What are crop circles, how are they made and where have they been spotted in the UK in 2017?

MYSTERIOUS crop circles appeared in rural Essex on the eve of the solar eclipse.

The otherworldly etchings have sent UFO hunters in a frenzy but what are crop circles? We reveal all…

What are crop circles?

Crop circles are geometric patterns that mysteriously appear in crop fields.

The shapes are not actually cut into the fields but often laid flat before being swirled into a pattern.

Most patterns appear in cereal crops such as wheat and barley, but circles have been known to occur in oilseed rape, maize, linseed and grass.

They only occur during the crop growing season — usually between April and August in the UK — and they mostly pop up in Wiltshire.

How are they made?

There are a range of theories about where crop circles come from — including some who believe extraterristrials are behind the designs.

They have been widely considered one of the world’s biggest paranormal hoaxes since 1991, when Doug Bower and David Chorley were filmed showing how they made many of the corn field patterns found across the UK.

The pair said they used wooden planks and rope to flatten corn in a circular fashion, and explained they started the prank in the 1970s to tease locals who believed in UFOs.

In the 1990s more circle makers tried to out do each other with the most complicated designs.

But believers refuse to believe all the circles are hoaxes due the highly geometric patterns — and say something paranormal may be behind them.

Other theories include animal activity, a shift in the earth’s magnetic fields and the weather.
Where have they been spotted in the UK in 2017
Most crop circles appear in Wiltshire but Stonehenge and Avebury have played host to many crop circles over the years.

On August 19, aerial footage emerged of massive crop circles in Rochford, Essex.

The patterns have led some to believe the “eclipse like” formation appearing days before the total solar eclipse above the United States was no coincidence.

On Easter Sunday, a «Brexit-themed» 100ft crop circle appeared in at Cherhill near Calne, Wilts,. Some believed the markings — a small circle linked to a larger circle by a small path — could represent Britain leaving the much larger EU.

In July, Wiltshire Police said there had been an increase in the number of the patterns appearing in fields in the county.
A spokesman said creating a crop circle was criminal damage and an offence. Damage caused means a loss in revenue to the farmer and landowner.

What famous crop circles are there?

There are a number of famous crop circles that have appeared over the years:

  • Milk Hill in Wiltshire — A massive 238m crop circle appeared in 2001 in the remote Wiltshire countryside. The elaborate design was composed of 409 circles that form a pattern called a double, or six-sided, triskelion
  • Stonehenge in Wiltshire — In July 1996, a complex pattern called a Julia Set appeared across the road from the world-famous monument. It was claimed that the circle appeared in less than an hour and during the daytime — but hoaxers later took responsibility
  • Salisbury, Wiltshire — In 1990, a photo of a unique crop circle pattern was used on the cover of Led Zeppelin’s Remasters compilation album

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