Crop circles appear in a rice field in Sleman, Indonesia


People watch the nearly 230-foot-wide crop circle that appeared over the weekend in a rice field in Sleman, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. AP

NY Daily News | Jan 26, 2011

By Michael Sheridan

Crop circles in Indonesia have some locals fearing an alien invasion.

The design, measuring nearly 230 feet in diameter and consisting of several circles and triangles, was discovered in a rice field in Sleman, Yogyakarta, earlier this week.

It is believed to be the first time a crop circle has appeared in the Asian country. Explanations have ranged from it being the work of extraterrestrials, to the sign of a higher being.

“I think they were left by an alien spaceship, like one I saw in TV,” Krasakan resident Cahyo Utomo told The Jakarta Post on Monday. “It is impossible that this was made by the wind or any animal.”

“Whether a UFO has indeed landed here, I don’t know precisely,” a resident named Madurejo told the Indonesian news website, Kompas.com. “What is clear is that this is a sign of God’s greatness.”

Whatever the cause, the mysterious circles have now appeared in at least 30 countries, according to crop circle expert Freddy Silva.

“The phenomenon has been going on since 1680,” he told the Daily News, with eyewitness accounts of their creation being recorded “since the 1880s.”

The author of “Secrets in the Field,” he has been researching crop circles for more than two decades, and said there are always tale-tell signs if one is for real, or just a joke.

“With the real circles, the plants are not damaged, they are bent over about inch from the soil,” Silva explained. Plus, “the plants, their cellular structure, have been altered.”

However, hoax crop circles have grown more and more common in the past two decades.

“From the 1800s to 1991, at least 99% were genuine,” Silva said. From 1992 to 2000, that number fell to “about 70%.”

Since the turn of the century, he said, “95% are hoaxes … The real ones have gone quiet.”

A dedicated group could conceivably create a manmade crop circle in a short period of time, Silva admitted. Some have paid off farmers and picked isolated locations in order to make their creations.

“In two or three days, a group of 14 people who have been doing this for years [could] create a coherent design,” he said, but felt that it would likely be harder in a wet rice field.

“It would be more difficult to hoax something in a rice field, because there’s so much mud,” Silva said.

The Indonesia crop circles may prove to be just another of those hoaxes. The Jakarta Post reports Yogyakarta’s Gadjah Mada University investigators are looking into claims that a group of local college kids may have been behind the elaborate design.

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