Moulton Howe is an award-winning television producer and a leading crop
More than 2,000 simple circles, Celtic crosses and increasingly complex
pictograms have been discovered in southern Englands
crop fields since 1978. Hundreds more have been reported world-wide in
more than a dozen countries.
When the circle designs suddenly evolved in 1990 to rectangles, triangles,
ovals, ladders and insects as big as football
fields, physics professor Archie Roy at Glasgow University said he was
convinced humanity was encountering an advanced intelligence.
Then 1991 produced the large formation of circles and triangles at Barbury
Castle that mathematician Gerald Hawkins called a geometry lesson
(see Share International December 1992). The year ended with the astonishing
Mandelbrot Set* in a field at Ickleton near Cambridge.
Expectations were that the 1992 season would be even more symbolic and
mathematical, and would perhaps bring contact with the intelligence behind
the phenomenon. Instead, it was a season marred by an official hoax contest
and rumours that intelligence agents from both the US and England were
involved with creating hoaxes to diffuse public interest.
Regardless of alleged government disinformation schemes, biochemical changes,
which scientists say cannot be hoaxed, have been reported in some of the
1991 and 1992 formations.
More than 100 pictograms were reported between May and 18 August 1992
in the Wiltshire countryside of southern England. Major formations included:
- a ringed circle that stretched straight south 387 feet, containing the
familiar key shape seen in 1990-1991;
- a 400-foot-long snail discovered in a wheat field;
- a formation that was found a week later, a few miles west of the snail,
meandering 330 feet in circles, corridors and 90 degree angles;
- a 324-foot-long pointer that appeared the next day. A similar
double pictogram had been found in the same field two years previously
pointing directly at Silbury Hill, a pyramid-like structure built around
2,800 BC for unknown purposes;
- a triangle that measured 161 feet each side found in a wheat field.
Scholars say this triangular symbol of three circles connected by lines
is an ancient Asian representation for the Sirius star system and is also
a Hebrew magical symbol for the letter I or the phrase I
am. (See photograph on page 20 and later reference regarding Woodborough
- a 306-foot-long sprawl of circles, lines and celery stalk
- a 187-foot-diameter circle containing seven symbols and a man-made water
trough attached like charms on a bracelet.
Sky object 27 July 1992
The modern age of crop circles began in 1978. Throughout the 1980s, the
formations became increasingly complex, and strange lights in the night
sky were often reported near fields where crops were sculpted in odd patterns.
Even though there is no direct eyewitness link between UFOs and the formations,
and no one has yet photographed or videotaped a formation occurring, three
unusual events in the same area of southern England have been recorded.
A small, glowing, white object moving through and above crops was videotaped
by Jan Alexander in 1990. A year later in August 1991, a German student
videotaped another similar object in a formation nearby.
Then in 1992 at 12.30 am, Monday 27 July, four people watched a
structured craft move slowly over fields near Woodborough Hill.
A night watch had been organized in an attempt to contact the intelligence
behind the crop circle formations.
A similar attempt at UFO contact was made in Gulf Breeze, Florida, in
March 1992 with some success (see SI July/August 1992).
On Thursday 23 July, the group at Woodborough Hill concentrated on a particular
symbol which they hoped would appear in the fields as a crop formation.
The next day a triangle formation 161 feet across was discovered in a
wheat field 12 miles from Woodborough Hill (see photograph). The group
said it matched the symbol they were concentrating on the previous night.
On Sunday, 26 July, rain forced most of the group away by 11.30 pm. Four
people stayed on: Dr Steven Greer, a North Carolina emergency physician,
founder of the Center for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence
(CSETI) and organizer of the Gulf Breeze experiment; Chris Mansell, an
archaeology researcher from East Sussex, England; Aneek Nivijan, a student
from Belgium; and a psychologist from the United States who wishes to
Waiting for the rain to stop, Mansell said he was smoking a cigarette
in the drivers seat and looked out of his open window: I was
actually watching the dark space in the drizzle when whatever it
was seemed to either appear from out of the ground or from out
of nowhere. It wasnt as if something came from somewhere in the
distance and gradually came across the sky. It suddenly seemed to be there.
Mansell drew a sketch of what he saw through binoculars. He explained
there were about 10 lights in a straight line that were blinking from
red at the left side through white to a blue-green color at the right
which gave him the impression of something round and revolving. He ran
to Steven Greers car to make him aware.
All four witnesses watched for approximately 15 minutes while the object
moved slowly south, staying very low, and passing behind some trees about
a quarter of a mile away. Chris estimated the size of the object to be
about 80 feet in diameter based on its relationship to the trees.
The moving lights came to a clearing, stopped motionless and seemed to
change shape or position. Three amber lights formed a triangle above a
dimmer line of lights that continued to change color from red to white
to blue-green. Steven Greer said it reminded him of a Christmas tree.
Chris Mansell saw a red light detach itself and move across the horizon.
To his naked eye, he said, it looked like a single red light. But through
the binoculars, it looked like a little cluster of red lights.
Dr Greer decided to use a strong flashlight to signal the object. He flashed
twice. The top amber light flashed back twice in the same rhythm. This
flashing was repeated six or seven times and the object responded each
time. Then the top amber light flew away and eventually the object disappeared.
The next afternoon Greers group learned of a triangle formation
161 feet across in a wheat field 12 miles from Woodborough Hill (see photograph).
They said it matched the symbol their group was concentrating on Sunday
night 26 July. But others, including surveyor Paul Martineau, said the
triangle had been in the field
since 24 July and thus preceded the night watch.
I took wheat samples from inside and outside the triangular formation
near Woodborough Hill, and sent them to biophysicist W.C.Levengood at
the Pinelandia Biophysical Lab in Michigan. He has studied crop samples
from 1991 and 1992 formations in the United States, Canada and England.
Dr Levengood is convinced
that the crop circle phenomenon is produced by a rapid and intense energy
that is producing cell changes in affected plants.
(1) Consistent cell pit changes
Dr Levengood examined my wheat samples and others from the formation.
Based on 30 samples, he found a 21 per cent average and consistent increase
in cell pit diameters compared to normal control cells. Cell pits are
small holes in plant cells that allow fluid to flow up and down plant
Over the past two years, Dr Levengood has measured a consistent 23 per
cent mean average increase in cell pit diameters. He has also discovered
a gradual gradation increasing in cell pit size from the edge of the plant
leaf to the center and from the outer edge of formations to the centers.
If a plant is stepped on, the physical
pressure of impact will force fluid in the stem to expand rapidly.
Consequently, cell pits will enlarge. But in that situation the expansion
is randomly distributed. So far, the only way Levengood has been able
to reproduce a consistent cell pit change in control plants was to place
them in a microwave oven.
(2) Rapid heating
After 30 seconds of microwave exposure, the cell pits were enlarged 14
per cent by the expanding heated water in the plant cells. If heated longer
than 30 seconds, the plant cells shriveled from dehydration, which has
not been seen in formation plant samples.
Given the dehydration factor, Dr Levengood concludes that whatever energy
creates the formations, the heating must occur at a rapid rate,
not more than 30 seconds.
Dr Levengood also found evidence of rapid heating in corn seeds from a
Medina, New York, circle in October 1991. Those seeds were sent to a scientist
who used a scanning electron microscope. She said: I found unusual
crystals, like seeds heated by microwave.
(3) Changes in seed growth
Some crop formations have occurred as early as April. In early-growing
spring plants, Dr Levengood finds a complete lack of seed development,
no embryogenesis at all. Normally, one would find developing
seeds in spring plants.
In later, more mature plants from July on, he finds whole and healthy
seeds that germinate at a growth rate 87 per cent faster than control
plants. Agriculture seed experts say if they can produce a 5 per cent
increase in growth rate, they are doing well. Eighty-seven per cent
is astonishing, says Levengood.
(4) Node cracking and reorientation
Bruce Rideout, a psychologist with a biology degree who teaches at Ursinus
College in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, studied plants from Linfield and
Limerick, Pennsylvania, formations northwest of Philadelphia in May 1992.
Dr Rideout discovered node splitting or cracking in affected plants and
a peculiar and angled reorientation of the growth nodes the places
on plants where leaves and stems branch. Dr Levengood has observed those
same changes in reproductive and germination tissue from England crops.
In Troy, Illinois, circles in sweet flag grass have occurred in the same
two spots in June 1991 and 1992. Dr Levengood found that the cell pits
in these circles were expanded 50 per cent larger than normal. He also
found that the edges of the leaves were wrinkled oddly, a bit like crêpe
paper wrinkles when stretched on one side (see photograph on page 19).
He said the only way he could reproduce those changes would be by applying
a rapid burst of heat in a microwave oven. There is no way a hoaxer
can do this, he said.
Sherry Yarkosky, a chemist trained in plant physiology who works for Alvey
Labs in Belleville, Illinois, said the affected plants in Troy showed
sodium levels twice as high as unaffected plants and a 5 per cent decrease
in nitrogen content.
This might be the result of dehydration, but Yarkosky said she did not
know the cause. As recently as 8 September 1992 a perfect 600-foot wide
circle was found in the middle of a 160-acre potato field in Clark, South
Lyman Wookeys family has run the Wookey Potato Company since 1937.
In all that time, I have never seen
anything like this circle in the potatoes, he told me. His hired
man was harvesting when he came upon the dried, shrivelled plants. Everything
outside the circle was normal green. Everything inside the circle was
completely dead, said Mr Wookey.
At first he wondered if it was chemical damage. But the closer he looked
at the plants, the more he became convinced that was not the answer. Besides,
chemical damage doesnt make a perfect circle.
The potatoes looked normal, and he proceeded to harvest the big, dead
circle. Later on, he saw a small article in a local agriculture journal
about Dr Levengood volunteering to analyse plants from US formations.
Mr Wookey called Levengood and arrangements were made to ship both plants
and potatoes to the Michigan lab.
Dr Levengood reports that in these naturally flat-growing vine plants,
he found cell pit enlargement ranging from 19.1 per cent to 27.9 per cent
and a striking difference between potatoes from inside the circle compared
with potatoes from outside. The normal control potatoes were
smooth, red, no blemishes.
Samples from inside the circle had yellow streaks along the surface and
cracks in the outer epidermis. He
found no difference in the internal tissues of control and sample potatoes.
One week earlier, on 30 August, in Austinberg, Ohio, four different rectangles
were found in young, growing sweetcorn. The rectangles varied in size
from 8 by 25 feet to 15 by 25 feet. All the corn stalks were bent down
in one direction.
None of the stalks were broken and none of the ears were taken,
said corn farmer Donald Wheeler. At first, he suspected deer, but when
he checked his field for tracks, he could not find any, not deer, raccoon
Then he thought maybe a freak storm had hit. But the corn stalks were
not twisted and nothing else nearby or
in his yard showed any signs of storm damage. Carl Feather, reporting
for the Ashtabula, Ohio, Star Beacon wrote:
It just appeared as if something came down out of the sky, pushed
the stalks flat on the ground and left without leaving any other trace
in the soft ground.
The crop was young because the location is near one of the Great Lakes
and the moderated temperatures provide a longer growing season for second
plantings. Connie Sistek, an investigator in Ashtabula, gathered plant
and ear samples from inside the rectangles and outside for controls and
sent them to Dr Levengood.
He found that tassels from the young control plants were tightly closed
as they should have been. But in the formation plants, the tassels were
completely opened up, suggesting accelerated growth of the affected plants
after or during the rectangles creation.
Summarizing the current situation regarding crop formations, Scottish
astronomer and physicist Professor Archie E. Roy has said: Since
1980, scientific hypotheses have been framed (about the formations) and
then scrapped. Other, stranger, guesses have multiplied as fast as the
Several books have been written about them; and an international conference
has been held, and its proceedings published. Scores of television programs
have covered them. Hundreds of hours of flying time and foot-slogging
have been spent in visiting them.
Thousands of photographs have been taken. Reports and articles published
in the local and national press have now passed well beyond counting.
Yet the mystery, far from being solved, continues to grow.
For more information about crop circle science and videotapes about the
phenomenon, please contact Linda Moulton Howe Productions, PO Box 538,
Huntingdon Valley, Pa. 19006, USA.
*A Mandelbrot Set is a repeating fractal equation which produces a pattern
depicting chaos that actually has an elegant mathematical order. The set
is named after Benoit B. Mandelbrot, a research fellow at the IBM Thomas
J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY. He has developed the
field of mathematics called fractal geometry, which is used to study Chaos
Theory and patterns of growth in the natural world.
© 1992 Linda Moulton Howe, All Rights Reserved