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No. 31: Jan-Feb 1984

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Mystery Spirals In Cereal Fields

Late summer 1981. Ross-on-Wye, Eng land.

"I live on a ridge 450 feet (135 metres) above sea level, about 100 feet (30 metres) above the adjacent land; it is quite steep in parts on the north side and stretches for about 1 miles (2.5 kilometres). One day, at about noon, I was inside my cottage when suddenly I heard a very loud roaring sound, not unlike an express train. I ran outside to see what it was, but saw nothing; the noise was something like the sound of a falling bomb. I thought no more of this until the following morning when taking my dog for a walk. Then I saw two large circles, about 25 feet (7.6 metres) in diameter, of flattened barley in a nearby field. A neighbor who lives on the north side of the ridge had also heard the roaring noise but could find no cause for it. I wondered if we had heard some part of an aircraft or satellite, or even a small meteor, coming down and, with the local farmer, we investigated the circles, but found no debris at all -- just flattened barley. The farmer said that sometimes growing conditions made barley collapse at its base, though he could not understand the almost perfect circle."

Further investigation turned up people who had seen a whirlwind in the area at the time.

(Anonymous; "Mystery Spirals in Cerealfields," Journal of Meteorology, U.K., 8:216, 1983.)

Comment. UFO enthusiasts usually attribute such circles of flattened crops to flying saucers, but apparently whirlwinds are adequate explanations. However, the noise and action of the reputed whirlwind force us to categorize it with the explosive onset of other whirlwinds, as described in GWW1 of Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Pre cipitation. For more information on this Catalog, visit: here.

From Science Frontiers #31, JAN-FEB 1984. 1984-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987