Crop Circles: Not A Modern Phenomena

Last updated on April 18, 2017

Crop circles go back much further than 2 hoaxers in the UK. They've been around a long time.

Crop Circles: Not A Modern Phenomena

Many people are only aware of the Crop Circle phenomenon when it hit the media in the 80’s. What most of them don’t know is that Crop Circles have been reported all over the world for hundreds of years.

Shaw Village UK Crop Circle 2001
16-Pointed Star, Old Shaw Village, UK 2001 by Massimiliano Mitch on Flickr | License: CC BY 2.0

815 AD: Church Records

In the year 815, a report from the Bishop of Lyon warns an incoming priest that the locals are involved in devil worship. Their crime?

They were gathering seeds from a crop circle. The assumption must have been the crop circles were the result of the devil himself.

They’re gathering seeds in a flattened circle of the crops and using them in fertility rituals. ~Bishop of Lyon

While it wasn’t uncommon for a church to accuse parishioners of devil worship, it seems surprisingly common for crop circles to exist considering there was little concern about them in the report.

The report was more concerned with what people were doing with them and whether or not they were worshiping the devil.

Fairy Rings of the 12th Century

There are many who believe that stories about a phenomena called “fairy rings” or “fairy circles” reference crop circles going back to the 12th century.

People believed that the circles were the evidence of fairies or other magical beings who danced in circles.

Fairy Rings Crop Circles UFOs
By T. H. Thomas [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

It’s important to note however, that fairy rings are also known in modern times and certain types of fungus or mushrooms that grow in a ring-like pattern.

It’s very possible the stories from the 12th century may have been the genesis for the term.

Swiss Crop Circle 2009
Swiss crop circle from 2009 by Kecko on Flickr | License: CC BY 2.0

The 1600’s: Professor Robert Plot Describes Crop Circles

Professor Robert Plot (December 13, 1640 – April 30 1696) wrote about crop formations.

Plot was a professor of Chemistry at the University of Oxford and the first keeper of the Ashmolean Museum.

Again, it’s not completely clear whether Plot was seeing the types of crop formations we see today or whether he was seeing modern fairy rings which have a known explanation.

Plot theorized different mechanisms for creation including lightning and wind vortexes.

He also noted that the soil had been modified in places where the fairy rings had been seen.

1678 The Mowing Devil of Hertfordshire (Hartford-shire)

In August of 1678, a pamphlet was published describing a field that appeared to be in flames overnight. The next day circles were found cut into the crop.

The image on the pamphlet bears a striking resemblance to humans making crop circles (except it’s a demon/devil).

Mowing Devil
1678 Pamphlet on The Mowing Devil | Image Source: Wikimedia Commons License: Public Domain Mark 1.0

Crop Circles in Modern Times

While the appearance of crop circles isn’t relegated to just modern times, it’s probably safe to say that we are currently in the ‘golden age’ of crop circles.

Whether alien or man-made, they’ve become more complex and more beautiful over time.

Are crop circles an attempt at alien communication? Research shows that many crop circles are man-made, but is this a secret art form that can be traced back to the 12th century?

You only need one that isn’t made by humans to have a real mystery on your hands.

8 thoughts on “Crop Circles: Not A Modern Phenomena”

    1. Yeah they go back a long way. Of course, people have played tricks on each other for thousands of years so it doesn’t necessarily prove they aren’t man-made. Interesting nonetheless.

    1. True – and I’m pretty sure that a lot of the older stuff is incorrect identification and even some etymological changes in language over the years that have resulted in misinterpretation. Still, it’s an interesting fact that these are not new.

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