Circle Makers Speak #10: Do You Ever Feel Guilt For Making Crop Circles?

Mar 15, 2024 | Circle Makers Speak | 0 comments


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.


Some third parties like to portray circle makers as unfeeling vandals. So we asked our interviewees, do you ever feel guilt for making crop circles?


Any circle maker who says they’ve never felt guilty about making circles is either lying or an unfeeling psychopath. It’s impossible not to feel guilty at one point or another, especially when reading the stories of upset or raging farmers. I even made a farmer cry once with a circle I’d made. Yes, I felt bad. I’ve also been involved in some big formations with lots of flattened crop in them and it’s hard not to feel guilty when you look at all that crop that’s gone down in the name of art. It is true of course that the act of making a circle causes minimal damage to the crop itself and that it can still harvested (especially so with immature wheat or barley which pops back up quickly) and that the real damage is done by croppies walking in the circle, but that’s a bit of a cop-out excuse if you ask me. Croppies wouldn’t be in the field and trampling the crop if the circle wasn’t there in the first place.

Are there ways round this? Avoiding farmers you know will be angry is a start, and on a purely pragmatic level what’s the point of slogging it out in a field all night if you know your efforts are just going to be mown the next day? Favouring farmers you know will take donations and profit from the circle or donate to charity is good practice too, and it always makes me happy when that happens, but such farmers are a rare or unpredictable commodity these days. You don’t always know how they’re going to react. Sometimes they’ll be fine with it, other times less so. Minimising the amount of flattened crop in a design is another way one could go, but croppies like circles they can visit and wander around in and have picnics in and flattened areas are essential for that. There really is no easy compromise aside from not making circles at all.

Researchers and visitors need to play their part too in keeping farmers happy, I think. The backlash from the farming community towards crop circles in the last decade or so, after years of being more easy-going about it, has many causes and this isn’t the place to go into them all. I’ve often heard farmers say they mind the circles less than the hordes of people descending on their fields, and are happy to not cut a circle out as long as it doesn’t get visitors. Requests to stay away are usually ignored. A more thoughtful approach not just from makers but from croppies too is the way to go in my mind.

While on the subject of circle maker guilt, we’re sometimes asked whether we feel guilty for deceiving people into believing crop circles are made by aliens or whatever one’s favoured theory is. In short, no. I don’t feel that we’re deceiving anyone. We’re not telling people what to think, merely putting down the circle anonymously and leaving them to make their own judgement. It’s up to them what they want to believe.


Let me start by saying I’ve never felt guilty about circle making when it comes to other croppies. I’ve never lied about it. I just keep my mouth shut and avoid any conversation or interaction with them. It’s up to them what they make of my work. They can interpret it as they see fit. I’m not one of those makers who will be agreeing with believers that there definitely were UFOs over a specific field on a certain night. I can’t be doing that as I’ve no interest in winding them up, and it is just inviting trouble.

Moving on, I think any sane circle maker will have felt some sort of guilt towards farmers at one time or another. I guess I’m pretty typical in that the remorse began weighing down on my shoulders pretty early on. The novelty of circle making had worn off and I began paying attention to articles and reports on farmers negatively affected by the appearance of crop circles in their fields. I read about one family who were concerned the lost income from a particular circle would be enough to drive them into bankruptcy. Even though I had nothing to do with the circle under discussion, I still felt bad for that farmer and his family.

At the same time, I’ve learnt to be measured with any guilt. Some farmers can become aggressive when they discover a crop circle. I’m never around when that happens, but I’ve heard the stories. It makes you less sympathetic towards these specific individuals, although that’s not to tarnish others in the same business.

More positively, I’ve seen how farmers can do a great job of harvesting a crop circle provided it doesn’t receive much footfall. I’ve also seen how a farmer can make the most of a crop formation. A good example was one of the farmers at Warminster in 2023. He got fed up with getting people out of his field and started charging admission. He’d even pose for selfies with tourists for a couple of extra pounds. I doubt he will ever want another circle on his land, but he made the most of the one he did get. I hope it made him some money.

Ultimately, it is what you do with your guilt that decides whether you stay out in the fields or not. You can walk away and find something better to do. You can, I guess, be colder and ignore any regret. Alternatively, you can do what I do and try to occupy a middle ground by attempting to rationalise your actions. By that I mean you balance what you’ve done against the cost to the farmer and the opportunities that the crop circle has provided them with. If you think you’ve caused some genuine harm then you move on and don’t go back.


Do I feel guilty about creating a circle? Short answer, no. Let me explain why. 

One of my first visits to a circle is still one of my favourite memories. I went back to it a number of times. Initially to take some photos, but then on returning visits to relax and wonder at the beauty of the creation. I took a friend to see it and she was blown away. 

I remember it was at the weekend on a hot summer day and the circle was full of croppies. All different variants of the croppie. People taking photos and measurements, people having picnics in a space, families with young children and the family dog. Others were spending time in meditation. This circle, along with a number of others, had a request for a donation to enter. One particular landowner was asking for donations for a charity. 

From these enlightening experiences I took the impression that, with entry allowed for a donation, especially if it helped the local community or other good causes, the crop circles had an even more rounded feel (excuse the pun). It seemed that everyone’s a winner. The artists had their blank canvas to work their magic, the croppies had access to get up close and personal to the circles and the land owner either took a small charge for their losses, or donated the cash to great causes. 

The negative I have seen, quite often, is when people do not respect the crop when accessing formations. It makes me scratch my head. Formations can normally be entered via tramlines and even designated routes that are set out, yet still people insist on cutting across the fields for ‘quickest route’ known to us by the label ‘wanker tracks’. Don’t do that people, if it takes two minutes more to walk the tramline, please do!  

There may be a season when circles appear and the land owner goes nuclear. I am not a land owner and am not in their boots, but it strikes me that if a small donation was asked for, any damages would be covered and more!

In the early 90’s and the heyday of the circles, 80 or 90 or more could be seen in a season. In recent times we see about 20% of that number, if we are lucky. Let’s embrace the circles we find. Let’s all take positives from them.


Guilt doesn’t come into it for me when I’m out in a field making a crop circle. I’m more concerned if what I’m putting down is going to plan rather than feeling any remorse. 

Afterwards, that’s when any pangs of regret begin to appear, but only for the farmer. I don’t feel guilt towards believers as I’ve never said aliens or anything else paranormal makes crop circles. Anyone can believe what they want about where crop circles come from. I make circles on my own behalf and not for anybody else. 

Returning to farmers, I would be a liar if I said I didn’t feel some guilt after I’ve left the field. I subsequently visited one particular circle I had made. The farmer and his family turned up whilst I was walking around inside the circle and his children were particularly lively, having a great time running around and taking everything in. Out of the blue one of them asked his mother, ‘Why did someone do this to our field?’ She replied, ‘I don’t know and I’m not overly happy about it, but one good thing it has done is bring us together as a family for the day. I’m really appreciating the peace and happiness the circle is giving us and the other people here. Everyone is enjoying it.’ After hearing that, my guilt disappeared and I felt a quiet sense of accomplishment. 

Of course, not every farmer and their families are so relaxed. If I could let them know anything it’s that I never get personal about the fields I choose to work in. I never want anyone to feel victimised. 

If I ever feel particularly guilty then I remember the farmer can claim on their insurance for the damage. I’m also very aware that a farmer who charges visitors to go into a crop circle on their land can make their losses back.