I received this over the Email. Anyone know who wrote it ?

What are Crop Circles ?

Crop circles are irregular circles that have appeared swirled in farmers' fields across the World, primarily in England.

Although crop circles first gained major publicity in the early 1980s, the first circles appeared much earlier. There is even evidence of crop circles as early as 1678 in Hertfordshire, England. The first modern reported crop circle appeared in Tully, England during 1966.

In December of 1973, a strange circular imprint appeared in a wheat field near Wokurna, Australia. Soon, 7 swirled circles appeared in an oat field near Bordertown (nearby to Wokurna), Australia. Later, in December of 1989, an amazing set of circles appeared on land owned by the Jolly family, in the Mallee wheat belt of Victoria, Australia. As many as 90 were found. During the experience, strange nocturnal lights appeared in the sky and a "screaming" noise was heard by locals.

During the 1970s, circles appeared in the grass near alien contactee Eduard "Billy" Meier's farm in Switzerland. The grass within the circles was swirled flat. But the stalks were not broken, only bent flat. The grass continued to grow in a swirled pattern.

In September of 1976, farmer Edwin Fuhr of Langenburg, Saskatchewan, witnessed several silver, dome-shaped crafts hovering above his field. When the crafts left, they had left a number of circles in his field. More circles appeared overnight for the next few days, and 7 circles were found in total.

Crop circles first gained major publicity during the summer of 1980. Many circles appeared in the English countryside at this time. The phenomena was centred in the land around the town of Warminster (a world-famous UFO Hotspot). As the years passed by, more and more circles appeared each year, usually between the months of May and August in the early morning hours. Crop Circles spread beyond the Wessex counties of Wiltshire and Hampshire to other parts of England, and then, worldwide. Crop Circles are now reported in over 30 countries, including Canada, Hungary, the United States, Japan, and the former Soviet Union. The circles grew more and more mathematically intricate, and now included rings, lines, squares, triangles, as well as circles.

Various theories circulated as to the origin of this strange phenomena.. Dr. Terence Meaden hypothesized that the circles were formed by electrified wind, thus the "Plasma Vortex Theory". He theorized that electrified air (plasma) forms mini-tornadoes and screws down on the fields causing the circles. However, this theory does not account for the highly complex recent circles that have appeared. Hoaxers are often blamed for many of the circles, especially the more complex ones.

On September 9, 1991, Doug Bower and David Chorley admitted to hoaxing approximately 250 circles. However, many of the circles they created were ragged and under suspicion of hoaxing. The sheer number of circles, their peculiarity, and their worldwide location discounts complete hoaxing of all of them. Extraterrestrials are often blamed for the circles. UFOs are seen in the presence of circles, and, Mr. Fuhr actually saw crafts creating the circles. Whatever, the cause, crop circles will continue to puzzle humanity until the mystery is solved.

And this definition came from:
  • Crop Circle Central
  • Crop Circles are unexplained designs that are imprinted over the span of usually one night in fields of mostly wheat & corn, but have also occured in barley, oats, rape (canola), grass, trees, and even snow. In other words, any organic material in which a distinguishable impression can be made. They occur in crops during the spring & summer seasons throughout various regions of the world, such as in the U.S., Canada, throughout Europe, South America, Asia and Australia. In fact, the only two countries where crop circle have never been reported are China and South Africa. For the thousands reported every year, the vast majority go completely undetected. Most of the complex formations occur in the United Kingdom and they are also more likely to be detected because of the country's smaller land mass , therefore a large majority of researchers head to England every summer to conduct their independent research. But worldwide there are individuals in various countries, including the United States, that are recording the appearances of crop formations in their respective country in an attempt to learn more about their mysterious nature.

    The earliest known formation was in 1647 in England, from which a carving (see below left) of the current day theory on how it was created can be seen. Yet, they began to appear in significant numbers in the early 70's as individual circles that swired either clockwise, or counter-clockwise. A major transformation occured in 1990 when the circles became complex pictograms composed of straight lines, angles and spiral rings .

    There are many various theories of how these images are formed, but the mystery is far from being solved. Many people attribute them offhandedly to hoaxers without being aware of the complexities that are characteristic of genuine formations. And those who associate them with UFOs often believe that their reality is as debatable as those little green men, but as you will see here... they are very real. The best way to verify this is to physically stand in a crop circle yourself.