Saturday, September 7, 2013


Crop circle, Hackpen Hill, Wiltshire County.  (MJ Purinton photo)
Washington Island, Wisconsin -

The title of this blog, I admit, resembles tabloid journalism.  Confession #1.

We took a trip to England that included, among many other extremely interesting and varied sights, the stones carefully moved and placed by ancient people in the landscape, most notably Stonehenge, but also Avebury and Kennet-Longbarrow.  These people were magnificent stone stackers, something we marveled at when we saw them in person, and have often thought back on since.

Stone stacking on local beaches was a topic, on a much more modest scale, that I recently wrote about here in a somewhat derogatory, chastising tone.  Confession #2.

Mary Jo and I signed up in January for a tour expressly for the purpose of seeing and experiencing crop circles.  When I boarded the plane to England, I believed I would have an open and objective mind toward the circles and their purpose.   I returned uncertain as to who or what created the many intricate, fantastic designs in the croplands of Wiltshire County, but I was also changed by the experience.  I concluded, after being in and around perhaps a dozen crop circles, several of freshly laid overnight in the wheat fields, that there is more to the story than a "couple of guys late at night on skis with a GPS."

I was one of seven (the others were women!) led by Barbara Lamb of California, who has been visiting crop circles in England for 23 years.  She leads groups, mostly Americans, to see these phenomena.  With internet and smart phone connections, photos of both older and recent crop circles are uploaded and posted on sites where anyone can view them.  Often, they will be further analyzed and geometrically diagrammed.   (Go to to see the many, varied patterns that appear in the fields of barley, wheat, and occasionally, other crops.)  By checking in every so often, we were kept current and the site also helped us to locate older crop circles.   By recent, I mean "last night's production," crop circles only hours old.  Nearly all of them were within a 20-mile radius of where we stayed, our B & B at Court Hill Farm, a very pleasant stay with the owners and their dogs in Potterne, near the larger town of Devizes.

It is possible for men with skill and practice, having first a great basic geometric design, to create such patterns in a night's work?  A few men have proven this to be true.   But the ongoing reality of crop circles popping up over an approximately 25-year period of time (that is about the length of time of the currently recorded phenomena), sometimes two circles in the same night miles apart, in complex patterns of laid wheat or other grains, in the dark... well, it gives me pause at least.  And given man's tendency to tire of their successes over time, even when such efforts are well-publicized, leads me to agree with others that there could be more heavenly energies behind the creation of many of the crop circles.

Exactly who or what those origins might be, I am at a loss to say.  As a traditional Christian believer, if our creator could bring signs and miracles to people throughout history, if then why not now?  If we as believing humans can marvel at the similarity of the Virgin Mary in a piece of burned toast, then why not crop circles?  In fact, in precision, execution and geometrical cleverness, there is no comparison between burned toast and crop circles.

What, then, are crop circle designs telling us?  There again, I confess to having no clue other than there seems to be energy within those patterns deemed "genuine" (not made by the obvious clumsy feet of man) and the energy within them can be felt even by a rather dull point of earthly contact such as me!

For those who know of dowsing rods, there is a definite reaction for dowsers within vs. without a fresh and "genuine" crop circle.  Rather a dramatic difference, in fact, as the hand-held dowsing sticks open wide upon entering the circle and close up when exiting.  I must add that, in crop circles quite definitely man-made (i.e., highly imperfect) the rods do nothing, and even in the center of such crop circles where energy seems to concentrate, the rods are unmoving.

I fell asleep several times while laying down upon freshly-patterned wheat crop.  It was a pleasing, satisfying experience that could maybe partly be attributed to jet lag.  Others who entered the circles celebrated the energy in other ways more personal to them.  I respected and admired those who seemed to be more receptive to the energies than myself, but I was also contented with the beauty of the rolling landscape, the smells of earth and damp wheat, the sounds of the wind in the crop, and occasionally harvesters working in adjacent fields.  The hours spent in crop circles were most satisfying, peaceful and renewing in a way I can relate to the most meaningful minutes I've spent in church.  That would be confession #3!

I acknowledge other interpretations that have been made, some that seem too far away from our workaday world for me to grasp, especially hard to accept when concentrating on that paycheck or concerned if our government is making the right decision on this or that.   (And in this same Salisbury Plain, by the way, the British army regularly conducts exercises with tanks and weaponry.  We saw three Sikorsky helicopters fly over the nearby hillside late one afternoon.  At several locations along the road to Stonehenge there were "Caution, tank crossing" signs.)

My appreciation for each of the people I was with grew during the week as we gained trust and support for one another.  I had the opportunity to "navigate" several days, seated to the left hand of our driver, Barbara, as we rode in our rental van over hill and dale, through deeply rutted sod lanes and on narrow asphalt roads.

Mary Jo took advantage of an opportunity one day to fly over crop circles, something several pilots specialize in during the summers as a means of earning additional income.  These pilots track where the circles are, and were (the ghosts, or remains of old circles, often appear through new crops).  For uneasy passengers the pilots completely put them quickly in their trust, enabling them to bank low over crop formations and other local landmarks such as the hillside horses scribed into the white chalk.  The flight was a highlight for Mary Jo and others in our group.  I remained on the ground during this time, happily reading and cheering the planes onward, beyond the nearby hills.

My occasional role as front seat navigator in the rental van - perhaps earned when helping change a flat one afternoon - also prepared me for our second week in England when we rented a car for four days.   Those experiences - which were wonderful - lacked the inter-connectedness of our first week.  We had decided back in January:  while we're there, why not see more?  And so, we did.

Next: Crop Circles - a few theories explored.

 - Dick Purinton

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