Crop Circles

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Crop Circles Still Making News in England

 (6-20-08) Nancy Talbot and Linda Moulton Howe have been doing great work on reporting and researching crop circles for years. Interesting developments breaking again on the English countryside on crop circles.  Below we have a link to Linda's reports on her website Earthfiles and also an explanation of crop circle art and higher mathematics as reported by

We also have a startling interview with Nancy from years ago when she describes seeing a crop circle being formed in front of her eyes, CLICK HERE to listen:  



Mathematicians are stunned by a new crop circle which apparently represents a perfect coded image of a complex equation
June 18, 2008 - Wiltshire Crop Circle Identified as Symbolic Code for First Ten Places of Pi
Letter: Why it wasn't made by the French

Wroughton Mathematicians are perplexed after a highly complex crop circle appeared in a Wiltshire field - depicting a fundamental mathematical symbol.

The circle is, apparently, a coded image representing a complex mathematical number — the first ten digits of pi — and even astrophysicists admit they find it “mind-boggling”.

The circular pattern was created in a barley field near Barbury Castle, an Iron Age hill fort, earlier this month

Measuring around 46m (150ft) in diameter, it has had crop circle enthusiasts and experts stumped.

The symbol was identified eventually by Mike Reed, a retired astrophysicist who contacted Lucy Pringle, a crop circle photographer and expert, with an explanation.

Maths codes and geometric patterns have long been an important factor in crop circle formations — one of the most famous formations ever created showed the image of a complex set of fractals known as The Julia Set, in a field near Stonehenge, 12 years ago.

Lucy Pringle, who researches the effects of electromagnetic fields on living systems and crop formations and has the largest database of crop circles in the world said of the phenomenon: “This is an astounding development — it is a seminal event.”


For reference, here are Howe's two (2) original Earthfiles reports of
first June 8 interview with astrophysicist Mike Reed and June 12
interviews with British researchers. The Barbury Castle CROP CIRCLE
formation emerged during rain and the field surrounding the pattern was
thick with mud. But the barley plants discovered for the first time on
the early morning of June 1, 2008, were pristinely clean.

Web site:

for movie information.

The Latest From BLT Research's Nancy Talbot on 2003 Crop Circles

The July 3, 2003 formation in California

In response to my e-mail to Nancy Talbot about the formation pictured above, in which I stated:

Read your report on We have a reference to this report on or UFO-Files page this week as a breaking story. I also made an opinionated comment on that page that the circles did not appear genuine based on my unstated opinion that there were irregularities in the formation edges.

Your point on this is well taken - crop circles are not always perfect. Although the lack of explosive cavitations in the stems would seem to indicate human action. That is certainly what I look for in reports on formations in terms of determining non-human activities. You are certainly the expert, not I. My apologies. My intuitions may be confirmed by your report, but not based upon the full data analysis that you so expertly provided. I will post a link to your current report on this event tomorrow on our site. Also, are you involved in researching the formation reported near Saratoga Springs, NY? Any results there?

Larry Dicken
Web Site Producer,

Nancy responded:

The BLT report posted on the formation pictured above on the site is a preliminary field report....the fieldwork was interrupted because of the huge influx of visitors to the formation, but I'm getting reports in now, some with photos, that indicate there may very well have been node bending in the plants there. If anyone can produce actual plants, with controls, and/or good photographic evidence of this node bending, it will argue for a non-mechanically flattened event.

Node bending CAN be significant. It depends upon the age of the crop at the time the event occurs, as well as (to some extent) the intensity of the heating element in the causative energy system. Young crop is, of course, vigorously also contains a lot of moisture internally. When young crop is flattened (by any means which does not kill the plant) it will begin to reorient itself toward the light, and in response to gravity (called phototropism and gravitropism). In very young crop the effects of photo- and gravitropism can be seen within 4-5 days, with the nodes bending more and more sharply toward the sun. However, in older, much dryer crop (as was the case in the Rockville, CA pictogram) there is not only significantly less moisture in the plants (it is the moisture which is heated by the microwaves emitted by the plasma, which once heated softens the plant fibers to the point where then can no longer support the plant and it falls over....or is pushed over by the angular force of the vortex), there is no growth still occurring. So, in older crop, one does NOT see phototropism or gravitropism at work.....the plants simply stay down where they were flattened.

Further, in older dryer crop the flattening process itself will break the plant stems (which does not necessarily occur in younger, greener crop). So, if we can demonstrate that the Rockville, CA formation DID in fact have node bending near the base of the plants it will be a strong indication that this formation was not man-made.

Expulsion cavities are NOT found in all "authentic" crop formations. So far as we have been able to determine, they are a result of a fairly intense exposure to the heating agency in the plasma system. These exposures are different in each circle, and even in various places within one single formation. It takes a combination of enough moisture in the plant stem and a certain intensity of the heating agency (probably microwaves) AS WELL AS THE DURATION of the exposure to heat. It appears that all 3 factors have to be "just so" to produce expulsion cavities.

In many cases we will only get apical node elongation (along with germination abnormalities and/or magnetic material in the soils), because the intensity/duration of the heat exposure was inadequate to produce the blown-out nodes....or there simply wasn't enough moisture in the plant stems....Expulsion cavities are one of the best VISUAL signs that a formation is "genuine," but it is not the only sign.

I have to wait for more info from the field.....and I'm hoping that there is somebody out there who visited the formation early, before the hordes descended, who either took good photos of this effect or who actually took some samples, along with controls from elsewhere in the field. Then we could clearly demonstrate this effect, and would have to alter out "Inconclusive" result to a more positive statement.

Vis-a-vis the Saratoga, NY case....I've been in touch with Ray Cecot, the fieldworker there....I've asked him for photos, samples, etc. and hope he does manage to provide them. Randomly-downed events are prolific this year and our research has indicated that, in many cases, this non-geometrically-downed stuff often shows exactly the same plant/soil changes documented so thoroughly in the geometric events over the years. In fact, the randomly downed stuff sometimes shows the effects much more intensively than we find in the geometric events. Cookie-cutter perfection is NOT a criterion of the "real McCoy." It's just the criterion the public likes. In the UK and, in fact, everywhere we've worked, we've seen massive areas of randomly-downed crop in close association with the geometric events, or in areas where in other years geometric events have occurred. You don't see photos of this because the photographers don't take pictures of it....such photos don't sell of ocurse. But it is present near large numbers of geometric events, all over the world. Often in the same field, in some cases eventually obliterating the geometric crop circles.

Also, the Brits for some reason of their own, came to the conclusion that this cookie-cutter thing was important....I think it's a matter of esthetics. But the data do not indicate that it is a critical factor in determining authenticity. No study has yet been done which might allow authoritative commentary on this....maybe, if funding allows, we can do one one of these days???

I hope the BLT report helped you, and others, to better understand the scientific data which is available.....that was the reason I put that report up. I'm thinking of doing it in whatever cases I can, simply to reiterate to interested people these established criterion, and to encourage all of us who are interested in these matters to apply scientifically-established criterion and/or to approach investigation of these matters utilizing scientific methodology. It's the only way we may eventually learn what is really going on, I think. Although sometimes I really wonder if we will ever unravel these incredibly complex phenomena.

Thanks for your email....for more info on the scientifically-derived data available on the crop circle phenomenon, please check out our web-site. Also, we will be adding a new clay-mineral crystallization study to the web-site, as well as a lot of other information, this ought to be up by October.

Bye for now,

Nancy Talbott
BLT Research Team Inc.

Nancy also reports, "I'm off to Europe on a very special investigation......a situation in a country I've never been to before, in which we may have evidence of a landed UFO directly related to crop circles. I've already begun analysis of some physical artifacts recovered from the scene, and am going myself to carry out interviews, collect more samples, etc. If the case holds us upon real scrutiny, it's going to be a dilly. When I get back, I'll be putting together a report on this. While in Europe I'm also going to go to Germany and Holland and Brussels. I have a feeling this is going to be a "banner" year for not only crop circles, but all this other really strange stuff.

2001 Milk Hill, England formation

Academy-Award Nominated Filmmaker, William Gazecki, Discusses His New Film
"Crop Circles: Quest For Truth"

[This article originally appeared on]
It was on a rainy Saturday afternoon in 1992 that I went to a lecture in Santa Monica, at the Unitarian Church. I was presented with two British gentlemen in their mid to late 50s, who had a story to tell. It was a recounting of their experiences and adventures, beginning in the early 1980s, involving mysterious shapes that appeared in grain fields in the British countryside. I was fascinated by it. I thought that what they were showing was intriguing, beautiful, mysterious, and remarkable. The men were intelligent and educated -- one of them was a civil engineer. They were in very pragmatic professions and they lived in an area where Crop Circles were appearing. They heard a noise one night, went out in the fields the next morning and thought, "Jeez...this is really unusual."

It was very clear they were mystified. They were part of a very small group of people, no more than ten, who had stumbled across these things in the fields in southern England. In those days, they were just simple, round disks indented in the crops, with details that were very impressive -- the main one was that when the crops were green, none of the stalks were broken. Although they were bent over and curved, they kept growing, turning back up to the sun because the plants hadn't been harmed. They called these imprints Crop Circles.

Rarely does anyone have the chance to discover anything new. These people were completely immersed in investigating a new discovery, something that was unique. There was no explanation for this...and there still isn't.

I left the lecture intrigued, but I didn't follow up in any way. But, I had the thought that this would be a wonderful project to do because it seemed to be fun and fascinating. As time went by, I made my documentary, "WACO: The Rules of Engagement," had a child, and life went on in its merry way. I occasionally found myself musing at the Crop Circle poster I had purchased at the lecture. I'd glance at it and think, "Who makes them? I wonder what they are?" For me, it created a peaceful state. I didn't know where they came from, I didn't know what they meant, but I felt good about them. I found myself in bookstores gravitating towards literature on the subject.

Between the time I first heard about Crop Circles and the time I started working on the film, I had a "wait and see" attitude. Having brushed up against the UFO scene, with the incredible subterfuge and disinformation out there, I wasn't really interested in getting involved in something that carried that type of onus. That was of concern to me -- I didn't want to waste my time and possibly end up with a stupid career move. I wasn't opposed to the concept of extra-terrestrials visiting; I just hadn't had one land in my backyard. So, I waited and worked on other projects.

Every once in a while, something would trickle in -- a little article, or a radio show tidbit, or a conversation with somebody, or a segment on a TV magazine show. I noticed that the formations themselves continued to change from summer to summer -- to evolve and become more complex -- and that interested me. A "wait and see" attitude asks, "How do things change and what new information comes to light?" I was intrigued at the thought of a new concept -- this might be an off-shoot of a "Star Wars" technology program that the Air Force was developing, some sort of satellite based ray-gun they were experimenting with. After I thought it through, I realized that didn't make a lot of sense. If the government needed to test a new form of weapons technology, they wouldn't whip up a bunch of interest with a lot of civilians in public places -- that's not the way they work. I waited to see if something convincing would come to light.

The formations evolved from simple circles, some with rings, to long, complex, combinations of images. Then, a 1500-foot formation they called a "pictogram" appeared in southern England. It made many papers, and, that week, the area was inundated with tourists. It was like Woodstock -- there were thousands of people and it was a wild frenzy.

In those early days, there wasn't a question of whether Crop Circles were manmade or not -- there was no discussion about "fakery." But, a few months later, we were introduced to Doug and Dave, two elderly British men who "came out" to the press. They were both retired -- one was a former government civil servant and one of them had MI5 (like our CIA) affiliations. Doug and Dave said, "We make all of them." As soon as they issued their announcement, it was in every major publication on the planet, creating an onus on Crop Circles that persists to this day. Now, here we have an authentic phenomenon that had been around for a long time without hardly breaking its way out of southern England, and, when somebody comes along to denounce it, it goes all around the world. From my perspective as a reasonably well-trained investigative observer and documentarian, that's an anomaly in and of itself. I'm not saying there's a conspiracy; I'm saying that it's something to take note of.

In learning about Crop Circles, I discovered that for ten years prior to Doug and Dave a small group of dedicated people had been recording, measuring, and photographing the phenomenon. I wasn't buying Doug and Dave.

Years went by, until 2000. I had been holding my "wait and see" attitude long enough. A researcher, Patricia Murray, invited me to take a trip to southern England. Having not been a Crop Circle devotee, I was relatively circumspect on this trip over. But, I had known about Crop Circles for about 8 years and had seen a fair array of aerial photos, and I was basically in a pretty good place. However, I wasn't filled with a lot of expectation based upon study. For me, it was kind of ideal, because I had a chance to go to England without any strong preconceptions -- it was an adventure, it was a romp. It was not as though I had made up my mind. It was either going to be something that was new and different or it was going to be a dud.

Patricia Murray works with Michael Glickman, a brilliant architect and inventor. They have done a lot of work on the geometry of Crop Circles. They are very absorbed in the phenomenon, and consider it to be virtually a sacred situation in their lives. The three of us arrived in England, with my hi-def camera, and drove to Michael's house. We got there on a Saturday night with a bit of jet lag, stayed up for a little while and then went to sleep. The nights in England are very quiet because they have no noisy crickets like we have in Los Angeles -- having been a motion-picture sound mixer I noticed this right away. But, about three a.m., I heard cows mooing and other farm animals making noise somewhere nearby. I thought it was unusual in the middle of the night.

We got up the next morning, wanting to visit the nearest formations. We called around and heard that one had appeared a few days earlier a mile or so away, and another was about three miles away. We received basic bearings on them, got in the car, and set out. We proceeded down the lane, when Michael suddenly slammed on the brakes. We stared in disbelief. A hundred yards from Michael's house, in the very first field, was a brand new Crop Circle. It had appeared during the night.

There is some sort of interaction with the source of the formations, which occurs in a very spontaneous manner. If something like this is going to happen, it generally occurs as soon as a person is present in the environment in England. I didn't know this at the time, but this is what happened to me. It was hard interpret this as anything but an interaction with the phenomenon, because of the timing and the proximity -- and it was undeniably an authentic formation, with elements that completely defied any kind of human involvement.

We tripped out. There was this very majestic looking Crop Circle on the far end of field. We walked down the tram lines that the farmers use for their tractors, and went into it. It had beautiful characteristics, with an interwoven mound in it, and it had a double layer of swirled lay. It was unbelievable -- we were completely blown away. I mean, think about it. Here is this amazing phenomenon, which we got to walk into and experience immediately. Everyone is still very much disconnected from the source -- there's no knowledge of what makes these things. Nobody knows. But we're there. We experience real human emotions - wonder, fear and fascination. It was nothing like looking at a photograph. And this Crop Circle, this image created in the wheat, seemed to be created for us, for our arrival.

Although this was a relatively small formation, only 100 or so feet across, it was unusual enough to be striking; to be profound, but not to be upsetting. I was as moved as I could possibly be without being disturbed, deeply affected but not upset. There is a fine line there, especially with things of this unknown quotient. My sense of consciousness was enhanced. I felt an increased energy in my body. It was a subtle but unmistakable impact.

I immediately thought that I must stay completely aware. There was such a sense of gift about it, and I wanted to be attentive to the potential of each thing that happened, particularly because I had a camera. It was my first step in first hand learning about the Crop Circles. I felt that I should be prepared for any magic to occur.

I felt very awe-struck and self-reflective. It wasn't like a flying saucer landed or a ball of light came into my space, but it was just enough of a "synchronicity" -- an unusual coincidence.

To sit in a Crop Circle is a unique experience. It's one thing to see a photograph; it's an entirely different thing to be there. To drive down a 2-lane road and look across a gently sloping field of beautiful golden brown wheat, and then see this image sitting there on the side of a hill -- it's magnificent, a beautiful work of art.

I went to 8 or 9 Crop Circles while I was in England. That profound feeling repeated. I found out more about them: that to a ballerina they become ballet, to a biologist they become biology, to a philosopher they become philosophy. If you're a psychologist, you learn about the psychology of the people involved with it, or you learn about your own psychology.

To me, an interesting aspect of the phenomenon, beyond the formations and what they contain as information, is what it's like for the people who are involved with them. What was exhilarating to me was people sharing their experiences, ideas, and philosophy. I think that an engaging, delightful, honest, and convincing way to enter into the Crop Circle world is through the eyes of the people that live with them twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Theirs is a grand story of human drama -- not in the tragic sense, but in the wondrous sense. The wonder of life. I think that the film will capture the awe at Crop Circles as much as the substance of them. The core, pragmatic data is one thing, but the wonder and fascination is another.

My total commitment to making a film came about as an offshoot of Suzanne Taylor's interest. Suzanne has lived in Los Angeles for the last 30 years or so. She had come from New York, where she was actress. Being involved in the growth movement and the awakening to consciousness that was going on in the 70's, she went on to sponsor and support an array of people and projects. There were many gatherings at her home, where she would host discussions, salons, and forums. She gave people a place to meet, converse and cooperate with each other. She's very much into collaborative processes and think-tank set-ups.

Suzanne came to me and said she had been involved with Crop Circles for 8 or 10 years, and hoped to get a film made to let the world know about them. She knew I'd been to England to see the circles, and asked if I would be interested. I thought that what she was bringing to it, in terms of her experience in dealing with people, was a natural fit and that she would be a real asset, because I sensed that it was the people I wanted to focus on -- the human interaction.

Suzanne rented a house in Wiltshire, the area where the most Crop Circles appear every year, where several of us lived for two and a half months. We set up the film to replicate her California lifestyle -- a "salon" environment. This was a missing dynamic for the "croppies," the name by which the researchers are known. In the early years they clustered at a particular pub, but, thanks to hoaxing having created animosities and antipathies, there was no longer any place where people gathered to share their views and get support from one another. We invited members of the Crop Circle community for regular meetings -- we said, "Come on over, let's sit and chat." I shot in cinema-verite -- a hand-held, you-are-there style, that's very unobtrusive and non-invasive. I wanted to get everybody in the most natural, uninhibited way that I possibly could. In that regard, I think it worked out very well -- extraordinary conversations came out of the times when croppies got together and talked spontaneously. That's when the sparks really flew.

Once you get past the bullshit that the public hears about Crop Circles, and you're actually there, spending time with people who have been close to this phenomenon for a long time, who are comfortable with it and know the entire topography of the experience, you realize that it's a completely authentic phenomenon -- that's not even an issue. And, one of the most striking things is the level of appreciation that people have for it -- their respect and their fascination. It really is unusual to find people so passionate about anything.

I was delighted when I finally got home. Anytime you go on a vacation, things feel fresh and refreshed -- I felt exceptionally balanced and grounded, on an even keel, optimistic, and in high spirits. Even though I shot 37 days straight, I felt peaceful and happy. In fact, the longer people are involved in the Crop Circle scene and study it, they seem to become ever more well-balanced. It was the opposite of a cult environment, where the more you get into it the more isolated you become from the rest of the world. People involved with Crop Circles tend to become more worldly, more connected to their environment, and more socially well adjusted.

In England, I obtained a copy of a video that had been shot in 1996, showing an empty wheat field and 4 traveling luminescent points of light circling over it. A crop formation suddenly goes down below these swirling lights -- in perhaps 4 seconds. The balls of light then fly away. Some people have debunked this footage, insisting its doctored. The guy who shot it got hassled and disappeared. But, he didn't gain anything from making the tape -- he never tried to sell it, never tried to offer it to the media -- it seems he was just excited that he had it. Its genuineness is a major subject of debate, as many things are in the Crop Circle world. I happen to think that it's real. I look at it from a technical point of view, as somebody who understands what it takes to do video-based computer animation, and I don't believe it's a fake.

There is a litany of anomalous things that occur in and around the formations. There always has been a conflict when science and scientific institutions run up against anomalous realities -- go back to Copernicus and Galileo -- and that relates directly to this ongoing controversy. How do we assimilate the unknown?

Spirit is about purpose; science is about measure. In this, however, you have both -- you have serious science in the mathematics and in the biological analysis, but then you also have this spiritual element and psychic dimension. The tendency is to gravitate towards or hide behind academic thinking for credibility's sake, and not to take risks that involve the unknown. In making controversial films, I sometimes walk a very fine line, and my documentary, "WACO: The Rules Of Engagement," demonstrates that. Believing in Crop Circles is a risk. But, one has to be willing to accept the adventurous idea. Without that, Columbus never would have made it to America.

Human Circle making is no small feat, especially if done covertly, in the dark. There are about a dozen guys, all British, who claim they're Circle makers. Some call themselves artists. A few of these blokes are obnoxious, intimidating mindfuckers. They are intentionally deceptive, and interject confusion in the community engaged in researching the phenomenon. These people reek of disinformation and counter-intelligence. If they actually make more than 10 or 15 of the 75-150 Crop Circles that appear each year in England, I'd be very surprised. However, they are unusually dedicated, have consistent media contact, and seem to live without scarcity of resources. There is no indication of where they get their financing.

There have only been a handful of TV reports done over the years on Crop Circles. Most have been segments in investigative series, produced in typical cable TV fashion -- subcontracted production companies who grab the most readily available material, looking for the most provocative story. They frequently show night-vision footage of circles being made by people, but actually turn lights on to do most of the actual work in laying the formations. Saying they all are manmade hoaxes wraps everything up quite neatly, with human Circle makers always being the first in line when the media comes calling. This is not too surprising considering that the level-headed, intelligent, educated folks who earnestly study and document the phenomenon are generally oblivious to the media.

After some 20 years of close observation, with nobody still knowing where Crop Circles come from or how or why they appear, everyone has lots to say in the way of speculation. That makes for a lively and stimulating social milieu, which my film will show. "Crop Circles: Quest For Truth," will be released during the summer of 2002. I hope the people who see the film will realize that there is a significant phenomenon. It is not a trivial series of events; these are very major occurrences. A formation the size of two football fields, which appears in seconds, with no known origin, that communicates some number of sophisticated concepts about how our universe is constructed, indicates to me something is worth paying attention to.

I hope that the film is the beginning of a process of closely looking at the data and keenly discussing it -- not enough people with high credibility and visibility are yet a part of the investigation, and there should be more academic involvement and scholastic presence. And, I hope moviegoers will leave my film curious, interested in more about the universe we inhabit, and thrilled with what they have discovered.

For more information, please contact Larry Shulman, V.P. Publicity & Marketing, OpenEdge Media, Inc. (310) 586-1800 or visit our website at

One of the latest and most controversial circle produced in August 2002 in Crabwood, England.

This image seems to say HELLO, in case you haven't figured out who is producing crop circles. The disc the ET is holding appears to contain a coded message in digital form, much like we would produce a CD or DVD disc. Maybe someone should try to decode this (Ed).

Latest Crop Circle of the Slow English 2002 Season is a Whopper
Located adjacent to 3000 year old burial mounds and Stonehenge 

by Stuart Dike
The Crop Circle Connector

The circle shown in the above photos is the second largest formation to appear in the world, second only to the 409 circles formation at Milk Hill last year. This one is 750ft in diameter and stretches across 11 tramlines (that's tracker lines in the field that the farmer uses for spraying and harvesting). It was created on 7/4/02.

It appeared around several ancient burial mounds, dating back to our Iron Age some 3000 years ago. The fields is only a few fields away from the famous 1996 formation, and is within spitting distance on Stonehenge, which can be seen from the top of the burial mounds. The formation is quite exquisite with very neat floor patterns inside. It is basically the blossoming formation of the 1999 Hackpen Hill formation that appeared near Avebury three years ago. There is defiantly a link with these two formations.

This area is not without its UFO sightings, as one fo the family members witnessed a UFO only a few fields away from this formation, not in connection with it, but once again we seem to have a link with other phenomena in the same vicinity.

For information on current scientific research being performed on Crop Circle formations, see Nancy Talbott's BLT Research, Inc. web site:

What do the crop circles mean and who is producing them?
Click here for an interesting interpretation by Tom Sutter.


Example of Current Media Coverage of Crop Circles (not bad).

Crop circles, the shapes within a farm crop created by flattened plants, have been reported in Iowa, one as recently as last year near Iowa City.

Interest in the phenomenon has been heightened by the newly released movie, "Signs," starring Mel Gibson as a farmer who finds an elaborate design in his field.

The movie puts its own spin on alien forces creating crop circles, but real-life theories are just as intriguing.

Plasma forces, vandals stepping on boards or some other unidentified natural phenomenon - and yes, even aliens - are ideas batted around by cerealogists, or those who study crop circles.

"The bottom-line explanation is, they are an anomaly," said Beverly Trout of Mitchellville. She is the Iowa director of the Mutual UFO Network, a worldwide nonprofit organization of volunteers who investigate suspected crop circles.

Mufon members - 3,000 worldwide, 32 in Iowa - also look into UFO sightings, animal mutilations and suspected landing traces.

Trout does believe in aliens, but she stops just short of saying aliens create crop circles.

"We need to look at crop formations for what they are, rather than what we'd like them to be," she emphasizes.

Trout prefers to approach formations as scientifically as possible.

She and other Mufon members look for obvious signs of a hoax by examining the area for footprints or tire marks and checking for broken plant stalks or stems.

They take measurements, record observations and gather several plant and soil samples within and outside the formation. The samples are sent to a lab for analysis.

Trout said Mufon members are meticulous about checking crop circles because the last thing they want is to be scammed.

It's the scams that have received the most publicity, especially in England, where two men first claimed to be creators of crop designs.

A few years ago, they showed the media how they attached a rope handle to a wide board to make the circles. Holding onto the rope and putting their feet alternately on the board, they flattened stalks as they walked in a spiral.

This also was the method for making the crop circles for "Signs."

Trout speculates that authentic crop circles have been around for hundreds of years all over the world, but only in the last few years have people begun to report them - perhaps because of the attention generated by hoaxes.

One source said about 200 crop circles are reported annually around the world. Colin Andrews, a scientific consultant for the current movie, claims 80 percent of circles are hoaxes.

"He has absolutely no way of knowing that," said Nancy Talbott, president of BLT Research Team Inc., which tests the plants and soil from crop circles.

"You'd have to sample them all to know that," she said, "and it's never happened."

Talbott, who lives in Cambridge, Mass., has a grant from Laurance Rockefeller for work on crop circles. She said she has stopped sampling in England because of the large number of hoaxes there.

"We're interested in phenomena, not hoaxes," she explained.

Her network of scientists - which until recently included Michigan biophysicist William C. Levengood, the "L" in BLT - has analyzed crop circles in Holland, Germany, Israel, Australia, Canada and the United States, as well as England, for the last decade.

While the majority of formations appear in cereal crops such as rye, oats, barley and wheat, they also have been discovered in vegetables, soybeans, carrots, rape (canola), corn, reeds, grass and others.

The crop circles reported in Iowa tend to be simpler than the elaborate designs seen abroad.

In August 1995, a teardrop-shaped formation was found in a cornfield near Arlington, Ia. It measured about 11 feet in diameter and was unusual because the cornstalks were all pressed into the ground toward the center. None were broken.

In 1996, farmer Brett Anderson was harvesting a soybean field southwest of Nevada when he encountered an area of flattened beans. Two weeks later, he found another formation in a cornfield.

Last year, Ed Williams was combining his wheat near Iowa City when he discovered a circle there.

The formation in Anderson's soybean field was slightly ovoid, about 30 feet in diameter and surrounded by a 31/2-foot-wide ring. The beans were flattened in a counterclockwise swirl, tightly twisted in the center. The seeds were intact within the pods.

Anderson, now 44, said he was impressed that the plant stems were not broken.

"Normally when they're ready for harvest, they're dry and they break," he said. "They don't bend."

A scientist observed the roots were bent in the opposite direction from the plant stem, Anderson said.

Two weeks later, a teardrop-shaped formation was discovered in Anderson's cornfield. It was 35 feet at the widest point. Stalks were swirled counterclockwise.

Two more teardrop-shaped formations were found in hayfields on adjoining land.

The following year, Anderson was baffled by something else that happened during the harvest.

Soybeans planted where the corn had been the year before were green where the crop circle had been, and the seedpods were not mature. The rest of the crop was brown.

"What was amazing is that the stems had twice the nodules. They should have taken more nitrogen - nutrients - from the soil, but these plants were stunted," Anderson said.

In Iowa City, Williams thought at first that a weather phenomenon caused his wheat to lie clockwise in a circle within a ring about 60 feet in diameter.

He called his brother, an airline pilot, and they talked about microbursts, or strong winds that occasionally down planes.

A climatologist told Williams the configuration was too large for that.

Two agronomists from Iowa State University drove over to look at the formation. One of them, Dr. Stan Henning, dismissed it as man-made.

No tracks showed up, he said, because it was dry. Someone could have walked in the tracks - called tramlines - made by Williams' tractor when he sprayed the field a few weeks earlier.

"It looked more like something more mechanical than the wind," Henning said. He also found weeds in the circle that looked to him as if a board had scraped over them.

Williams, now 54, wasn't convinced. He was puzzled by the intricate herringbone weaving of the straw within the circle. Besides, he said, "it wasn't a perfect circle. It was flattened at one point. If someone had done that with a rope, I would have thought it would be better than that."

Trout said by the time Williams called Mufon, the Iowa City field was too degraded for her to determine whether it was a hoax.

Crop circles that are not confirmed hoaxes demonstrate similar characteristics after testing, Talbott said.

If plants are young at the time an unexplained crop circle forms, there is interference with the reproduction qualities of the plant, she said. If they are mature, the seeds weigh less but grow larger, even up to seven days without light or water.

There is evidence that the plants have been exposed to a complex energy system, similar to a microwave, because only the moisture inside the plants was affected, and the plants were not burned. Also, in the unexplained crop circles, nodes on plant stems closer to the center of the circle are longer than those toward the outside of the circle, another indication of microwave energy.

Biophysicist Levengood also has discovered the presence of tiny, nearly pure spheres of iron in the soil where crop circles occur. He theorized a magnetic field draws particles in, heats them to a molten state and disperses them in a rotating fashion in the formation.

"We've done studies after flattening the crops ourselves, and none of the plant aberrations and magnetic material stuff occurs," Talbott said. "The pranks-with-planks bit is not what's going on."

What BLT scientists have found points to some sort of plasma, or energy system, Talbott said.

"The real question is: Is it spontaneously generated, or is it manufactured?" she asked.

Her theory of a plasma hitting earth - something similar to a lightning strike - might explain why some Iowans claimed they witnessed bright white lights in tubular shapes over the farm fields where the crop circles were later found.

Anderson, the Nevada farmer, has his own notion of unexplained crop circles.

"My theory is that either there's a lot of science yet to be discovered or we do have visitors from outer space."

Crop circle found near Forest Grove, Oregon

FOREST GROVE - Is it a genuine scientific phenomenon, or simply a hoax?

Jet Ranger 2 spotted this crop circle while flying over Forest Grove Tuesday afternoon. The formation was left in a field off of Watercrest Rd.

Upon further investigation KATU News learned that three teenagers constructed the crop circle by laying down a board and bending the grain in the form of a circle. Those responsible say using a rope is also a successful way to do it.


 7/12/02 Update

Upon further investigation by KATU News and OUFOR investigator Phil Simmons who were on the scene, three teenagers were reported to have constructed the crop circle by laying down a board and bending the grain in the form of a circle. A local 17 year old came forward with the information on the road while channel 2 and OUFOR were there. He refuses to identify who or how (though he mentioned the use of a rope), and was adamant that this was a multiple day "project". Investigator Simmons talked to some of the surrounding neighbors but found no one else who saw this formation being created over the three day period that the boy claims.

While on the surface this does appear to be a hoax, OUFOR is going back to the site on Sunday July 14th to try and find and talk to the only witness who has come forward in hopes of talking with the ones who actually are supposed to have done it. A decision will be made at that time whether to take samples for analysis at BLT Research. We will update this case here if we learn anything new.

July 11th update...OUFOR was contacted by "Inside Edition" television show. They visited the site on the 10th and spoke with the owner of the field who was also adamant that the story revealed by the passing teenager as was seen on KATU channel 2 news could not have been accurate. The story the youth told consisted of a job that took more than one day to complete...the owner says this is impossible as he would have noticed. We hope to have testimony from him by the end of the weekend as well and will discuss the findings on Sunday night at 10:00 p.m. on the Clyde Lewis Ground Zero radio show at KOTK Hot Talk 1080.

Eric Byler - Assistant Director, Oregon UFO Research.