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No. 77: Sep-Oct 1991

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The Gruyerizaton Of Switzerland

An impressive and equally inexplicable variety of the cookie-cutter holes has been reported in Switzerland. In these excavation phenomena, all the material removed from the holes has disappeared instead of being translated intact and set down gently nearby.

"The Swiss holes were first observed in 1972. They always occur at night and no one has ever seen them forming. They are circular, drilled deep into the earth, and are created by the total removal of vegetation and soil. A large fleet of lorries would be needed to move the quantities of earth involved, but there are no vehicle marks around the holes. The grass and plants around them exhibit none of the minor damage which would inevitable be caused by any normal process of drilling. The holes have all been excavated directly from above, at an angle of 90 degrees to the surface."

Six Swiss holes have been reported from the environs of Lake Geneva. The two largest are at Begnins (December 17, 1982; 18 feet across, 24.5 feet deep) and Confignon (February 3/4, 1990; 33 feet across, 40 feet deep). Obviously, we are not dealing with minor earth-moving operations here. (Anonymous; "The Gruyerization of Switzerland," The Cerealogist, no. 3, p. 26, Spring 1991. The Cerealogist is a British publication focussing on the crop-circle phenomenon.)

Comment. Could the "force" flattening the crop circles also gouge out cookiecutter holes and the Swiss cavernous pits? Additional information on the Swiss excavations and similar events is certainly required. Anomalists know from experience that for every strange phenomenon there exists a hoaxer anxious to reproduce it.

Reference. Cookie-cutter holes have been cataloged in ETB7 in our catalog on topographical anomalies: Carolina Bays, Mima Mounds. To order, visit: here.

From Science Frontiers #77, SEP-OCT 1991. 1991-2000 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