Analysis: Crop circle theory

The following letter recently appeared in the Daily Mail and was from Cheryl Hopkins who lives in St Nicholas, Vale of Glamorgan. She writes:

It was fabulous to see the aerial view of the new crop circle (Mail). Try making that shape on the ground: it’s impossible!

Last week, a lady came to my meditation group to give a talk on Wiltshire crop circles and turned up with the expert himself, Fred Rusher, who had just arrived in the UK from Arizona to study this year’s phenomenal geometric circles.

Fred has been studying these shapes since they first appeared in modern times (though his research has found that the first crop circle chronicled was in the 1500s).

He showed a video of himself and colleagues demonstrating a possible natural theory as to how these circles form.

Fred sprinkled sand on a flat square board and then played high frequency sounds at it, making the sand whirl around and form various geometrical shapes. The shape changed with the sound frequency.

I challenge any human to imitate the intricacy of crop circles. To do all the detailing that one sees, especially the intricate weaving at ground level, would need an architect and an army of people working in the dark to make one overnight – and not leave a single footprint.

Particularly interesting was that Fred linked everything to God or whatever you call him. He said the messages in the crop circles are from the Divine creator and in this latest crop circle there are three distinct crosses.

There is more to the universe that scientists want us to believe but, fortunately, the truth is coming out.

It’s likely she was talking about this article in the paper which features crop circles in the Wiltshire area.

The notion that Cheryl has that it is impossible to make the shapes on the ground in person is a conclusion she has jumped to without proper assessment. It is probably very easy to create such a design with a lot of planning. We know that people in Wiltshire create crop circles using string and planks of wood, people have admitted it and we know people have even been arrested for it.

Not only this but even if it were impossible for humans to make such designs in a field using all the technology available to them, to then say this must mean there is a supernatural cause is a leap of logic that has no evidence to support it. These sorts of leaps of logic occur all the time in paranormal research – whether the subject matter is ghosts, crop circles or werewolves.

The theory that Cheryl speaks of regarding the sound waves and the sand seems interesting, though, if we use Occam’s razor as a way of assessing the possibilities, it’s more likely that the shapes have just been created by humans. We know that people have created these circles in the past but we have no documented evidence to suggest sound waves on a large-scale would make a crop circle with precise details (as seen in the picture above.)

The theory from Fred Rusher has just overcomplicated something that clearly has a logical explanation.

Having looked for research conducted into this theory, the only documented study that available to the public [1] had serious biases from the start. The abstract reads:

To date, some 10,000 crop circles have been catalogued, in twenty-nine countries worldwide, and their anomalous features continue to defy human replication: plants bent an inch above soil; their cellular structure altered; stems lightly burned around the base; alterations to the crystalline structure of the affected soil; the evaporation of ground water, alteration of the local electromagnetic field, and dowsable, long-lasting energy patterns, not to mention hundreds of measured
effects on the human biological field. Sounds have been identified at the sites of some of the circles during their formation, suggesting that sound is one of the likely causal or organizing factors in their creation. This article presents evidence and theories in support of this hypothesis.

The bits highlighted in red show the dubious statements in the abstract of the research that suggest personal biases of the investigators towards the effects and causes of crop circles. If this is the case then it’s very likely they will have already had a conclusion in mind, and thus, their findings would fit that conclusion.

The fact that Fred links everything to the god he chooses to worship makes his theory less concrete because he has allowed his personal biases to influence his research. Again, it’s a huge leap of logic.

If the god link was taken from the theory it’s still an interesting notion, however, if sound waves large enough to bend crops into a pretty cube or circle formation did so, there would be other signs too. Not just an eye-catching shape in one field. Damage to nearby trees and other surrounding crops, surely? While it might work on a tray of sand, if you think of the scale at which crop circles are made it suddenly seems much more unlikely.

As for messages in crop circles… these are open to interpretation from everybody. Human beings are pattern finding creatures by nature. It’s quite fun to pick out messages from them too. It’s interesting how people interpret these crop circles according to their own ideas about the world. What would believers of the alien hypothesis for crop circle creation think, or how would they react if they awoke one morning to discover a field in Devizes had a giant swastika crop circle in it? Would it be the divine creator then? Aliens? or A hoax? How would that fit their beliefs?

[1] www.wholistichealingresearch.com/user_files/documents/…/Silva-7-3.pdf

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About Hayley Stevens

Hayley Stevens is a podcaster, blogger, writer, public speaker and ghost geek. She likes tea, cake, sci-fi books and being a humanist.

Posted on July 18, 2010, in article, paranormal, rational and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. If you’re interested in reading the actual scientific work carried out so far on the crop circle phenomenon (specifically effects on the crop circle plants and soils), please see the BLT Research Team’s website: http://www.bltresearch.com.

    In the “Published Papers” section are 3 papers published in peer-reviewed journals during the 1990s. In the “Plant Abnormalities” and “Magnetic Materials in the Soils” sections are photos illustrating points made in the papers.

    See also the x-ray diffraction study of clay minerals in crop circle soils–the entire study (which was interpreted by a world class clay mineralogist and authority on the XRD technique at Dartmouth College) is posted on the web-site. It concludes that an increase in the crystallization structure of the illite/smectities (specific clay minerals) WAS demonstrated in the crop circle samples as opposed to their controls.

  2. If you’re interested in reading the actual scientific work carried out so far on the crop circle phenomenon (specifically effects on the crop circle plants and soils), please see the BLT Research Team’s website: http://www.bltresearch.com.

    In the “Published Papers” section are 3 papers published in peer-reviewed journals during the 1990s. In the “Plant Abnormalities” and “Magnetic Materials in the Soils” sections are photos illustrating points made in the papers.

    See also the x-ray diffraction study of clay minerals in crop circle soils–the entire study (which was interpreted by a world class clay mineralogist and authority on the XRD technique at Dartmouth College) is posted on the web-site. It concludes that an increase in the crystallization structure of the illite/smectities (specific clay minerals) WAS demonstrated in the crop circle samples as opposed to their controls.

  3. What does all that prove exactly? There are numerous, natural explanations for “oddities” found at crop cirlce sites. Doesn’t it require a leap of logic to assume that any “oddities” found prove something?

  4. What does all that prove exactly? There are numerous, natural explanations for “oddities” found at crop cirlce sites. Doesn’t it require a leap of logic to assume that any “oddities” found prove something?

  5. I agree with Nancy Talbott: If you’re interested in data about the genuine “CROP CIRCLES” , a website of the BLT Research Team is a good source of experimental data relatively the anomalies in them.
    If you’re interested in theoretical description phenomena, which are named of the genuine “CROP CIRCLES”, the articles “Crop Circles: Theory of Anomalous Expansion of Nodes on Wheat Stalk” http://www.nyos.lv/doc/translate__printpoprechnij__text_pru_press___28.03.2010.pdf and “CROP CIRCLES”: The Physics of Stalk Lodging of Cereals in Genuine “Crop Circles” http://www.nyos.lv/doc/engl_main_crop_circles.pdf are the good sources.

    • I still don’t see any relevance to the research you have linked to. Personally, all I see are people making leaps of logic based on what they are finding. Correlation does not imply causation.

  6. I agree with Nancy Talbott: If you’re interested in data about the genuine “CROP CIRCLES” , a website of the BLT Research Team is a good source of experimental data relatively the anomalies in them.
    If you’re interested in theoretical description phenomena, which are named of the genuine “CROP CIRCLES”, the articles “Crop Circles: Theory of Anomalous Expansion of Nodes on Wheat Stalk” http://www.nyos.lv/doc/translate__printpoprechnij__text_pru_press___28.03.2010.pdf and “CROP CIRCLES”: The Physics of Stalk Lodging of Cereals in Genuine “Crop Circles” http://www.nyos.lv/doc/engl_main_crop_circles.pdf are the good sources.

    • I still don’t see any relevance to the research you have linked to. Personally, all I see are people making leaps of logic based on what they are finding. Correlation does not imply causation.

  7. Articles (“CROP CIRCLES”: The Physics of Stalk Lodging of Cereals in Genuine “Crop Circles” and “Crop Circles: Theory of Anomalous Expansion of Nodes on Wheat Stalk”) were based on the initial truths (axioms), in which are not used notions “CROP CIRCLES “and anomalies in them. According to articles, the phenomena the “CROP CIRCLES” and anomalies in them are the consequence of bursting (formations cracks ) in the underground porous rocks (chalk, limestone, etc.). The mechanism of earthly nature, that causing creating a “CROP CIRCLES”, can be reason a sudden, catastrophic gas outburst in the coal mine. The same mechanism is able to create an emergency situation into the settlements near the site of injection of CO2 in the underground porous rocks. In connection with the foregoing, the experimental data BLT Research Team and the theory of “CROP CIRCLES” are of great practical and of theoretical interest.

  8. Articles (“CROP CIRCLES”: The Physics of Stalk Lodging of Cereals in Genuine “Crop Circles” and “Crop Circles: Theory of Anomalous Expansion of Nodes on Wheat Stalk”) were based on the initial truths (axioms), in which are not used notions “CROP CIRCLES “and anomalies in them. According to articles, the phenomena the “CROP CIRCLES” and anomalies in them are the consequence of bursting (formations cracks ) in the underground porous rocks (chalk, limestone, etc.). The mechanism of earthly nature, that causing creating a “CROP CIRCLES”, can be reason a sudden, catastrophic gas outburst in the coal mine. The same mechanism is able to create an emergency situation into the settlements near the site of injection of CO2 in the underground porous rocks. In connection with the foregoing, the experimental data BLT Research Team and the theory of “CROP CIRCLES” are of great practical and of theoretical interest.

  9. Hayley Stevens, I hoped, that the comments (my and Nancy Talbott) and references therein, showed scientifical infantilism emotional descriptions of “oddities” at “Crop Circles”, which was carried out by Fred Rusher and .
    Scientifical infantilism in that, has not been proved the sufficientness “… correlation …” the “oddities” at “Crop Circles” with the vibrational phenomena for the recognition causation .
    Instead the proof sufficientness a “… correlation …”, is used «… a leap of logic …».

  10. Hayley Stevens, I hoped, that the comments (my and Nancy Talbott) and references therein, showed scientifical infantilism emotional descriptions of “oddities” at “Crop Circles”, which was carried out by Fred Rusher and .
    Scientifical infantilism in that, has not been proved the sufficientness “… correlation …” the “oddities” at “Crop Circles” with the vibrational phenomena for the recognition causation .
    Instead the proof sufficientness a “… correlation …”, is used «… a leap of logic …».

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