Crop circles dating back to 1945 are proof the phenomenon is no modern hoax, a Tasmanian historian claims.
The mystery of the increasingly intricate patterns was supposedly solved after several high-profile cases were revealed to be the work of artists and mischief-makers armed with barrels, planks of wood and plenty of spare time.
Credit for the hoaxes has been laid largely at the feet of pranksters Dave Chorley and Doug Bower, who in 1991 announced they had been pulling the wool over people’s eyes since 1978.
(FYI, crop circles have also been blamed on unusual weather patterns, top secret military experiments and, er, stoned wallabies.)
But research by Greg Jefferys has revealed evidence of the strange circles in the English countryside at least 33 years before Chorley and Bower took credit for the phenomena – which until then had been attributed to UFOs and alien activity.
Jefferys, who has a degree in archaeology, was prompted to research the matter after reading a report on crop circles in an 1880 edition of the science journal Nature.
The 59-year-old’s research focuses on images from Google Earth’s new 1945 overlay, which Jefferys studied for more than 300 hours.
The overlay is a series of photos taken towards the end of World War II by the RAAF and comprises around 35% of the 1945 overlay of England presently available online.
Jefferys points out the material available does not include acknowledged crop circle “hotspots” around Wiltshire.
In a research paper emailed to Huffington Post UK Jefferys writes:
“Using aerial photographs primarily from the Google Earth 1945 overlay, that the number of crop circles appearing each summer has been relatively constant for at least the last 70 years and that these crop circles cannot be explained by the ‘hoax theory’. This removal of the validity of the hoaxer’s claims means that crop circles remain an unexplained natural phenomenon deserving of serious investigation by academic institutions and other research organisations.”
Jefferys, who has previously used aerial photography to successfully locate shipwrecks, points out there have been reports of crop circles in the English countryside as far back as 300 years before the period the hoaxers began their work.
In his research Jefferys acknowledges the existence of flaws on the film caused by chemical or mechanical damage to the film on which the 1945 aerial snaps were taken and has taken these into account.
In summary, he says careful examination of the presently available images has yielded 64 shapes that were possible crop circles.
Using a process of elimination to recognise flaws in the negatives, Jefferys selected 13 which conformed strictly to his criteria. (Scroll down to view some of his evidence.)
"The number of circular features that can be reasonably confirmed as crop circles that have been so far found in the survey of the currently available 1945 Google Earth overlay numbers about one dozen. As this survey did not include more than 35% of England and excluded the known crop circle 'hot spots' around Wiltshire the findings are consistent with an annual occurrence of around 100 crop circles across the English countryside in 1945. This, combined with a significant body of historic records describing crop circles, gives the lie to the claims made by various to be the originators and creators of all crop circles. This in turn begs the question 'If not them, then who or what is responsible for the creation of crop circles?'"
He told HuffPo UK: "There is a mounting body of evidence that suggests that a rare form of electromagnetic energy called an ionised plasma vortex (generally known as ball lightning) is involved.
"Plasma balls do weird things like passing through solid objects (such as stone walls and glass windows) and floating through the air against the wind. Exactly where this energy comes from and what causes it is not yet understood by science.
"Based on my studies I suspect that the forces involved in the creation of crop circles represent a potentially extraordinary new field of science, a new frontier that could lead to profound discoveries and entirely new technologies.
"Further I believe that if the mainstream scientific community were not so timid and so conservative in their view of the Universe that they would not be sitting on their hands pretending this thing is not happening but would be seriously investigating this unexplained phenomenon."
We're expecting to hear more from Jefferys, who, by the way, is about to embark on a PhD on crop circles, having found a supervisor at the University of Tasmania.
What do you think?
A crop circle in a half harvested field of grain showing the tone difference between the flattened grain in the circle, the harvested grain and the non-harvested grain. In this image the camera is almost directly above the field and it is close to mid-day so even the hedge is not casting an obvious shadow.
this classic crop circle is about ten meters in diameter. The shadow on its south east perimeter corresponds precisely with the shadows cast by the trees and hedges. The quality of this image is high enough to show there are no tracks through the grain crop leading to or from the crop circle.
SE Whiston Cross
Although the resolution on this image is poor the crop circle is quite clear as is the relationship between the circle’s internal shadow and those shadows cast by objects in the landscape.
West of South Hinksey
S W Chesham
Site of future observatory
Triangle no repeats
June 30, 2009 - An elaborate formation from Milk Hill wheat field near Alton Barnes, England. The total length was 1,200 feet. (Image © Lucy Pringle)
This two-circle formation in corn (the second, smaller circle is in the distance) was investigated by the Independent Crop Circle Researchers' Association (ICCRA) on Aug. 21, 2005 in Coles County, Ill., and found to have elongated growth nodes as compared to control samples. (Courtesy of Jeffrey Wilson)
The "Sentence of Symbols" crop formation, measuring 1,020 feet long, was found on June 12, 1999, by U.K. crop formation researcher Charles Mallett only 150 yards from where he had been outside in a sleeping bag all night in Alton Barnes, Wiltshire. Possibly most astounding about this formation is that it was located in the same field at the same time as the one in the next image. (Image © Lucy Pringle)
This "Serpent" crop formation, measuring 500 feet long, was found in the same field as the one in the previous image, on June 12, 1999 in England. No one saw or heard anything unusual overnight prior to the discovery of these formations. (Image © Lucy Pringle)
This is a photograph of a complex geometric crop circle forming in the early morning hours, which was eye-witnessed by Art Rantalla on July 4, 2003. He reported seeing this crop circle swirl and form during the passage of a severe weather front passed through Dodge County, Wisc. The formation was evaluated by members of the ICCRA and found to have elongated growth nodes, expulsion cavities in the growth nodes, and other non-hoaxable effects. The next image shows another crop formation which appeared a month later in the same county and which demonstrated the same plant abnormalities. (Courtesy of Jeffrey Wilson)
This is a photo of another complex geometric crop circle that was discovered Aug. 8, 2003, in the same county as the previous image, also investigated by members of the ICCRA. It tested positive for growth node elongation and had expulsion cavities in the growth nodes (both unhoaxable effects). The next two images show close-ups of the plant abnormalities from these crop formations. (Courtesy of Jeffrey Wilson)
This is a close-up of an explusion cavity (a hole blown from the inside-out) resulting from the Dodge County, Wisc., crop formations of July 4 and Aug. 8, 2003. (Courtesy of Jeffrey Wilson)
This is a close-up of anomalous twisted seed heads resulting from the Dodge County, Wisc., crop formations of July 4 and Aug. 8, 2003. (Courtesy of Jeffrey Wilson)
This formation in corn was reported to the ICCRA by the local sheriff's department in Montgomery County, Ohio, who first spotted it from a traffic helicopter on Aug. 24, 2004. According to members of the local fire station adjacent to the field, a severe storm went through the area during which lightning hit the station and destroyed their communications equipment. The crop circle formation was later discovered and subsequently investigated by the ICCRA, which found growth node elongation, expulsion cavities, and higher concentrations of tiny, spherical iron particulates in the soil from the area of the crop circle as compared to control samples. (Courtesy of Jeffrey Wilson)
Biophysicist W. C. Levengood in his Michigan laboratory where he has analyzed thousands of plants from crop formations in the U.S., England and other countries. He reported in the botany journal Physiologia Plantarum that "a swirling plasma vortex" has interacted with many formation plants and soils he has studied. (Courtesy of Linda Moulton Howe)
Central twisted loop at bottom of wheat seed head found on July 29, 1999, in Avebury, Wiltshire, is the same biophysical change that happened in another wheat formation discovered on Aug. 6, 1999, in Whitefish, Montana. (See next Image). (Courtesy of W. C. Levengood)
This image from a crop formation found in Montana on Aug. 6, 1999 shows a similar twisted loop of a wheat seed head found in England on July 29, 1999 (as seen in the previous image). To cause this abnormality, biophysicist W. C. Levengood hypothesizes that spinning plasma energies hit the different fields at least three weeks before the crop formations appeared. (Courtesy of W. C. Levengood)
Investigative reporter Linda Moulton Howe at the "wheat fountain" center of a Morgan's Hill, Wiltshire, England pattern reported on Aug. 4, 2002. (Courtesy of Linda Moulton Howe)
Reporter Linda Moulton Howe collected wheat samples from this 445-foot-long formation found Aug. 8, 1993, in a field below the White Horse at Cherhill Down and Oldbury Castle a few miles west of Silbury Hill. Some wheat seeds near the formation were coated with a thin film of magnetite attracted to a magnet in biophysicist W. C. Levengood's Michigan laboratory. (Courtesy of Linda Moulton Howe)
Investigative reporter Linda Moulton Howe stands inside a 200-foot-diameter Fyfield Down wheat formation discovered July 19, 1999, in Wiltshire, England. The next image shows a diagram of what the entire crop circle looked like from the air. (Courtesy of Linda Moulton Howe)
This is a black and white diagram depicting the aerial view of the 200-foot-diameter Fyfield Down wheat formation of July 19, 1999. The previous image shows reporter Linda Moulton Howe standing inside the circle. (Courtesy of Andreas Mueller)