Back in the day, crop circles were everywhere, from The X-Files to M. Night Shyamalan’s movie Signs. These unexplained patterns would appear overnight in fields, and were often believed to be the work of extraterrestrials. But in 2023, crop circles have all but disappeared from the spotlight. So what happened?

The history of crop circles goes back centuries. In 1678, strange markings appeared in Hertfordshire, England, initially attributed to the Devil. However, these early instances involved cutting the stalks, unlike the bent stalks of modern crop circles.

By the 20th century, crop circles were appearing more frequently and attracting more attention. By the late 1970s, with UFO stories like the Roswell incident gaining popularity, the stage was set for some cunning trickery.

In 1976, two Englishmen, Doug Bower and Dave Chorley, decided to create their own crop circles using planks and ropes which flattened the stalks rather than cutting them. Over a 10 year period, they made over 200 patterns. In 1991, they revealed their prank in a newspaper story, showing how simple tools could create intricate designs. Their confession explained the phenomenon was a hoax, and interest in crop circles as evidence of extraterrestrials began to wane.

Today, crop circles are recognised as a form of landscape art. These temporary creations, made by bending rather than cutting the crops, highlight the creativity and ingenuity of their makers. While some still hold onto alien beliefs, the majority now see crop circles as an intriguing chapter in the history of art.

PS: We had a bit of fun using AI to create the above Paintvine inspired crop circle, what do you think?