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ET Communication or Hoax?

Two unusual crop formations have appeared in a field near a British radio telescope. One of them is a schematic similar to an image transmitted by the Arecibo radio telescope in 1974.

The broadcast consisted of a transmission of a pictorial message, which has been approximated in one of the two crop formations. The transmission was beamed toward the globular star cluster M13. The cluster is 21,000 light years from earth, and is located near the edge of our galaxy. It contains approximately 300,000 stars. The broadcast used Arecibo's megawatt transmitter and its 305 meter antenna. It was the equivalent of a twenty trillion watt wide broadcast, but was focused on a very narrow area of the sky.

The message contains 1679 bits arranged into 73 lines of 23 characters each. The graphic the message produces shows the Arecibo telescope, our solar system, a rough human figure, a representation of earth biochemistry and DNA.

The crop circle approximates the message closely, but with some key variations. If it is a reply to our communication, then it would seem to say that it is from a life-form that is also hydrocarbon based, that they understand mathematics in the same way that we do, but that their DNA is somewhat different from ours, and that they inhabit three of the planets in their solar system.

In addition to the reply to our message, another image is included, presumably of one of their faces. They look, it would appear, a bit like us. In fact, it has been conjectured that this might be a portrait of the hoaxer, or a wry indication that the formations were made by human beings.

Obviously, whoever made them did not choose to reply to our Arecibo transmission by radio, but by crop, and there are some crop circle researchers who believe that the formations may be of unknown origin. However, this website received a communication before the formations were publicly known suggesting that they may be a hoax. The communication stated that a crop-circle hoaxer would create a face and a glyph. It is impossible to tell if the formations were already on the ground when the letter was sent.

To determine whether or not this crop circle is an authentic anomaly, it is essential to remove some of the swirled crop and analyze it for the biological changes that have been associated with genuine mystery formations in the past. Unless this is done, this highly unusual formation cannot be definitively declared to be either a hoax or a true unknown.

Last August, a formation appeared in the same immediate area that was almost certainly genuine. This exquisite fractal had all of the earmarks of the real anomalies, although no confirming study of crop from within the formation was ever carried out.

If our 1975 broadcast was picked up by somebody, they must be located within 27 light-years of earth, in the direction of the M13 Star Cluster. Should the formation prove to be unexplainable, it would make sense for SETI to immediately begin seeking to pick up conventional transmissions from that direction. Perhaps the crop formation was a quite logical attempt to draw our attention to that particular area of the sky, although how it (or any of the real formations) was created must remain a matter for conjecture.

Opinion: It hardly seems likely that ET would choose to announce himself to us via crop. Or it would, if he did not already appear to be doing so. Like all anomalies, this one must be carefully studied before judgement can be passed. If this is a true unknown, it represents a major change in the way that crop circles are structured. This formation does not consist of swirled crop, and is not formed primarily of circles. Instead, the figures are rectangular and the crop is laid down.

If past is prologue, this new technique will lead to ever more complex and elegant renditions, perhaps offering more precise communications. Experienced croppies we have talked to about these formations are of the opinion that they are rough enough to have been formed by hoaxers, but intricate--and surprising--enough to be the real thing.

All photographs Copyright (C) 2001, Lucy Pringle. To see these images in detail, go to Lucy Pringle's Website.

NOTE: This news story, previously published on our old site, will have any links removed.


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