Crop Circle Science                                


Nancy Talbott

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Cambridge, MA 02141 USA
(617) 492-0415

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Listen to Nancy Talbott on Open Minds Radio discussing plant abnormalities found in crop circles:

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The physical changes (listed below) documented in crop circle plants by Michigan biophysicist W.C. Levengood have been determined by evaluating hundreds of sample plants -- both downed and standing -- taken from inside the overall perimeter of each formation against hundreds of control plants taken at varying distances outside each formation, in several directions. More than 250 individual crop formations from multiple countries, over a 10-year period were examined in-depth. Although many of the formations studied were relatively "simple" in overall design and/or relatively "small" in overall size (primarily because of BLT's financial and/or personnel limitations, particularly in Europe), many larger and more "complex" formations -- those whose overall design included intricate geometric shapes with multiple design elements of varying sizes -- are represented here.

Many of the formations occurred in European countries and, in those cases, the plants were dried-down in open air for 4-6 weeks prior to shipping to the U.S. Some of the U.S. and Canadian formations were shipped while still green. The physical changes found in these crop circle plants, outlined below, have all been determined to be statistically significant at the 95% level of confidence:


On the microscopic level, abnormal enlargement of cell wall pits in bract tissue (a thin membrane which surrounds the seed- head and through which nutrients pass to the developing seed) were found. This examination utilizes the optical microscope and is quite time-consuming and, although useful in the early, exploratory stages of the research, was replaced when equally reliable criteria were subsequently discovered.


Enlarged (both laterally and longitudinally) plant stem nodes - the fibrous "knucle-like" protuberances found spaced along the plant stem beneath the seed-head, technically called "pulvini." Although these nodes are sometimes enlarged both laterally (they are "fatter") and longitudinally (they are "stretched"), extensive laboratory work has determined that it is the node elongation (the stretching) that is a permanent effect caused by the formation energies - and so this is the parameter now used.

Apical Node Elongation


In some crop formations the energy system involved is intense enough to cause bending of this apical (top) node (although pronounced node bending is much more commonly found at the lower nodes on the plant stem). In a few cases we have found severe apical node bending in conjunction with marked stretching of the node. As the example, below, illustrates the node elongation in such cases is clearly in addition to that caused by the bending of the node tissues.

Sample plants with apical node elongation and extreme bending, in wheat from a Maryland, USA crop formation.
Apical nodes in control plants from the same field, taken a distance away from the crop formation.

Plant Elongation
Four plants on left (from an Italian crop circle) show apical node elongation & slight bending. Two apical nodes on right are from controls.


Marked bending of the plant stem nodes which can occur at all of the nodes in some cases, is most often observed in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th nodes down toward the bottom of the stalks. It does occasionally occur in the first, or apical node beneath the seed-head (see above). Usually this bending (if it is determined to be significant after ruling out natural plant recovery processes) is in the range of 45-90 degrees and considerable care must be taken to not confuse this node bending with two well-known plant recovery processes:

(1) phototropism (the plant's natural tendency to reorient itself to sunlight) and;

(2) gravitropism (the plant's natural tendency to reorient itself to the earth's gravitational field).

NODE BENDING, which may (depending on the age of the crop when formation occurred & time elapsed since then) or may not be indicative of the genuine phenomenon.

Depending upon the growth-stage of the plant at the time it is downed (whether it is young or old) and the species of crop involved, these natural recovery processes - phototropism and gravitropism - begin to take effect within days. Therefore node bending can only be understood as significant when it is known how old the affected crop was at the time the crop circle occurred and, particularly, how many days have elapsed since then. [Young barley, for instance, begins recovery to the up-right position almost immediately and will show significant node bending within a week; young wheat tends to recover slightly more slowly. And mature crop may not reorient itself at all, depending on the amount of vigor inherent in the plants.] But when crop circles are known to have formed during a specific time period and are found within 24-48 hrs., and significant node bending (40° +) is observed, this is an effect that can be attributed to the causative energy system. In some cases canola (rape-seed) plants have been observed to be bent at a full 180°.


Bending at the base of the plant stem is a totally separate condition which is thought by many people to indicate that any formation in which it is found is "genuine" (not mechanically flattened). This type of bending is found at the very bottom of the stem, where it comes out of the earth, and is often quite pronounced.

Marked bending at the base of conola/oilseed rape plants -- which are known to break, not bend, when mechanically flattened.
Photos: Janet Ossebaard

Although this particular parameter has not been scientifically evaluated, it is known that mechanical flattening (with planks, boards or human feet) of many plants (particularly canola, above) will snap or break the plant stems, rather than bend them. As the summer progresses and the cereal crops - in which a majority of the crop formations occur - dry down, the plants become less and less elastic, making bending at the stem base in these crops perhaps more significant later on in the season.


Expulsion cavities (holes blown out at one or several of the plant stem nodes) are most often found in the 2nd node beneath the seed- head. However, in recent years they are being seen also in the 3rd and 4th nodes down the plant stem, as well as occasionally occurring in the top (apical) node. These holes are thought to be one of the plant abnormalities caused by exposure to microwave radiation which -- particularly in circles which occur in young, green crop -- instantly turns the plant's internal moisture to steam. If the microwaves are intense enough -- and the amount of moisture at the stem node great enough -- the rapidly expanding steam in these lower nodes can only escape by blowing holes out through the tough external fibers in these lower nodes. [In the apical, or top, nodes -- the youngest part of the plant -- the external fibers are considerably more elastic and the steam created there by exposure to microwaves seeps out more easily, stretching the nodes at the tops of the plants as it does so.]

A darkening of the stem node around expulsion cavities is sometimes also seen, and this is usually the result of the growth of an opportunistic fungus (Ustilago tritici) which quickly forms on the exudate released from inside the plant stem. (See:

expulsion cavity
Expulsion cavity typical of those often found in crop circle
samples, but very rarely seen in control plants examined
by W.C. Levengood. However, the data indicates this
abnormality is not present in all "genuine" formations.

expulsion cavity
Expulsion cavity in corn (maize). Thought to result from
intense, very brief bursts of microwaves which
instantly turn the moisture inside the
plant stem nodes to steam.

Expulsion cavities in older, mature plants can also look like this example, in mature wheat.

Expulsion cavities in older, mature barley plants.


Stunted, malformed seeds and germination effects. There are four basic changes to the seeds and germination capability in crop circle plants documented so far. These radically different reproductive effects depend upon the species of crop involved, the growth phase of the plants at the time the crop circle occurs, and the composition and intensity level of the energy system involved (which appears to differ slightly within each event as well as from event to event):


(a) If the crop circle occurs prior to anthesis (the flowering of the plant) and the development of the seed, the somatic (non-reproductive) tissue of the plant will continue to develop normally -- but seed development ceases or is impaired. Normally-formed glumes have been found which are totally devoid of seeds.

Crop circle seed-head (right) has no seeds, due to destruction of plant's reproductive capacity. Found only when crop circles occur in very immature plants.

(b) When crop circles occur at a slightly later growth stage, in young crop where the seed is still forming, the developing embryo fails to grow normally. These seeds will be visually stunted (smaller), will weigh less than their controls, and will exhibit reduced or repressed germination. Here, the reproductive capacity of the plant has been compromised.

MAIZE SEEDS (on right).
These occur when embryos are already formed, or partially formed,
when crop circle occurs.

Showing reduced seedling growth-rate, which typically occurs if crop circles form in plants which are at an intermediate growth-stage.

(c) When crop circles occur in more mature plants, where the embryo is fully formed or nearly so, the seeds will again be visually stunted and will weigh less than normal, but the effects on reproduction vary. One effect observed has been an alteration in normal growth-habit of the developing seedlings: in species which have a normal variability of growth at particular stages, this variability has been lost -- with the result being that all of the germinating seeds exhibit synchronized growth.

Showing normal variation of growth-rate (height)
for this particular species at this stage of development.
Showing induced synchronization of growth.


(d) Finally, when crop circles occur in mature plants with fully formed seeds, these seeds often exhibit a statistically significant massive increase in growth rate and vigor, with growth-rate up to five times the rate of the control seeds. Further, these seedlings can tolerate extreme stress (lack of water and/or light) for considerable periods of time without apparent harm.

(as opposed to controls), in seeds from crop which
was mature when crop circle formed.

The plant aberrations described above are thought to be caused by exposure of the plants to a complex atmospheric plasma energy system which is emitting heat (probably microwaves) in association with unusual electrical pulses and strong magnetic fields. The microwave component heats up the internal moisture in the plant stems (even mature crop nearing harvest contains some moisture), turning it to steam. In younger crop, where the external fibers are more elastic, the steam seeps out at the nodes by stretching these fibers; in older crop, where the external fibers are tougher and less elastic, the build-up of steam explodes out from the nodes, creating the holes subsequently found. The final effects on the individual plants depend upon a number factors, including the complexity and intensity level of the microwave component (which varies in each event and from location to location within any given crop circle), the modifying influence of the electrical pulses also involved, as well as the species, variety and age of the plants involved.



Beer-Lambert Principle. A clear indicator of the electromagnetic nature of the energies which cause node-length change in crop circles is the discovery that, in some formations, node-length change decreases from the center of the circle out to its edges in a very precise manner. In fact, these node-length changes were found to agree with a well-known law in physics -- the Beer-Lambert Principle -- which describes the absorption of EM energy by matter. In these cases the node-length increase was greatest at the center of the circle, decreasing as a function of sampling distance away from the center and toward the perimeter.

Example 1, below, is of a completely flattened circle; examples 2 & 3 each had a standing central tuft.

[Example 1]

[Example 2]

[Example 3]

In another case, involving a simple circle in southern Holland, a bright "pinkish-purple" football-shaped light was seen to hover low over a field. It then elongagated into a disc-shaped light, subsequently discharging an energy (described by the witness as "like the Shuttle") down toward the crop surface, at which time the plants flattened into a circle. This circle was carefully sampled along three diameters and, in the laboratory, it was found that the node-length changes on both sides of each sampled diameter precisely mirrored each other -- but each diameter's node-length changes differed from those found along the other two diameters. Exactly how this effect could have been produced is not understood.


Laboratory Replication of Crop Circle Plant Changes. Apical node (the first node beneath the seed-head) elongation and expulsion cavities (holes blown out at the lower plant-stem nodes) have been induced in normal plants in the laboratory by placing them in a commercial microwave oven for between 20-30 seconds. It is microwave radiation, here, that is heating up the moisture inside the plant stem which--as it turns to steam and expands--either stretches the more elastic fibers at the top of the plant, or blows holes in the tougher nodes farther down the plant stem.

The more positive plant changes--enhanced growth rate, increased yield & increased stress tolerance--observed in the laboratory in seedlings grown from cropcircle plants which were mature when the crop circles occured, have also been replicated in the laboratory. In 1998 W.C. Levengood and John Burke obtained a patent (Patent #5740627) on equipment they developed which delivers unusual electrical pulses to normal seed. Called the MIR process and carrying the registered Trademark "Stressguard," this equipment creates organized electron-ion avalanches which then form organized plasmas, to which seeds are exposed.

mir treated wheat
Graph showing increased yield consistently produced
by seed treated with MIR "Stressguard" process.

Corn, tomato, carrot and many other seeds will, after exposure to the MIR "Stressguard" process, show increased seedling growth-rate and accelerated maturity, increased yield (25-35%), and a substantial improvement in ability to withstand typical plant "stressors" (lack of water and/or sunlight). Numerous field trials conducted by multiple universities and international seed companies substantiated these results and John Burke spent several years attempting to find a commercial application. Since John's death the web-site he created describing in detail the MIR "Stressguard" process and its results is no longer active, but it is archived here:

The ability to replicate in the laboratory many of the changes documented in cropcircle plants is a strong indicator that the energies utilized in the lab are also involved as causative mechanisms in the field. In the field the major question is where are these plasma systems originating, and why?



Non-Geometrically downed crop. An important final note regarding these changes to crop circle plants is the fact that non-geometrically-downed crop -- usually called "lodging" by farmers and attributed to over-fertilization of the field and/or subsequent weather damage -- has sometimes been found to show these same changes (see Non-Geometric Crop Formations). This more randomly-downed, or chaotically-downed crop is often observed in the same fields in which "geometric" crop circles occur, but is also found in fields where no geometric crop circle exists. In some cases it is thought that this chaotically-downed crop is due to weather damage alone. However, testing has revealed that in many instances the same energetic situation involved in the geometric events is also involved in these non-geometrically downed areas. A control study carried out in 1997 did not reveal any of the typical plant anomalies in 100% over-fertilized wheat grown for commercial harvest.

                  [Laboratory Photos & Graphs: W.C. Levengood]

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