Crop Circles - Theories on theIr Origins
Theories on the Origins of Crop
by Brian Hussey
The following outline is a summary of theories and working hypotheses
regarding the mechanisms of crop circle formation. Bear in mind that there
are literally thousands of scientists, mathematicians, researchers, and
physicists out there who have heard of crop circle phenomena, harbor their
own pet theories about how, why, and by whom these glyphs are produced. Keep
an open mind as you scan through the ideas and conjectures. Remember that
it is all too easy to grasp for certainty at the beginning of a mystery,
and then all too easy to throw criticism at something which does not satisfy
all the known facts. We encourage you to enter fully into this enigma, applying
everything you know to what is unknown. Think of the whole phenomena as if
it were an egg-shape of an ellipse. One focus of the ellipse is common knowledge,
the other focus being the mystery.
What is presented here is a synopsis of published findings and theories,
and in no way does it pretend to be the final word. One of the interesting
epiphenomena around this whole thing is the interactiveness of the formations
with what various people are thinking and saying about it. Early on Terrence
Meaden went public with his theory of the plasma vortex, and he treated it
like a meteorology problem. Just as he had convinced the media and many leading
researchers that his theory was correct, the circles began turning into
pictograms, more complex, and unfortunately for Dr. Meaden, unexplainable
by his vortex theory. Further stories of pattern premonitions and wish
fulfillment have been common, but this will not be covered here because we
are more interested in building a bridge from conventional science to the
crop circle phenomena.
9 Basic Theories: An Overview (Colin
1- Whirlwind Vortex
2- Plasma Vortex
3- Earth Energies
4- Extraterrestrial Origin
5- Underground Archaeological
6- Chemical Applications (no longer considered)
8- God Force
9- Military Experimentation
As members of the CCCS (Centre for Crop Circle Studies) will tell you,
the varieties and types of theories abound. The CCCS began in 1990 as a
collaborative effort between professional researchers, authors, gifted psychics
and dowsers, to establish a base station for scientific studies of the circles.
The group is presently 400 members strong around the world, based in the
UK, and has branch convenors in different parts of the U.S. and Canada. The
scope of the research is quite open-ended, and owing to its voluntary efforts,
conducts research according to the personal predilections of its authors
and volunteers. Since many members have a decidedly metaphysical bent, some
of the experiments are concerned with subjective effects on people, anomalous
light, sound, and otherworldly contacts. While the stated purposes of the
CCCS are quite clear, the elusive nature of the phenomena itself has made
it difficult if not impossible to reach a consensus of opinion over the direction
of research and the validity of results.
As a member of this group for less than a year, I have heard a number
of independent voices state clearly that a plasma physicist would be the
most valued person to enter the fray at this point. The idea that we are
witnessing a directed plasma, leaving aside the questions of origin and intent,
seems to keep reemerging. All of the eyewitness descriptions of light phenomena,
the T. Meaden hypothesis of Plasma-Vortex, the microwave energy of W.C. Levengood
and others tends to point to a plasma-based phenomena. Almost everyone has
seen arc phenomena such as lightning, the V-shaped Tesla spark ladder of
Frankenstein fame, or of more recent vintage, the clear bubble-glass discharge
of rare gases which you see in night clubs. As an experimental physicist,
I have used microwave cavities to locally heat a plasma, and deliver ionized
gas, such as O2 and N2 mixtures to a target. For me, the assumption of plasma
and microwave energies are not incompatible. It is well-known in physics
that there is a characteristic "plasma frequency" which is a measure of its
cut-off frequency. Frequencies below this will be attenuated and/or reflected,
while the frequencies above will propagate through with a real-valued "index
of refraction"; i.e., as if it were an optical material. The unusual feature
of the crop circle plasma is that it has no obvious confining walls. In a
lab-based plasma, the "sheath" is generally a magnetic field, or a standing-wave
pattern of microwaves. In the case of arc-discharge, the ultra-fast current
created by breakdown into ions and electrons sets up its own constrictive
"sheath" by Ampere's circuit law. So where is the magnetic sheath in a crop
circle? And how is it positioned so carefully?
One opinion which seems to keep rising to the surface is that there has
to be a "ground component" to this whole phenomenon. A number of facts support
this idea. The stalks are bent at 90 degrees at a consistent distance with
respect to the topsoil (1 inch is typical). The CC sites are located on ley-lines
and points connecting other geographic features (i.e., roads, sacred sites,
farmer's plough marks, etc.). One researcher has reported that there is a
90% correlation with water from the ground, and the beginning of the plant
stem is arguably the locale for the highest density of flowing H2O throughout
the plant. Anyone who wishes to pay respects to Gaia as the mother of this
whole invention may also do so at this juncture; there is ample room for
telluric forces and gravity effects. (The stalks do fall downward, after
all is said and done!)
My personal opinion is that we are not even scratching the surface yet.
If you look into current research in plasma physics, you will discover that
resonant structures such as "flute-shaped," toroidal, or "ballooning" structures
can be formed inside of a plasma. If you classify the plasma as "far from
equilibrium" then you are opening up a Pandora's box of unknown phenomena
which may or may not be spontaneously generated. It is a generally accepted
notion since Ilya Prigogine did his work on thermodynamics of dissipative
structures, that in situations far from equilibrium, new order is established
internally by self-organization. These new ordering "structures" tend to
reflect the boundaries and "sheaths" of the host medium. Perhaps the plasma
light that people have reported in crop circles is confined by sheaths of
telluric fields which are geomagnetic. Then that would imply that earth fields
are moveable and have fluid properties. Personally, I like what Barbara Hand
Clow mentioned in her new workThe Pleiadian Agenda. While speaking
from her "Satya" channel, she mentioned that Pleiadians consider the interaction
of gravity and stellar light to be the most essential information. (read:
"inner formation"). I think that stellar light is the capstone of the creative
pyramid, which guides and directs certain transformations of matter and energy.
In this scheme, a plasma is only the fourth phase of matter out of seven,
with gases, liquids, and solids toward the base of the pyramid. Gravity is
the matrix which binds and gives continuity in the sense of Einsteinian curved
space around matter. Gravity is traction, while stellar light is inclination.
Stellar light might be the plasma that appears during crop circle formations,
but governed internally by a genius loci, not a laboratory emulation. (The
dictionary defines "genius loci" to be the presiding deity or spirit of a
place; it has the same root that appears in genesis and generation.) I think
that to proceed further along the lines of these admittedly "New Age" ideas,
one would have to look closely at the evidence of the plants themselves,
to see what specifically has been transformed. Is it the conversion of ammonia
in the nitrogen cycle? Is it the cell turgidity changed by some water diffusion
process that has been altered? Are the dissolved gases in the xylem tubes
the same concentrations as in the control samples? Or are the changes affected
entirely at the genetic level, and somehow rapidly dispatched into new cell
copies? (This would accord with B.H. Clow's channeled message that DNA has
a "stellar component.")
In the long view, it may not even matter what the current theories and
public disclosures proclaim. The fact that you became interested, and opened
up just enough to look at some new ideas -- THAT might be the best occurrence
Whirlwind Vortex (also known as Plasma
The first theory proposed by Dr. Terrence Meaden in the 1980's attempted
to explain all spirally generated circle patterns as a product of entirely
natural atmospheric phenomena. Meaden likened the vortex to dustdevils,
tornadoes, etc., but also including friction-generated plasma which could
account for the anomalous light phenomena which many eyewitnesses had seen.
Meaden claimed the forces involved were hitherto "unrecognized helical or
toroidal forces" which had "subsidiary electromagnetic properties due to
self-electrification." The vortex would presumably form high above the ground,
then suddenly "breakdown" to the ground level in an axial strike. The theory
was plausible for a number of years, with further corroboration obtained
in Japan by Dr. Y.H. Ohtsuki and Prof. H. Ofuruton. Their lab research produced
similar vortices by electrostatic discharge and microwave interference.
Theoretical work on the plasma-vortex was carried out by Prof. H. Kikuchi,
Japan, who modeled the vortex using energy potentials including an interaction
term between an axial electric field and the earth's magnetic field.
Although Dr. Meaden was possibly the first to equate a meteorological
event with a plasma-vortex, the term is not new to plasma physics. A 1970
Nobel Prize winning physicist, Hannes Alfven, developed several theories
of wave propagation in plasmas. His broad vision embraces interstellar and
laboratory phenomena, for he was interested in those properties of lab plasmas
which could be used to form a cosmogony (a theory of evolution). The bulk
of his work relates to magnetohydrodynamics, an area of plasma physics which
investigates acoustic and magnetic interactions within an electrically conductive
fluid or gas. It is an advanced subject, but Alfven wave concepts are at
heart quite intuitive.
Basically, Alfven waves are ripples or propagating waves on top of
plasma-vortex structures. The vortex structures themselves form spontaneously
within a plasma from shear flows and instabilities. Once formed, however,
they can propagate waves in various modes, as well as deliver momentum across
large distances. How does this relate to crop circles? A plasma-vortex structure
such as a toroid, or a moving spiral, can explain the gentle "groomed" appearance
of the plant stalks after a formation has occurred. The stalks show no mechanical
chafing or damage, which would be the case if struck by a sudden whirlwind
or tornado. I believe that Alfven waves create the final "push" which pulsates
along the axes of vortex structures. How these are generated, and where they
begin is still quite an intriguing mystery.
The whirlwind vortex, or upward-axis vortex as it was promulgated by Dr.
Meaden, was sufficient to explain all of the true "circles" appearing in
the 1980's. However, the whirlwind theory became public "disinformation"
as soon as the first large-scale pictograms began appearing in Britain as
early as 1990. This new dimension to the shape of the phenomena began to
inform people that much larger, more complex forces were at work. It could
no longer be a simple combination of "hitherto unrecognized" natural forces.
In addition to the anomalous light phenomena, several more reports of a 5KHz
"trilling sound" were taken from witnesses in the vicinity of the formations,
none of which could be explained by revolving wind and charge clouds. Straight
lines began to appear in the pictograms, with stems of the plants lying parallel
to the outer contours of the lines. Obviously, Meaden's theory was in need
Earth Ley Lines Hypothesis
The unusual nature of the crop formations attracted many other researchers
from outside of strict materialistic science. Ever since the early '80's
when the basic circles became a frequent overnight appearance in southern
England, archeologists, mystics, ecologists, and specialists in indigenous
cultures began to recognize the symbolism in the shapes of the circles, as
well as their proximity to known sacred sites. In particular, the complex
of megalithic henges known as Avebury and Stonehenge, with the related earthmound
of Silbury Hill and the original site of Salisbury at Old Sarum, were host
to many of the circle formations in the late 80's and early 90's. The ancient
arts of geomancy, sacred geometry, and dowsing were given new life, at least
from a speculative point of view, in relation to the circle sites and the
network of earth energies known as ley-lines. While the original meaning
of "ley-lines" has been lost to us, it was considered by historians of sacred
sites to be a "vital current" which flowed through the earth, often running
We can only speculate today that it may have something to do with either
geomagnetic activity of the earth's crust, or perhaps charge accumulations
from groundwater running through porous chalk deposits, known to be ubiquitous
in the U.K. Such charge accumulations can redistribute and spill over to
other sites on the ground, giving a "moving target" for electrical discharges
coming from the air. Here we are on thin ground because we are trying to
apply modern science to ancient religious custom and belief. The ancient
indigenous tribes may well have had a direct understanding of earth cycles
and "ley lines" which they used to build their religious and archaeo-astronomical
sites. The only remaining connection between crop circles and the ancient
peoples are to be found in symbol and legend, also in ancient prophecy. The
Mayan and Hopi religion are two examples of cultures which maintained prophecies
of signs appearing at the end of the millennium, although the details and
references are beyond the scope of this outline. Certain similarities can
also be drawn between the pictograms in the crops and cup-and-ring markings
on the stones of prehistoric sites in Britain, Ireland, and Whales, but it
is not known what kind of knowledge and communications these prehistoric
people actually had.
The Gaia hypothesis of James Lovelock has had considerable support since
the appearance of crop circle phenomena, and this is closely related to earth
energies. The Gaia approach is a holistic, all-encompassing way of looking
at earth phenomena in terms of a vital, living being which is self-protective
and self-adaptive to its own environmental stresses, much the same way an
organism or an animal would respond to external and internal stimuli. The
controversial aspects of Lovelock's hypothesis are the cybernetic versus
the organismic components. If a natural feedback cycle -- suppose we take
the nitrogen cycle of plants for instance--displays parts which behave in
a predictable, controlled feedback loop, then Gaia is demonstrating a cybernetic
feature. However, if we see a unique and creative response to known stimuli,
then Gaia evinces an organismic feature. Scientists generally find this dualism
to be a logical contradiction. If there seems to be a larger, global purpose
at work, then local phenomena cannot be reduced to a mechanism...which is
generally maddening to most scientists. The crop circles tend to fall into
this category of "organismic" responses, and most scientists, lacking solid
answers to the "how" of crop circles, would like to bow out of the "why"
of crop circles altogether.
There are exceptions, however. Researchers such as Colin Andrews and Pat
Delgado, authors of the best-selling books Circular Evidence and
Crop Circles: The Latest Evidence have embraced the Gaia hypothesis as
a meaningful explanation that the earth is now undergoing a realignment.
It can no longer support the anti-life tendencies and continuous disregard
the human populations have shown, and seeks to readjust all forms of
consciousness to its new directive. The crop circles are a "spiritual nudge"
which is designed to awaken us to our larger context and milieu, which is
none other than our collective earth soul. This type of theory is teleological,
in that it answers more of the "why"-type questions regarding purpose, instead
of the "how"-type questions usually posed by modern academic science. It
is legitimate, and avoids the myopic views of cybernetic and mechanistic
Both the earth energy and Gaia approach to understanding the whole crop-circle
phenomena will be needed if one is to arrive at a satisfying explanation.
There are just too many factors surrounding the placement of CC's, their
juxtaposition to known sacred sites, their inherent symbolism, and of course,
their arrival at this time for anyone to ignore the earth connection. It
is a shortcoming of modern science that it places too much emphasis on technology
and economically driven research.
Microwave Transient Heating
Several years of incomplete theorizing, and still more circles appeared
with similar characteristics. In January 1991, Dr. William C. Levengood
approached Pat Delgado with an offer to apply some scientific methods to
study the affected plants. Dr. Levengood has impressive credentials which
include six patents and fifty papers for international scientific journals.
He is a biophysicist who specializes in bioelectrochemical energies in plants
and seeds. Working out of his Pinelandia Biophysical Lab in Michigan, he
proceeded to examine many samples of affected stalks using microscopic
techniques. One of the qualitative features which emerged directly from his
comparison of affected plants versus control plants (obtained from the same
fields) was the expansion of the nodes, or elbow points along the stalks.
In these particular regions, expansion of the cell walls had occurred, as
well as enlarging of the "pits" or exchange pores in the cell walls. These
holes are the exchange sites for ions and electrolytes in water to transport
into and out of the cells. The curious feature about these holes was their
sharp outline of trapezoidal-shaped edges, as opposed to a rather flat round
appearance in the control samples.
Furthermore, Dr. Levengood performed an analysis of seed embryos from
the glumes (husks) of the plant heads. In 40% of the glumes he found seed
deformation of some kind as compared with the controls. "Most of these
deformations can be explained by premature dehydration of the seeds," according
to Dr. Levengood. However, a large fraction of these glumes showed "alterations"
which he has assumed are genetic, but are rare conditions of "polyembryony"
and arrested growth of the embryos without the next layer of endosperm. To
study this condition further, he has proceeded to grow new generations of
these affected seeds, and the results have been remarkable.
In some of these affected nodes, there was a split or hole opening to
the outside air, indicating that some internal pressure had released at that
point. It is known that the node areas contain more water per volume than
other areas of the plants, so it appeared possible to Dr. Levengood that
some kind of steam heating was taking place. He was also able to bend nodes
of unaffected plants quite readily after a brief exposure to microwaves in
a standard microwave oven. This result, coupled with the alternation of the
seeds has led Dr. Levengood to a working hypothesis of microwave-type energy
at work, rapidly heating and depleting the stored water regions within the
nodes. It is known from military research and development that microwave
radiation in the low gigahertz range can be directed from far away, provided
that atmospheric conditions are permitting. (There has never been a report
of a crop circle being formed in a rainstorm, for example.) The genetic part
of the seed alteration cannot be explained by microwave radiation alone.
Other researchers, such as Omar Fowler have also concluded that microwave
radiation is involved based on his study of "crease and burn marks" in the
plant stems. He saw single standing stems of 22-inch height consistently
in otherwise flattened circle areas. He believes this to be consistent with
microwaves in the low gigahertz range of frequency. Another current researcher
in the public eye, Roy Dutton, has assumed a microwave radiation combined
with gravitational waves is responsible. Although he does not develop a model
for the radiation interaction, he has put together a computer model of the
flattening process which mimics the layout of the plant stalks remarkably
Peculiarities of Crop Circles
There are a number of observations that have been made over the years
that seem to indicate that there are particular characteristics that "genuine"
formations appear to exhibit. Take a look at some of them below and judge
In what kind of crops do they occur? Crop circles have been reported in
mostly corn (they are sometimes referred to as "corn circles") and wheat.
But, they also appear in barley, oats, rapeseed (canola), grass, flowers,
trees, and snow.
Where do they appear? They have appeared on every continent and been reported
in over 70 countries worldwide. The only countries where there have been
no reports of crop circles is mainland China and South Africa. A large number
have appeared in the former Czech Republic and the latest report is that
over 2,000 have appeared in India alone.
Occur far from any tramlines -- Many formations and plain circular
"grapeshots" often occur in the middle of fields far from any tramlines without
any disturbance of the surrounding crop (which is detectable). Good example
is the 1996 formation in Basingstoke, Hampshire where a circle with a ring
was put inside the middle of an organic oilseed rape field that had no tramlines
at all and the crop was 4-5 feet tall!
Change to the grain -- Not only does the physical appearance of seem to
change (it looks dehydrated), but when the seeds are planted they grow 40%
faster than their normal counterpart from the same field.
Swirl in multiple directions -- Many formations have complex woven patterns
of the swirled crops. Not only do the plants in the formation swirl clockwise
or counter-clockwise, but sometimes certain sections will swirl one direction
and layers on top are going another direction. They sometimes even have multiple
layers swirled in different directions.
Woven stalks -- Other times the stalks are actually woven like a piece
of loose cloth on the floor of the formation. This has been observed by various
researchers in the UK.
Selective swirling -- Even though the edges are clearly defined, sometimes
stalks from the outside edge are pulled into the formation. This doesn't
seem to be too unusual, but actually certain stalks from the middle of a
grouping of plants gets pulled in. The ones closest to the formation do not.
And this occurs around the entire edge of the crop circle. Very meticulous!
Equipment malfunctions -- There have been numerous reports of electronic
equipment failing in crop circles and magnets going haywire. No one is able
to explain why this seems to occur.
Emit sound at 5khz frequency -- Researchers have measured a distinct emission
of energy at 5khz emanating from fresh crop circles. This corresponds to
reports of eye-witnesses who often claim to hear a "trilling" sound coming
from the direction of the formations-in-the-make.
Formations transform into new patterns -- There have been instances where
certain formations take on an entirely different appearance as they continue
to grow in the field. For example, one formation got a wavy look within the
center of the circle that wasn't there originally.
Anomalous measurements -- By doing a fluxgate magnetometer survey of several
formations, bend at the naturally occurring nodes 90 degrees, but what isn't
well-known is that there are different nodes that they could choose to bend.
Plants have several going up their stalks. It was discovered not long ago
that various sections of formations can be grouped together according to
which node they bend at. Some bend at the knuckle closest to the ground.
Yet in a neighboring section they all bend two knuckles up and so on. Yet
one thing remains the same, they all still bent at 90%!
Patterns happen around many people -- One main point against the hoax
theories is that many formations are created near major thoroughfares. They
are also produced at night without the aid of any lighting.
Formations occur inside restricted areas -- Numerous accounts of crop
circles appearing inside military installations that are fenced off (quite
securely!) from the surrounding area. Most notably in Wiltshire along the
Salisbury Plain. Are Doug and Dave in the Army?
Chalk and water underneath -- One common denominator of the crop formations
is that they occur over underground water supplies and land situated above
chalk beds. They conduct the elector-magnet currents of the earth well and
appear to have something to do with how they are formed.
Aligned with natural features of the land -- This isn't apparent from
the ground, but aerial photographs have shown that often formations are imprinted
on the earth in alignment with tram lines or even darkened sections on the
earth. This is an impossibility without been able to see "the big picture"
before permanently laying out the design.
Sacred geometry -- Researchers have discovered layers within layers of
information contained in the crop circles themselves. There are sacred ratios,
such as the phi ratio that governs all organic life and diatonic ratios.
Physical side effects -- Many people mention having some sort of physical
reaction (positive or negative) during and after a visit to a crop formation.
Side effects range from nausea, headaches, dizziness, pains mad giddiness
to getting literally knocked off their feet.