left biblioblography: Allegories Gone Wild - Of Wheat Fields, Wallabies, And Wackaloons From Lake Woebegone

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Allegories Gone Wild - Of Wheat Fields, Wallabies, And Wackaloons From Lake Woebegone


There were three men came out of the west, their fortunes for to try
And these three men made a solemn vow
John Barleycorn must die
They've ploughed, they've sown, they've harrowed him in
Threw clods upon his head
And these three men made a solemn vow
John Barleycorn was dead – John Barleycorn Must Die

Among UFOlogists, crop circles are considered to be actual evidence of alien visitation.

Mysterious phenomena reported from Great Britain beginning in 1980. Large, wide circles, sometimes more than 100 feet in diameter, have appeared overnight in fields of grain. The grain in the circle is not dead, but the plant stems are flattened and sometimes darker in color than the surrounding grain. The first report of the circles appeared in the Wiltshire Times on August 15, 1980. It told of several circles that had appeared in the oat fields of John Scull farm near the town of Bratton. A year later a set of circles was discovered in Hampshire, near Cheesefoot Head. Unlike the earlier set, which had been randomly placed, this second set of three circles was in a straight line.

So…the pattern became more intricate.

Most of the circles have been reported from the southern counties of Hampshire and Wiltshire, the same area already noted for its monolithic structures such as Stonehenge and Avebury. There are some occasional reports of similar phenomena in France, Canada, Australia, and the U.S. Between 1980 and 1987 approximately 120 circles appeared in the original area west of London. Then a dramatic increase occurred in 1988 with 112 reported. Over 300 were reported in 1989 and in 1990 over 1,000.

More patterns emerge. It seems that the media attention fanned the fires, so to speak.

Over the years, the original circles gave way to ever more complex patterns, called "pictograms," which included circles arranged in geometric patterns, rectangles, crescents, and dumbbell shapes. In the case of concentric rings, the grain is sometimes flattened uniformly, at other times in contrary directions.

Explanations of the phenomenon include giant hailstones, crazed hedgehogs, too much or too little fertilization, and UFOs. There was even a suggestion that the circles may have been formed by helicopters flying upside down, but the absence of widespread helicopter wrecks disproved any dangerous practice of this kind. It is well known that small rings in grass meadows and lawns are known to be caused by mushrooms, but there is no evidence that the giant crop circles result from any known fungi. One theory that is distinct from speculations of paranormal effects is that of physicist George T. Meaden. He proposes a theory of atmospheric vortices that are electrically charged.

And here’s a real kicker for ya:

In 1991 Doug Bower and David Chorley claimed to have personally produced more than 250 of the circles. With the assistance of the British tabloid Today, they created a circle and invited Pat Delgado, the author of a popular text on the phenomenon, to inspect it. Once he pronounced the new circle genuine, the hoax was revealed. Other hoaxers had also produced circles that were judged genuine. However, those who believe in the mystery of the circles have suggested that hoaxing would only account for a few of the more than 2,000 circles. No one has been caught making a crop circle and none appear to have been left half finished. Additionally, it seems difficult to create some of the more complex pictograms in the dark. To date, monitoring of the area has failed to catch the formation of a circle on film or instrumentation.

I just have to shake my head at those last three sentences. Firstly, none of these blokes are taking an advert out in the local column, are they? Second, why would any of them be half-finished? Thirdly, I can give this about 5 minutes of thought and answer the ‘more complex pictograms’ query.

You build a model, like someone designing a city. Wouldn’t need to be that complex, it’s a matter of scale. Once you figure out the pattern you want, you can use thread, spools, and rulers (and any other small measuring devices) to plot it out. In programming, it’s called pseudo-code – you put a skeleton together and flesh it out. Besides which, it’s easy to see that the fellows doing it (obviously it’s not just Bower and Chorley) have gotten better as more circles were drafted onto fields.

This is a basic skeptics model: you test to see if a human being can replicate the event. If this is so, you then assume a human did it. Because 10 out of 10 times, that’s exactly what happened. In this case, it’s more like 99.99%, because on a humorous note, there IS one other species who has been at the root of this phenomenon (huge hint here: it wasn’t ET, baby):

"The one interesting bit that I found recently in one of my briefs on the poppy industry was that we have a problem with wallabies entering poppy fields, getting as high as a kite and going around in circles," Giddings told those assembled. "Then they crash. We see crop circles in the poppy industry from wallabies that are high."

For a less humorous (and more bizarre extrapolation), check this site out. Just a taste, mind you:

According to the theory of Fosar and Bludorf these crop circles appear precisely as a result of hypercommunication through magnetized wormholes in the DNA, and this would explain the magnetized anomalies aspect of this phenomenon.

And I’m pretty sure that one’s not a Poe.

This the Apostate, shaking his head, signing off

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