Those Mysterious Crop Circles
No doubt you know about crop
circles...those weird, sometimes quite elaborate designs that
appear overnight in farmer's fields. According to reports, the
local dogs didn't bark and no strangers were seen in the area.
Also, there were no tracks leading to or from the spot where the
unearthly manifestations occurred.
As with similar tales of woo, the only
mystery is that so many puzzlements continue for so long after
the truth has been revealed. The Bermuda Triangle canard was
definitively put to rest back in 1975 with Lawrence Kusche's
book. Yet it came roaring back to life with Spielberg's "Close
Encounters" and it's still referenced as though it were fact.
And what CE3K did for Flight 19, Mel Gibson's film "Signs" did
for designs in the corn.
Contrary to popular belief, crop circles
don't go back hundreds of years. The first ones were reported
only a few decades ago. But it's possible that some people may
have mixed them up with Fairy Rings, which have indeed been
around for centuries. I recall seeing one myself when I lived in
the northeast. Looking out the window at the top of my highrise
one morning, I saw a perfect circle about eight feet in diameter
formed on the lawn of the adjoining park. I hasten to add, this
was merely a fungal growth and had nothing to do with wood
nymphs, mischievous elves or Irish leprechauns.
The original crop circles were the work
of two English gentlemen (Doug Bower & Dave Chorley) with time
on their hands and a well-developed sense of whimsy. One night,
after a few pints at the pub, they fastened a couple of ropes to
a couple of planks and made their way to the nearest farm. The
circles that were discovered the next day created such a fuss
that copycats soon took over and fields everywhere fell victim
to the fad.
The Pringle Potato Chip Company is now
officially part of the fantasy with their latest ad showing, you
guessed it, circles in a field. The only mystery here is that it
took them so long to finally climb aboard.
So now for the big question: Why do such
creations persist for so long after their Due Date? I can see
where a little mystery is fun. A riddle breaks up the day. A
conundrum takes you out of the ordinary. But once you see how
the Wizard works the wheels and levers, why continue down that
path. Every second person in Yakima seems to know the story
behind the Patterson-Gimlin "Bigfoot" film and yet not a week
goes by when I don't see a reference to the North American Yeti.
And do I even have to mention the Roswell UFO crash? Here you
have a whole town built on a myth of little green men.
And whenever I write such a column, I
get a similar response. A reader will say: "People sure are dumb
to believe all those things you mentioned but you're wrong about
XYZ because that's for real and it aint no myth."
So how about you share with the rest of
us? What's your favorite "for real aint no myth" mystery?