17, 2003
The Guardian

Who knows? Whether you believe the cereal circles are harbingers of world
change created by an alien intelligence, ever more sophisticated situationist
art, or the work of jesters after a good night in the pub, the real mystery is
how they continue to intrigue. After more than 15 summers of random appearances,
the circles have cereologists bitterly divided, jealous and paranoid. One
camp, led by American and Japanese obsessives appeals to paranormalists, mystics,
spiritualists and ufologists. It concedes that there are many hoaxes, but
believes that most of the hundreds of circles made each year in southern England
and other countries couldn't be made so quickly or beautifully by humans.

Another group maintains that they are all hoaxes, created by artists worthy
of winning the Turner prize. The collective known as the Circlemakers say they
are benignly feeding off the bafflement of believers. These artistic
pranksters never claim credit for specific circles.

Scientists have only marginally studied the circles. Gerald Hawkins, former
professor of astronomy at Boston University, has identified all manner of
geometrical forms in the designs, from pentagrams to hexa gons and Fibonacci
curves. In fact, the majority of crop circles are relatively simple to make. All
that is needed are ropes marked off at different lengths, a plan, and short
planks that are strung round the neck and used to press the crop down with the
feet. Entry to the fields is via the tramlines left when the crops are sown.

A Guardian competition held in 1989 showed that small teams could, with
little or no experience, make a series of testing shapes. However, others are
extremely complex and require serious planning. From studying the evolution of the
designs, it is thought that at least four dedicated groups of people are
making them.

Farmers remain largely untroubled by the assaults on their land, often
recouping any losses by charging people to come and look.