A Beginner's Guide to Crop Circles Making

Circlemakers, 2004
aCompiled with the assistance of Fe3

Our earth is a very beautiful planet and deserves and needs all the help it can get - especially in these critical years of the countdown 1- S. J. Trousdale

Doug and Dave in Doug's studio 2Rob Irving
Doug and Dave in Doug's studio 2Rob Irving

The nocturnal pastime of circle making was made popular by the work of two Hampshire-based artists, Doug Bower and Dave Chorley. For over 12 years their simple circle sets attracted the interest of scientists world-wide.

During this time other artists began to emulate them, eventually superseding them, and continued a chain reaction - mutating from the UFO lore from which it still suckles and, in turn, nourishes - to become what is arguably the most mysterious 'tactile- paranormal' phenomenon this century.

In 1991, Doug & Dave's claim to original authorship created an atmosphere well known to theological sociologists; that discomfirmation can lead to strengthened belief.

Consistent with previous millenial activity, the religious use of pseudo science to plot our destiny has reached another high... the circles have become signs and portents of our time.

Although the circles have appeared worldwide in wheat, oats, spinach, grass, peas, rice, linseed, maize, oil-seed rape, sunflowers, mustard, barley, sugar-beet, rye, and a multitude of other crops, most cereal artists prefer to concentrate upon just three. These are grown and harvested in a smooth, overlapping progression; oil-seed rape in April through May, barley throughout May and June, and wheat from June until early September. In this guide we will give you all the information you will need to work with these plants, and eventually, with a little practice, produce genuine, dowsable, scientifically proven un-hoaxable circles patterns.


The tools you will need are relatively unsophisticated; a 30 metre surveyors tape - this is preferable to string which tends to tangle easily... a 1-2 metre board or plank with a rope attached to each end to form a loop - this is known as a stalk-stomper... dowsing rods - these should be made of copper, and purchased from an expensive new age shop, or, in an emergency, a couple of bent coat-hangers will do... and a plastic garden roller (available from reputable garden centres, or, if only for occasional use, these may be rented from tool-hire shops for about £2 a night). A luminous watch is also useful as a summer night can be surprisingly brief.


  1. Choose location depending upon visibility. A field rising up from the road, or a natural amphitheatre in full view of the road, make perfect circles sites.
  2. Dowse potential location to establish earth energies. If a formation is located on a powerful ley-line this will satisfy later tests for genuineness, and aid in curative effects, healings, orgone accumulation, angelic visions, benign alien abduction experiences, and feelings of general well-being. WARNING - If the formation is situated contra-directionally to the flow of energy, this may result in the opposite effects; headaches, nausea, temporary limb-paralysis, aching joints, mental illness, deadly-orgone-radiation (DOR) exposure, demonic visions, negative abduction scenarios (memory loss, implant scarring, sore or bleeding anii, navels, and genitals, etc), and general disillusionment. With no condonement by the authors, this may be of interest to satanists.
  3. Plan design to incorporate earth energies. Some of you may decide to work from a diagram, while others may wish to rely upon spontaniety... this is purely a matter of preference. Remember that a diagram may not be easily read in total darkness - it is important not to use a torch as this may be spotted by nearby crop watchers.
  4. Once location and design have been decided, retire to a local pub and wait for darkness. If the location is in a well known circles-prone area you may be able to pick up useful intelligence on the plans of the crop watchers (cerealogists). These cerealogists are often very public about their intentions, freely giving information on their own view-points, hide-outs, equipment (whether or not they have access to infra-red image intensifiers, CB radio operating channels, etc. They often even divulge where they are putting their own circles, which may prove useful. It is not advisable to actually talk to these people as inwardly- spiralling arguments invariably develop which will eat into the time you have allotted to real circle-making. This might lead to a smaller event, therefore defeating the object of your argument.

The Drop Off

After ensuring that you haven't been followed from the pub, drive to the field and unload the roller and stalk-stomper (the measuring tape can be carried in a pocket or rucksack). Be careful to leave the equipment in a place easily recognisable in darkness - near a gate or large bush, for instance. Then drive to a sensible place and park. It is worth remembering that an empty vehicle may arouse suspicion if it's left in a lay-by or farm track, or lazily by the side of the field. Our own advice is to park in the nearest village close to other vehicles. Then, quietly and invisibly walk back to the field.

Creating the Formation

You will have already decided in your planning where in the field to start your formation. Move to this point using the relevant tram, or tractor line. REMEMBER - Criminal damage is an offence! Do not move through a field without using the tram-lines.


Before starting, a simple ritual should be performed. Whilst not obligatory, this ritual will assist in causing minimal damage to individual stalks while the crop is being laid. Using a long, curved, razor-sharp blade, cut seven single stalks for every circle planned for the formation. Place each one between thumb and forefinger and stroke until the stem starts to bend. When the stems are bent at a right angle about two inches from their base, place each sheaf at the centre of each proposed circle. If this service is not performed, a greater ratio of breakage will occur. Cerealogists who find a sheaf of sharply cut stems within the finished formation tend to automatically see this as a sign of genuineness bThere is a belief amongst certain circle-makers that fashioning these stems into a human form, then placing it into the final grapeshot, will ensure future circles growth..

West Stowell, Wiltshire, wheat, 170ft, 22 July 1994 3Alexander, Steve
West Stowell, Wiltshire, wheat, 170ft, 22 July 1994 3Alexander, Steve

Establish the centre of your first circle about two metres in from the tram-line, walking in an angled, loping stride so as not to leave an obvious path to the centre. Make the centre by turning on an axis of your standing foot whilst dragging the crop down with the other (a beautifully nested centre - yet another proof of genuineness - can be fashioned with the hands. This will also increase the likelihood of positive results in any subsequent micro-biological study). Alternatively; expertly laid centres can be fashioned by using a stalk-stomper or roller (individual circle-makers tend to develop their own individual style of centre - acting as a subtle form of signature). As the perimeter widens, move away from the centre to create a space about one metre across - you are now ready to form the outer perimeter. If you are working alone, place a barbeque stick in or near the centre, attaching your tape through the loop before walking out to your chosen radius. Be sure to walk the perimeter in the same direction - clockwise or anti-clockwise - as your centre, dragging one foot as you go, thereby leaving a narrow but visible trail. If the tape is kept taught you will eventually return to your starting point. You are now ready to roll, or stomp the rest of the circle. N.B. At certain angles, a breeze may cause the taught tape to vibrate and make a loud, mysterious, whooping noise. Do not be alarmed. This noise, under scientific analysis, has been identified as a residual effect of the true circle maker.

The Circle

Flow, and Multiple Layering

West Stowell, Wiltshire, wheat, 170ft, 22 July 1994 4Alexander, Steve
West Stowell, Wiltshire, wheat, 170ft, 22 July 1994 4Alexander, Steve

A circle flattened from the inside out will produce a radial lay, made famous by Bower & Chorley, and worshipped by people like Colin Andrews, the 'World's Foremost Authority on Crop Circles and UFOs' - whilst the reverse will result in a near concentric, tangentental flow, "like water", as described by lesser cerealogists. Both, naturally, are regarded as genuine, un-hoaxable effects, as is practically any consequential artefact of construction. The wide latitude for genuineness given by expert researchers allows for a great freedom of expression. In conjunction with circles, avenues, crescents, key shapes, web shapes, rings, and arcs, there are myriad ideas you can introduce to your formation - complexity will always prove popular. But while it is the author's dream that the bread-belt be filled with a zen-like aesthetic, we concede that it is purely a matter of taste. However, we do suggest that you apply some deftness to the joining of these elements. REMEMBER - Even if you later claim to have made your formation, it will only be dismissed as 'fake' if it is initially suspected that you work for, or know anyone from, the media. Before leaving your completed formation, always check that you have not left anything behind. Sweet wrappers, cigarette butts, empty beer cans, or string, whilst not necessarily regarded as signs of human involvement, may create extra work for early-bird researchers.


It is now conceded, even by the luniest of cerealogists, that 'grapeshot' circles, or 'signatures' - small circles, usually about 1 metre across, and separate from the main formation - could be regarded as of human manufacture. This type of official alert often precedes dismissal as a genuine component. There are some circle makers, meanwhile, who swear by them - different tags for different groups. Discretion is advised, however, as compulsively making grapeshot circles as you walk out of the field leaves a really naff trail to your exit.


A formation will be deemed genuine if:

  1. you are not caught making it.
  2. the pattern represents a shape which leading cerealogists could regard as of symbolic importance, and, therefore, useful on the proselyting lecture circuit, e.g. mandalas, Atlantean script, etc.

Any particular formation might develop its own individual folklore if:

  1. it is made in a field which cerealogists later claim to have been watching.
  2. light phenomena is associated with it.
  3. audio phenomena is associated with it, especially in conjunction with 'd'.
  4. mysterious substances are found in it - particularly if these substances are subjected to scientific analysis and found to be, 'not of this earth'.
  5. a publicised prediction is circulated beforehand (this practice, however, may result in the pattern being repeated in a neighbouring, or the same, field). n.b. if you do correctly predict a formation, or rash of formations, it is important, like all good mystics, to exude the public manner of an enigmatic... this may bring offers of fee-earning consultation, or invitations to lecture, etc.
  6. see '2' above.

REMEMBER - The discovery of a formation within a 10 mile radius of any local Centre for Crop Circle Studies (CCCS) group will also ensure genuineness.


Auditions for beginners are held on a nightly basis in the East field at Alton Barnes, in Wiltshire - but be prepared that the farmer, Polly Carson, is always on the look-out to recruit hoaxers for future formations. Due to its legendary status this location also occasionally attracts genuine, independent, circle makers.


Small, messy circles may be added to your formation at a later date. These are a sign that your formation has been accepted by cerealogists, and represent an attempt (by these same cerealogists) to pre-empt any future claim on your part. As it is currently fashionable for circle makers not to make such claims, this practice has become a rather redundant exercise in criminal vandalism. Conversely, and equally redundantly, some additions have been made by less ambitious (and less talented) circle makers with a mind to claim the entire formation. Bear in mind that the prevailing atmosphere within the circles network is one of intense paranoia and self-delusion. Our advice is to regard these additions as a compliment.

Scientific analysis

Project argus 'scientific' study of circles5 Irving, Rob
Project argus 'scientific' study of circles5 Irving, Rob

In their attempts to create a universal acceptance of the crop circles' paranormal origins, leading cerealogists often pretend a relationship with orthodox science. Such phrases as "we are working closely with scientists" or, "we are awaiting the results of analysis" are commonly used in press releases, for instance, or on the lecture circuit. As well as the possibility that this might fool gullible, provincial journalists who aren't particularly bothered if they parrot rubbish to their readership, this provides a certain security amongst the rank & file researchers, who, when pressed, will cite the need for only one circle to be proved to be 'of unknown origin', thereby justifying their pursuance of the phenomenon - an apparently heroic search for the elusive, hypothetical, white crow. In regard to this, Rupert Sheldrake can be forgiven for his sincere, fleeting, interest in the subject.

Paradoxically, hoaxing - by reminding us that rigourous testing standards should be applied at all times - has always played an important role in the furtherance of scientific knowledge. As we tend to learn more from negative experience, it creates an atmosphere in which we cannot afford to assume anything. The rather pompous, well-worn, argument that man-made circles might muddy the important scientific quest for genuine circles gets weaker, then, as more thought is applied to it. One of the most interesting, and misguided, aspects of cerealogy is the tendency of cerealogists to hunt and ridicule the 'hoaxer' of circles, whilst simultaneously flooding their own market with bogus scientific reports (and countless other stories), purporting to be proof of the circles' genuineness. It is worth noting here that as recently as one or two years ago, there was much talk of the 'HUH' - the Hypothetical Unseen Hoaxer - in the same way as the 'genuine' circle is talked of today; as if, by placing the burden of proof upon followers of the most reasonable hypothesis, this would add credence to the most unreasonable hypothesis.

Rupert Sheldrake with Jim Schnabel 6Irving, Rob
Rupert Sheldrake with Jim Schnabel 6Irving, Rob

Similarly, another 'old chestnut' of cerealogists is the assertion that, as absolute proof of authorship could only be applied to comparatively few circles, this favours the belief that the majority must be genuine. Since those halcyon days of the early 90's, and the gradual introduction of a more realistic across-the-board acceptance of human intervention, this kind of circular thinking has been minimised... limiting itself to a minority of staunch die-hards. It has led, instead, to another hypothetical, and equally elusive entity; the so-called 'litmus-test' - a method employed to instantaneously determine a 'hoaxed', or 'fake', circle from 'genuine'. Some will admit that it doesn't exist. Others - more insightful observers perhaps - will have noticed that there are already many 'litmus-tests' currently in use; that it is all a matter of perception and belief ("we must learn to trust ourselves", etc). Dowsing rods are one such form of instrumentation, which, when finely calibrated and in the right hands can be extremely powerful and convincing... or a whole variety of magnetometers, spinning compasses, resonating bowls, black boxes with wires and aerials and dials and probes (a Meccano array of electronic circles detectors), or even portable electron microscopes, it is alleged, for use in the field. The September issue of the Journal for Scientific Exploration included the CCCS's latest method of determining 'hoaxed' from 'genuine' circles: "Take two cereal heads from the centre of the formation and another two well outside (100 metres) within the same field. Lay them on the bonnet of your car and think 'AURA' and dowse them. If there is a difference between the two heads, we are dealing with a genuine formation. (Chairman Michael Green, CCCS Procedures for the 1995 Season - as reported by Dr W C Levengood). All of these methods of detection, and myriad others too ridiculous to mention, provide us with evidence of something or another.

Important note

With such an array of scientific tools, cerealogists welcome any opportunity to use them in the field. Particularly popular are strange substances, usually found in the centre of the circles - white goo, for instance, or dew-rusted iron filings (meteoric dust)... or anything glowing or luminous - will quickly attract a flurry of interest. With this in mind, the authors strongly advise that nasty things, such as hospital waste, dangerous radio-isotopes, blood, or anything remotely caustic be disposed of responsibly and in a correct, legal, manner.

The New Age, rather than being viewed as imminently remote, may already be with us... and us with it. In the Dark Age it was our rationalisation which brought charges of heresy from institutions creating, and empowered by, fear... whilst also promising salvation from it. Now, in a world dominated by science and apparent reason, thus marked by a fragmentation of the established church - and then, in turn, the atomisation of those fragments - it is freedom of belief which seems threatening and heretical. Science implies knowledge, therefore a say in our destiny (doesn't it feel good to be in control?)... but then, so does mysticism. Perhaps this New Age is a merging of both scientism and mysticism; with each repelling or embracing the other, like axial magnets {If science is incongruous to mysticism, and the mystical is represented through art, does that elevate bogus science to an art form?}. In contemporary terms the circles represent a microcosm of this incongruity between the scientific, and the mystical... chaotic, anti-chaotic - the past, present, and future potential - New Age/Dark Age, all at one with ourselves. Or other such babble.