In the 80s and 90s, the media and the world was astir with crop circle stories. The enigma ended temporarily for some in 1991 when two guys named Doug Bower and Dave Chorley came forward with the story that they had started a prank back in 1978. The prank was this: use some boards and some rope, and you can make crop circles in almost any field.
For many, this confession marked the end of the line for the circle phenomenon. They decided it was case-closed on the issue, that it was all a hoax, and they changed channel.
But for some researchers, this was not the end. Some of the so-called circle-makers, as they were later named, many of whom took up the hobby some time after 1978, later confessed that they couldn’t confirm that all of the circles were human in origin. Meanwhile, some researchers, such as BLT Research in Cambridge Massachusetts, pointed out that some of the circles had blown out plant nodes in their stems, which indicated that the stems had been exposed to microwave radiation at some point during the circle making, and that some of the stem nodes were also anomalously elongated. For these researchers, this cast serious doubts about how some crop circles could be human in origin. Were the human circle makers bringing out high radiation equipment, or even a microwave, to burn the plants while they worked? This scenario seems almost as implausible as the idea of circles being made by extra-terrestrials.
While some scientists have put forward the argument that these hard-to-explain crop circles are the result of some sort of ball lightning formations or magnetic variations around the earth’s surface, there’s no doubt that the crop abnormalities occurring in crop circles have kept the whole paranormal debate about circle lore alive. And so it is: the mystery around crop circles is still evolving. Here are 15 cases that keep the mystery going.
15. A Thought Bubble
This five-section series of spherical shapes, sometimes commonly known as “thought bubbles” among crop circle researchers, was discovered in a North Dakota wheat field in August of 2005. The circle’s seeds weighed significantly less than those of the surrounding area, and the nodes of the plant stems exhibited elongation. Interesting as well is that there were power surges in the nearby area the night before, an effect some people report during and prior to UFO sightings. One might wonder how this could be the result of magnetic radiation or lightning balls in the atmosphere, so crop circle researchers often label this one in their studies under the heading of “unexplained” or “the real deal.” This one appears to be intelligently made, so we can probably assume this wasn’t Mother Nature’s creation.
14. Connected Circles
This circle appeared in a barley field in Spanish Fork, Utah in 2004. Its overall length was 207 feet, and there were some strange occurrences surrounding its first appearance. Many of the cattle, dogs, and other animals in the area exhibited “unusual behavior,” and some nearby landowners reported “aching” and “burning” in their lower legs after walking inside of the formation. There were also reports of cell phone and camera failures close to the area, as well as strange lights in the sky. The owner of the property also reported no signs of entry into the field, which is another method researchers use to determine whether the circle makers are human or come from the sky. Obviously, if you don’t see any footprints around in the soil, the case for a human design becomes tougher to make.
13. Elliptical Circles
This series of circles, found in Minnesota, were swirled to the ground, almost as if some object spun or rotated a portion of this oat field down in parts. There were five, elliptical circles here in total, measuring between 27 and 30 feet in a dry, fully mature field of oat grass. The farmer who found the circles reported that the bottoms of the stems were flattened down and not broken at the base, which is a very difficult endeavor to achieve with a board and rope— maybe impossible. Like others, he also saw no entry point or path through the oat grass to indicate someone coming in and exiting the property. Although the field was harvested before a team of researchers could get there, they did find an increased amount of magnetic material in the area of the circle.
12. Symmetrical Geometry
Researchers said that this symmetrical cross of spheres, discovered in 2007 in a wheat field in Wilbur, Washington, had two significant signs of what they often call “the real McCoy” of crop circle designs. Basically, they’re saying it couldn’t have been designed by humans. First, the wheat stems possessed elongated nodes. Second, the stems had expulsion cavities at the lower base, which indicates that there was pressure applied to them that burst the stems open at the bottom, as if by some radiation or energy force. The formation measured 158 feet by 152 feet, which would be a significant task for a few people with some boards and rope during the night (especially if they had radiation equipment). There are also several photo anomalies that occurred while the team of researchers was sampling the site.
11. Matrix Of Spheres
This photo, taken in Madisonville, Tennessee in 2007, shows a series of ‘bubbles’, all conjoined by a common sphere at the center. Researchers of crop circles became more intrigued with it when it was discovered that, as in the last case, the top nodes of the plant stems in the circle were elongated, while the lower nodes were again blown out at the bottom. The series of circles found in a wheat field measured in total 165 feet by 169 feet. Another noteworthy thing here is that some of the residents around the area reported UFO sightings just prior to the circles appearing, as well as a bright light appearing over the field where the circle formed. Some people, it’s been noted by circle researchers, see balls of light sometimes hovering over the places where crop circles form. Whether these lights are angels, deities, electrical energies, or ghosts of some sort remains to be seen.
10. Three Circles
This simple, unobtrusive series of three circles, discovered in Red Bluff, California in 2007, appeared to produce some unusual activities when a team of crop circle buffs arrived there. The crew reported deviations in magnetic north, and one investigator reported having his compass spin around in all different directions, a strange effect similar to what some people report when crossing the Bermuda Triangle. Some people also reported disorienting effects inside the circle, perhaps as a result of all the electrical or magnetic energy in the circle. (This is a different sort of report than some New Age groups, who sometimes go into the circles to imbibe vibrations, they say, that make them feel elevated.) As in previous cases, the team observed expulsion holes in the plants as well as bent, not broken, plant stalks. The plants were all impressed down in a counter-clockwise direction.
9. Geometric Rings
Reported in the Seattle Times, this crop circle appeared in a ripe wheat field in Wilbur, Washington on July 23, 2009. The article stated that the farmer could not detect any footprints going in and out of the site, so the crop circle remains mysterious in origin. It was located only a short distance from another crop circle found in Wilbur in 2007. The series of formations consisted of five rings, the largest of which was 120 feet in diameter. It remains to be seen why some of these towns witness the formation of a few or even several circles over the years, when nearby towns never see them at all. Maybe the circle makers like the soil there or feel the town of Wilbur has some sort of significance. Or maybe they just like the wheat in these fields better for some reason.
8. The Pictogram
Perhaps a style of cuneiform or hieroglyphs, this pictogram-style crop circle appeared in Solano County, California on June 17, 2004. Contained within it are a series of spheres that measure a total of 300 feet across. A tail or path of smaller spheres led away from the larger spheres to a pair of electrical transmission towers not far away. Each of these ‘tiny’ spheres measured six feet six inches. Again, people who discovered it could find no signs of footprints or other types of entry into the area when it was first found. To add to the mystery around this formation, the field was cut down before researchers could conduct any kind of field work at the site. Did someone get rid of evidence on purpose? The circle is a collection of artistic-looking spheres, arranged in a geometric pattern, which all suggests it was intelligently designed, not nature’s work.
7. Triangle Spheres
This is another Wilbur, Washington crop circle, and it’s made up of a triangle center within three spheres. On its edges rest a sphere hovering on each corner for a total of six spheres. As in the previous cases mentioned, no one was able to find entry tracks into the circle when it was discovered in July of 2012 in a field of winter wheat. That year, it was a very dry season, and the small amount of rain had made the crop dry out, giving the texture of the grass a dry, brown feel. Investigators believe the crop was crushed down with something but not by something mechanical, since mechanical flattening (of human origins, at least) does not usually create impressions like this.
6. Magnetic Fields
The interesting thing about this crop circle, found in 2011 in an Illinois wheat field, is that researchers found unusual magnetic and electrical fields within the circle of flattened grass. When they stepped outside the circle, they discovered that these erratic bursts of magnetism and electricity didn’t occur at all. The circle measured 49 feet in diameter and was flattened counter-clockwise, a typical trait of these circles, though not always the case. We might wonder why the circle makers choose to go counter-clockwise. Perhaps it’s for some metaphysical or occult reason. Farmers who found the circle again reported no footprints in or outside of the crop circle. They also found no broken plant stems within the circle itself, another aspect of this event that is tough to explain.
5. The Half Moons
Like the previous cases, this 140 foot crop circle with two connected crescent moon shapes had no footsteps or footprints leading into it, but there was an interesting, unusual event that preceded it. Not far away, a chunk of meteor ice, weighing 30 to 40 pounds, fell just three days prior, creating a small crater measuring about one to two feet in diameter. Were these events connected in some way? This symmetrical crop circle was discovered in a hayfield on May 13, 2013 in Gray, Tennessee near Johnson City. Like Wilbur, this town has seen more than one crop circle, leaving many residents puzzled about the origins of the strange formations. Some locals wondered whether it could be aliens doing it, but some speculated it could be just some people around trying get a laugh out of people. Circle researchers still think otherwise.
4. Harvest Corn Circle
Unlike some of the crop circles we’ve seen so far, this circle, found in 2014 in Sheffield Massachusetts, occurred in a corn field. The corn stalks measured 13 to 14 feet, so the impression the circle made was much deeper than most. The farmer’s dog was adamant about not going near the circle and jumped back in the truck when it was being led toward the circle. According to the anonymous farmer, this was unusual behavior for the animal. Yet it was equally reluctant one year prior when another crop circle was found by the same man. Witnesses say they saw a cross-shaped UFO land in the crops, thus leaving the imprint we see above. The crop circle itself was 20 feet across.
3. Three Rings
This crop circle, three interconnected rings with a sphere in its center, was discovered in 2015 in Gray, Tennessee. Making it the second crop circle to be found in the same location in Gray. The neighbor nearby didn’t notice anything unusual the night before, but they remember that their dog was barking incessantly for a while that night. Interestingly, this circle appears to have been made in the rain, since reports indicate that it was raining the whole night before people found it in the morning. Researchers who investigated the site had several “electronic malfunctions” with their cameras when they tried to photograph the circle. An article in the Inquisitr states that locals in the area could find no tracks— “whether human, machine, or otherwise”— in the area around the circle formation.
2. The Flower
In June of 2010, this flower-like design appeared in a field in Poirino Italy. While it looks by all accounts to be human made— rarely, it seems, do the crop circle makers, whoever they are, use familiar symbols or images— the event was occasioned by sightings of a dark disc-like UFO over the site later that summer, which might lead some to conclude that there was something unusual about its origins. The crop circle measured 150 feet by 150 feet. An interesting trait here is that it is made entirely of spheres. The outer edges of it are comprised of tiny spheres that ring around the edges into a flower shape. There are six spheres with dots in them within each of the flower’s six petals.
1. No Pathway In
Fieldworkers who arrived at this site in 2006 found two swirled circles in this sorghum feed field in Beloit, Kansas. The farmer who found it couldn’t find any tracks or pathway into the field, which again leads one to discredit any claims that it was human made. The plants were spun around in a clockwise direction this time, and the stalks were bent over again (as if moved very delicately by some apparatus) instead of broken, which more ordinarily occurs with a board and rope. Researchers also discovered red streaks on the stalks of the plants. As the circles are usually flattened in a counter-clockwise formation, we might speculate that this was done by a different circle maker than some of the others. Perhaps a different species of alien?