A Tasmanian historian used Google Earth images to argue that crop circles, which are often dismissed as jokes taken too far, are not simply a modern hoax, according to the Huffington Post.
Many were persuaded that the intriguing circles were nothing more than pranks when two British men, David Chorley and Doug Bower, revealed in 1991 that they, under the cover of darkness and armed with wooden planks and barrels, had been creating circles across the wheat fields of southern England since 1978.
The two “ jovial con men in their 60s,” as described by a local newspaper at the time of the revelation, demonstrated in front of groups of journalists how they trampled out the patterns that were often attributed to aliens, reported the New York Times.
But historian Greg Jefferys, who has a degree in archaeology, says he has new evidence that not all crop circles have a human origin.
After spending more than 300 hours examining aerial photographs from Google Earth’s new 1945 overlay, Jefferys concludes that a number of crop circles has been appearing consistently each summer for at least 33 years before Chorley and Bower began their work.
The overlay, according to the Huffington Post, is a series of images taken toward the end of World War II and covers about 35 percent of England, excluding the Wiltshire area, a crop-circle hotspot that has attracted numerous tourists.
The new findings, together with reports of crop circles in English countryside dating back as far back as 300 years, mean that the phenomenon is still unexplained and may represent a new field of science, Jefferys argued to the Huffington Post.
He also said that he believed a rare form of electromagnetic energy called an ionized plasma vortex, or ball lightning, is involved in the creation of the circles.
Jefferys acknowledges that there are flaws on the 1945 images that might be mistaken as crop circles. But he said he had eliminated those after thorough inspection and selected a final 13 that meet his strict criteria. He said he is preparing to continue his study on the mysterious circles as a PhD in the University of Tasmania.