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There has been an extra wave of crop circle sightings from around the world this summer, seemingly in excess of usual figures. Is this increase an actual reality, or merely more reports due to heightened awareness? ANDY THOMAS watches other countries going through what the UK had to years ago…

In what may be a first, global crop circle figures are currently outweighing UK appearances.

The usual ratio has tended to be that England received two-thirds of the world’s crop formations each year, while the rest of the globe has made up the other third, but this has been challenged in 2003 by an increased number of reports from other countries.

Canada, Germany and The Netherlands have long been hotspots for the phenomenon, and this year have again seen much activity, but there has been a notable increase in places such as the USA and Italy, the latter a country which, until this year, was virtually untouched by the phenomenon.

Various theories have been put forward to account for this surge – either celestial crop circle forces are becoming more active as awareness and the previously-noted psychic interactivity spreads, or human crop circle makers are being spurred on (particularly in the US) by all the fuss caused by the ‘Signs’ movie (the slightly suspect visual quality of some of the American formations has made some consider this scenario). As for Italy, the situation can be looked at either way – last year saw their first designated crop circle conference at Padova, and another is planned for Milan this autumn. Another possible explanation is that the recent heightened attention to the phenomenon has simply led to more circles being reported, which might previously have been left to themselves.

It’s interesting to note that the USA appears to be going through its own mini-version of what the UK had to go through in the early 1990s, in terms of dealing with hoax claims and debunkers. A formation at Rockville, California, for instance, caused lots of media attention, which was then deflated thanks to claims by local youths that they had made the pattern as a prank, inspired by a recent TV documentary. The native croppies then moved in with their counter-claims and denials, citing evidence that threw these claims into doubt (the claimants say they used the light of a Full Moon, the researchers say it was only a New Moon, etc). The farmer has subsequently challenged the youths to publicly create another pattern as proof… And so it goes.

Debunkers appear to be becoming rife, as alarm grows from so-called ‘scientific bodies’, such as CSICOP (Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal) at the new interest shown in the phenomenon. However, as a balance, the US has also had its first eye-witness sighting of a formation appearing. See the separate report in our current Headlines.

Some of the e-mails we receive here at Swirled News show the fascinating signs of history repeating itself in a new country, as thoughts and speculations long ago dealt with and processed (though not necessarily answered!) in the UK are being brought up afresh in new territories, seemingly unaware of circular history elsewhere. For instance, we have received more than one (serious) e-mail from other countries (again, particularly the US) along the lines of, “Has anyone ever considered that these crop circles might be made by alien intelligences?” Cute.

A more material echo of a UK cerealogical event recently appeared in Belgium, where, in a very rare occurrence, a near-identical replica of the beautiful 2001 ‘angel’ formation from Great Shelford, Cambridgeshire arrived in June at Mielen-Boven-Aalst (Gingelom). Curiously, some seem dubious about its origins, precisely because it is such a close facsimile of its UK predecessor. Certainly, it is rare for a formation to be replicated so obviously in a different country from its ancestor, however, a loud roaring sound like a plane was heard on the night it formed, and others believe it to be genuine.

The crop circle mystery has long been global, but at last people seem to be waking up to this fact and the phenomenon seems to be responding in kind. Despite this, the UK appears to remain the site for the most elaborate and bold designs – for the moment, at least…

Belgian 'angel' 2003 (photo: JAN BEX)
Belgian 'angel' 2003 (photo: JAN BEX)
UK 'angel' 2001 (photo: ANDREW KING)
UK 'angel' 2001 (photo: ANDREW KING)


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