No. 67: Jan-Feb 1990
UFO enthusiasts have had a field-day speculating that nighttime landings of alien craft have created the famous crop circles. Now, a good daytime description of actual crop-circle formation is at hand. Even so, the whole business still sounds pretty mysterious. The source is a letter to G.T. Meaden, Editor of the Journal of Meteorology, U.K., from R.A. Barnes.
"I have been meaning to write to you for some time on the subject of corn circles. About six or seven years ago I was fortunate to see one of these form in a field at Westbury. It happened on a Saturday in early July just before six in the evening after a thunderstorm earlier that afternoon; in fact it was still raining slightly.
"My attention was first drawn to a 'wave' coming through the heads of the cereal crop in a straight line at steady speed; I have since worked this out to be about fifty miles per hour.
"The agency, though invisible, behaved like a solid object throughout and did not show any fluid tendencies, i.e. no variation in speed, line or strength. There was no visual aberration either in front, above or below the advancing line.
"After crossing the field on a shallow arc the 'line' dropped to a position about 1 o'clock and radially described a circle 75 ft radius in about 4 seconds. The agency then disappeared."
Meaden, a champion of the plasma-vortex theory, believes that the observation reported by Barnes is consistent with this theory. During a later interview, Barnes stated that a hissing noise accompanied the phenomenon. This, thinks Meaden, could be due to electrical discharges within the plasma cloud.
(Meaden, G.T.; "Circle Formation in a Wiltshire Cereal-Crop -- an Eye-Witness Account and Analysis of a Circles-Effect Event at Westbury," Journal of Meteor ology, U.K., 14:265, 1989.)
Comment. Still at issue are the formation of a large, swirling mass of ionized air, its mysterious motion, the precision of the circles, and the diverse, almost too-neat geometrical patterns.