Crop circles are not a modern phenomenon at all. They can be traced back hundreds of years and in many different references.
A STRANGE REPORT FROM 815 AD
There is a report from the year 815, of the Bishop of Lyon, a warning, notifying another priest who was going to take over his parish that the locals are involved in something he considers devil worship.
“They’re gathering seeds in a flattened circle of the crops and using them in fertility rituals.”
Obviously they were a regular phenomenon for this to be mentioned so casually in the official church records.
12 CENTURY: FAIRY RINGS
There is a rich history of crop circle legends where these formations are referred to as “fairy rings” or “fairy circles.”
This Wikipedia entry has a surprisingly large amount of links and supporting data regarding these historic accounts.
It was believed the circles were formed in the aftermath of fairies and other mythical beings dancing in circles.
In some cases it seems you have a ring of mushrooms or flowers that grow in a circle, but other legends seem consistent with what the Bishop of Lyons was referring to in 815 AD.
You can see from the Wikipedia entry that the “fairy ring” legend is vast in scope and extends through many different cultures, over at least several hundred years — to at least the 12th century.
PROFESSOR ROBERT PLOT DOCUMENTS CROP FORMATIONS IN 1600s
During this same time period, very clear, documented evidence of “crop circle” formations can be found in the records of ProfessorRobert Plot (December 13, 1640 — April 30, 1696).
Plot was an English naturalist, the first Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oxford, and the first keeper of the Ashmolean Museum.
Plot found various crop circle formations and had a rather fanciful theory of how they formed. He believed the wind was creating geometrically-perfect vortexes that then affected the crops on the ground.
He also found anomalies in the soil where these formations occurred.
The exact same observations would be recorded over 300 years later by Dr. Gil Levengood.
He is perhaps the most thorough modern researcher providing proof that some formations are definitely not manmade by any conventional means:
In these next two illustrations he tried to draw how he thought this was happening:
1678 The Mowing Devil of Hertfordshire
In August of 1678, pamphlet was released describing an unusual luminous phenomenon seen in a field. The next day circles were found cut into the crop.
LATE 1940s CROP CIRCLE EYEWITNESS
An eye-witness case from South Wales was brought to the attention of researchers in 1991 following a letter to the Sunday Mirror. This was on farmland at Cilycwm, 6 km from Llandovery, Dyfed.
Mr William Cyril Williams wrote: “With reference to the corn circles mystery I actually witnessed one being made.
I was standing in a cornfield one morning and saw a whirlwind touching the ground and forming a circle in the corn. It was just the strength of the wind in the whirlwind that formed the circle”.
The event happened in the late 1940’s when he worked on his father’s farm, Penfedw Farm at Cilycwm. He was then in his twenties.
The area is surrounded by hills on all sides, and circles had been seen there “frequently”.
On this occasion, a weekday in August, at about 10.30 to 11 in the morning [or circa 0930-10 GMT] Mr Williams had gone into the wheat field on harvesting day in advance of the cutting and binding machinery, and was crossing the middle of the field when he heard the buzzing noise of a whirlwind starting up only a few metres away.
He then saw a spinning mass of air with dust in it, and, as he watched, in a matter of “only a couple of seconds or so the wheat fell down producing a sharp-edged circle 3 to 4 metres in diameter”.
It looked just like the other crop circles he had seen before, except that this one was completely flat-bottomed — whereas some of the earlier ones had stalks standing at their centres like a conical pyramid.
The vortex then died out rapidly, but during its brief lifetime (under 4 or 5 seconds) it remained at the same place.
Have extraterrestrials been using crop circles to communicate with mankind throughout our history? Are these complex designs pieces of a mathematical puzzle that, once put together and deciphered, will reveal the truth about both our origins and our destiny? One thing is certain: they are not a modern phenom.