Upon the Mower's asking too much, the Farmer swore That the Devil should Mow it rather than He.
September 28, 2011 3:02 PM   Subscribe

Wide-spread interest in crop circles started in the 1980s, but if you dig a bit, you'll find some older references to circles in the crops, without any notion of extraterrestrial involvement. The oldest of these examples is the Mowing-Devil of Hartford-shire, seen here in a woodcut from 1678. It is most common to find the first of four pages online, but the text continues, describing the interaction between the rich industrious farmer and his poor neighbour, resulting in a mysterious circle in crops appearing the following morning. A modern crop circle enthusiast went to great lengths to track down more information, but a closer reading of the text offers another interpretation.
posted by filthy light thief (11 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Well, I learned something new today:

The pamphlet is often prayed in aid by crop circle enthusiasts...

Apparently this is a phrase that, ostensibly, real people actually used, at some point in history, somewhere.
posted by gurple at 3:08 PM on September 28, 2011

A close look shows what actually appears to be flames either side of the oats. 
Although the devil is cutting the   oats down with a scythe, I’m fairly 
confident this is a representat       ion of the diabolical flames consuming 
the field, rather than the dev         il cutting patterns into it. The pamphlet 
does then claim that the next m       orning, the oats were perfectly mown, 
and it’s possible that this may h   ave been the way they were destroyed – 
but I suspect fire is the more likely explanation.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 3:23 PM on September 28, 2011

What are the current social norms illustrated by the Parable of Ye Wanderer Who Was Buggered By Grey-Pated Boggarts Whilst Riding Alone?
posted by infinitewindow at 4:15 PM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Finally! Ironclad proof that from it's earliest days, the labour movement has been aligned with none other than the Devil himself!
posted by [expletive deleted] at 4:49 PM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

What happened to crop squares or crop triangles?

Advanced as they might be, our alien overlords have a distinct lack of geometric imagination.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:12 PM on September 28, 2011

There can be no Doubt that the Lowly Mower performed the Amazing deed Himself, and thereafter did set the Field a blaze to teach the Rich Farmer a Lesson. That Lesson being that One shan't Be such A very Large and Ob-Noxious Dick.
posted by double block and bleed at 5:13 PM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think Dennis Miller had it right. Crop circles = Uncle Jeb with a weed whacker and an IV drip of grain alcohol.
posted by jonp72 at 6:52 PM on September 28, 2011

I think that's a bit unfair . . the people who do these are efficient, talented and creative, and they come up with some really pretty designs. Granted, they are vandals and their energy is a bit misplaced, but I doubt anyone's drunken hillbilly uncle could do it with a plank and a piece of twine. The real hardcore enthusiasts are out there with GPS, lasers, and other high-tech toys.
posted by chaff at 6:59 PM on September 28, 2011

Ingenious indeed. And based on some of those "historical" articles, it sounds like playing pranks is not exactly a new phenomenon.

Hint. Whenever a newspaper offers a reward for information on something, that's generally a sign that something was created by the paper.
posted by happyroach at 9:29 PM on September 28, 2011

I think Dennis Miller had it right. Crop circles = Uncle Jeb with a weed whacker and an IV drip of grain alcohol.

Dennis Miller hasn't "had it right" since 9/12/11, and the world is diminished by that.
posted by Sphinx at 9:39 PM on September 28, 2011

Dammit, 9/12/01
posted by Sphinx at 9:39 PM on September 28, 2011

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