Reported Crop Circles for the State of Illinois -

Albion (Grayville),
Edwards County (October 12, 1996)

A randomly-downed crop formation in corn was reported in the local newspaper The Navigator as being “crop circles” in a caption with three photos:

news photo 1.jpg

AlbionNormalPhoto (7b).jpg

AlbionNormalPhoto (1b).jpg

Photos: Farm Air of Fairfield, The Navigator

The flattened areas were pointed out by John Hortin, the grandson of Robert Hortin who, along with John’s father Bruce Hortin, were all on their way to harvesting a soybean field and were passing by a cornfield farmed by Gary Bunting and Donnie Perkins.   This field was located west of Grayville and the Wabash River on the Edwards County-White County line.  The flattened areas of corn were about 150 yards by 50 yards wide, and were in a roughly horseshoe-shaped swirled area.  The cornstalks were laid over “like dominos”, many stalks with their roots upturned, and there were no signs of water erosion.  There appeared to be two parallel areas which started the flattening from a single point and f anne d outwards, along with additional ‘randomly’ flattened areas in the field.

Robert Hortin, was quoted as saying “I’ve never seen anything like that in my life and I’m 82 years old.”

A potential eyewitness, John Cox, was interviewed by The Navigator and reported that the night before the “crop circles” were found, he had been driving home when he was startled by some eerie lights.  So startled, that he stopped his truck to watch them as they streaked across the sky south of his home – right towards the field where the crop circles were later found.  “It dropped below the clouds and it looked like something falling.  Then it just stayed there.  I don’t know what it was.”

Over two weeks after the event, UFO and paranormal investigator Michael W. Christol of Owensboro, KY arrived at the Grayville site to take samples and to measure for residual radioactivity and magnetic fields - he found no elevated levels of either.

Two months after the event, Canadian UFO investigator Tom Theofanous and his wife Lise drove down from Toronto, Ontario to investigate the site and take samples for testing in a Canadian lab.  Theofanous was admittedly trying to find evidence of a man-made hoax by checking for signs of burned crop which he claims is a common mistake of amateur crop circle hoaxers who attempt to dupe people into believing a UFO was involved by burning the crop.  He also looked for signs of compression marks from the effect of using a board to press down the stalks.  Theofanous found neither any burn marks or signs of a heat source used, nor evidence of mechanical compression.  Despite the lack of finding any evidence, Theofanous stated: “I would say at this time that this was probably man-made.”  Theofanous threw suspicion upon the Hortins by saying “Realistically, if you are going to suspect someone of perpetrating a hoax the first suspect is the person who discovered it.”  When asked about a motive for creating a randomly-downed type of crop circle event, and what methods were used, Theofanous stated: “I’m not so sure.  I don’t believe someone made this with the idea of creating a UFO circle.”


(Click on the above image to enlarge.)


Swayze, IN Formation

Photo: landowner (name withheld)

Crop type: corn (maize)

Sources:  “A View From Above” The Navigator, Oct. 23, 1996, “Unknown Force Flattens Cornfield” The Navigator, Oct. 16, 1996 , “Shroud of Mystery Continues to Surround Crop Circles” The Navigator, Oct. 30, 1996, “Canadian Investigator to Visit Grayville Crop Circles” The Navigator, Nov. 20, 1996,  “Knows What Didn’t Happen on Crop Circles”/”UFO Investigation Continues” The Navigator,  Dec. 11, 1996, Personal investigation by Roger Sugden

Special Thanks to ICCRA’s Charlie Kiesel for tracking down all the original articles for this report.


City / County / Date:

Page last updated on August 23, 2011

2008 ICCRA - Jeffrey & Delsey Wilson.