"Beware the bearers of FALSE gifts & their BROKEN PROMISES.
August 26, 2002 4:52 AM   Subscribe

"Beware the bearers of FALSE gifts & their BROKEN PROMISES. Much PAIN but still time. (Damaged Word). There is GOOD out there.We OPpose DECEPTION. Conduit CLOSING (BELL SOUND) --- According to this letter sent to Earthfiles.com this is the translation from ASCII 8 bit encoding, reading out from the center of the spiral of this crop circle. Is anyone out there geek enough to confirm this translation? I love the quirky use of CAPS. Here's the whole "glyph."
posted by gametone (32 comments total)
Have these guys never heard of Occam's Razor? They need a damn good shave, I tells ya.
posted by RokkitNite at 5:16 AM on August 26, 2002

Sounds like a load of crap to me, then again I know absolutely nothing about crypto...still, seems that any alien life intelligent enough to make their way here would be slick enough to just broadcast any messages they had to us via satellite transmission or a big, fat holographic image of the Giant Head in the sky for all to see...unless maybe they just enjoy screwing around with our heads.
posted by Jimmy Olsen at 5:25 AM on August 26, 2002

This looks like a photoshop job to me, and not a particularly good one...

Odd that the alien superintelligences left out "There will be..." (presumably) from the second sentence, and went with "There is..." in the third, rather than the more economical "GOOD is out there." [/sarcasm]

Cheese-covered tapir bollocks, I'm afraid, much as I want to believe.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:30 AM on August 26, 2002

If that's a real crop circle, you have to admit that it's pretty cool. And if that circle is in code, that's pretty cool too! Not that it makes sense. Say, why would aliens communicate with us via crop circles in ASCII 8, anyway? If they can do ASCII 8 they can use the alphabet just as easily. Or a telephone. Silly aliens.
posted by ashbury at 5:33 AM on August 26, 2002

ASCII is a seven-bit encoding, not an eight-bit encoding. There are many eight-bit encodings, most of which include ASCII as a subset.
posted by sneakums at 5:33 AM on August 26, 2002 [1 favorite]

It's a real crop circle - there's more here. Helicopters and GPS are believed to be involved. It's rather similar to the very witty Arecibo circle of last year. Of course the messages in some circles are more straightforward.
posted by grahamwell at 7:00 AM on August 26, 2002

gah.. it's all a publicity stunt for Disney's new film Signs.

Unofficial site here.
posted by jiroczech at 7:21 AM on August 26, 2002

Can't our future alien conqueror-masters just show up and get it over with?? All these abductions and crop circles and whatnot - c'mon, let's roll! The wait is killing me!
posted by UncleFes at 7:37 AM on August 26, 2002

If you read further on the earthfiles site you will see that they consider this particular glyph to be man-made as well. The partially constructed frame was seen a couple of days before the whole thing appeared. And it was mysteriously announced by an anonymous talkshow radio caller. As it is not visible from the surrounding countryside, only from the air, how did they know about it? Also it was constructed on a dry field that make fakery much easier.

To me it looks like a science club project. I see nothing that could not be accomplished by a clever group of kids. The image is cartoony, and the construction (lay of the crop) is crude.

But here are a couple of this years models that are much harder to explain. Their unearthly beauty, precision, grace, size, and the fact that they were made on wet, muddy fields is I think a challenge for Occams razor to slice.
Stonehenge 4th of July Formation It's over 700 feet across.
This Celtic Knot formed in early June was also on a muddy field.

I made some orthogonally corrected images of the code circle. If there is someone out there who wants to try their hand at the code-breaking.
posted by gametone at 7:57 AM on August 26, 2002

Whether it's aliens or hoaxers, spare a thought for the poor bloody farmer. If it was my field I'd be guarding it with my shotgun around this time of year.
posted by mokey at 8:26 AM on August 26, 2002

re the GameTone link: oh-my-god. If you look at the centre of the second picture, you can distinctly see the Face of Christ. It's not an alien message at all. And it's in Binary (Bin = two; ary=hurry as in "Coming"). Plus, if you add up all the numbers in the message, it comes to 12454, and we all know what that means.
posted by seanyboy at 8:51 AM on August 26, 2002

I preferred the aliens when they spoke to us through rocks.
posted by soundofsuburbia at 8:57 AM on August 26, 2002

Somewhere, Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged is having himself a good chuckle.

Also, I wonder how the aliens decided who would get to be on the crop circle. I bet they had some sort of contest involving intergalactic boxtop collecting or something. Maybe a sweepstakes.

Or maybe that face is the biggest box office draw on Reticulon VII. I say we head on over to their planets and start leaving pictures of Leonardo DiCaprio. Or better yet, we could just send them Leonardo DiCaprio.
posted by Kafkaesque at 9:00 AM on August 26, 2002

I say we find their lame little planet wherever it is, and go tromp all over their crops!

See how they like that!
posted by canucklehead at 9:35 AM on August 26, 2002

a challenge for Occams razor to slice.

A well executed prank is harder to believe in than Celtic space aliens? Really?
posted by mikrophon at 9:49 AM on August 26, 2002

Oh great. They're using our wheat fields as giant milk cartons. "Have you seen this alien?" Hee hee.
posted by coelecanth at 10:35 AM on August 26, 2002

I say we find their lame little planet wherever it is, and go tromp all over their crops!

You're joking. After foot and mouth disease effectively closed the countryside and then Sept 11th reducing the number of tourists overall south-west England really needs crop circles. Good on the little green bastards.
posted by vbfg at 10:36 AM on August 26, 2002

A well executed prank is harder to believe in than Celtic space aliens? Really?

Remember, Occam's Razor doesn't make any claims about the validity of someting that is "easier to believe". Therefore, according to the twisted logic of most skeptics, the signs are clearly Martian.
posted by caustic at 11:00 AM on August 26, 2002

according to the twisted logic of most skeptics, the signs are clearly Martian.

One has to hypothesise an entire race that is hidden on Mars, has the technology to travel to Earth, wishes to communicate, can leave bizarre and frankly trite messages in abstrusely-coded corn circles, and chooses not to use more intelligible means - as opposed to some bored students or a publicity team for Disney.
Or... were you being ironic and I missed it? I think the little green men have got a pretty cool sense of humour if they use their superior technology to goad cocky rationalists like myself into declaring that they don't exist.
posted by RokkitNite at 11:20 AM on August 26, 2002

I say we find their lame little planet wherever it is, and go tromp all over their crops!

See how they like that!

posted by rushmc at 11:21 AM on August 26, 2002

You won't find me tromping all over alien crops! If movies have taught me anything, it's that aliens always look really icky. Therefore their crops are probably some sort of flesh-eating, slimy mutation. I wouldn't touch that with a ten foot pole!

*has sudden flash of realization*

posted by soundofsuburbia at 12:03 PM on August 26, 2002

RokkitNite: What I said really doesn't sound the same without the word "therefore". I meant that the specificity of skeptics' definitions often lead them to completely dismiss possibly valid statments. The logical exaggeration of this is to conclude that the crop circles are Martian based on unrelated evidence.
posted by caustic at 12:21 PM on August 26, 2002

It's not aliens, it's art. I would encourage the "believers" to check out circlemakers.org where this is being touted as the latest and most impressive entry in their 2002 "Top of the Crops" competition. It's a very interesting site, too, with a beginners guide to making your own circle, and lots of beautiful pictures of crop formations.

According to circlemaker John Lundberg, "Although it may seem contradictory to our perceived agenda, undoubtedly one of our roles is to encourage belief in the non-human origin of the circles..."
posted by scribblative at 12:51 PM on August 26, 2002

Yes it's an old story.
It was the Mowing Devil , in 1678, in Hertfordshire.

"Crop of oat shew'd as if it had been all of a Flame."
"No Mortal Man was able to do the like."
posted by gametone at 4:40 PM on August 26, 2002

Therefore their crops are probably some sort of flesh-eating, slimy mutation.

Nah, that's just frankenfood.
posted by rushmc at 4:49 PM on August 26, 2002

Being a resident of Wiltshire (crop circle central) I see these things all over the place. Believe me, the ones that you see on the web represent a very small proportion of the total number of crop circles this year. However, the vast majority are amateurish, wonky and plain crap. The county is covered in the buggers, everyone seems to be at it with varying degrees of success.

Obvioulsly those who 'want to believe' that crop circles are evidence of alien visitation only want to believe in the pretty ones.

BTW- there is little damage to the crop itself, the farmer only has to set the blades of his harvester a little lower than normal, many of them make a small fortune charging £5 a time admission to gullible tourists anyway.
posted by Markb at 8:48 AM on August 27, 2002

You raise an interesting point, Markb. Why do people always assume these aliens have the steady hand and genius of Escher? For all the budding Rembrandts on Alpha Centauri, there are surley 50 who could never draw Tippy quite right.
posted by Kafkaesque at 12:30 PM on August 27, 2002

I wouldn't be surprised if almost all crop glyphs are man-made. But I think some of them are just too beautiful and delicate to come from folks tromping around with boards tied to their feet.

I'm not convinced by GPS theories either. As far as I know the resolution of even military units is not in range of inches that would be required to draw these things as precisely as they are drawn.

The glyphs that leave me with a sense of wonder are the ones covering a large area of land, with a lay of the straw that is very much like rushing water. And many of these are made in a very short time, in fields too muddy to walk in, without leaving a mess.

I do not assume they are made by aliens. I don't know what makes them. If I were to go out on a limb I'd say some natural electrical phenomenon. If they are done by pranksters they must be a talented group of Leonardo's and Eshers in anti-gravity boots.

Eltjo H. Haselhoff has a Ph.D. in Theoretical and Experimental Physics. He was interviewed by Whitley Streiber in this past weeks Dreamland. His book is The Deepening Complexity of Crop Circles: Scientific Research and Urban Legends.

The interview is ninety one minutes into the show. Skip ahead if your player lets you. I was not that much impressed with Whitley's first guest.

I believe there are genuine mysteries and anomalies in some crop circles. In the interview he talks of evidence of high temperature effects in these glyphs, and in general brings scientific discernment to this phenomenon. The interview fascinated me. Though I'm not sure it will dent the skeptical armor of anyone here. True scientists are curious and probing, not scared hidebound parrots.

Eltjo H. Haselhoff has been examining the crop-circle phenomenon for over ten years, and has personally visited hundreds of crop circles. Born and educated in the Netherlands, Dr. Haselhoff worked at many research institutes, including Los Alamos National Laboratories. He has published dozens of articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals, such as Journal of Applied Physics, and The Physical Review. His most recent article appeared in the prestigious, international scientific journal, Physiologia Plantarum. - from the publisher's description on Amazon. I'd link to it but I'm not sure of the policy here for such things.
posted by gametone at 6:35 PM on August 27, 2002

gametone, you think a natural electric phenomenon would create a precise image more easily than a group of humans? I think that crop 'circle' you linked to was beautiful, but I have absolutely no doubt about it's origins. Human beings are capable of amazing art. The whole crop circle thing has grown from a couple of guys creating a circle by tying a string to a pole in the center, into pieces of art that must take a great deal of planning. But they wouldn't need global positioning systems - they'd make the design, then divide it into sections and then use a tape measure or whatever to implement the design on a larger "canvas" - like using a grid to draw a photo.
posted by mdn at 7:12 PM on August 27, 2002

Mdn, yeah I went out on a limb to speculate. Fortunately I don't have an academic career to jeopardize with unconventional ideas.

I think of them as being like chladini patterns organized as sand can be by standing waves on a vibrating surface, or the pattern that iron filings will take over a magnet. I'm not talking about the faces and various representational glyphs, which I take to be man-made.

Like I said I think that almost all of the glyphs are produced somewhat as you suggest. But adding up the eyewitness accounts of swirling lights, sounds and wind in association with the creation of the circles, leaves me thinking that something else is going on here. Yes I know eyewitnesses evidence will be dismissed as "anecdotal" but I'm not going to summarily reject it just because of that favored stigma of the skeptics.

These same witnesses testify to the glyphs being made in a matter of minutes. Another thing that will be laughed away, I'm sure. But what cannot be disputed is the rainy weather, and the subsequent muddy footprints that would betray any string and grid using makers.

Also fashioning my speculations are the reported evidence of high heat on the crop (burst stalk nodes from escaping steam, and dead flies stuck to the stalks by their proboscis). Listen to the interview with Haselhoff, he will possibly engage your mind more than I can.

I'm just saying something mysterious could be happening here. Who knows what the organizing mechanism is. I say, just don't approach it with eyes closed.
posted by gametone at 4:12 AM on August 28, 2002

These same witnesses testify to the glyphs being made in a matter of minutes. Another thing that will be laughed away, I'm sure.

well, considering that some people want people to believe aliens created them - the artists, the tourist industry, pranksters, etc - it really does seem more likely that people made up stories of flashing lights and immediate creation, than that aliens really traveled across the galaxy to mow our lawns into patterns or that random electric phenomena would create patterns in crops in the UK unlike patterns it creates anywhere else in the world or on any other surface (why do the waves in the sand not create celtic glyphs, eg?)

But what cannot be disputed is the rainy weather, and the subsequent muddy footprints that would betray any string and grid using makers.

In that link above which was apparently on a muddy field, you can see white marks around the front of the shapes... anyway, it looks like this formation was made by flattening the part of the crop that wasn't the design, so i don't see why the field being muddy would make it more difficult to do that. It's a pretty simply design really, not as complicated as that alien face, e.g.

Also keep in mind, crop circles are called such because they began simply as circles. Over time they have become more and more complicated. They are almost exclusively found in the UK. It is easy to explain this as a sort of fad among british kids / drunks which began purely as a prank and became progressively more artistic. If it's aliens or electric phenomena, why would they have started so simple and only become complex over a few decades? Why would they limit themselves to one little island in europe?
posted by mdn at 1:22 PM on September 17, 2002

Mdn, thanks for your thoughtful response. I've considered all of the points that you bring up. Especially the local nature of the circles and the evolving nature of their complexity logically indicating human activity. Believe me, I'm in no way convinced of any paranormal mechanism for any of these things. Some of these glyphs, the ones that fill me with awe for their beauty, could just as well be part of some arcane disinfo campaign from our own home-grown lovable pranksters, the ones with the technology to fly around spewing focused microwaves. Yee haw. I bet sometimes they'd let the artistic types have a whack at the toys. And really I would need to see one of these glyphs manifest before my naked eyes in an instant, to truly believe any of the more than boards-and-well-disciplined-feet methods of creation.

BTW, all the photos of the circles were taken after people had already tromped around in them, Heisenberg, y'know. I factor in the eye-witness accounts, that seem credible to me, that when first encountered the crop lays were pristine. But do these people have a financial or ego incentive to lie, who knows. I'm admittedly only going on feelings.

But I am swayed to hoping there is something more wondrous here, by the long history of magical lore from the region 'round Stonehenge. And I'm open to listening to what all people have to say, not just the scientists, and to incorporate some of it into my not just black-and-white world view. What if there is another form of organized energy, aside from organic brains. Could an electrical based intelligence have evolved undisturbed in the convolutions of the Earth's mantle lo these billions of years. Could our screwing around with ever more of Tesla's useful but annoyingly humming power grid, and our addiction to top-pops radio vibration be bugging the hell out of it, so that it's excreting desperate cries for peace and quiet, in what may be it's best geologic blackboard, England. Who knows, unlikely yes, but fun to speculate.
posted by gametone at 5:25 PM on September 17, 2002

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