Are Crop Circles man-made features or a supernatural phenomenon

Are Crop Circles man-made features or a supernatural phenomenon


As humans, we have always been amazed by the unknown or unexplainable.  Since time immemorial, humans have mastered the art of using out imagination to make up for what we cannot explain or understand. Crop circles are no different. Reports about the same have been around for over five hundred years.  The term ‘crop circle’ refers to the systematic flattening of crops in a huge field in such a manner that generates a pattern that can be seen from afar or above. The crops that have been flattened are often various types of grain such as corn, sorghum or even rye plants. The name they are given results from the fact that the first cases of this phenomena to be documented in a formal manner where these in the form of simple circles that were found by farmers or noticed by passers-by (Bingham, 2013). Something amazing about crop circles other than the patterns is the fact that upon closer observation, it is quickly noted that the flattened crops have not been broken but rather bent in a way that will allow them to continue growing despite the change in their orientation. Majority of the incidents of this strange phenomenon have been reported in parts of Europe as well as in North America with several incidences being concentrated in Britain and the United States.  Cases of these phenomena were at an all-time high between the 1970s and the 1980s. There is even a discipline dedicated to the study of this phenomenon and it is known as cereology and this consequently makes the people who study the same cereologists (Nickell, 2013).

As years have progressed the nature of these circles has transformed dramatically from the simple circular patterns to more detailed and complicated designs. Any forum related to crop circles will more often than not have reference to aliens being made. This is due to the belief that this is the work of superior beings that may be extra-terrestrial in their nature.  Other people have cited pranksters as being the main causes of these patterns being found on people’s farms (Alessandrini, 2012). Natural causes have also been blamed for the formations that we know as crop circles. The lack of a concrete explanation has further generated interest in this phenomenon with the closest thing to answers being clues that interested people take with a pinch of salt. In this essay, the various proposed explanations for the existence of crop circles shall be critically analysed with their key strengths and weaknesses being deliberated upon.

The View that Crop Circles are the work of aliens

One of the most common themes when people are attempting to explain the origins of crop circles is the claim that these are the works of extra-terrestrial beings. The reason for this is that in the absence of a logical explanation for a phenomenon that we see, it is very easy to turn to the supernatural in an attempt to fill that gap. The ‘supernatural’ in this context varies from society to society because different communities of people have different beliefs. The earliest reported instances of Crop circles are said to be from England in the 1600s where a scientist claimed to have found what were three ‘fairy rings’ on a farm. Centuries later in the 1960s similar circles were spotted on a farm in Australia. These patterns were linked to ‘flying saucers’ and this comes as no surprise because this location had had numerous cases of people claiming that they had seen alien crafts flying around. The same was reported in Britain where the crop circles that were discovered were widely thought of as the work of some aliens who had visited the earth (Sautter, 2010).

The main reason why some people believe that this is the work of aliens is the fact that many times the creation takes place overnight in pitch darkness. This is a time when any normal person will be fast asleep and not making abstract patterns on a farm. The second reason why it is thought that alien technology has been used to create these circles and other patterns is the flawlessness that many of them have. They are flawless in that the circles that have been formed are often perfect in appearance. The crops too are bent at just the right angle to ensure the pattern is formed without breaking the plants and killing them. This makes many to believe that this is done through an advanced piece of technology that creates such patterns from a great distance. In many instances, there are no physical marks to show how the creators of the circle entered or left the affected farms. This falls well in line with the image that people have from popular culture that aliens are magically beamed into their flying saucers as seen in many alien-themed films (Baggini and Southwell, 2012). Another reason why some people say that crop circles are the work of aliens is the fact that some of them have been found near places where aliens are suspected to have made other ancient constructions. An example of this is in the Stonehenge which has several crop circles incidents which have been found to be within a 15 kilometre radius.  This has only served to fuel the idea of aliens being involved because there is no possible explanation of how these structures were put up by pre-historic man. Some people have gone as far as drawing parallels between the creation of other wonders of the world such as pyramids and the crop circles. They claim that the aliens use these patterns as messages which they leave for their kind who may come to visit the earth at a later time. Others suggest that the energy coming from their space crafts cause these patterns to develop on crop fields.

Despite the above theories about an alien species being responsible for the creation of crop circles, there are arguments that have also been brought forward in disagreement that this phenomenon is the work of aliens. The first of these reasons is that a species with superior intelligence would do something that is greater than just drawing patterns on people’s farms. Another reason why people disagree with the theory about aliens is that there is no evidence that a species from another world has visited such sites. These are merely speculations that result from the fact that there were many stories of aliens and their crafts being seen within the area at the same time period.

Theories about Crop Circles being a natural phenomenon

There is also a group of people who believe that crop circles are the result of natural forces on the earth which somehow act in a manner that result in the formation of these strange circles on people’s crops. The weather for instance is suspected to be a major form in the formation of these circles. This is due to the fact that some elements of weather are extremely strong with some being known for acting in a way that baffles those who witness it or hear narrations about the happenings. Wind energy has been singled out as one of these forces through tornados which are simply extremely strong winds. The circular manner in which tornadoes strike gives them the power to leave everything on their paths flattened.  It is thought that these tornadoes are usually of a smaller scale and at the same time isolated to and confined to a small geographical area thus the formation of these patterns. These sentiments were shared by an early scientist from Britain, John Capron who pointed to some kind of cyclonic wind.

Still on winds, scientists such as Terrence Meaden said that whirl winds moving above the farmlands of England formed such patterns when they hit the plantations. In his theories, he pointed out that the hilly nature of the English countryside caused the circular patterns to replicate each other resulting in the visible crop-circles. He even introduced complicated matters such as vortexes in a bit to strengthen his theories on this baffling phenomenon.  Ball-lightning, a situation when lightning is thought to strike in a cylindrical manner and in the process creating a force that pushes in a circular manner thus leaving such impressions on the farmland.

There is also the suggestion that there are earth energies at work in the creation of the phenomena in question.  These earth energies are believed to be the result of very strong electromagnetic fields which are generated beneath the earth. In the same way that the earth has a north pole and a south pole, these energies can at times randomly be generated underneath the earth’s surface (Fengand Liew, 2009). When this happens, they possibly increase the strength of gravity in the area they have affected resulting in some of the plants being forcefully pulled down because they are unable to with stand the energy. These energies are then said to act in a circular manner much in the same way that energy moves within a fluid in cyclical patterns.  When this happens, the parts of the ground that the forces concentrated on will have evidence in the form of patterns which we know as crop circles.

Several argument s have however been put forward against the different natural theories that have been proposed. For one, the tornado and whirl wind theory are refuted because nobody has ever witnessed these winds causing such patterns. Whirl winds may form pillars of dust but not patterns across fields. Tornadoes on the other hand are more associated with serious destruction that will most likely flatten the whole plantation or at least leave it as a mess rather than go in neat circles. Again, when it comes to weather, the events such as winds or otherwise take place both during the day and at night. Crop circles only seem to get created in the night and this poses a big problem to this theory. There are many other parts of the world that are hilly and have people practising the farming of maize, sorghum or rye. Why is it that there have not been any cases of crop-circles?

When it comes to the issue of vortexes being pointed to as the causes, it is argued that there is no evidence of such forces having that kind of strength or even if they at all exist. This is because those who proposed these did not even provide a way of measuring them or other evidence that they exist. Earth energies also fall into this category because they are based on speculation. At the same time, if they indeed exist, the question about them being concentrated in Australia, Britain and the USA also comes into play. Such forces would make the crop circles a more widespread phenomenon that would be seen all over the world in other continents and countries. Another problem with this theory is that nobody has ever witnessed this force in action the same way that earthquakes are felt or magnetic field of the earth is indicated using a compass.  These forces only exist on paper and in the mind of the scientist who proposed them.

Human Causes of Crop Circles

Many of the people who have opposed the above theories tend to point to human action as being the main cause of crop circles. Both intentional and non-intentional human actions that have led to the formation of crop circles have been highlighted in this regard. An example of a non-intentional human action that has been proposed as being the cause of this phenomenon is the action of flying aeroplanes. Some scientists have proposed that air currents generated by the movement of aircrafts as they fly. The currents of air that are generated as the aircrafts rise have also been proposed as possible causes of circular patterns in farmlands (Hawkins, 2012).

A major weakness of the above suggestion is that the very first cases of crop circles were reported in the late 1800s and the airplane was invented in 1903. This greatly casts doubts at the above suggestion. Furthermore, air transport has been increasing every day and this would mean that the number of crop circles being reported worldwide could only increase rather than stagnate. Forces strong enough to bend crops like that could possibly have other effects such as destroying other things like roofs in areas around airports but this has not happened. At the same time, the suggestions about this being an explanation for crop circles has not been backed up by empirical data those points out airports that are located near the farms that have crop circles (Markley, 2011).


This refers to people who deliberately create crop circles through secretly flattening their crops and then claiming that they found them in that state. This is by far one of the most plausible theories that have been put forward with regard to the formation of crop circles (Blaskiewicz, 2013). For a long time the scientific community speculated about the possibility that these unique patterns that are found on people’s farms. The main challenge that they were faced with was the fact that they did not have any evidence to prove this. A break however came in 1991 when two British men, Doug Bower and Dave Chorley who came out publicly to admit that they were behind the spate of crop circle occurrences in the country. Their motivation was to prank people based on reports of the same phenomenon being seen in Australia. To back up their claims, they demonstrated to curious journalists how to make such circles using simple tools. These tools were a plank of wood, some wire and a rope. The purpose of the wire, they claimed was to ensure they walked in a straight line while the plank’s job was to flatten the crops. To prove what they were claiming, they demonstrated before the eager press the simple technique that they had been employing to do this. Also present was an ardent cereologists who closely observed the patterns they formed and accepted that this was indeed a crop circle similar to the others that they had seen. This then sparked off a trend among enthusiasts who went on to create amazing patterns in their farms all over the world.

This revelation contributed greatly to putting to rest the many speculations that existed about the formation of crop circles. However, some people still disagreed with this theory because the some of the patterns are so large that they need to be seen from a great height for them to be truly recognized as crop circles.This is because it still requires a great deal of effort to come up with such designs using simple tools (Collins, 2009).


Crop circles are undoubtedly some of the most interesting phenomena that people get to come across. Because of this attention, different people have proposed different ways they think the circles are formed and this has resulted in the many theories seen above. However, out of those many suggestions, it is clear that the ‘hoaxer’s theory’ seem to be the most accurate since evidence of the formation has been showed to the world. For this reason, it is safe to say that crop circles have always been man-made.


Alessandrini, F. 2012. Voyage in Destiny-Part Five: Crop Circles and the Entry Into the Third Dimension, Or the Great Transformation Man Is Facing. AuthorHouse.

Baggini, J., &Southwell, G. 2012. Philosophy: Key Themes. Palgrave Macmillan.

Bingham, J. 2013. Crop Circles.Heinemann-Raintree Library.

Blaskiewicz, R. (2013). All They Want Is the Truth. Skeptical Inquirer2013.

Collins, A. 2009. The New Circlemakers: Insights Into the Crop Circle Mystery. ARE Press.

Feng, C., &Liew, K. M. 2009.Energetics and structures of carbon nanorings.Carbon47(7), 1664-1669.

Hawkins, J. 2012. The World’s Strangest Unexplained Mysteries.The Rosen Publishing Group.

Markley, O. 2011.A new methodology for anticipating STEEP surprises.Technological Forecasting and Social Change78(6), 1079-1097.

Nickell, J. 2013. Circular Reasoning: The ‘Mystery’of Crop Circles and Their ‘Orbs’ of Light. Skeptical Inquirer2013.

Sautter, A. 2010. Searching for UFOs: An Isabel Soto Investigation.Capstone Publishers.

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