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Loud sceptical predictions that the first hoaxing prosecution and the Foot and Mouth scare would together significantly reduce the numbers of crop formations for 2001 have proven ill-founded as ANDY THOMAS discovers…

In the wake of Matthew Williams’s widely-publicised prosecution for circle-hoaxing last year, there were sneering cat-calls from doubting circle researchers and sceptics alike that 2001 would see a massive reduction in the numbers of formations.

Then, Foot and Mouth provided another barrage of good reasons from the same people as to why the crop circle phenomenon would be fatally muted this summer - the legions of human circlemaking teams would clearly stay at home through fear of criminal damage fines or the threat of £5000 Foot and Mouth restriction penalties.

None of these loudly and pompously-announced predictions have come to pass. The crop circle phenomenon is back as powerfully as ever, seemingly untroubled by such idle speculation.

Admittedly this year’s circle season was a little late to start, however, there are three things to bear in mind regarding Foot and Mouth, which we stated in our reply to Colin Andrews’s recent letter (see Feedback):

a) The first formations of the year were almost certainly there for weeks before being spotted (by the look of their appearance) and thus arrived sometime in late April / early May - during the F&M crisis peak; b) Even if the date of the first actual sighting is the one used to start the season, there have still been later circle seasons before now; c) The crop was late in growing this season because of the very wet winter.

Of course, mega-believers hold that the celestial circlemakers held back most of their bestowed delights precisely because of the situation on the ground. And who’s to prove them wrong? On the other hand, hyper-sceptics state that human hoaxers are so determined that no threat of fines or criminal charges will deter such intrepid artists!

But all this is academic when the overall situation is looked at, according to researcher Paul Vigay. Paul has been reviewing crop circle statistics to assess the impact of Foot and Mouth on this year’s formations, and in a personal communication to Swirled News records the following:


“I was reading your piece about the Sunday Times article featuring ‘The Circlemakers’ web site, and thought I'd check up on the claims that this year’s formations were lower than usual because of Foot and Mouth.”

”I checked my online database (at and actually found that compared to this time (ie. 23rd June) last year, there have actually been only two fewer formations this year than last (with one in April compared to three in April for last year). Indeed, if you compare the months of June, this year has actually seen an INCREASE in the number of formations since last year - 10 compared with nine last year.”

”As I predicted before the season started, I don't think the Foot and Mouth epidemic has had any effect on the arrival (or complexity) of the crop circles. As usual the circlemakers (and the media) are full of empty claims, disinformation and spreading FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt)…”


So in the light of this, will hats be eaten or apologies given by the doom-merchants..? Don’t hold your breath.



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