Seeing is Believing: The Crop Circle Controversy

by Carol A Westbrook

Metal and silver UFO invasion on planet earth landscape 3D rendering

It’s summer’s end. The fields are golden with ripe grain, bringing thoughts of harvest festivals, hayrides, apple cider… and crop circles. Yes, I can’t drive past a field full of golden grain without keeping my eyes peeled for crop circles.

Scanning for crop circles is a habit I picked up 25 years ago during a trip to Wiltshire County, England. 1994 was the height of the alien frenzy. There were bestseller books, magazines, and TV shows about crop circles, flying saucers and alien abductions. A 1990 Gallup poll found that almost half of all Americans believed we had alien visitors. The highly popular “X-Files” weekly show had a large viewership who tuned in every Sunday evening to watch Special Agents Scully and Mulder investigate paranormal phenomenon, focusing on alien abductions; their slogan was “the truth is out there.” Sensational alien stories swept the nation in these pre-social media days, as people relied on news media and best-seller books for their information. And there were plenty of books and TV specials to stoke your imagination.

A 1994 best-seller,  Abduction: Human Encounters With Aliens, by Harvard psychiatrist John Mack, discussed interviews with people who claimed they were abducted by aliens. Oprah and other talk show hosts interviewed abductees. There were books about dead aliens from a flying saucer crash hidden by the government at the top-secret Area 51 in Nevada. The first book about crop circles was published in 1989. The book, Circular Evidence: a Detailed Investigation of the Flattened Swirled Crops Phenomenon was jointly written by Colin Andrews, an electrical engineer from England, and Pat Delgado, a former NASA engineer, concluded that these circles were not a man-made hoax, but remained an unexplained phenomenon. These authors inaugurated the new “science” of crop circles, or cereology. Other self-styled experts from around the world quickly came forward to examine the circles and advance their own theories. More books were written, and organization and institutes devoted to cereology sprang up like, well, crop circles. Read more »