by Pat Delgado and Colin Andrews
Bloomsbury, United Kingdom; hardcover.

The resourcefulness of Mother Nature appears to be boundless. If an objective can be accomplished in two or more ways it is almost axiomatic that they will all be used in appropriate circumstances. Eyes are a good example. For most creatures, this most valuable complex of sense organs appears to have been reinvented several times during the course of evolution, and includes compound eyes and independent eyes on opposite sides of the head in some birds, fishes, and insects.

It was with such thoughts in mind that I approached the problem of crop circles. These are areas of flattened corn or other crops that appear mysteriously overnight from time to time in various places in the world. The circles can be up to 30 meters (about 33 yards) in diameter. Inside the circle the corn is flattened to the ground in a regular pattern, while beyond the circle the standing crop remains undisturbed. Most of these depressions are precisely circular, but a few elliptical ones have been noted. Multiple circles and rings circumscribing a circle have also occurred, along with straight lines and other more complex forms.

Although these phenomena appear most plentiful in the western counties of England, similar events have occurred in many countries in the last few decades. Nobody has reported seeing a circle as it is being formed, because this appears always to happen in hours of complete darkness. The assumption that these were hoax circles would require use of heavy equipment, yet no tracks have ever been found leading to the circles. It is impossible to walk through a field of standing corn with out leaving a track.

Quite recently two seemingly incompatible theories as to the origins of these crop circles have been propounded. One is that they are due entirely to natural causes, namely whirlwinds. The second is that non-human intelligence must be involved. It occurred to me that these need not be mutually exclusive: non-human intelligences might be manipulating whirlwinds or other natural forces to achieve these ends. During a discussion at a Theosophical conference at Tekels Park, Camberley, Surrey, I suggested half-jokingly that the non-human intelligences might in fact be nature spirits.

It was at this point that I came across an excellent book on the topic, Circular Evidence by Pat Delgado and Colin Andrews. It represents the work of a group of engineers and trained observers who have painstakingly investigated hundreds of these crop circles and other formations. It is highly commended to anyone seriously interested in these phenomena.

The book presents numerous "explanations" that have been put forward to explain the crop circles, and ultimately discounts all of these as implausible, concluding that unknown forces must be causing the circles.

Since the book was published, an international conference at Oxford in June 1990 sought to present whirlwinds as the definitive explanation. A whirlwind is essentially a column of rotating and rapidly rising air. This causes air to be sucked in from all directions. The damage done by whirlwinds is caused partly by objects being lifted by the rising current and partly by sideways pressure from the air rushing in. It should be obvious that such air movements are quite incapable of producing crop circles. It could almost be said that the air is moving the wrong way, because the crop within the circle is flattened and not pulled upwards. Moreover, whirlwinds are extremely noisy, and usually move across the ground at a considerable speed and are rarely stationary, so that a swath rather than a precise circle could be expected.

However, the most telling objection to whirlwinds as an explanation is the circles themselves, which invariably show sharp demarcations between the circle of flattened crops and the surrounding standing crop. This would be quite impossible to achieve with a violent column of air moving either upwards or downwards.

Attempts to duplicate the flattening effect by researchers were unsuccessful. No known natural forces could account for the characteristics of the circles. There are many reasons for concluding that these circles are not made by brute force, but by some far more subtle means. In the true circles, no real damage is done to the crop. Each stem appear s to be bent sharply at right angles close to the ground, but normal growth continues with the stem remaining in the horizontal posture.

The circles in rape crops are particularly puzzling. Rape stems are hard and brittle, particularly close to the lower end, and it is quite impossible to bend them sharply without breaking them. Yet in such circles all the stems are in fact bent without damage.

The book presents considerable detail about the numerous complexities of these crop circles, including copious illustration by diagrams and photographs.

I follow Delgado and Andrews in attributing the circles to the work of unseen intelligences. They must use natural forces to perform the actual operations, but these appear to be forces not yet recognized by science. If we examine these phenomena without prejudice we are obliged to concede the existence of superior unseen intelligences and hitherto unknown forces in nature. Moreover, these are not evanescent phenomena such as materializations at séances seen by only a few people. They are massive demonstrations persisting for many weeks, and available for inspection and photographing by many people.

For the moment it seems we are being provided with irrefutable evidence and are being left alone to ponder upon its meaning. Further enlightenment seems probable in the years to come.


Spring 1991