Anonymity is its own reward

Bruce Van Dyke has fallen under the spell of crop circles.

By now, you’ve heard about this new Mel Gibson flick, Signs, wherein Mel and family, as farmers in Pennsylvania, have hair-raising personal encounters with the mysterious phenomenon known as crop circles.

I don’t bring the subject up to talk about the movie; I’ll leave that department to the over-maligned Mr. Grimm. (Who is forced to endure startling amounts of crap on a monthly basis from ultra-sensitive twits who actually expend the energy to write and crab about Bob, just because he curb-stomped some stupid movie they adore. Jesus, people, lighten up! These are fricking movie reviews!) OK, where was I? The crop circles. They are the point of this column, not the movie. The main and inescapable point of the circles is this: Something very odd is going on.

Even the most cursory skim of the crop-circle story will lead the investigator to conclude that some kind of wonderful, elegant and artistic mystery takes place every summer in the fields of England (and make no mistake, England is where the action is, for whatever reason). You’ll also seriously doubt that any team of prankster humans is capable of pulling off some of these stunners. If they are, why haven’t they stepped forward to make millions on the inevitable book deal? The fact that such temptation is ignored provides solid ammo for those who lean towards a non-human explanation.

You don’t have to take my word for it. You can see for yourself. Unlike UFOs or Bigfoot or Nessie, crop circles just lay there in fields of barley or wheat, begging to be photographed. During the last 20 years, they have been. As a result, there is a stunning body of photos available for inspection by anyone who possesses even the tiniest iota of curiosity about this phenomenal phenomenon.

Some of these photos dare the viewer to explain them away as a hoax. Some are deserving of such adjectives as dazzling, astounding, breath-taking and so forth.

By the way, the term “crop circle” harkens back to a simpler time, when they really were just circles in a field. In the last 20 years, though, since this crop “art” has become more complex, even ostentatious in its cleverness and geometrical precision, an appropriately fancy new term has evolved: “agriglyph.”

If you’re interested, start your search at These Brits have been photographing, writing, speaking and theorizing about crop circles for 20 years, and they’ve put together a dense Web space filled with dozens of pictures and loads of information.

To view photo archives from the past, one must join the Connector, which costs $30 a year. Fortunately, you can get fascinated for free by clicking on the 2002 section of pics. Rest assured, plenty has happened in June and July of this year (41 at last count) to pique your interest.