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The truth about crop circles

  1. Dec 9, 2003 #1
    Does anyone know it, or have good guesses?

    I'm not particularly interested in the subject per se, but I find it strange that the skeptical explanation (that it is a hoax) is as phoney as the claims that ET's do it. As far as I can tell no one seems to know what is going on, and yet everyone seems convinced they do.

    So, any ideas?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 9, 2003 #2


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    What is phony about the claim that its a hoax? Its been demonstrated by hoaxsters. That makes it PLAUSABLE, though not proven that its all a hoax. You can't prove a negative of course.
  4. Dec 9, 2003 #3
    I suppose that it is possible that some crop circles are a sort of natural phenomenon, simply because 1) strange things do happen in nature, and 2) as russ pointed out, you can't prove a universal negative. However, there are plenty of proven hoaxes; the 'hoax' claim is a legitimate position.
  5. Dec 9, 2003 #4
    Re: Re: The truth about crop circles

    I'm not sure if the hoax claim is legitimate; I can't find enough information on the subject. All sources of information I could find fall into one of these two categories:

    - skeptics claiming that, because some are known to be hoaxes, then all must be hoaxes
    - believers claiming all sorts of nonsense

    It's hard to accept the "all hoaxes" explanation because there's no clear motivation for people going out at night to do it. What are they trying to achieve? I can understand some people doing it to prove that crop circles could be a hoax, but that can't possibly explain why crop circles started appearing in the first place. So there must be more to it. Or less.
  6. Dec 9, 2003 #5
    These are always hard subjects to address, because the information describing them is often subject to hearsay elaboration and other forms of data corruption, aside from the blatant hoaxes.

    So, give some extremely well documented information on specific crop circles. Documentation that seems to violate common sense and perhaps a few laws of nature, then we will address them.

    You can't expect us, or anyone else, to defend/explain/debunk something which is poorly documented or vague.

    The fact that some crop circles have been shown to be the work of hoaxers puts the burden of proof squarely onto those that claim they are real: to document them and show what cannot be explained by the more mundane reasons. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

    As to the hoaxers, I've seen two claiming to be a hoaxers, make a crop circle for the camera, on the discovery channel. Since they can demonstrate a crop circle, with all the precision and attributes usually claimed from crop circle enthusiests, I would say common sense and rational thinking place the default position on these to be that of a hoax, barring new evidence.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2003
  7. Dec 9, 2003 #6


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    Re: Re: Re: The truth about crop circles

    All we said is that at the very least some ARE hoaxes. This makes it possible that all are hoaxes. No reasonable skeptic would really say that all must be hoaxes.
  8. Dec 9, 2003 #7
    Actually, that has nothing to do with my original question. Such documentation is widely available, but it's seldom examined because people have made up their minds that it is a hoax, or it's not a hoax, and there's little else to discuss.

    To a neutral observer such as myself, who wants proof of either position before it can be accepted, it's really hard to understand what is going on. I do think the circles are man made (seriously, what else could it be?), I just have trouble with the idea that there's an underground, international network of hoaxers doing these things in the middle of the night. How does the knowledge to do it spread across many countries without anyone noticing? That sounds extraordinary in itself.

    It seems to me few people are really interested in the truth, at least in this particular case.
  9. Dec 9, 2003 #8


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    There isn't really any such network. Its all copycats. And once some of the original hoaxsters identified themselves and demonstrated their techniques, the copycats slowed down dramatically.
  10. Dec 9, 2003 #9

    Ivan Seeking

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  11. Dec 9, 2003 #10
    Just for fun, I decided to run a search for crop circle stories from a local tv station website. Below are three links to the most recent crop circle stories in the area (one of the stories was later updated).

    I thought it was interesting that in one articles a couple of guys who claimed to have created the crop circles were proven to not be the hoaxers? I wonder how many crop circles are falsely claimed to have been made by so called "hoaxers" looking for 5 minutes of fame.

    I don't know if these crop circles which have been in existence for hundreds of years will ever be explained, but I for one enjoy the idea that somethings remains unexplained.

  12. Dec 9, 2003 #11
    Here are two citations from one of the links posted in another recent thread on crop circles:
    1.)"The storms about this part of_ Surrey have been lately local and violent, and the effects produced in some instances curious. Visiting a neighbour's farm on Wednesday evening (21st), we found a field of_ standing_ wheat considerably knocked about, not as an entirety,_ but in_ patches forming, as viewed from a distance, circular_ spots.
    ______ Examined more closely, these all presented much the same character, viz., a few standing stalks as a_ centre,_ some prostrate stalks with their heads arranged pretty evenly in a direction forming a circle round the centre, and outside these a circular wall of_ stalks which had not suffered.
    ____ I send a sketch made on the spot, giving an idea of the most perfect of these patches._ The soil is a sandy loam upon the greensand, and the crop is vigorous, with strong stems, and I could not trace locally any circumstances accounting for the peculiar forms of the patches in the field, nor indicating whether it was wind or rain, or both combined, which had caused them, beyond the general evidence everywhere of heavy rainfall._ They were to me suggestive of some cyclonic wind action, and may perhaps have been noticed elsewhere by some of your readers."

    2.)"Mr William Cyril Williams wrote: "With reference to the corn circles mystery I actually witnessed one being made._ I was standing in a cornfield one morning and saw a whirlwind touching the ground and forming a circle in the corn._ It was just the strength of the wind in the whirlwind that formed the circle".
    _ The event happened in the late 1940's when he worked on his father's farm, Penfedw Farm at Cilycwm._ He was then in his twenties._ The area is surrounded by hills on all sides, and circles had been seen there "frequently"._ On this occasion, a weekday in August, at about 10.30 to 11 in the morning [or circa 0930-10 GMT] Mr Williams had gone into the wheat field on harvesting day in advance of the cutting and binding machinery, and was crossing the middle of the field when he heard the buzzing noise of a whirlwind starting up only a few metres away._ He then saw a spinning mass of air with dust in it, and, as he watched, in a matter of_ "only a couple of seconds or so the wheat fell down producing a shard-edged circle 3 to 4 metres in diameter"._ It looked just like the other crop circles he had seen before except that this one was completely flat-bottomed whereas some of the earlier ones had stalks standing at their centres like a conical pyramid._ The vortex then died out rapidly, but during its brief lifetime (under 4 or 5 seconds) it remained at the same place."

    This page at that site is devoted to promoting the notion that there have aways been non-hoaxed crop circles made by whirlwinds. It mentions that in addition to the two above reports there are about 25 reports of people witnessing whirlwinds producing crop circles.

    As far as it goes, I find this to be a very persuasive notion. The two, now famous, original hoaxers who worked for years anonymously fooling people, said they'd been inspired to start by preexisting stories of crop circles. I don't see any reason to look further than whirlwind produced crop circles for the explanation of the stories that were already circulating, and which inspired them to start hoaxing.
  13. Dec 9, 2003 #12
    Around the time the movie "signs" was just about to premiere, the history/discovery/learning channel had a few various specials on aliens/crop circles. In several of these specials they actually followed around people who made crop circles for fun and watched them make highly detailed and seemingly perfect (if looking from a good distance above) crop circles which had relations to various mathematic principles and such, they even had the host help on one of the shows in making the circles. The people who made the crop circles viewed it as a sort of ongoing contest within the crop-circle-making community, who could make the most elaborate one that would get in the news and be publicised. It's hardly any more irrational for people to go out late at night and make crop circles than it is for someone to do massive works of graffitti.
  14. Dec 9, 2003 #13
    I saw these shows. Extremely well done. I didn't think anyone could see these shows and still labor under the illusion that these fantastic shapes are "signs" from ET or anything. Very cool graffiti, you're right.
  15. Dec 10, 2003 #14
    Here's the site that promotes the whirlwind origin of many crop circles:

    It is not well composed,and the author is too fond of bold and colored letters, but I found it adds up to a case definitely worth consideration.
  16. Dec 10, 2003 #15
    Couple problems with this. What bothers me most is that the people who investgated the boys claims were a group of crop circle studyers. The second is that the boys are on probation for something else and seemed to have rescinded their story upon learning they might get into trouble for vandalizing someones crops.

    "Steve Moreno of Psi Applications, a group that describes itself as researchers of paranormal, UFO and metaphysical phenomena, will discuss the results of the group's investigation at a news conference Wednesday afternoon in Fairfield."

    "The four teenagers allegedly claimed they made the circles but could not take responsibility for them because three of them are on probation and didn't want to get in trouble with police."

    Psi Applications found evidence of the circles' having been formed by "plasma energy" and glowing orbs were reported over the field the night the circle was presumed to have been formed. I don't trust Psi Applications to have done an unbiased investigation of this.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2003
  17. Dec 10, 2003 #16
    Some of the posts were long, so I haven't read them all and hope I'm not being redundant, but I see this missing: There is reasonable evidence that some crop circles have weird blobs of magnetized, obviously previously melted, bits of iron ore/mineral, where it is rare elsewhere near by. Also, many stalks have been shown to have anomalous blown nodes, apparently cooked 'til they burst.
    Both of these seem to favor the weird weather theory.
    Also, it is not just this century, there have been some scant reports of crop circles for hundreds of years, though I'd bet 99% are fake today.
    I think some here are underestimating the number of stupid teens that are out there. Have you ever noticed that when a phone number is shown on TV it stars with 555? This is because if they show some random number it often exists and millions of idiots prank call it, raising their phone bill. So they have the 555 prefix, which isn't used.
  18. Dec 10, 2003 #17


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    Thats interesting, because I've heard the exact opposite from a number of people who claim that "some are genuine."
  19. Dec 11, 2003 #18
    Do you mean opposite as in they thought the complex ones were genuine? I have to say that that is incredibly unlikely.
  20. Dec 11, 2003 #19


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    Yes. So complex that humans couldn't make them or that they couldn't make them in one night. Ie, only aliens with advanced crop crushing technology could do it.
  21. Dec 11, 2003 #20
    Well you can't expect the government to fund human advances in the crop crushing sciences while also funding the suppression of Ivan's proof that UFOs are visiting us. This is a question of priorities.
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