On August 2, Touchstone Pictures released Signs, starring Mel Gibson as a farmer who discovers mysterious crop circles. Directed by Sixth Sense auteur M. Night Shyamalan, the movie injects otherworldly creepiness into crushed crops. The truth behind the circles is, alas, almost certainly more mundane: skulking humans. Herewith is the account of one such trickster.
I made my first crop circle in 1991. My motive was to prove how easy they were to create, because I was convinced that all crop circles were man-made. It was the only explanation nobody seemed interested in testing. Late one August night, with one accomplice--my brother-in-law from Texas--I stepped into a field of nearly ripe wheat in northern England, anchored a rope into the ground with a spike and began walking in a circle with the rope held near the ground. It did not work very well: the rope rode up over the plants. But with a bit of help from our feet to hold down the rope, we soon had a respectable circle of flattened wheat.
This article was originally published with the title Crop Circle Confession.