Image10 There's a breakthrough science story waiting to be made public. It's about an Intelligence that has been visiting the Earth for perhaps thousands of years, using crop fields to make artworks. There have been some 2,000 occurrences worldwide since 1989, when the phenomenon came under close scrutiny. (In 1989, the Intelligence went from making simple circles to delivering complex geometric patterns and recognizable symbols.) The crop circle phenomenon has been documented and studied now to the point where there is proof that's been provided in science labs and reported on in scientific journals, our agreed upon mechanism for determining what's real, that sophisticated communications are being sent by a non-human source.

The good science that has been done, however, has not been enough to crack the shell of skepticism that surrounds the phenomenon. That no doubt is because the truth would represent the biggest leap our science ever will have made, which will affect our fundamental idea about our relationship with the universe. The last development that was as big was when human beings split off from the apes. It's a new reality we are facing, and the old one -- predictably in a world held in place by a power structure that would be undermined by these new revelations -- dies hard.

The formations are full of information. They obviously are being sent here with an intent to show us they are meaningful. Many patterns depict symbols from mathematics, the sciences, and different spiritual traditions. Many of them contain mathematical ratios conforming to a musical scale. And whatever makes the designs knows geometry better than we do -- we learn from what the circlemakers deliver. Another category of meaningfulness is that new genres of patterns that come in are quickly followed by variations on them, as if to dazzle us with what can best be described as artistry. Pure design is giving us a demonstration of awareness. It's not what they say that's perhaps as significant as that they are saying something.

Another outstandingly noteworthy aspect of the phenomenon is the lay of the crop, which can look like multitudes of carpet weavers had arranged all the stalks. The 1989, the turning point crop circle -- where we went from relative simplicity to great complexity -- was divided into four quarters, with the lay of each quarter going in opposite directions. In some formations, the shafts of all the plants are parallel, flowing like rivers that ingeniously weave around standing shapes. Other times, a few stalks are wrapped together by a little piece of straw-like material, and bundles of these are laid side by side. There must be a department in charge of centers of circles, which are done in many styles, from tightly woven tents and nests, to tufts, to splays. And sometimes the whole lay is like a false floor, revealing another lay underneath -- occasionally there are third and fourth layers. In the last few years, an intricate basket weave style has been used in a couple of formations, and there have been a fair number of 3D effects that can seen from the air when the sunlight casts shadows. The last two years have seen radically different methodologies of laying the crop -- we got a dot matrix face in 2001, a half tone effect to make a face in 2002, and each of these had a message aspect in another new laying style of little squiggly tufts that translate via binary code.

serpent There are other things to mention that give evidence to there being non-human sources for the phenomenon. In genuine formations, you find many single stalks that somehow have not been affected by the energy, left standing in downed crop. And you also find stiff stalks bent into right angles, with the plants not damaged at all, so that, if they are young, they turn back up and continue to grow. Some of the formations are in very hilly places, yet from the air their patterns are absolutely symmetrical, as if a master surveyor had compensated for the irregular terrain. In fact, surveyors say that it would take them days to lay out some of the complex formations -- and English nights, during which most circles are made, are about 4 hours long. Another thing that precludes people stomping the crop down with boards is that there are times when all the stalks in the lay are bent several inches off the ground. And sometimes downed crop is in lines too narrow for people to pass through. Then there are formations or parts of formations that are in the middle of fields, too far from the tram lines that are used by farm equipment to get to the crop -- which is the way people walk in without hurting the farmer's fields, and how hoaxers, for the shabby formations they make, gain their access.

Another thing that's part of the mystery is the failure of different kinds of electro-magnetic equipment inside the formations -- from cell phones to compasses, things don't work inside them that do work just outside them. Cameras, which sometimes catch strange light effects on film that weren't seen by the naked eye, actually have been broken by the force -- stymieing camera repair people with never before seen damage. And video cameras occasionally catch balls of light streaking right above the formations.

A whole other aspect of what is happening is that the Intelligence can understand what people communicate to it. When people meditate on a shape, designs that correspond to what they had in mind frequently appear. I know the Japanese researcher who had a group of Japanese tourists with him, meditating one night on getting a shape that would be delivered especially for them -- in the morning, an origami pattern was in that field. And the phenomenon seems to have a winking sense of humor -- a TV crew mounted a several week watch in a likely field, and the day they left a formation appeared. During another watch, while cameras were trained on the field, a mist descended, and when it lifted, with the motion sensors having recorded nothing, there was a formation. Andrew Lloyd Weber was mystified in 1995 when he got formation behind high walls on his well guarded estate, and the summer of 2002 saw a formation in the heart of London, again behind a high wall, at a botanical garden.

As the world is plagued by terrorists, the crop circle community is plagued by hoaxers. They make some formations, say they make others, and thus give the public ammunition for skepticism. It defies logic to think that incredibly complex patterns are delivered with flawless precision in the dark during the short English nights, with no mud in them even when they arrive in storms. Year after year, all over the world, this phenomenon gets more widespread and more complex, and the thought that people, who get no credit for their work, would derive enough satisfaction from such massive efforting is just absurd.

Toward the end of the summer season in 2001, England got the biggest formation ever. It covered an area as large as two football fields, and its spectacular size and beautiful fractal design attracted the world press. That press, however, missed an even bigger story that came right after this, having to do with the arrival in one field, a few days apart, of two unusual formations. One was a face -- the first one ever -- that was rendered in the first ever dot matrix patterning of the crop. The other was the first clear message, which arrived in a first ever use of binary code. Very uniquely, it was an answer to a binary code radio telescope message we had sent into space in 1974, which Carl Sagan had a hand in designing. The crop circle band of dedicated researchers from all over the world, who spend their summers in Southern England (where most of the formations, 75-300 a year, appear), thought that newspaper headlines would say "CONTACT." The pattern in the field told us about the sender in a correspondence to the information we had sent about ourselves. SETI, our Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, in typically dismissive fashion, said if it was another intelligence it would have communicated by radio waves and not in a crop field, and that was that.

This is being written after the 2002 summer, which was most remarkable for an end of the year formation that is being hotly debated as to its authenticity. It's an alien face much like we've seen in our science fiction, holding a disk which contains another clear binary code message: "Beware the bearers of FALSE gifts & their BROKEN PROMISES. Much PAIN but still time. (Damaged Word because of tram track). There is GOOD out there. We OPpose DECEPTION. Conduit CLOSING (BELL SOUND)"

In terms of what would happen if it was broadly known there was contact, here's what Paul Horowitz, SETI Project Director, had to say:

"We consider ourselves morally, or culturally, or intellectually unique. But if we were to find a signal from another star system, another thinking being, we would know that none of that is true. A connection with another intelligence would be the first bridging across four billion years of independent life in evolution...It will be without doubt the greatest discovery in the history of humankind."

It defies the imagination to foresee what will happen as this new awareness spreads in humanity, but this phenomenon is so beautiful and so benign that it feels to promise only good. A great power has come to us, and it behooves us to join forces.