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In the 1970s outside the town of Warminster in England,
a farmer awoke one morning to find that portions of his
wheat crop had been flattened into perfect circles of
various sizes. When he examined the damage, the farmer
found that the stalks of wheat were only bent, not
broken. In fact, the wheat continued to grow in the
swirling circular pattern until harvest.
Soon crop circles began to appear in fields in Canada,
the United States, Hungary, Russia, Australia and Japan.
As the phenomenon spread around the globe, the patterns
in the fields became more geometrically complex: rings,
lines, squares and triangles also appeared.
In 1991 two men admitted to creating some 250 crop
circles. But the circles these two hoaxers made had
always been suspect— they lacked the precision and
intricacy that were the hallmarks of this phenomenon.
Although no one knows exactly how these crop circles
were created, several farmers observed bright disks of
light hovering over their crops in the night. When the
farmers inspected their fields, they found crop circles
in the precise spot where the light had been the night
Variations: Whoever—or whatever—makes crop circles seems
to prefer fields of corn, although the circles have also
been found infields of barley and oats. Sometimes the
stalks are woven together. In other versions, the bottom
stalks swirl in one direction while the stalks on top
swirl in another direction. There have also been reports
of multiple layers swirling in different directions.
Electronic equipment is said to malfunction inside crop
circles and magnets lose their magnetism.