Synopses & Reviews
In the summer of 1980, in Wiltshire, southern England, a group of three swirled circular patterns mysteriously appeared in farmer John Scull's fields of wheat and oats. Scull blamed Army helicopters. UFO enthusiasts credited flying saucers. A local meteorologist attributed them to whirlwinds. Each year thereafter, the circles continued to appear, in Wiltshire, Hampshire, Sussex, Oxfordshire - increasing in mystery and complexity as a social, religious, and scientific turmoil grew around them. Now manifesting in enormous and ornate "pictograms," the phenomenon continues to draw crowds of the curious and the faithful, not only to circles-prone fields of southern England, but to unsuspecting fields in such places as Germany, France, Belgium, Spain, Romania, Australia, Japan, Canada, and the United States. North American enthusiasts are now in the forefront of circles research - or "cerealogy" as it has come to be known - and every summer we spend tens of thousands of dollars and many hours in scientific and spiritual evaluation of circles here and abroad.
Science writer Jim Schnabel ventured into Wiltshire in search of the circles and an answer to their annual mystery. He soon became entranced, not merely by the odd swirled shapes in the fields, but by the human beings who flocked to them: plasma physicists and ritual magicians, dowsers and UFOlogists, New Age tourists and garrulous mediums, and the devoted "cereal" artists whose work lay behind it all.