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The Wiltshire Crop Circle Study Group was started in 1995 to study the phenomenon of crop circles and inform the public about what is happening in the fields of Wiltshire. This year we have recorded more than 60 formations most of them in close proximity to ancient monuments such as Avebury, West Kennett Longbarrow, Silbury Hill, the White Horses and in the Vale of Pewsey. For those new to the subject the study of crop circles started in 1980, although unusual impressions in crops and other vegetation have been noted throughout history. Much data has been accumulated since then. The number of recorded designs since the 80s exceeds 6,000 and seldom have there been any repeats, only expansions on themes already established or new designs altogether. They are found worldwide mostly in cereal crops, including maize, but also in any ground covers that can take an impression such as fields of vegetables, rice paddies, grassland, woodland (where trees are bent), sand, earth, ice and snow. Wiltshire in England is still the most active area for crop circles.

Over the years samples of thousands of plants and earth have been analysed in laboratories. The results show that the formation of crop circles generates an intense heat that makes the cells of the plants swell up and bend, and that transforms the composition of the soil. Based on these observations, scientists have concluded that crop circles appear within seconds, otherwise the fields would catch fire, especially at the end of the summer when the crops have turned to straw. Notwithstanding this, in great part due to negative media campaigns, many people still think that crop circles are made by people, but this assumption is supported neither by facts nor common sense. The documenting of this subject alone demands huge efforts, but it is nothing compared to what would be required to construct in the dark, often in bad weather, large numbers of huge, complex geometric shapes perfectly adjusted to the topography of the terrain, year after year, in a small, intensively watched area without anyone ever being detected.

In spite of twenty years of disinformation the phenomenon has persisted and the complexity of the designs has carried on evolving. In effect, we are at the receiving end of a transmission started in 1980 that is gradually intensifying. The patterns are meaningful and they can be deciphered through their geometry, mathematics and reference to ancient symbols and the resultant information is important for mankind at present.

The season started earlier than usual this year on 14 April in oilseed rape and swiftly progressed in barley. There is not enough room to explain every design, but we hope the small commentaries on the main pages will give our readers an idea of the intensity of this phenomenon.

2009 was a wonderful year. More formations were officially open to the public than ever before, with many farmers requesting donations and welcoming visitors to the designs and this system was most appreciated by those wanting to explore the circles for themselves.

Formations of special interest from 2009

In addition we have selected a few formations below that stood out due to the unusual circumstances that surrounded them.

Waylands Smithy – 29 May 2009: ‘The Jellyfish’

At approximately 600ft long this formation made the national press with several newspapers showing a renewed interest in Crop Circles. Most of the journalists, uninformed on the subject, claimed that this pattern showed a revival of crop circles after “many quiet years” – the odd 60 – 80 designs that appear in the UK every summer having completely passed them by! In barley, it was one of the most impressive designs to arrive in the early part of the season.


Allington – 11 July 2009

Another one that made the news. The pretty butterfly design within an 18-point star was reported on 11 July, but before any researchers could photograph it, the land-owner had mowed a ring inside – cutting the points off the butterfly wings. The local newspaper reported that visitors from Norway heard shots fired by a masked man reportedly hired to keep people off the land. This story in itself was shocking enough, but what the local press didn’t report was that while the armed man was ‘on guard’ the tips of the butterfly’s wings were re-shaped and small circles added around the star as can be seen in the picture above.

Morgan’s Hill –2 August 2009

After the initial report came in about the appearance of this unusual square formation, it was followed by further rumours that the landowner was not happy for visitors to enter it. The design was lying directly below the Wansdyke, one of the largest man-made bank and ditch earthworks in the UK, and was laid within an old square farming enclosure, a square within a square. It was a beautiful pattern but as can be seen from the photograph below, the farmer didn’t warm to the idea of visitors!

The Rollright Stones – 3 August 2009

Based here in Wiltshire, although always amazed at the appearance of crop circles, we are not surprised when they come in close vicinity to some of our most sacred ancient sites; the stone circles of Avebury for example being within walking distance of seven formations this year. The design above however on the Oxforshire/Warwickshire border, is adjacent to another ancient monument, The Rollright Stones. Like other stone circles, it is said to have been placed where a number of ley lines cross and legend has it that it is impossible to count the stones accurately.

Martinsell near Oare 19th July 2009

Unusually this formation seemed to have missed its mark. It was described by some as incomplete, but was this the case? The wheat field in which the formation appeared bordered a pasture of wild plants where the design did not continue (as we have seen on occasion in the past). The design seemed to have slipped under the dull field into the golden light of wheat. The fractal resembles a galaxy or a series of galaxies but one arm is incomplete; another one even less so perhaps indicating that creation is a continuous process.

West Overton – 8th August 2009

On the weekend of 8th & 9th August during our 14th Summer Crop Circle Conference in Marlborough, reports drifted in of a new formation close by. Many conferees made plans to go and visit it, but they would have to be quick. The landowner mowed two lines through it before it was fully harvested two weeks later. Fortunately some overhead pictures had been taken and it turned out to be not as simple as first thought. Each of the three central circles had a different pattern of lay. From left to right in the picture above, the first circle resembles a flower with wavy lines of wheat creating the petal shapes. The middle circle shows a basket weave and the final one on the right has the crop laid in opposite directions in concentric circles creating contrast between the rings.


Click on below images for larger versions.

Roundway Hill, Oilseed Rape, 29 April, 234ft in diameter

This beautiful design, the fifth of ten patterns in oilseed rape, an unheard number in such an unwieldy medium, was found on 29 April at Roundway. Some people saw it as a representation of the sun but it also resembled a chrysanthemum, a symbol similar in meaning to the lotus which relates to our possibility of accessing higher levels of understanding. Perhaps this is trying to remind us that the evolution of life on this planet is in great part subject to the activities of our sun.

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Clatford near Manton, Oilseed Rape, 4 May, 685ft in length

The largest design ever found in rape in this country, it was just under 700ft long and was located on the side of a hill at Clatford, near Manton not too far from Marlborough. Based on four, it consisted of a series of five celtic crosses including the larger one in the centre, all forming quintuplets. The upward semi-circle at the top is reminiscent of an ancient symbol of the Goddess with her arms upright, not dissimilar to the goddess formation found last year at Honeystreet.

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Yatesbury, Barley, 3 June, 300ft x 205ft

This formation in barley, clearly resembling a dragonfly had astonishing details. Its delicate wings were crisscrossed with little ‘veins’, some finger-wide, and the line of nine circles of decreasing sizes had some beautiful complex swirls. The dragonfly symbolises access to the subconscious and was used as such by the psychologist Carl Jung. Nine represents the completion of a cycle. The additional small circle at the end of the ‘tail’ resembled a comma, perhaps representing the embryo of the next cycle soon to begin.

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Tawsmead Copse near Alton Barnes, Wheat, 13 June, 339ft in diameter

This, the second design of the season in young wheat was found next to Tawsmead Copse on 13 June. The centre of the design had a sun symbol clasping a moon crescent. In most traditions the sun is a male symbol and the moon a female one. This sun design had 33 rays surrounding it. The time the sun takes to make a complete revolution at its poles is 11 months: 33 divided by 11 = 3 years, which takes us to 2012! The celestial bodies seemed to be protected by ‘wings’ made of menacing looking claws, showing perhaps that strong forces are protecting this divine union.

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Milk Hill, Alton Barnes (Phase 2), Wheat, 23 June, 1360ft in total after phase 3

This most startling of designs came in several parts. The first, on the solstice 21 June, was relatively simple and resembled an archer’s bow and arrow, or an astrolabe. Two days later it grew an appendage consisting of a series of rectangles representing the numbers 1-2-3-4-5, perhaps intimating at different dimensions, but the most amazing part appeared on 30 June when five streams of hieroglyphs were added to the main body (see picture inset below). People often ask why the intelligences don’t use writing to communicate. Now that we have a script, will we manage to decipher it?

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Martinsell, Wheat, 25 June, 395ft x 185ft

This long design made use of the dew pond in the field which, filled with water, reflected the sun like a mirror giving the impression of a sun disk from the air. Its body was made of nine circles, all decreasing in size, and nine smaller ones plus a tiny addition with a tail at the end, making 19 circles in total; a significant number in ancient cosmology. With its startling golden disk seemingly held between two ‘horns’, it seemed to portray an ancient pagan goddess.

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Stanton St. Bernard, Wheat, 2 July, 392ft x 330ft

The first hummingbird to arrive in crops, found below Tan Hill, an ancient hill-site dedicated to the goddess Ann (Tan is a derivative of St Anne, the Christianised name of the goddess). The wings are made with 3 lines, (3, number for the Divine), the tail has 5 ‘feathers’ (5, number for human beings), the body sits in an 8 shape, symbol of infinity and DNA. Resting on a circle (symbol of the universe), it is perhaps inviting us to reflect on Ancient Knowledge and on the potential latent in all of us.

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Silbury Hill, Wheat, 5 July, 330ft in diameter

One of the most amazing designs in this most extraordinary season, adding to the great Mayan symbols that have manifested over the years, one in the same field, it resembled what the Aztecs called the feathered serpent – Quetzalcoatl. The old Mayans predicted that their great god Quetzalcoatl would, after a long absence, come back in the new cycle due to begin in 2012. The skull with two eyes, a nose and teeth, can clearly be seen beneath the moon crescent and the twenty eight large feathers that contain Mayan numbers.

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Smeathes Plantation, Wheat, 24 July, 219ft in diameter

Another North American looking symbol found in our fields this year following the ‘Eagles’ formation at Stanton St Bernard of 2 June and the Barbury Castle Thunderbird design of 14 June. Located within the Ogbourne Downs, it could only be accessed on foot after a long walk and a perilous climb down a steep hill. This formation looked as if it was made of fish bones (some western tribes in Canada show skeletons in their Art). It was based on twelve and the style of the design seemed to refer to Mayan knowledge.

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Windmill Hill near Avebury, Wheat, 6 August, 320ft in diameter

This design was considered by many to refer to heavenly bodies. The outer ring had 12 circles, perhaps indicating the Twelve Houses of the Zodiac and/or the Precession of the Equinoxes that takes our planetary system approximately 26,000 years to complete and is due to finish in 2012. The next ring has 9 circles which seemed to refer to our solar system. There are 5 circles in the middle of the design, a number relating to humans. Number 3 is linked to Divinity and the triple dumbbells in the formation could perhaps indicate a divine plan in place that concerns us.

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Picked Hill near Alton Barnes, Wheat, 9 August, 325ft in diameter

This large formation between Woodborough Hill and Picked Hill was impossible to decipher on the ground due to its large size. From above, the design is unequivocally owl like, with two eyes and a beak surrounded by feathers. The owl symbol first made its appearance in the crops last year. It is one of the oldest symbols of the Goddess and in many traditions represented the ability to ‘see in the dark’, the Earth Mother and is also connected to mortuary rites. It’s been found on vases, sculptures and other votive objects going back to Paleolithic times and perhaps before.

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Tidcombe, Wheat, 16 August, 440ft in diameter

The large formation found at Tidcombe had eight points. In many traditions the eight pointed star represents the gateway between the physical and the spiritual. Each of the ‘petals’ are secured to the main circle in the middle by three dots. Three represents the divine. The dumbbells at the tip of the petals are based on two, the number for duality. Could this illustrate that, even from duality, it is possible to reach a higher understanding that would lead to a more spiritual plane?

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Text ©2009 Francine Blake and Clare Oatley
All photographs ©2009 Olivier Morel.