Sunday, 24 July 2011

Cornucopia for Cereologists

This is the time of year for a special harvest, mainly in the English speaking countries of the Northern hemisphere, and this year is no exception.  This is not the harvest of the crops that feed hungry mouths, but the deliberate wanton destruction of those crops in the name of art . . . and mischief.

I am talking of crop circles of course.  Or to use the 'proper' term they are not necessarily circles but 'formations'.  I am under no illusion whatsoever that it is aliens in UFOs who create and implement some of these brilliant designs.  They are expertly planned and usually implemented in secrecy by dedicated teams of pranksters.  Then they are lovingly studied and interpreted by 'cereologists' who seem not to have a skeptical bone in their bodies.

There are some common features throughout crop circle culture, apart from being most common in the English-speaking countries.  They only came to the attention of the public in the early 1980s - more on this in another post soon - but some would argue that this has been going on for centuries.  The only 'evidence' that cereologists can present for this claim is a single page wood-cut print about a 'mowing devil', in Hertfordshire, England, in 1678.  (Yes, that's how we spell that county in these enlightened times. We pronounce it Hart, not Hert. It seems to me that they got the spelling right in the 17th century.)

However, this is probably the first ever crop circle hoax.  For one thing, if it was a mowing devil it was cutting the crop.  In today's 'true' formations the stems of the crops are bent.  There are 'nodules' on the stalks which naturally allow the plant to bend, and as the crops are flattened the stalks are flexible enough to bend at these points.

As I often do, I am 'sitting on the fence' on the topic of crop formations, or as I prefer to say, I am presenting a balanced argument. While I feel sorry for the farmers who's crops are ruined I can't help admiring the art.  In another post soon I will look at the economic arguments for the 'industry'.

Understandably, most photos of these beautiful patterns carry a copyright warning, and not wishing to be eviscerated in court for infringing their rights, all the photos that I will use in the next few posts have been 'sourced ethically'. 

This spectacular formation appeared in 2001 in southern England.  It is sad that the ethical sourcing policy excludes some of the pictures from this year, but to be safe I have provided a link to a source for these.  Apparently cubes are in fashion in 2011.  I should warn you though that the word WOO is strongly associated with the second of the links below.

Some sites for some brilliant photos:
Free Natural Wallpaper - crop circles photos to download
Crop Circle Connector- large woo warning!  Lots of nice up-to-date photos though.

Related posts:
Out crop formation!
Income from crop formations  
Where are the formations?
Japanese Rice Art  
Crop formations in trees?

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