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THE 2005 CROP CIRCLE SEASON - 21/10/2005

The summer of 2005 was one of new ingenuity and, of course, new controversy in the fields of the UK. ANDY THOMAS looks back at the crop circle season just gone…

To most eyes, the 2005 crop circle season seemed bolder and more imaginative in its design sweep than the previous one. Though 2004 had been no disgrace, there appeared to be a new impetus and adventurous nature behind the ever-evolving shapes gracing the fields this year.

Simultaneously, brand new forms of design were explored, while old styles were revisited in new and more advanced ways, with a sense of previous boundaries being pushed, with everything from more than one crop formation crossing a road and continuing on into another field (not previously unheard of, but rare), to highly accurate optical illusions and an emphasis on harder, more angular forms, like triangles and diamonds. As for the more traditional elements, they were taken to new levels, as at the formation near Avebury on 27th July, which saw FOUR Celtic crosses bound together in a striking unified pattern.

A simple glance at the continuing ingenuity in the fields reveals just why the crop circle mystery refuses to go away. Perhaps the boldest new stroke of the phenomenon was the glyph at Lane End Down in Hampshire on 10th July, which appeared to represent a very three-dimensional rendition of what might be a medieval mace or a sub-atomic particle, dotted across liberally by many little circles. However, several patterns dispensed with circles completely this year, as mentioned above, such as the entirely angular formation at the old haunt of Alton Priors, Wiltshire on 3rd July, where even the tiny ‘grapeshot’ circles were in fact squares. A new crop was even broached this summer – the first formation ever to appear in borage (a herb with a blue/purple flower) arrived at Ludgershall, Wiltshire, on 3rd August, making for an unusual but colourful sight.

The formation of 2004 which had caused most fuss was the astonishing, if controversial ‘Mayan wheel’, which appeared to embody Mayan symbols around its outer edge, causing much speculation about its connection to the ancient prophecies and time cycles which point to the year 2012 as being a pivotal time of change. This year saw a number of further formations which some said tapped into this symbolism, though the most overt example was the very complex design which arrived at Wayland’s Smithy in Oxfordshire on 9th August. Appropriately, Geoff Stray’s long-awaited and comprehensive guidebook ‘Beyond 2012’ (see came out this summer, creating more awareness of the connection between crop glyphs and the 2012 phenomenon. The Waylands Smithy mandala even made its way into one of the national UK newspapers (‘Sunday Express’), complete with talk of 2012 and ancient calendars.

How many of these amazing works are the result of more celestial sources and how many the results of human planking is, of course, still hotly debated by those who feel the need to make the distinction. However, despite the astonishing range of ingenuity and accuracy seen in the fields, the UK media has been working hard to convince everyone that ALL this work is down to the industrious artists they can never seem to stop talking about.

The ‘Daily Mail’, which has for years now featured an annual spread of the latest circle photos with at least a modicum of ambivalence about their origins, this year went to the depths of crass with a piece embarrassingly entitled ‘CORN BLIMEY!’, in which it definitively – and untruthfully – stated: “Once thought to be the work of aliens, but now known to be intricate works of human art designed using computer technology”. Note the word ‘known’ – hardly!

Meanwhile, the BBC missed another opportunity to at least define the phenomenon as an unknown quantity by featuring yet another human team making a crop circle for a TV series presented by David Dimbleby, looking at the influence of the British landscape on artists down the ages. Again, the plankers were effectively presented as the only component of the mystery.

However, for all this sceptical rhetoric, interest in the crop circles remained high, with large numbers of cerealogical visitors and tour groups roaming the fields of Wiltshire and beyond. The Glastonbury Symposium, for instance, the longest-running of all the croppie gatherings, sold out faster than any previous year, and the summer managed to support at least four big circle-related events within just weeks (and in some cases days) of each other.

One of the most complex designs of the year was the astonishingly detailed mandala found not far from the famous white horse of Uffington in Oxfordshire on 13th August. This formation contained elements of many of the summer’s themes all in one, almost as a summing-up of the season. There was a final flurry of ingenuity towards the end of August, in particular an ornate scarab beetle-like emblem at Alton Priors on August 21st, and a very accurate display of nothing but hexagons at Cherhill the same night. These were the last UK formations to date.

There were about 70 crop patterns in the UK this summer – less than some years, more than others, and pretty much on a par with last year’s UK figures of 77. Meanwhile, other countries have been getting their fair share of ingenious glyphs too. However, several countries, such as Germany, seem to have gone back to basics this year, with simpler glyphs on the whole, with the one exception of a German pictogram in the style of the famous 1990 types. Italy and Poland, and even Russia (where scientists have apparently declared that crop circles are the result of “lightning strikes” according to their media), seem to have delved into more complexity, but there is no question that the UK remains the heart of the phenomenon, where its finest works continue to reside.

Thus, the crop circle phenomenon, with all its mysteries, paradoxes, controversies and quirks continues unabated, and the journeys of the mind kicked off by the inner questioning inspired by the glyphs continue to take many people to new and unexpected places in their lives and thinking. Long may it reign – at least until 2012…


Some formations from this year's impressive season... (Photos: CROP CIRCLE CONNECTOR)
Some formations from this year's impressive season... (Photos: CROP CIRCLE CONNECTOR)


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