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Crop circles

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RLDavies
808715.  Sat Apr 23, 2011 7:05 am Reply with quote

It won't be news to readers of The Golden Bough, but this letter in the new issue of Fortean Times reminded me of the ancient belief in crop spirits and "things" in the fields.
Quote:
Theo Paijmans' article on "Those Damned Invisible Things" (FT 269) brought to mind tales of the "field spirit" or "spirit of vegetation", a nearly worldwide belief system in which it was thought that the personification of the growing crop dwells in, and guards, the field throughout the growing season.

This spirit, it was said, would manifest in a number of different animal forms, and evidence for its existence could be seen in the way in which the wind would set the crops into waving motion. Various epithets such as "the Cat sits there", "the Steer is running in the corn", "the Goats are chasing each other", "there runs the Horse", "the Boar is rushing through the corn", "the Mad Dog is in the corn", "or "the Wolf sits in the corn and will tear you in pieces" were all meant to dissuade the unwary (especially children) from running afoul of the Corn-Cock, Corn-Cat, Corn-Steer, Oats-Goat, Oats-Stallion, Rye-Boar, Rye-Dog, Rye-Wolf, or any other variation of crop animal, which would "get" them if they ventured too close. (Sir James Frazier, The Golden Bough)

The dangers of encountering the field spirit were perhaps best demonstrated in Silesia where, in a certain harvesting-festival custom, the reaper who had cut the last stalk of the season was arrayed in rye stalks and given a long plaited tail. Called the "tomcat", he was sometimes joined by a second man who was similarly attired and called the "she-cat". Thus costumed, and mimicking the spirit(s) of the field, they were charged with giving chase to anyone they could catch and thrashing them with a long stick.

The potential violence that these invisible spirits could dole out on the unsuspecting child or farmer seems eerily in keeping with the kamaitachi reports from Gifu prefecture, or the thing that Dennis Sullivan encountered on his farm in Brookville, Kansas ("...when he entered the field he noticed a movement in the grass, as of some animal"). Perhaps it's not that these stories were, ahem, "planted" as promotional pieces to gauge public reaction to a particular topic, as Mr Paijmans briefly wonders, but that they were always there among the wind-blown crops, waiting for someone to rediscover them.

Trevor Ouellette
North Bay, Ontario

 
nicholasjwest
809207.  Sun Apr 24, 2011 6:38 pm Reply with quote

My father's getting a bald spot on his head. Either that or he's going bald. I know which one I'm betting on...

 
Bondee
809375.  Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:27 am Reply with quote

I'd bet on the latter following the former.

 
Posital
809410.  Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:46 am Reply with quote

I went to Avebury one summer... there were more crop circles than you could shake a stick at. Even found a fresh one... but here's a nice panoramic from the day...

http://img219.imageshack.us/img219/4536/panavebury130703.jpg

 
Ion Zone
813406.  Wed May 04, 2011 3:45 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
This spirit, it was said, would manifest in a number of different animal forms,


They have these kinds of stories in Japan.

 
gruff5
814243.  Sat May 07, 2011 2:49 pm Reply with quote

Posital wrote:
I went to Avebury one summer... there were more crop circles than you could shake a stick at.

Isn't that how they make them? Shaking sticks in the crop?

 
bemahan
814272.  Sat May 07, 2011 6:03 pm Reply with quote

We were very excited a couple of days ago when we opened our bedroom curtains to see a crop triangle on the meadow-type area across the road from us. Closer inspection showed that the man on the mower from the council had done it.

 
Ainee
814288.  Sat May 07, 2011 6:48 pm Reply with quote

Posital's photo is excellent.

I once watched a crop circle form, within a few minutes. It wasn't the neatest of circles, but neither did Aliens seem to be involved.

Driving across the Suffolk grain prairies one afternoon, my friend and I pulled over to look more closely at a strange event in a field. The Farmer was sitting in his tractor watching it, and eating his sandwiches. Already several cars had pulled alongside the event, and a few more arrived as we all watched.

It was as though a tiny tornado was swirling on one spot, on the upslope of a ripe wheatfield, on a hot and sunny day. A narrow vortex of straws and chaff was rising above it, almost like smoke. What was left behind was a circle, with precise upright-stem edges, although not geometrically perfect.

I told my Glider-Pilot friend about it, and he said that no-one ever asks Glider pilots about crop-circles, but they form on the sunny upslopes, as this one had. That is where gliders aim, to gain uplifts.

 
bobwilson
814299.  Sat May 07, 2011 7:52 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
I told my Glider-Pilot friend about it, and he said that no-one ever asks Glider pilots about crop-circles, but they form on the sunny upslopes, as this one had.


I was taken by your tale until I read this paragraph. OKaaay - so there's this secret group known as "glider pilots" who have arcane knowledge - but for some unknown reason nobody ever bothers to ask them (and none of them have ever come forward to offer their expertise - presumably due to some loyalty oath?).

I suspect that your glider friend is trying to get into your pants with the promise of revealing the guild secrets Ainee

 
soup
814339.  Sun May 08, 2011 4:39 am Reply with quote

Ainee wrote:
they form on the sunny upslopes, as this one had. That is where gliders aim, to gain uplifts.


Here was me thinking thermals could form anywhere there was a change to different ground cover . Land/water tarmac pan/cropped area cropped area/forest. They don't necessarily form only on sunny upslopes .

 
Ainee
814413.  Sun May 08, 2011 8:23 am Reply with quote

bobwilson wrote:

I suspect that your glider friend is trying to get into your pants with the promise of revealing the guild secrets Ainee


Aha! I suspected that too! Silly man for never offering to take me up for a glide: I may well have been overwhelmed and succumbed if he had done so...

 
Spud McLaren
814415.  Sun May 08, 2011 8:26 am Reply with quote

Be careful of amorous glider pilots; their fuselages are unpowered and reliant on updraught.

 
Ainee
814419.  Sun May 08, 2011 8:46 am Reply with quote

LOL

Good advice: I shall remember to reject their advances in future!

Are pilot/owners of Light Aircraft ok to dally with? I do steer clear of helicopter pilots since I dated one who had crashed three times.

 
nicholasjwest
814838.  Mon May 09, 2011 2:19 pm Reply with quote

The main problem with helicopter pilots is the rotors. Ideally, you want a man with a jetpack.

 
Ainee
814839.  Mon May 09, 2011 2:28 pm Reply with quote

I was advised that a Waterbed is the best mechanical empowerment for lazy men.

 

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