Canada Crop Circles
Become More
Frequent, Complex
By Mary MacArthur
Camrose Bureau - The Western Producer
From Stig Agermose <>

Rusty Manuel and Thelly Whitman have always joked that the strange lights near their grain fields on the outskirts of Edmonton are UFOs.
Cereal circles found near Edmonton
A set of seven circles was recently discovered near Edmonton. Farmer Rusty Manuel swathed around the circles, leaving them intact for study. The formation was almost 58 metres across. The crop was flattened from the centre out to the edge, rather than in the swirling patterns found in other crop circles. But they're not laughing after circles were found in their barley field.
"We're not going to joke about that any more," said Whitman.
A custom sprayer operator hired to spray Roundup on a barley field infested with thistles spotted the circles first. Without bothering to look at the field, Manuel put the circles down to animals or wind.
"I thought it was some animal rolling around in it. I hadn't seen it. When I started to cut it I got pretty inquisitive."
Now, neither Manuel nor Whitman thinks animals made the circles.
"This here is a big deal, the way it's knocked down," he said.
The centre circle is 30 metres across with four smaller circles on all four quadrants. Off two of the smaller circles are another two circles.
What's strange is that Whitman noticed circles in the same field a year earlier when she was swathing the crop, but attributed it to animals. Thinking back, she can't remember if the circles were in any sort of formation.
"I contributed it to animals bedding down in our grain. That, and I don't like that end of the field. I get an eerie feeling in that end of the field."
Whitman doesn't know what made the circles, but she hasn't ruled out some other life form.
"I've always been a strong believer there's something more than us around. There's something more than our little world."
Gordon Sopczak, Alberta co-ordinator for Circles Phenomenon Research Canada, said he's sure whatever is creating the circles will "delight us and astound us again."
Members of a crop circle investigative team took grain and soil samples from within the crop circle on the farm near Edmonton to test for abnormalities.
Manuel plans to harvest the grain separately. He wants to see if there's anything unusual about it next spring when it's reseeded.
More intricate
Sopczak said crop circles like the one in north Edmonton are becoming more complex. No longer are they simple circles in a field.
In 1999, 17 crop circles were reported across Canada. One on the University of Alberta farm was a hoax, another was caused by fairy rings, but several others were complex patterns, he said.
As in Britain, many of the crop circles are reappearing in areas where they have been reported in previous years.
Sopczak doesn't know if more crop circles are being reported because there are more circles, or if people are learning how to report them.
According to a website run by Circles Phenomenon Research Canada, there were 14 circles reported in Canada in 1998, two in 1997, three in 1996, two in 1995, four in 1994, nine in 1993, 21 in 1992, 12 in 1991 and 22 in 1990. Nine circles were reported between 1969 and 1989.
The website can be found at