references to crop circles
historical references have been found regarding descriptions that
seem to fit the characteristics of modern crop circles, although
they were not called as such at the time. There is of course,
much debate over many of these references, but this page is intended
to be an archive for the primary source documents of these growing
number of historical references so that all researchers can examine
these references and judge for themselves the merits of whether
these descriptions and drawings can truly be classified as 'crop
circles'. If any reader knows of additional historical references
to crop circles that cannot be found here, please contact us so
we can add it to this list.
Devil, or Strange News out of Hertford-Shire. Woodcut
pamphlet. August 22, 1678.
the woodcut depicts the "mowing devil" cutting the
plants with a scythe, the text of the woodcut describes plants
that have not been cut, but instead flattened ("...the
said Oats ly now in the Field, and the Owner has not Power
to Fetch them away."):
a True Relation of a Farmer, who Bargaining with a Poor Mower,
about the Cutting down Three Half Acres of Oats: upon the
Mower's asking too much, the Farmer swore That the Devil should
Mow it rather than He. And so it fell out, that very Night,
the Crop of Oat shew'd as if it had been all of a flame: but
next Morning appear'd so neatly mow'd by the Devil or some
Infernal Spirit, that no Mortal Man was able to do the like.
Also, How the said Oats ly now in the Field, and the Owner
has not Power to fetch them away. Liscensed, August 22nd,
most thorough research on the "Mowing Devil" possible
crop circle was done by researcher Andy Thomas and was publsihed
on his website Swirled
News, in his article "The
Mowing Devil Investigated", Dec. 22, 2005.
Natural History of Stafford-Shire. Robert
Plot, LLD, Keeper of the Ashmolean Museum and Professor of Chemistry
in the University of Oxford.
first known ‘crop circle investigator’ was Robert
Plot, Professor of Chemistry at Oxford University in late
1600’s. In 1680, Plot visited farms in southern England
to examine this phenomenon first-hand.
Plot, in his words, ‘excavated’ over 50 crop circle
sites, and noted farmers’ stories about other crop circle
reports. Plot noted simple circles, circles with squares,
circle rings, and spirals. Plot noted that animals tended
to stay away from crop ‘figures.’ Plot did his
own historical research, uncovering additional historical
reports. Plot published his first work mentioning crop circles
in 1686 in the book The Natural History of Stafford-Shire.
Plot hypothesized that crop circles were formed by hollow
thunderbolts - - or else it was elves, dancing witches, deer,
or mosses. Plot did the first ‘crop circle’ soil
sample testing -- he compared dirt from the center of circles
with dirt from the inside edge of the circles, and with dirt
from outside the circles; where he noted soil dehydration
in the circles, and occasionally finding white, sulfurous
residues. Plot noted that crop yields, in the areas within
the crop circle boundaries in successive years, increased
by up to 30%. Many of these same findings are still being
found in crop circle formations today.
Gentleman's Magazine, "Hints Towards A Natural History
of Fairy Rings"
series of letters by several authors are published under “Hints
Towards Natural History of Fairy Rings.” Many descriptions
of crop circles and geometric formations are given, and even
a few diagrams of crop circle sites are published.
to the invention of photography, this series of articles seems
to generate some confusion between what 'fairy rings-type'
crop circles are (flattened circles of grass or grain) and
‘fairy rings-type’ fungus rings are. Various authors
don't seem to be able to make the distinction between the
two type, although each are described. One letter references
a purported paper published by the Royal Society on fairy
ring (crop circle) origins which laid out the hypothesis that
some particular effect of lightning causes the flattening
of the plants.
Hope of Isreal; Presumptive Evidence that the Aborginies of
the Western Hemisphere are Descended from the Ten Missing Tribes
of Isreal. pp. 121-122. Barbara Ann Simon.
letter, dated March 24, 1823, a Missionary gives an account
of some Osage Indians who were located at Fort Smith, Missouri,
just before the signing of a peace treaty with the Cherokee
priest from the “Atmosphere” clan was selected
to celebrate their peace medicine, and the Missionary accompanied
the priest as an observer. The text reads: “The priest
ordered his senior attendant to form a circle of grass about
four feet in diameter, and to place a large tuft in the center.
By this he made a long prayer: then stepping on the circle,
and followed by his attendant, they passed on. The chief informed
[the missionary] that this circle of grass was a representation
of GOD. He adds ‘it is their universal practice to salute
the dawn of every morning with their devotion’.”
remarkable passage is describing almost a universal practice
among many Native American Indian tribes. In light of the
"Magic Circle in the Prarie" mythology which is
also widespead among many tribes across the USA and Canada
(see below), it appears that these tribes may have been replicating
crop circles that they had been seeing in the prairie grasslands
for perhaps hundreds of years.
Plow, The Loom, and the Anvil, Part 1 Vol. 5, "Notes of
a Western Tourist". pp.155-156. Rev.
Robert Sewell, Madison, New Jersey.
Robert Sewell left for a tour of the 'western states' (now
the upper Midwest states) on June 29, 1852. He traveled across
New York, Canada, Michigan, and crossed Lake Michigan to land
in Wisconsin. After staying in Fulton, WI a short time, he
began his return trip on July 9, 1852, heading towards Janesville,
WI when Sewell wrote this passage:
driver pointed out to us several circular burnt places in
the grass which had been caused by lightning, and several
telegraph posts close by had been shivered by the same means.
We passed several Indian mounds, remnants of a race now extinct,
whose history is unwritten, and must forever remain in oblivion."
volume 22. pp 290-291, 29 July 1880. J. Rand Capron.
J. Rand Capron's letter to Nature includes this text:
"The storms about this part of Surrey have been lately
local and violent, and the effects produced in some instances
curious. Visiting a neighbour's farm on Wednesday evening
(21st), we found a field of standing wheat considerably knocked
about, not as an entirety, but in patches forming, as viewed
from a distance, circular spots.
more closely, these all presented much the same character,
viz., a few standing stalks as a centre, some prostrate stalks
with their heads arranged pretty evenly in a direction forming
a circle round the centre, and outside these a circular wall
of stalks which had not suffered.
a sketch made on the spot, giving an idea of the most perfect
of these patches. The soil is a sandy loam upon the greensand,
and the crop is vigorous, with strong stems, and I could not
trace locally any circumstances accounting for the peculiar
forms of the patches in the field, nor indicating whether
it was wind or rain, or both combined, which had caused them,
beyond the general evidence everywhere of heavy rainfall.
They were to me suggestive of some cyclonic wind action, and
may perhaps have been noticed elsewhere by some of your readers."
Sherrard Family of Steubenville. pp.53-54. Robert
Andrew Sherrard, Thomas Johnson Sherrard.
the summer of 1805, Robert Andrew Sherrard recounts a tale
about a rattlesnake incident while harvesting a wheat field
located three miles from Smithfield, Jefferson County, Ohio,
but in the process gives an account of flattened, swirled
wheat, and perhaps the earliest reference to an RDF-type crop
wheat in this field was blue stem, the first of the sort I
had seen, and as the ground was newly cleared, this new crop
lay twisted and swirled in all directions which made it hard
Magic Circle in the Prairie
L. Schoolcraft, while doing Indian ethnography work in the Midwestern
states of the USA, collected an oral tradition which seems to
contain a reference to a crop circle. This legend seems to originally
been of Algonquin origin, but other tribes also have a derivative
of the same story:
Shawnee: "Waupee", or the "White Hawk"
discovered the circle.
Algonquin: “Algon the Hunter” who chooses a white
hawk feather, discovered the circle.
Chippewa: “White Hawk” discovered the circle.
this appears to be a widespread mythology, this would indicate
a much earlier origin of the incident, perhaps dating back several
Algic Researches, Comprising Inquiries Respecting the Mental
Characteristics of the North American Indians. First Series:
Indian Tales and Legends in Two Volumes. Vol. 1. "The
Celestial Sisters, A Shawnee Tale." pp.
67-73. Henry Schoolcraft.
Historical and Statistical Information respecting the History,
Condition and Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United States,
Magic Circle in the Prairie." Henry Schoolcraft.
The United States Magazine and Democratic Review (May 1851)
Magic Circle in the Prairie" pp.434-435.
The Myth of Hiawatha and other Oral Legends Mythologic and Allorgoric,
of the North American Indians, "The
Star Family." pp.117-118. Henry Schoolcraft.
Belden, The White Chief; or Twelve Years Among the Wild Indians
of the Plains. From the Diaries and Manuscripts of George P.
Magic Circle On The Prairie." pp. 501-507.
Genreal James S. Brisbin.
Indian Fairy Tales as Told to the Little Children of the Wigwam,"Daughters
of the Stars." pp.10-20 with illustration
of "the magic circle". Mary Hazelton Wade.
Thirty Indian Legends of Canada, "The Daughters of the
Star." Margaret Bemister.
of this reference by researcher Paul
Scott Anderson can be found at the Canadian
Crop Circle Research Network (CCCRN) website here.
circle research reports from W. C. Levengood are located here.
crop circle references can be found here.