Crop Circle Critique
by Robert Hulse

A great deal has been written, and many lectures given on the subject of crop circles. They have become a magical event whose very appearance transports enthusiasts into flights of fancy where the truth is often an unwelcome visitor. The crop circles have become temples of worship for some people. Religions seldom take kindly to probing questions. They require their members to have faith in the wisdom of their leaders. I strongly oppose the elevation of one person above another in the field of crop circle research. Egos should be held in check, for the crop circles belong to no one. The fundamental question facing us all is ; who or what creates crop circles ? I am convinced that if we carefully examine all the evidence, we can find the answer.

It is universally accepted that crop circles are not a new phenomenon. They have been reported for over three hundred years. The “Mowing Devil” formation of August 22nd 1678 is an early example. Folklore tells us that these circular flattened areas of grass or crops were places to avoid as people obviously perceived some danger there. The circles were thought to be frequented by odd looking little people who had a liking for abducting curious visitors to strange and unfamiliar places. The abductee would often awake in the circle, alone and confused. It was sometimes found that much time had passed in the intervening period and the abductee had little or no memory of what had transpired. It does not take much imagination to see the parallels with the modern alien abduction phenomenon for which there is ample evidence if people take the trouble to study it properly.

The so called “saucer nest” found in lakeside reeds on the 19th of January 1966 at Tulley in Queensland, Australia, probably marks the beginnings of interest in the modern crop circle phenomenon. There can be no doubt that the evenly swirled lay of the reeds in the Tulley saucer nest exactly matches the lay of crops and grasses in other circles found in over fifty different countries worldwide. George Pedley discovered the 30 foot diameter swirl of reeds in Horseshoe Lagoon on the property owned by Albert Pennisi.

George’s attention was drawn to the area by a hissing sound and arrived in time to see a spinning 30 foot disc shaped craft rise up from the area and fly away. A full account can be seen at . I believe it is reasonable to assume that the circular swirling of the reeds was created by energy transmitted by the ufo. I think it unlikely that the Tulley saucer nest was created for the benefit of the farmer, and I therefore conclude that the circular swirling of the reeds was an effect caused by the normal operation of the ufo’s propulsion system.

In 1965, Rex Heflin, a Highway Accident Investigator for the Los Angeles County Highways Commission, took several photographs of a ufo as he drove along Myford Road, Santa Ana. On one of the photographs it is noticeable that the sand beneath it is whipped up in a circular column. The energy from this ufo acted in precisely the same manner as was shown in the Tulley saucer nest case. On other occasions, ufos have been seen to emerge from the sea. One of the most noteable aspects of their emergence is the fact that the water swirls in a circular motion around them. It seems fairly obvious that this ability to swirl reeds, sand and water in a circular fashion is a natural bi-product of the ufo’s propulsion system, and also that many of the swirled circles found in all kinds of materials throughout the world, are not specially created for people to marvel at and investigate. They are naturally created when ufos are in close proximity to the ground. It is generally accepted that most early crop circles were of a simple design, basically a circular area of swirled grass or crop. It was not until the 1990s that the more complex patterns began to occur in the fields of Wiltshire. It is often assumed that these more complex designs must be man made and though this is very often the case, it is not always so. In company with David Cayton and another researcher, we were the first people to set foot in what I call the “Hubcap” formation, which occurred on the 9th of August 2001 near the canal by Woodborough Hill, Wiltshire. This formation was of a complex design in barley. David and I wrote a full report on our study of this formation which was published in the March 2002 edition of UFO Magazine. The other researcher wrote an even lengthier study which also concluded beyond doubt that this crop circle was not man made. David and I have been fortunate enough to study other complex formations which we know beyond question were also not man made. My inclusion of this information at this point is to show the reader that although David and I are determined to weed out the man made hoaxes, we should in no way be accused of being debunkers.

We must now look at the more complex patterns in crop circle design and at other phenomena associated with them. In early August 2000, Colin Andrews gave an interview to a BBC film crew in the so called “Magnet” formation at Avebury Trusloe. David and I were the only other people in that circle when the interview with Colin was recorded. The main feature of the interview was Colin’s statement that eighty per cent of all crop circles were man made and that the other twenty per cent were created by some naturally occurring, unknown, geomagnetic force. His statement was greeted with shock and disbelief by us and the rest of the crop circle researching fraternity. Since that time, we have come to appreciate that Colin’s figure of eighty per cent man made could well be an underestimation of the true figure, particularly in the 2004 and 2005 seasons.

On the other hand, David and I have never given any credence to Colin’s suggestion that a naturally occurring force was solely responsible for the remainder.

The complexity of design found in formations which we are certain are not man made, leaves us in no doubt that other intelligences are at work here. David and I have seriously studied the ufo phenomenon for a combined total of at least 40 years, and we have no doubt that the occupants of the craft which we call ufos, are totally responsible for the creation of all non man made formations. The technology which they use to create them is unknown to us. We know from the splendid work done by Nancy Talbot, Professor Levengood and others of the B.L.T. Research team that a short burst of intense heat is a vital factor in their creation, and a type of microwave energy has been suggested as the possible heating agent. However, microwave energy has not been put forward as the definitive force used, and I feel it is likely that the forces used by the occupants of the ufos are as far removed from microwaves as nuclear fission is from water power.

The effects on the crops and soil of the application of this unknown energy have been well documented by the B.L.T. team and those involved in crop circle research have a great deal to thank them for. I believe that particular praise should be given to Nancy Talbot for her tireless determination to strive for scientific data which cannot be answered or refuted by sceptics who shout loudly but who cannot be bothered to look at the facts. A visit to the B.L.T. website at is essential for anyone who is seriously interested in crop circles. They have scientifically proven that changes to the plant cell structure, changes to the soil and the amount of meteoric iron found within it, and other effects which would normally require huge amounts of pressure and heat to be applied, have all been found in genuine crop circles. No amount of pressing down with stomping boards could create these effects.

In cereal crops, an intense burst of energy sufficient to turn water into steam is applied to the plant stems. The steam pressure generated in the nodal joints is sufficient in many cases to blow a hole in the wall of the node, thus resulting in a so called “blown node”. Blown nodes are an excellent indicator of a genuine formation, but with major qualifications.

a.) The formation must be examined within a day or two of its creation.

b.) Blown nodes should be found throughout the whole of the formation, not on just a few stems here or there.

c.) They should not be found generally in the standing crop in the rest of the field.

d.) It is absolutely necessary to understand that when cereal crops are laid down in a crop circle, they are exposed to a far greater heating effect than are the plants which are left standing. After several days of this increased natural heating from the sun, the seeds ripen at a much faster rate, and if a visitor to a crop circle walks upon the laid crop, the ripened seeds will sometimes fall from the laid stems onto the soil beneath. There is nothing strange or magical about this. It is also noticeable that when the nodes are exposed to this same prolonged extra heating from the sun, they become dried out and will often split in a manner resembling the genuine blown node. There causes are completely different but are often confused.

It is likely that in genuine formations, a further directional force is applied to the stems at the same time as they are softened by the heating agent. The strongest point on the stem is the nodal joint and if a person attempts to bend an unheated stem, it will break at a point on the stem between the nodal joints. In genuine formations the greatest heating effect is found where most of the water is located in the plant stem which is the nodal joint, and it is at these joints that the plant stems bend. Without the application of heat to soften the joints, this bending without fracturing is impossible to achieve in a freshly created formation.

It is common knowledge that plants will climb back up to the sunlight by a process known as phototropism. Therefore it is important to realise that this indicator of a circle’s genuineness is only of value when it is examined soon after it is formed. This is especially true of green young crop where nodal bending due to phototropism occurs within just a few days.

In a few formations, such as the so called “Northdown Shield” of July 2003, the almost ripe barley was found to have multiple bends at the stem nodal joints. In many cases, four or five nodal joints on the same stem were bent parallel to,or even towards the ground, proving that phototropism played no part in the nodal bending of these plants. Blown and bent nodes were found throughout this formation and it was also noticeable that some of the seed heads were sticky and darker coloured than in the standing crop which suggested that the sugars in the seed heads had been caramelised by a short burst of heat.

Once again, it is important to stress that nodal bending in new formations should be found throughout and not just in a few isolated spots such as close by the tractor lines, where spraying of the young crops could easily result in the pressing down of adjacent stems by the tractor tyres. Over time, these damaged stems will develop bent nodes by the natural process of phototropism. I cannot recommend highly enough the ground lay photographs taken by Bill Betts within a few hours of the Northdown Shield being discovered.

They can be viewed at, .

We know that most man made formations are created using stomping boards and measuring tapes as the “Circlemakers” website is happy to show. I would highly recommend anyone interested in this subject to look carefully at their website which is, .

It is important to be aware of their capabilities. I have come to understand that the Circlemakers are extremely capable, and given the right conditions, I believe that they could create any crop circle design thus far discovered. This is why it is a mistake to put too much emphasis on the design aspects of crop circles. Even a poorly executed formation will look good when photographed from a helicopter or light aircraft. I am not in any way criticising those who take such photographs, for it is largely through their efforts that the crop circles have come to the attention of the public at large, and the splendour of some of their images is undeniable.

Please be aware that the Circlemakers are masters of deception. Their website contains subliminal messages whose purpose is to convince the viewer that certain amazing formations such as the “Milk Hill Galaxy” and the “Basket Weave”, were created by them. As adept as they are, the Circlemakers did not create those formations. I am told by other researchers whose knowledge of geometry and mathematics is far greater than my own, that certain genuine formations may include important new insights encoded in their designs. I am happy to accept this as a possibility, though I would urge very great caution here. The Circlemakers are very astute and may well have advisors whose abilities are the equal of any researcher. It is surely more than a coincidence that MI5 choses to advertise for recruits on the Circlemaker’s website !!!

No matter how carefully the Circlemakers mechanically stomp the crop, they can never quite achieve the gentle flowing appearance, nor are they able to create the even distribution of seed heads on the surface of the laid crop, which is so typical of genuine formations. However, it is important to note that where man made formations occur in unripe, green stemmed cereal crop, the hoaxers have nature on their side. This is because the growing crop has an amount of elasticity in the stem which encourages the laying of the crop in an even flowing manner. This is not the case in ripe cereal crops where the dry and brittle stems fall in a jerky uneven fashion. The seed heads thus laid are not evenly spread, but bunch together with each forward step of the stomping board.

It is my opinion that the heating process applied to genuine circles affects the seed heads in such a way that they become perfectly aligned with the direction of the laid stems. This pointer to the genuineness of crop circles is only useful late in the season when the seed heads in the standing crop are fully dry and fixed at an angle of around 90 degrees to the standing stem. It is impossible for anyone to mechanically straighten such seed heads. If these conditions are found to apply within a day or two of the formation being created, then I believe it is certain that it must be genuine. A detailed discussion of this theory can be seen at .

If there is the slightest suspicion that a crop circle might be man made, it is absolutely necessary to get down on your hands and knees and examine the cereal crop plant stems with the utmost care, for when an unpadded stomping board impacts upon a stem, damage is caused which is known as a board mark. In green cereal crop these marks are easy to spot. They show up as a thin white line on the stem. These lines are the product of a chemical reaction induced in the plant by the impact of the stomping board. They are not immediately apparent and take 12 hours or so to manifest. Board marks in fully ripe cereal crop are much more difficult to find as they are just a simple crease in the plant stem. We are helped by the fact that these creases often occur in a line across 3 feet of crop which is where the board impacts the stems.

If you are not the first person in the formation, it is important to check for these creases at the extreme edges so as not to confuse board marks with the creases which might be imparted to the laid stems by another visitor’s foot. It is also important to ensure that board marks can be found throughout the formation, as it is not out of the question for hoaxers to create a few board marks in an otherwise genuine crop circle. However, it must be said that I have never come across this, nor do I know of anyone else who has proved such a case.

When a crop formation occurs in oil seed rape, otherwise known as canola, it is a simple task to tell whether it is man made or not. At around 5 feet in height, this crop has very thick stems which are impossible to bend by mechanical means past an angle of around 45 degrees to the vertical. If a greater degree of bending is attempted, the stems will snap like celery. The amount of pressure required to lay oil seed rape is considerable and this results in the stems being split, snapped and badly scraped by the face of the stomping board. The flowers of the plant are also crushed. Some flowers end up beneath the laid stems while others lie on top. Once again, I heartily recommend a visit to where the results of the stomping experiment in oil seed rape carried out by David Cayton and myself can be viewed. The photos of our stomping efforts and those taken by Bill Betts in the Golden Ball Hill formation of May 2005 could not show a more marked difference. His photos which were taken on the morning of the formation’s arrival, point out the even distribution of the flowers above the undamaged laid stems.

His photos can be seen at .

The ability to bend mature oil seed rape stems so that they lie more or less parallel to the ground can only be achieved if the stems are first softened by the heating agent applied to genuine crop circles. An indication of this heat was seen in photos taken of the standing canola plants at the edge of a crop circle by Lucy Pringle. Her photos clearly show that the leaves on these plants are drooping as if they had been subjected to an overspill of heat from the circle. There is also a brown discolouration of the stems, but only on the side facing the circle. These overspills of energy can also occur in cereal crop where they may manifest as a thin arc of laid crop going from the formation into the surrounding standing crop. David and I discovered one of these in the “Thought Bubble” formation at Northdown in July 2002.

It began at the edge of the formation with a width of around 4 inches. After making a perfect arc in the standing crop for a distance of around 15 feet, it diminished in width, finishing in just one laid stem. There was no damage whatsoever to the surrounding standing crop, and we are convinced that no small animal could have created this effect. We also found evidence of a similar energy flow in the Etchilhampton “Celtic Cross” of July 2002. We found an area beneath the laid crop where opposing flows of wheat stems met and changed course at 90 degrees in the same direction. At the point of this 90 degree bend the seed heads were also moulded at 90 degrees by the heat source applied to the formation. No amount of mechanical stomping of the crop could achieve this effect.

I have a strong feeling that the most important aspect of our research has been the discovery of greatly increased levels of radiation in certain formations. In both the Etchilhampton Celtic Cross and the Pewsey “Nautilus” formations of 2002, our Geiger counter measured radiation levels which were more than 20 times higher than normal background levels. On both these occasions, these elevated readings were transient in nature. On entering these formations the background reading was normal, but after a few minutes we heard the audible clicking of the instrument increase and watched as the needle on the dial rose, so that David had to alter the instrument to the next scale to accommodate the higher readings. We decided to walk out of the Nautilus formation in order to see if there was a change to the reading. After walking a dozen or so paces away from the edge, we were astonished to see the meter drop abruptly back to normal.

We then decided to walk back into the formation, fully expecting the reading to climb back up. No matter where we tried in the formation, the instrument continued to register normal background radiation values. Whilst monitoring the increased levels of radiation, David moved the instrument sensor probe from ground level to as high as he could reach. There was no change to the reading which suggested that the source of the radiation was not in the ground but was evenly distributed in a column centred on the crop circle.

It has been reported that a flock of geese were seen to separate and fly around one particular formation. Could they possibly have sensed the same type of radiation which David and I were monitoring.? We believe that it is also significant that Lucy Pringle’s research, studying the physical and emotional effects on people entering crop circles, shows results that are not inconsistent with what might be expected if a person were exposed to radiation of some kind. The instrument which David used measured alpha, beta and gamma rays, but did not identify which of them was being measured. Therefore radiation which we encountered could have been any of these three, or a completely separate form of radiation which registered on the meter, but of a type which is unknown to us.

My close friend and colleague David Cayton is well versed in the measurement of radiation. He spent 22 years as head of non destructive testing in the Design Engineering Department, Test Laboratories, at British Aerospace, Woodford, near Manchester. His responsibilities included the monitoring of Ionising Radiation Safety for the Woodford site. He reported to the National Radiological Protection Board.

In July 1998, David took a Geiger counter into a large formation by Silbury Hill where the readings were completely normal. As he walked back down the field towards Silbury Hill car park, he noticed a small flattened circle of perhaps 3 feet in diameter. This type of circle is referred to as a grape shot by many crop circle researchers. David lowered the Geiger Mueller tube into this small circle expecting to find no change in the reading. He was taken completely by surprise as the slow audible clicking of the instrument changed to a high pitched scream, reaching meter saturation of 2000 counts per second in around 30 seconds. The result was that the Geiger Mueller tube was damaged beyond repair. In a book called, “Gateway to Oblivion” by Hugh Cochrane, the highly respected Canadian scientist, Wilbert T. Smith, was reported to have been engaged in a study of huge columns of radiation found in the vicinity of Lake Ontario in the 1950s.

This government funded study which originally began as a joint venture between the American and Canadian governments, was discovering transient columns of radiation measuring up to 1000 feet in diameter, and which carried on upwards into the sky. Inside these columns, some peculiarities were noted in gravity and magnetism and what appeared to be a reduction in the nuclear binding forces holding matter together. These columns were mobile and never remained in one location for any length of time. Whilst it is entirely possible that there is no connection between this radiation and that which we have found in certain crop circles, it is never the less a possibility.

It is a well known fact that electrical equipment such as mobile phones and film cameras have occasionally refused to operate in certain crop circles. A very expensive B.B.C. camera was found to be damaged beyond repair, according to Colin Andrews, as the cameraman attempted to film Colin in a crop circle where a very low frequency sound of unknown origin had been heard and recorded. The frequency was around 5.2 hertz. On other occasions, fully charged batteries which have been taken into crop circles were subsequently found to be fully discharged though they had never been used in any equipment. Lucy Pringle has even gone so far as to advise persons with heart pacemakers not to go into crop circles. Though it might seem a little melodramatic, the evidence shows beyond doubt that there is legitimate cause for concern, and I agree entirely with Lucy’s sentiments.

On the 17th of July 1991, the respected crop circle researcher David Kingston travelled to the new formation at Barbury Castle where he was met by a military cordon preventing him from entering the field. The flimsy excuse was that an important piece of equipment had fallen from a helicopter and therefore the area was off limits to the public until it had been recovered. Later that morning, he managed to enter the formation where he took a series of photographs. He discovered later that all of the photographs taken by him that morning were fogged. Could it be that radiation of some kind was responsible for the fogging, and is it possible that the military cordon was placed around that area because they already knew about the high levels of radiation to be found there? Were they trying to protect the public from radiation levels which they knew might be harmful?

A full account by David Kingston can be seen at . Also on the same page is the revealing interview which Jon King had with Colin Andrews which suggests that the C.I.A. are also interested in crop circles. If crop circles are as important as I think they are, then I am not surprised at all by their interest in them.

It is not always possible to state with conviction that certain formations are genuine or man made. David and I have been wrong in the past, and doubtless we will make erroneous judgements in the future. However, we will continue to strive for the truth. It is only by understanding the message of genuine circles that we can hope to go forward. The trend amongst some researchers to accept all circles as being of a similar value, whether man made or otherwise, will in no way help us to understand the genuine circle creators. It is ironic indeed that the message contained in the binary code of the “Crabwood Alien and Disc” urged us to guard against deception. I have not the slightest doubt that this formation was made by the Circlemakers using exactly the same technique as they used to create the advertisements for the “Richard and Judy” t.v. show and for the “Orange” telephone company, all done within a couple of months of each other.

I have no doubt that genuine crop circles contain a message of the utmost importance to mankind. It is a message which governments throughout the world have tried to keep from us.


Copyright Robert Hulse 2005


a). Hubcap formation

b). Magnet formation. (probably man made)

c). Northdown Shield formation

d). Milk Hill Galaxy formation

e). Basket Weave formation

f). Etchilhampton Celtic Cross

g). Pewsey Nautilus

h). Crabwood Alien and Disc (definite man made)

i). Richard and Judy T.V. ADVERT

J). Orange Telecom Advert

Archived UFO Articles and News Items

UFO Casebook Home Page