In early August 2005 we visited several formations which had appeared that season in the vicinity of Garsington, Oxfordshire. Garsington (and, to a lesser extent, neighbouring Toot Balden) has been a nexus of crop circle activity since the 1990s, and each season sees at least a handful of circles there. 2005 was the area’s busiest year with seven formations in all; one in rape (and a rape formation at Toot Balden), one in barley, one in grass, and four in wheat.
On visiting a wheat formation which was originally discovered on 15th July 2005, we were somewhat perturbed to find areas of very ripe – though very stunted – crop in the same field.
Though the stems were much shorter than the surrounding crop, in some cases being little more than a few inches in height, they nonetheless had intact and ripe seedheads.
We’re not suggesting that this had anything to do with the circle; it wasn’t on a tramline that was touched by the formation, and since it is highly unlikely that the crop could have shrunk, the root cause (pun unintended) must have been from when the crop was still very young, causing the stem to stop growing yet allowing the seedhead to develop fully.
Nonetheless, we’re still very intrigued, and if any of our readers of a more botanical bent can shed any light on what might have happened, please let us know.
The July 15th Garsington circle at ground level (above) and from the air (below). Ground shot by Darren Francis. Aerial shot by Andrew King.
Update May 2007 (reporting on events from May 2006):
2006 was a quieter year for Garsington, with only two circles, both towards the end of the season in wheat and both – we suspect – technically in Toot Balden.
We re-visited the area in May of that year, looking out for new circles, and were surprised to see a very prominent ‘ghost’ of the 2005 formation described above.
We weren’t expecting it to be there, spotted it from a distance (photo above, taken with zoom lens) and treked to the field anticipating discovery of a new circle. On the way we encountered a shotgun-carrying farmer, at which point we got out our OS map and pretended to be lost and looking for a footpath. It turned out that said farmer didn’t even own the land we were trespassing on and cheerfully pointed us in the right direction before fingering his beltful of ammo and heading in the opposite direction.
When we got to the field we were most put-out to discover that it wasn’t a new circle at all, just bald patches in a rape field (see photo below). Then we set about looking at what was actually on the ground in front of us. It wasn’t a circle, but it was certainly something interesting.
Clear circles, defining elements of the original formation, but a year on and in an entirely different crop.
Our personal suspicion is that it was nothing esoteric, and could perhaps be explained merely as the activities (or not) of a lazy farmer. Taking a close look at the ground, there were a great many cut but not picked-up wheat stems. Which suggested the field hadn’t been ploughed properly, and stems which had been flattened in the original circle or by trampling visitors still lay in their same positions from the previous Summer and that the rape had merely been planted on top or amongst them and not grown due to their obscuring the light.
This picture below shows cut wheat stems which were thick on the ground throughout this ‘ghost’. Said stems are also clearly visible in the picture above.
We don’t think there was a direct link between the anomalous crop we saw in this field in 2005, and the circle there, and the 2006 ‘ghost’. We see prosaic explanations for all these things but also see the synchronicity of ‘the other’.