As gi­ant discs carved among crops, the ori­gins of these elab­o­rate de­signs have been de­bated for decades. Some claim that aliens are us­ing fields as notepads in an at­tempt to com­mu­ni­cate with us. Oth­ers be­lieve that they are made by hu­man time trav­ellers sent back to warn the present-day pop­u­la­tion. Oth­ers think it could be a strange nat­u­ral phe­nom­ena.

Large pro­por­tions of cir­cles oc­cur in south­ern Eng­land, and in re­cent years pat­terns have be­come larger and more de­tailed. Those who favour a more ex­trater­res­trial ex­pla­na­tion be­lieve they are cre­ated by space­ships or in­vis­i­ble en­ergy beams from space. Re­ports of crop stem nod­ules mor­ph­ing and elon­gat­ing have been the­o­rised to be the re­sult of ex­po­sure to an un­ex­plained source of mi­crowave ra­di­a­tion. But, while there is phys­i­cal ev­i­dence of crop cir­cles, their pres­ence has a sci­en­tific ex­pla­na­tion.

The pre­vail­ing the­ory, which is sup­ported by ev­i­dence, is that hu­mans carve the cir­cles. Com­monly named ‘the cir­cle mak­ers’, groups of artists have been ob­served dur­ing their sculpt­ing and even in­ter­viewed about their work. It ap­pears the trick is to leave no trace of en­ter­ing and ex­it­ing the fields, which they do by work­ing un­der the cover of night. Artists have been known to use a length of rope and wooden boards to flat­ten the crops and form cre­ative shapes. Though aliens aren’t re­spon­si­ble for the cir­cles, some of these im­pres­sive de­signs are out of this world.

Crop cir­cles come in all shapes and sizes, from sim­ple cir­cles to com­plex de­signs

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