Circle Makers Speak #2: What Feelings Go Through Your Mind When You Have Made A Crop Circle?
Since our Instagram account Crop Circle Explorer ran a brief question and answer session with a human circle maker, we’ve had a fair few messages and emails from readers wanting to know more about the motivations and experiences of the makers. With time and persistence we’ve convinced some of the makers we know to fill us in on their experiences for a new series of articles. These aren’t people who regularly give interviews and they have asked to remain anonymous.
THIS WEEK'S QUESTION
For the second article in this feature we asked our circle makers just how they feel once they have made a crop circle. Are they guilty, excited or something else entirely?
First thought. Sleep! Making circles is mentally and physically shattering. You have no idea how much so if you’ve never been involved in making one. Then the worry of if you managed to pull it off without mistakes. You generally find out within a day or two from the pics posted online. Mistakes aren’t uncommon, but you take it on the chin and learn from them.
The online comments are always fun to read. The speculation of how it was created; definitely aliens. Then, like any artist, you just admire your work for a while and get to planning the next one. You don’t get involved with the online chat yourself. It’s not about that at all. And what others think is of no concern to me. For the record I don’t do this to fool anyone. There’s no laughing at people who believe otherworldly beings are responsible. It’s just art. Though you know you’ve created something that brings joy to lots of people. There’s a deep feeling of satisfaction in that, and it’s very addictive.
I’m usually both physically and mentally tired when I’ve finished making a crop circle. I always feel it’s the time of the night when a circle maker is at their most vulnerable. You have to get out of the field with your equipment and to a place of comparative safety whilst the minutes of darkness quickly disappear. You don’t want to encounter anyone at that time. Conversely, a deadline finish also leads you into the best part of the day. The birds begin to call, you can see deer slinking through the fields. You’re experiencing the southern English countryside in a way a lot of people won’t be able to. You can feel the early morning mist or watch the sun come up with all of its purples, reds, oranges and yellows. I often end up feeling invigorated despite the tiredness that’s weighing me down.
I’d be a liar if I said the period between completing the circle and seeing photographs of it isn’t a time of anxiety. I wonder if the little inconsistencies and tiny errors that occurred during the night will be noticeable in the photos. I also worry that I’ve missed some huge mistake that the photos will bring to light.
As soon as I see the first photographs of the circle I study them closely. Sometimes you can be surprised by the results. A circle you expected to look great might be underwhelming, or vice-versa. I take the time to reflect on the time spent in the field, what went well and how I would do it better if I had the chance again. I try to learn from both the positives and negatives.
Later I will begin looking through social media to read the interpretations people have left about the circle. It’s at this point I tend to realise how powerful crop circles are. You’ve made something that is affecting the outlook and beliefs of other humans. Sometimes I’ll read those interpretations and consider elements or motifs I could include in future crop circles. A vague example is, say, someone is going crazy for twelve fold geometry in the circle because it has particular meaning to them. I’ll then try and design something else incorporating the number twelve.
When I’m looking for interpretations on social media I’ll inevitably come across negative comments about the circle. I’m not going to lose sleep over the thoughts of someone whose experience in the fields extends to public footpaths. There are a few people who will criticise anything they suspect I’ve been involved with, but these are individuals with nothing to offer anymore, if they ever had anything to give in the first place. It gives me a sense of pride that they think enough of my work to keep whining about it.
I’m usually giving thanks to planet Earth and wishing for positive global consciousness while I’m in the process. It’s always a relief to have finished a design in the dark with a firm belief that it’s all gone as well as can be with no mistakes.
At the end of the night and upon finishing the design I always ask for the formation to be well accepted and liked by the public. I also wish for all the photographers to get some great aerial shots so the circle can be shown off in all of its glory.
Lastly, I also wish for the farmer to receive good wishes and also get something out of it for himself or herself. This may seem strange to some but in the past some farmers have done very well out of receiving a circle on their land. One time a circle I was involved with led to tens of thousands of pounds going to a local charity. After being out in a massive field all night under the stars, creating and finishing a design, it really does feel exhilarating and quite magical!
The build up to making a crop circle and choosing the field is exciting, sometimes it can take hours to find the right location and usually I know as soon as I see it, almost like intuition that it’s the correct place. I need to know the layout as the next time I see the field it will be dark and it’s going to be easy to get lost in there at night.
Mistakes are easy to make when creating a cc and once you make the decision to stomp a piece of crop down you can’t then take it back! Once a mistake is made it’s game over or you change the design to fit the error. It’s bad enough knowing you have made a mistake on the night, but waking up to an unexpected issue on a photo is even worse. I am a perfectionist by nature and I suppose my real thought after making a crop circle is ‘have we messed up?’
Once our work in the field is done we have the agonising wait to see that first photo! Like the public, we also don’t know how it’s going to look or if it has really gone to plan. I personally can’t sleep the next day, even when I am mentally and physically exhausted, I won’t rest until I have thoroughly checked the photo for flaws.
When the photos are out and I am relatively happy with how the circle looks I then feel relieved and happy inside. My feelings then change to hoping people like the circle, as well as hoping the farmer is not too unhappy. Although I am aware I could really annoy a farmer, I don’t set out to do that and I would never go somewhere that I know would cause them upset. I also try to design around leaving lots of standing crop, although modern machinery can pick up stomped crop and the real damage is caused by visitors to the circle.
I have never claimed a circle and never would. To me, that takes away the magic; it is boring and there is no mystery to the circle anymore. It just becomes criminal damage.
I have learnt over the years not to look too deeply into online comments as it can really put a downer on the whole thing. I always try to remember that nothing in the world is perfect, including every crop circle. Even the best circle makers make mistakes. I’ve learnt with time not to be too hard on myself if things are not as good as I’d hoped. I will learn from the mistakes for next time.
The process of making a crop circle is a very intensive one, particularly with a large or complex formation. It can also be hard physical work. When in the field I’m as focussed as I can be on making sure everything goes smoothly and that everybody knows what they’re doing. Mistakes are very easy to make and sometimes circles don’t go to plan. Once our work is done for the night, I’m restless until I see aerial photos and can be confident that we’ve done a good job. Then I step away. My part in the proceedings is done. It’s no longer my circle, and belongs to anyone who wants to visit or interact with it in whichever way they choose.
Silence and secrecy are essential. A good circle has to remain ambiguous and of unknown authorship. Claiming a circle, stamping one’s name on it, kills any allure. It becomes just land art. It becomes just graffiti. It becomes boring. It’s in that shadowland of uncertainty that circles come alive.
It makes me happy when people find pleasure or fulfilment in a circle, and it’s always good when the farmer opens up the field to visitors and gains something from it too. That said, although it can be nice to see what people make of a formation I’ve had a hand in creating, I don’t engage with croppies or even read comments most of the time. The crop circles scene these days — especially online — is mostly a depressing bitch-fest, too many egos and people who want to feel important, big fish in a small pond. It’s just background noise and I pay it no attention. Out in the fields is where it matters.