Sunday, July 16, 2006
I’ve been reading a lot about crop circles lately.
I can’t say I’ve ever been that interested in them before. So you get circles in cereals. So what? I saw a circle in my porridge once, where the boiling liquid made a bubble and popped.
However, crop circles are much, much more mysterious than this. I have it on good authority.
My friend Steve, who I’ve written about before, and who now lives in Tenerife, used to be very interested in crop circles. That was many years ago. He used to collect all kinds of arcane information to do with alien abductions and all the rest, and had a massive on-going correspondence with a whole galaxy of strange individuals with a penchant for this kind of stuff.
As a consequence he heard many explanations for the cause of crop circles: that they are created using Tesla technology, as fractals, as codes for DNA, by using scalar waves, as messages from inter-dimensional and/or interstellar beings, as a secret conspiracy by the Illuminati, Reptilian aliens, or the New World Order (tick as appropriate) to divert the masses from the reality of the presence of aliens at the highest level of government. All of which sounds like the plot out of some ultra-paranoid science fiction fantasy to me, like the Illuminatus Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson.
I’m trying to remember whether the Illuminatus Trilogy had crop circles in it or not. I don’t think so. I don’t think crop circles had been invented when that book was first printed.
One of the most common beliefs is that crop circles represent secret messages being passed on to us by alien races, which seems a little odd. I mean, if alien races wanted to contact us, why on earth would they choose rape seed oil and wheat fields as their medium? Why not just go on the telly? They could take out an advert. “Hi, we’re the alien races.” It would be a lot easier than faffing about in fields late at night just to surprise some farmer or a flock of sheep in the morning.
I mentioned this to a friend of mine. “Why don‘t they go on the telly?” I said. “But they did,” she said. “They got David Icke to do it for them.”
(The difference between Robert Anton Wilson and David Icke, by the way, is that Robert Anton Wilson has a sense of humour.)
These days crop circles come in all shapes and sizes and - it has to be admitted - can be very beautiful. Lots of complex, intertwining geometrical designs, Celtic knots, stars, stars-within-stars, or infinitely complex mathematical or biological structures like the Mandelbrot set, the Julia set or the code for DNA. Very startling. Very peculiar. Very strange.
In the old days they were just circles. There’s nothing complex about a circle. Anyone can make a circle: with a rope and a plank of wood, or with a flying saucer. Either will do.
There seems to be three distinct schools of thought in the crop circle fraternity, each with its own subdivisions. Loosely these are the conspiracy theorists, the scientists, and the hoaxers, subdivided into the conspiracy theorists who believe in hoaxers and the ones who don’t, the scientists who believe in hoaxers and the ones who don’t and the hoaxers themselves, who don‘t believe in anybody.
At first it seems as much of a mystery why anyone would want to make a crop circle as a hoax, as it does why aliens would want to make one for any other reason. Then you check out the hoaxers and you find that they’ve become very famous through the process, and are now making crop-designs by commission for the international corporations. They’ve done themselves a great favour while muddying the waters a little. Now conspiracy theorists can say that hoaxers are part of the conspiracy, which satisfies just about everyone.
Scientists talk of electro-magnetic phenomena and plasma vortexes, while conspiracy theorists talk of aliens and space-time inter-dimensional vortexes. At least they’re both agreed on the vortexes.
Which gives me a good slogan for that advert the alien races should take out on the telly. “Hi, we’re the alien races, and we come to you in a vortex.”
Hoaxers talk of “cognitive dissonance” and “art” and are even more difficult to follow. Why can’t these people write in English, that’s what I want to know? So you’ve made some fake crop circles and you’ve got up everyone’s noses. Good on you. Now go home and pat yourself on the back, and stop waffling on about it. At least you made the Daily Mail.
The conspiracy theorists, by the way, don’t like to be called conspiracy theorists. They like to be called cerealogists.
There have been some very heated meetings between the cerealogists and the hoaxers. These two groups really don’t like each other. The hoaxers have proved - yes, proved - that some circles can be faked. But they’ve not proved anything other than that.
Meanwhile the latest scientific estimate is that maybe 80% of crop circles are hoaxes, which - startlingly - still leaves 20% that are not.
According to Dr. Eltjo H. Haselhoff, Ph.D., former employee of Los Alamos National Laboratories, crop circles are created by balls of light. Dr. Haselhoff has had his findings published in the scientific journal Physiologia Plantarum, so it must be true. Anyone called Dr. Eltjo H. Haselhoff is obviously a scientist. You can’t argue with a name like that.
So it’s yah-boo to the hoaxers and its yah-boo to the sceptics. As to what these balls of light might be up to, that’s another question. Some things are a mystery, and we‘ll leave it at that.