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Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Swing away, Merrill.

Michigan farmer discovers crop circles in his field. Noted "crop circle researcher" has an interesting non-tinfoil hat theory:

[Researcher Jeffrey] Wilson, 33, trekked to his first circle in Ohio. He borrowed a geiger counter from EMU, convinced a friend to go with him, and arrived at the scene only to find a sheriff had roped it off as though it were a crime scene. He talked his way past the yellow tape.

As he moved closer to the center, he noticed a pattern that he would find at every other circle: Radiation levels were higher in the middle.


"I don't know," he said.

But it got him theorizing. Soon, he was measuring the electric field and the electromagnetic field within the circles. He noticed the circles often appeared near transformers attached to power lines.

He also discovered a pattern among eyewitnesses of the crop circles who never report seeing any light or anything else unusual.

He tried to get academia to bite, but it hasn't -- yet.

He said science needs more approaches to study crop circles. It reminds him of airline pilots reporting strange patterns and colors of light shooting off the top of thunderheads in the 1980s.

Eventually, NASA sent planes up with high-speed cameras and discovered a new phenomenon -- sprites and jets, which are red and blue atmospheric flashes. There is no complete explanation, but it is no longer considered a farce.

Say what you will, but this line of inquiry beats the usual ovoid-headed, probe-wielding refugees from Communion by a mile.

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