The Petrified Cornfield. Strange stories of early crop circles.
One of the interesting problems in assessing how far back in time the crop circle phenomenon stretches is that there is no substantial body of similar tales to be found before 1980. Over the years, a small body of recollection and testimony has been gathered, but it was extremely limited. Some of that earlier material has evaporated upon closer inspection. Take, for instance, what is seen as the earliest crop circle on record, the one supposedly found near the city of Assen, in the Netherlands. I first read about this in Jenny Randles’s and Peter Hough’s Encyclopedia Of The Unexplained, published in 1995, where it is mentioned on p26.
Conducting some research into this alleged event some years ago, I discovered that its source was not, as many thought, the 1686 book The Natural History of Staffordshire by Oxford Professor Robert Plott, but a title that saw print almost a century earlier, namely, the Dæmonolatreia by infamous witch-hunter Nicholas Remy, published in Lyons in 1595. According to Remy, a woman named Nicolette Lang-Bernhard saw, on 25 July 1590 at high noon, a group of men and women dancing. They were witches, of course, and “…the final and incontrovertible proof of the truth of the occurrence was the fact that the place where this dancing had been enacted was found… trodden into a ring such as is found in a circus where horses run round in a circle, and among the other tracks were the recent marks of the hoofs of goats and oxen…” Remy refers to a location between the cities of Guermingen and Assenoncourt, in the Lorraine region in France. So, there never was a crop circle near Assen. A possible error in translation transported a ring made by the hooves of animals from Assenoncourt hundreds of miles to the north, where it was also transformed into a crop circle. Moreover, at the time of the alleged crop circle, the city of Assen itself did not even exist. While a small settlement existed in the 17th century, Assen only became a city proper as late as 1809, making it one of the youngest in the Netherlands.
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Hat tip to the Anomalist dot com.