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ALSACAT:

As its name suggests, ALSACAT is my comprehensive catalog of UFO sighting reports in Alsace, the region is the North-East of France, whether they are "explained" or "unexplained".

The ALSACAT catalog is made of case files with a case number, summary, quantitative information (date, location, number of witnesses...), classifications, all sources mentioning the case with their references, a discussion of the case in order to evaluate its causes, and a history of the changes made to the file. A general index and thematic sub-catalogs give access to these Alsatian case files.

Case of Guermingen, on August 8, 1590:

Case number:

ALSACAT-1590-08-08-GUERMINGEN-1

Summary:

There are a number of stories or reports indicating that after a flying saucer landed in a meadow or a field, a circular flattening of the vegetation was found, and said to have been caused by the saucer.

This happened in the 1970s in Australia, and a resident, Doug Bower, after moving to England, had the idea to perform this hoax with his friend Dave Chorley: flatten corn in the fields to make people believe a saucer had landed...

In 1978, little by little, after peasants and motorist eventually spotted their circles, the hoax worked, and the "crop circles" became one of the biggest hoaxes ever. Besides ufologists who still believe that the "circles" are made by aliens, there are many "experts" in all kinds of New Age disciplines claiming that "mysterious forces" cause them, while more and more people began to make crop circles all around the world, changing the original hoax into actual "land art".

In Alsace, too, we get crop circles - documented in this catalog, as some say they are made by UFOs; which is untrue.

Even better: the so-called "earliest known crop circle" worldwide was said to be in Alsace. It was very annoying alien or paranormal buffs that the crop circles had appeared just when Doug Bower began the hoax; so the "experts" tried in vain to demonstrate that crop circle have existed "for centuries".

And the first they claim to have found dates from 1590.

We were first told it was done in Assen in Holland. But a ufologist then reported on his website that the real place was "Between Guermingen and Assenoncour (Alsace)."

However, I show in this case file that the place is actually between Assenoncourt and Guermange in the Moselle department. The place is close to the Bas-Rhin in Alsace, but it is not in Alsace, it is in Lorraine.

As of the so-called "crop circle", no UFO or alien is involved here; the original story is:

"As Nicolette Lang-Bernhard was returning from the old mill of Guermingen to Assenoncourt on the 25th of July 1590, and was going along a forest path at high noon, she saw in a field near by a band of men and women dancing around in a ring. But because they were doing so in a manner contrary to the usual practice, with their backs turned onto each other, she looked more closely and saw also dancing around with the others some whose feet were deformed and like those of goats or oxen. Nearly dead with fright, she began (as we do when some sinister disaster threatens us) to call upon the saving name of Jesus, and to beseech Him that she might at least return safe and unhurt to her home. Thereupon all the dancers seemed to vanish at once, except one named Petter Gross-Peter, who rose quickly into the air, and was seen to let fall a mop such as bakers use to clean out their ovens before putting in their dough. Meanwhile Nicolette was caught in a violent gale so that she could barely breathe; and after she had reached home she lay ill in bed for three whole days. When Nicolette and her neighbors had spread the story through all the village, it seemed to Petter that to keep silent would be tantamount to a confession of guilt; so he went straight and laid a mighty bitter complaint before the judge; but in the end, fearing that if, as appeared probable, he should lose his case, he would be exposing himself to even greater danger, he purposely broke off and desisted from it. But this did nut the more increase suspicion against him, many considering that it was due to his conscience of guilt that he now bore in silence an accusation which he had at first bitterly resented. Accordingly, the Judge inquired all the more carefully into his life and habits and, finding sure indications that the suspicion against him were not baseless, ordered him to be laid by the heels. He was then with no great difficulty induced to confess his crime, and finally to name and make known others who have been his partners in it. Among these were Barbelia, the wife of Johannes Latomus, and Mayetta the wife of Laurentius the Chief Magistrate (who were tried at Dieuze in February and March respectively, 1591), who severraly but in the same words confessed the truth of what their accomplice Petter had said about the back-to-back dancing and the mingling of the cloven-hoofed ones in the dance. Their testimony was confirmed by that of a herdsman named Johann Michel, who, in further proof of the truth of his words, added that he had played the part of piper at that dance, putting his shepherd's crook to his mouth and moving his finger upon it as if it had really been a pipe; and that when Nicolette (as has been told) in fear called upon Jesus and moreover signed herself with the Cross, he had fallen headlong from the tall oak in which he was sitting; after which he had been caught up in a whirlwind and carried to a meadow, called Weiller, where he had a little before left his flock grazing. But the final and incontrovertible proof of the truth of this occurrence was the fact that the place where this dancing had been enacted was found, on the day after the matter was reported by Nicolette, trodded 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. And these marks remained visible until the field was ploughed up in the following winter. Further evidence was given by Nickel Clein [probable "Klein"], Didier Widder, Gaspar Schneider, and as many as were afterwards called upon by the Judge to speak upon the matter."

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: August 8, 1590
Time: ~Noon
Duration: ?
First known report date: 1595
Reporting delay: 5 years.

Geographical data:

Department: Moselle
City: Guermingen
Place: In a field.
Latitude: 48.783
Longitude: 6.807
Uncertainty ratio: 2 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: Several.
Number of known witnesses: Several
Number of named witnesses: Several
Witness(es) ages: Adults.
Witness(es) types: Residents.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Book by local inquisitor.
Type of location: In a field.
Visibility conditions: Day.
UFO observed: No
UFO arrival observed: N/A
UFO departure observed: N/A
Entities: Yes
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: Frightened.
Witnesses interpretation: Demons and witches.

Classifications:

Hynek: Crop circle.
ALSACAT: Nothing to do with UFOs.

Sources:

[Ref. nr1:] NICOLAS REMY:

As Nicolette Lang-Bernhard was returning from the old mill of Guermingen to Assenoncourt on the 25th of July 1590, and was going along a forest path at high noon, she saw in a field near by a band of men and women dancing around in a ring. But because they were doing so in a manner contrary to the usual practice, with their backs turned onto each other, she looked more closely and saw also dancing around with the others some whose feet were deformed and like those of goats or oxen. Nearly dead with fright, she began (as we do when some sinister disaster threatens us) to call upon the saving name of Jesus, and to beseech Him that she might at least return safe and unhurt to her home. Thereupon all the dancers seemed to vanish at once, except one named Petter Gross-Peter, who rose quickly into the air, and was seen to let fall a mop such as bakers use to clean out their ovens before putting in their dough. Meanwhile Nicolette was caught in a violent gale so that she could barely breathe; and after she had reached home she lay ill in bed for three whole days. When Nicolette and her neighbours had spread the story through all the village, it seemed to Petter that to keep silent would be tantamount to a confession of guilt; so he went straight and laid a mighty bitter complaint before the judge; but in the end, fearing that if, as appeared probable, he should lose his case, he would be exposing himself to even greater danger, he purposely broke off and desisted from it. But this did nut the more increase suspicion against him, many considering that it was due to his conscience of guilt that he now bore in silence an accusation which he had at first bitterly resented. Accordingly, the Judge inquired all the more carefully into his life and habits and, finding sure indications that the suspicion against him were not baseless, ordered him to be laid by the heels. He was then with no great difficulty induced to confess his crime, and finally to name and make known others who have been his partners in it. Among these were Barbelia, the wife of Johannes Latomus, and Mayetta the wife of Laurentius the Chief Magistrate (who were tried at Dieuze in February and March respectively, 1591), who severraly but in the same words confessed the truth of what their accomplice Petter had said about the back-to-back dancing and the mingling of the cloven-hoofed ones in the dance. Their testimony was confirmed by that of a herdsman named Johann Michel, who, in further proof of the truth of his words, added that he had played the part of piper at that dance, putting his shepherd's crook to his mouth and moving his finger upon it as if it had really been a pipe; and that when Nicolette (as has been told) in fear called upon Jesus and moreover signed herself with the Cross, he had fallen headlong from the tall oak in which he was sitting; after which he had been caught up in a whirlwind and carried to a meadow, called Weiller, where he had a little before left his flock grazing. But the final and incontrovertible proof of the truth of this occurrence was the fact that the place where this dancing had been enacted was found, on the day after the matter was reported by Nicolette, trodded 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. And these marks remained visible until the field was ploughed up in the following winter. Further evidence was given by Nickel Clein, Didier Widder, Gaspar Schneider, and as many as were afterwards called upon by the Judge to speak upon the matter.

[Ref. rp1:] ROBERT PLOT:


21. But to come close to the business, let us return again to the forecited Remigius, who was a Judge in Lorrain, and perhaps the best skilled in matters of this nature that the world has yet known (having had the Examination, Confessions and Condemnations of no less than nine hundred Wizards and Witches in fifteen years time) who, to omit many others of the like kind, give us a most remarkable relation of such a Conventicle, and no less suitable (if true) to our present purpose. On the eighth of the Calends of August (fays Hc) Anno 1590, one Nicolea Lang-Bernhard having been grinding at a Quern not far from Assenincuria, and returning about noon, as she walked by a hedge side, saw in an adjoining field, an assembly of men and women dancing in a Ring, but in a quite different manner than the usual practice of others; for says my author, versi terga offendentes id faciebant, i.e. that they did it turning their backs upon one another; but at length viewing them more attentively, she perceived some amongst them to have cloven feet like Oxen and Goats, at which being fore astonished, and almost dead with fear, and calling upon the auxiliary name of Jesus to help her well home, they forthwith all vanished except one Petter Gross-Petter, whom quickly after she saw snatched up into the Air, and to let fall is Maulkin (a stick they make clean Ovens withal before they set in their bread) and Herself was also driven so forcibly with the wind, that it made her almost lose her breath, and when she was got home to keep her bed no less than three days.

22. The fame of which matter being quickly spread be herself



and Relations through the whole Village this Petter at first brought an action of slander against Nicolea, but knowing his own guilt, and fearing to proceed too far, he desisted again; which breeding suspicion in the Judge, upon enquiry in his life and manners, he was at length apprehended, and at last freely confessed the whole matter, and discovered others of his companions, as Barbelia the wife of Johannes Latomus, Mayetta the wife of Laurence Super Mayor, both which though examined apart, yet confessed expressly in the same words, de faltato à fe aversis una cum inetermediis Cornupedibus choro, etc, i.e. that they had danced intermixed with those cloven footed creature at what time Petter was amongst them.

23. And for further evidence of the business John Michael Herdman did also confess that while they thus danced, he played upon his crooked staff moving his fingers upon it, as if it had been a Pipe, fitting upon a high bough of an Oak, and that soon as Nicolea called upon the name of Jesus, he tumbled down headlong to the ground but was presently caught up again with a whirlwind and carried to Weiller Meadows, where he had left his herds a little bfore: Add hereunto (which is most of all to the purpose) that there was found in the place where they danced a round circle, wherein there were the manifest marks of the treading of Cloven feet, as plain as are made by Horses that run the Ring, as was testified by Nickel Clein, Desiderius Vervex, Gasper Sutor, and diverse others that had been to see it, and were examined by the Judge as Witnesses upon it: which circle remained from the day after Nicolea had discovered the business, til the next winter when the Plow cut it out.

24. And as the Devils and Witches do sometimes leave the lively marks of their dancings after they have held such Conventicles, so Athanasius Kircher expressly acquaints us from the informations of Cyfatus and Schulzius, that the Viruli or Virunculi montani, little Pygmy Spirits that infest the Mines of Helvetia and Hungary, do sometimes also leave the prints of their feet in the moist land and soft tenacious earth of the Mines, about the bigness of the feet of Children of three years old: whence some men perhaps may think it probable enough, that some of these Circles (especially the bare ones that have but little grass) may sometimes indeed be made by the aforementioned mixed dances of Devils and witches, and others by those little dwarf Spirits, we call Elves and Fairies.

[Ref. tp1:] THEO PAIJMANS:

Research crop circle Assen 1590

Terry Wilson, in his recently published Secret History of Crop Circles, mentions a crop circle that allegedly was found in 1590, near the city of Assen in the Netherlands (this was previously reported by Randles and Hough in their Encyclopedia of the Unexplained) and which is to be found all over the internet.

Wilson cites as source (judging from the website), an unspecified article in Journal of Meteorology, 1696 (Source TW: Plot, 1696; Journal of Meteorology). However, the original source of the account is to be found a century earlier in Nicolas Remy's 1595 'Daemonolatreia'. Remy refers to a location between the cities of Guermingen and Assenoncour, which is in the Alsace region in France, not the city of Assen in Drenthe, the Netherlands.

Moreover, there is no Robert Plot. Who did exist was the English naturalist and first chemistry professor of Oxford University Dr. Robert Plott. He posited the theory that the fairy rings were formed by blasts of circular lighting in his 'The Natural History of Staffordshire', published in 1686 (reprinted in 1973). Moreover, in the year of the so-called Wilson reference, 1696, Robert Plott actually died (see: http://www.oum.ox.ac.uk/geocolls/plot/plotbio.htm or http://es.rice.edu/ES/humsoc/Galileo/Catalog/Files/plot.html)

What then of the original, primary source? According to Remy, the witness Nicolette Lang-Bernhard saw on July 25th, 1590, at high noon, a group of men and women dancing - they were witches of course - "...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 it 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...'(My source, Nicolas Remy, 'Demonolatry, edited with introduction and notes by Montague Summers', Rodker, 1930, facsimilé reprint by Frederick Muller, 1970, pages 50-51)

So an account of the circular impressions clearly made by animals and attributed at the time to witches, is transformed more than 400 years later into 'the earliest account of a crop circle' and is magically transported from the Alsace region in France to one of the Northern provinces of the Netherlands. In all fairness, Wilson too expresses his doubts, but leaves it at that.

What then of Robert Plott? John Aubrey, whose 'Natural History of Wiltshire' was influenced by Plott (he met him in 1675, see: http://www.ibiblio.org/pub/docs/books/gutenberg/etext04/nhwil10.txt) , has this interesting observation to make: "...As to the green circles on the downes, vulgarly called faiery circles (dances), I presume they are generated from the breathing out of a fertile subterraneous vapour. ...If you digge under the turfe of this circle, you will find at the rootes of the grasse a hoare or mouldinesse. But as there are fertile steames, so contrary wise there are noxious ones, which proceed from some mineralls, iron, etc.; which also as the others, cæteris paribus, appear in a circular forme." See: http://www.ibiblio.org/pub/docs/books/gutenberg/etext04/nhwil10.txt

We can conclude:

  • there never was a crop circle or even a crop circle like phenomenon in 1590 near Assen
  • there never was a Plot
  • it is doubtful that the 'Journal of Meteorology', 1696, is a valid source (see note below)
  • the uncited - but referred to - source is Robert Plott, 1686
  • Robert Plott is not the primary source
  • Plott refers to the 1590 incident as mentioned by Remy, but uses it as an example of a fairy ring and seeks a natural explanation for the phenomenon. Obviously, the fairy rings are rare as Plott cites an incident of almost a century before his time - Nicolas Remy's 'Daemonolatreia' is the primary source of the 1590 incident used by Plott
  • Remy mentions animal hoofprints and sees in it evidence of a gathering of witches
  • the incident involving animal hoofprints took place in the Alsace region in France
  • Plott too mentions the animal hoofprints

NOTE: How and where then, the confusion? Robert Plott's and John Aubrey's musings found their way into some 20th century periodicals (also called 'Journal of Meteorology') and were quickly transformed into something more fanciful: - R.M. Skinner, "A Seventeenth-Century Report of an Encounter with an Ionized Vortex?", 'Journal of Meteorology', November 1990, p. 346. (Here an account found in John Aubrey's 'Natural History of Wiltshire' is repeated about an encounter of a school curate with "small people" dancing in a field, albeit with no mention of any circular depression found afterwards. However, the noise made by the little people here is interpreted as possible evidence for "ionized vortexes") - David J. Reynolds, "Possibility of a Crop Circle from 1590", 'Journal of Meteorology', November 1990, pp. 347-352. (although here Robert Plott's 'The Natural History of Staffordshire' is cited, apparently that in Plott's text the animal hoofprints are mentioned, is not taken into account. Also, Reynolds failed to verify the primary source - which is Remy's 'Daemonolatreia' - where again a clear reference to animal hoofprints is found. Labelling the incident as an example of an early crop circle is therefore, based on the very sources of which it is alleged that they support the spurious 1590 crop circle tale, historically inaccurate to say the least).

[Ref. pg1:] MYSELF, MAY 19, 2010:

The claim that there was a crop circle in Assen, the Netherlands, in 1590:

In the French version of their latest book on the crop circles [cs1], "experts" Colin Andrews and Stephen J. Spignesi say that the first recorded event with several characteristic that are common with the formation of crop circles was on August 8, 1590, and was described in a book published in 1686 with the title "The Natural History of Stafford-Shire", by Robert Plott.

Andrews and Spignesi write that someone named Nicolae Lang-Bernhard ("Lang-Bernhand" in the English version) was going home about noon when he noticed activity in a field near the road. He approached and saw a group of people dancing in a circle in the field. He approached more, close enough to see their legs and feet, and saw that some of them had forked feet. While he observed them, all the dancers flew up in the air and disappeared.

In the field where they had danced, there was a circular mark which remained until the farmer who owned the field harvested it at the next harvest. Several people of the close area visited the field while it was still visible. Plott also said there were powerful tornadoes during the event, and that one of them was strong enough to lift "the" peasant and take it into a field at some distance.

The authors comment that it understandable that a certain skepticism remains because the event was put in writing 100 years after if reportedly occurred, but if ones discards from the story its most fantastic features such as the forked feet and the disappearance, the story is in essence that of the appearance of a crop circle in a field, and they had that the "event" had "several witnesses".

  • [cs1] "Crop circles: Signs of Contact", book by Colin Andrews and Stephen J. Spignesi, Career Press publishers, U-K., page 18, 2003.
  • [cs1] "Crop Circles - Signes et Contacts - Nouvelles Révélations", book by Colin Andrews and Stephen J. Spignesi, Exclusif publishers, France, page 40, 2007.

On the French-speaking website "Portail des Energies" ("Gate of Energies"), www.portaildesenergies.fr, which publishes about crop circles, Reiki, "Energies of Atlantis", "Lightarian Rays", "Archangels", "Etheral crystals" etc, the home page says:

The first known circle seems to have appeared in Assen, in Holland, in 1590.

On the "Touraine Insolite" website [ti1], by one "Mykerinos", I read:

The first Agroglyphs.

History of the crop circles.

One of the first documentary sources on the crop circles phenomenon is a report of 1590 (Wilson 1998), it tells of the discovery on August 18 of the same year, of a flattened circle in crop field, close to "Assenuncuria", undoubtedly what is now Assen, in the area of Drente in the Netherlands. Night dancers are said to have been the authors of the crop circles, the inside of the circle seems to be trampled by "feet with shoes" (Plott 1686). This report is included in a book entitled "A Natural History of Stafford-Shire" and published in the university of Oxford by Robert Plott, professor of chemistry. In his book Plott still describes other strange designs in the shape of circles or rings which [he] had found at the times in the surrounding counties.

  • [ti1] "Les premiers Agroglyphes - Historique des crop circles", par "Mykerinos", website Touraine Insolite, France, 1 août 2010, à touraine-insolite.xooit.com/t391-Les-premiers-Agroglyphes.htm

On the ufology website RR0 by Jérôme Beau, there is a page devoted to the crop circles [jb1]. I read this claim there:

"Many people think that the crop circles represent a relatively recent phenomenon, a product of the 20th century. In fact, like with UFOs as of 1947, the crop circles have a "modern era" which starts at the beginning of the 1980's, but also seem to have been described well before."

In the same page, there is a list of three mentions of crop circles and 5 hyperlinks to files said to be "Examples of case of crop circles or assimilated".

One of these examples is headlined: "Circle of prints in Alsace in 1590"; it is specified "And not Assen (Holland)". The link brings you to another page web [jb2] which is a kind of chronology of ufological or Fortean events for year 1590; in which you can find:

25 Jul

midday Between Guermingen and Assenoncour (Alsace), Nicolette Lang-Bernhard sees a group of men and women - supposed to be sorcerers - dance: the undeniable and final proof of the truth of the event was the fact that at the place where this dance had been performed one found... pressed in a ring as one finds some in a circus when horses run around in a circle, and among the other traces were recent marks of the shoes of goats and oxen.

The sources are indicated as:

  • Plot (Robert Plott?): Journal of Meteorology, 1696 cited by Wilson, Terry: The Secret History of Crop Circles, December 1998
  • Remy, Nicolas: Daemonolatreia, 1595, republished "Demonolatry, edited with introduction and notes by Montague Summers", Rodker, 1930
  • [jb1] "Les 'crop circles'", page web par Jérôme Beau, website RR0, France, circa 2009, à www.rr0.org/science/crypto/ufo/enquete/dossier/CropCircle
  • [jb2] "1590", page web par Jérôme Beau, website RR0, France, circa 2009, à www.rr0.org/data/1/5/9/0/index.html

On the Dark Ride blog, which is about the "Strange", "Conspiracy theory", Cryptozolology, Creatures and so on", "Ghost Stories", " UFOs" and other Fortean topics, one can read in the introduction of an article on the crop circles [dr1]:

While everyone now knows the crops circle fiew [sic] people know that their stories go up very far in certain case. In 1590 in Assen in Holland appeared what one can think to be the first crop circle.

  • [dr1] "Crop circle, cercle de céréale, diable faucheur et ovni….", page d blog Dark Ride, France, 14 janvier 2009, à dark-ride.org/?p=42

On Marina Missier's website, among articles on the "21 December 2012", "UFOs and the E.T.", "P.S.I Powers" and the Graal, and so on, a crop circle article of hers starts by a claim that, "many people think" that the crop circles are "a relatively recent phenomenon (these 40 last years)" but that crop circles seem to be described quite before that. It is claimed that one finds "similar formations" before the Sixties, even in the 16th century "when an incident was recorded in Holland in Assen in 1590."

  • [mm1] "Les crop-circles", page web par Marina Missier, à hekat.free.fr/pages/81.html

On the French-speaking website maison-hantee.com ("haunted-house.com"), Erick Fearson, who is introduced as a ghost hunter, writes [mh1]:

The crop circles are, according to him, only sketches plotted by skilled pranksters in the crop fields. Here once again, a bold claim. It is true that two retired men, Doug Bower and Dave Chorley , claimed, in September 1991, being the authors of the phenomenon of these strange circles, in the middle of the Seventies. This was enough for skeptics to scoff, to be satisfied with this explanation and reject the affair without further look. This is forgetting very fast that one lists crop circles in more than 40 countries in the world. Let us add that the first traces of this phenomenon go back to more than 400 years and, more precisely, to 1590, in Assen, in Holland.

  • [mh1] "On ne badine pas avec les fantômes!", page web par Erick Fearson, website Maison-Hantee.com, France, undated, à www.maison-hantee.com/files/noirez/article_encyclo_erick.htm

A PDF file, without clearly indicated author, with a mention "Source: Dauphiné Libéré" (a French regional newspaper), available on "paranormal" website [ip1] says:

HISTORY

The first known circle seems to have appeared in Assen, in Holland, in 1590.

  • [ip1] www.infos-paranormal.net/Crop-Circles-a-Valence-La-quadrature-des-cercles.pdf?16b212056c714b62c5689b34bdc108f0=54d8b105460c23922865488590ae1f30

I could go on providing citations, but... why bother? So here is just a bulk list of a small portion of web sources claiming that there was a crop circle in Assen in 1590:

http://goenaka.over-blog.com/article-5428044.html
http://www.centerblog.net/livre/38322-6582652-les-zintrus-
http://web-paranormal.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=558&sid=1b386dc030fc037d6d85e443925c1df5
http://www.lesoncreateur.org/mandalas.html
http://johndoe2012.unblog.fr/2007/08/14/15//comment-page-1/
http://www.univers-discoverique.com/crop-circle-f4/le-crop-circle-c-est-quoi-t35.htm
http://forum.hardware.fr/hfr/Discussions/Sciences/crop-circles-science-sujet_25764_22.htm
http://www.mystere-tv.com/bruit-etrange-au-centre-des-agroglyphes-v644-3.html
http://membres.multimania.fr/cedric27bordeaux/CC2002.htm
http://leflo65.skyrock.com/
http://www.paperblog.fr/1219133/cercle-de-culture/
http://ufologie.oldiblog.com/?page=articles&rub=455033&nba=4
http://secretebase.free.fr/ovni/cropcircle/cropcircle.htm
http://www.centerblog.net/livre/303292-15-les-galgos-
http://area51blog.wordpress.com/2008/03/21/les-agroglyphes-ne-sont-pas-un-phenomene-recent/
http://lesvoiesdelasagesse.skynetblogs.be/tag/1/Extraterrestres
http://monde-elodie.heberg-forum.net/ftopic677-0.html
http://johndoe2012.unblog.fr/tag/crop-circles/
http://www.ourstrangeworld.net/index.php/main/article/going_round_in_circles/

So, now I have to check whether this is purely and simply invented, or a distorted story, badly documented, I have to check whether it is legitimate to call this "a crop circle", and to check if it is honest to call it an example of a crop circle before 1978 which was thus neither made by Doug Bower and Dave Chorley, the men who invented the crop circles in 1978, nor by any other human using of ordinary tools.

Well, I did not need to start a long and difficult search: it was already done in 2003!

Indeed that year, Dutch ufologist Theo Paijmans published the result of his investigation [tp1] on this alleged "crop circle before Doug and Dave".

Here is what he found out.

Terry Wilson mentioned this story in his just-published book "Secret History of Crop Circles", as being "a crop circle" he claims was found in 1590 close to the town of Assen in the Netherlands, and Theo Paijmans thinks it comes from Jenny Randles and Peter Hough in their "Encyclopedia of the Unexplained", and, as I showed, is now widespread on the Internet.

It is Wilson who quotes apparently as source an unspecified article said to come from the Journal of Meteorology, in 1696.

But Theo Paijmans discovered that the original story goes back to one century earlier, appearing in "Daemonolatreia" by Nicolas Remy in 1595, reprinted as "Demonolatry", Rodker publisher, 1930, reprinted by Frederick Muller, 1970, pages 50-51, where the author gives the location as between the towns of Guermingen and Assenoncour, in France, and not the town of Assen, in Drenthe, the Netherlands. Worse, the famous "Robert Plot" does not exist. Instead, there is indeed an English naturalist, Dr. Robert Plott, who was the first professor of chemistry at the Oxford University.

In "The Natural History of Staffordshire", in 1686, reprinted in 1973, this Dr. Robert Plott was a proponent of the theory that "fairy rings" [who are not crop circles] are formed when ball lightning hits.

Theo Paijmans also discovered - he gives the references of his sources - that the year of the source Terry Wilson gives, 1696, Robert Plott is in fact deceased.

According to Remy, says Paijmans, the witness, Nicolette Lang-Bernhard, saw on July 25, 1590 at noon a group of men and women who danced - they were interpreted as being sorcerers and witches.

Paijmans cites:

"...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 it 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..."

Theo Paijmans then says:

A story of circular marks made by animals and allotted to sorcerers and witches was changed more than 400 years later into the oldest crop circle report".

One will refer for more details and additional notes to Theo Paijmans' article:

  • "Research crop circle Assen 1590", by Theo Paijmans, on the "crop circles" website Dutch Crop Circle Archive, the Netherlands, 2003, at www.dcca.nl/art/plott-uk.htm

Like Theo Paijmans, I conclude:

There never was a crop circle "in Assen in 1590", nor any "crop circles phenomenon" before Doug Bower and Dave Chorley started to make rounds in the fields in 1978 to make believe that flying saucers had landed. And I add, no crop circles in Assen in 1590, obviously no crop circles "in Alsace between Guermingen and Assenoncour in 1590".

What did we read? This for example:

"Many people think that the crop circles represent a relatively recent phenomenon, a product of the 20th century. In fact, like with UFOs as of 1947, the crop circles have a "modern era" which starts at the beginning of the 1980s, but also seem to be described well before."

I have to correct:

There are people who want you to believe crop circles existed before Doug and Dave invented them in 1978, but until proof of the opposite appears, this is totally false. No real crop circle was described before, it is only one more fraud by the "crop circle experts", one more fraud that is believed by the gullible. The "1590 crop circle in Assen" is not a crop circle, but a good example of the "crop circles before Doug and Dave" fraud.

Personal additions:

Alsace?

The fact is that Assenoncourt (then Assenoncour) - as its name suggests - is not in Alsace now, but in the Moselle department. Germinguen is probably not a city, and probably not a village, but probably a hamlet place name, a mill, the original source says. But Assenoncour is close to the Bas-Rhin, an Alsatian department, and it may thus be that the place of the alleged events is, or was at the time, in Alsace.

"Alsace" per se did not exist then as a formal political entity. The area where it allegedly occurred was divided in several political districts, counties, owned by one or the other lord, some from Alsace, who used to sell territories one another occasionally. In a way, it is a but strange that someone said this occurred in Alsace instead of naming the owner of the county, for example. This is of course all a vague story, there is not much hope to find the place now.

This was my comment about that when I initially published my article on April 17, 2010. A reader of my website communicated to me the information below on April 19, 2010; which I immediately reproduced:

Hello Mr. Gross,

A minor remark about your article on "the first crop circle".
Having a second home in Assenoncourt, which I confirm to you, is indeed located in the Moselle, Lorraine, and not in Alsace, I was puzzled by the name of "Guermingen". Indeed, a small village located at a few kilometers in the north of Assenoncourt is called "Guermange". The consonance is striking, and it could thus well be that this is the same village, the more so as it is almost next to Assenoncourt. While looking on a Cassini map, I was able to verify that at the time, there indeed was a wood between the two villages, which is consistent with the report. In all the cases, the proximity of the two villages cannot take us as far as Alsace... (and even if it would not be Guermingen, it is hard to imagine a farmer woman walking 50km to go to the mill).

I am well aware that my remark is not invaluable help, the case being what it is, but this precision did not cost me much. I take this opportunity to congratulate you for your website, and wish you good continuation.

Best regards, [Name]

Robert Plot?

It seems all references to Robert Plot (1640-1696) and his book, and both are for real, write his name Plot, not Plott.

His book "The Natural History of Stafford-Shire", was first "Printed at the Theater, Oxford, 1686". There was a reprint in Manchester by E. J. Morten in 1973. The original edition is a rare book, with prices generally over $500. It is still copyrighted.

So why did Theo Paijmans note the correct name to be Plott? All I know is that someone told there was this misspell on the title page of his book's first edition.

Left: Dr. Robert Plot.

See for example: http://www.marshallrarebooks.com/component/option,com_hotproperty/task,view/id,278/Itemid,33/
or http://www.oum.ox.ac.uk/learning/htmls/plot.htm

But did Robert Plot really tell in a book devoted to the Staffordshire, England, this alleged "Dutch" or "Alsatian" crop circle story? Well, I have no evidence thereof at hand for now, and I suspect that there is a possible confusion of the sources of two different stories...

The "sighting report".

It was distorted so that the feature that would most repel the reasonable people are removed. Here is the part about the alleged "observation" in Remy's book:

As Nicolette Lang-Bernhard was returning from the old mill of Germinguen to go to Assenoncour on July 25, 1590, and as she followed a forest way at noon, she saw in a nearby field a band of men and women who danced in a circle. But because they did that in different manner than the current practice, turning their backs at each other, she looked better and saw that there was also among those who danced some who had deformed feet similar to those of the goats or oxen. Almost dying with fear, she started ("as we do when some sinister disaster threatens us") call upon the saving Name of Jesus, and begged that he at least lets her return home healthy and safe. Upon that, all the dancers seemed to disappear all of a sudden, except one of them, named Petter Gross-Petter, who quickly rose in the airs, and was seen then dropping a mop like those bakers use to clean the oven before use.

I hope that anyone can understand that the simple fact that the alleged Nicolette Lang-Bernhard knows the name of the man who did not "disappear" suddenly, Petter Gross-Petter, shows this story - which has nothing to do with the crop circle phenomenon, is certainly just a tall tale!

Lastly, I note that the Remy's story is also appearing in the book "The Witchcraft Sourcebook" by Brian P. Levack, Routledge publisher, USA, 2004, on page 84, and that the research by Theo Paijmans was then summarized in the crop circles book "In Graancirkelkringen: een Etnologisch Onderzoek naar Verhalen uit de Grenswetenschap", by T. Meder, Amsterdam University Press publishers, the Nerthelands, 2006.

Just by reading the rest of the story should be enough for everyone to comprehend that there is no crop circle at all here, but a most doubtful story, a witchcraft story, complete with consents obtained by torture, confrontation with the judge. "Several witnesses" claimed Colin Andrews... when actually the cited names are the names of the people who were accused to have been the dancers... A crop circle? Not. A round trace like those left by animals feet...

Below: the complete story in Nicolas Remy's book:

[Ref. as1:] COLIN ANDREWS AND STEPHEN J. SPIGNESI:

The authors say that there are many "historical accounts" of crop circles, some going back many hundreds of years. They cite as first recorded crop circle a formation of August 8, 1590, details in the 1686 book "The natural history of Stafford-Shire" by Robert Plott.

They say a peasant named Nicolae [sic] Lang-Bernhand [sic] was walking home around midday when he noticed some peculiar activity going on in a field by the side of the road. Investigation closer,, he saw a group of people dancing in a circle in the field. Upon even close investigation, close enough to see their legs and feet, he saw that some of them had cloven feet.

All the dancers suddenly rose in the air and disappeared. In the field appeared a circular indentation which remained on the ground until the farmer who owned the field plowed it under the following harvest time.

The authors say that according to Plott, many people of the area visited the crop circle.

They say that some of the weirdest details such as the cloven feet dancing must be ignored, and that one must conclude that a crop circle appeared in the field, witnessed by many people.

[Ref. ce1:] "CENTRE DE RECHERCHES UFOLOGIQUES C.R.A.S":

1590: Discovery on June 18 of a circle near Assen in Holland. The inside of the circle seems to have been flattened by "hoofs". Source : Report included in the book titled "A Natural History Of Stafford-Shire" and published at the Oxford University by Robert Plott, professor in chemistry.

[Ref. tp2:] THEO PAIJMANS:

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. (1)

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…” [2] 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.

(1) For an overview and mention of my research, published in 2003 online, see ufologie.net. [The old URL of my own website, where the article above appeared.]

[Ref. mo1:] ALAIN MOREAU:

On his website "Monde Nouveau" ("New World"), where we find a jumble of paranormal, divination, religion, prophecies, Alain Moreau talks about crop circles and completely copied my article [pg1] ensuring that I would have "surprisingly", "removed" my Website in early 2011 - I actually only changed the location from ufologie.net to ufologie.patrickgross.org.

[Ref. jb1:] JEROME BEAU:

Examples of crop circles cases or similar

Circle of prints on the ground in Alsace in 1590

[Ref. jb2:] JEROME BEAU:

Jul

25 midday Between Guermingen and Assenoncour (Alsace) Contrarily to Assen in Drenthe (The Netherlands) cited by the first source, Nicolette Lang-Bernhard sees a group of men and women - supposed to be sorcerers - dance : the incontrovertible and final proof of the truth of the event was the fact that the place where this dans had been promulgated was found again... trampled in a ring like one can find in a circus when the horses run around in circle, and among the other traces were recent marks of the hoofs of goats and beefs Plot (Robert Plott?): Journal of Meteorology, 1696 < Wilson, Terry: The Secret History of Crop Circles, December 1998 Remy, Nicolas: Daemonolatreia, 1595, reprinted "Demonolatry, edited with introduction and notes by Montague Summers", Rodker, 1930, reprinted facsimile of Frederick Muller, 1970, pp. 50-51 < Pajmans [sic], Theo: "Research crop circle Assen 1590", 2003.

[Ref. mp1:] "MONDE PARANORMAL" WEBSITE:

First appearance of Crop Circles:

The first Crop Circle was discovered in 1590 in Assen, Holland. Early Crop Circles were usually rounded, now they are becoming more complex.

[Ref. co1:] "CONSPIRATION.ORG" WEBSITE:

The first known crop circle seems to have appeared in Assen, in the Netherlands, in 1590.

[Ref. si1:] "SERVICE D'INFORMATION SUR LES OVNIS" WEBSITE:


The first document found on the subject [of crop circles] dates back to 1590 (Wilson 1998). It is said that on 18 August of the same year, a flattened circle in a field of grain, near "Assenuncuria" without doubt the current Assen in the Drenthe region in the Netherlands. Nighttime dancers were the perpetrators. The interior of the circle appears to have been trampled by "hoofed feet" (Plott 1686). This report is included in a book entitled "A Natural History of Stafford-shire" and published by Oxford University's Robert Plott, professor of chemistry.

Discussion:

Here are some supplements. As my correspondent quoted in the [pg1] section wrote, there is a forest between the two villages, crossed in 700 meters approximately nowadays.

There are 2.7 kms between Assenoncourt and Guermange. The closest border with the Bas-Rhin in Alsace is at 12 km. Thus, this case is neither Dutch nor Alsatian. It is in the Moselle department, Lorraine region.

Nicolas Remy, the oldest source of this story, was a lawyer, attorney, historian and author of Lorraine, born about 1525-1530 in Charmes in the Vosges, who died in April 1612. He is known for his "Demonolatry" book of 1595. The book is a treatise on witchcraft trials in Lorraine. Remy professed there is nothing inexplicable, everything that seems inexplicable being simply caused by "the Devil." He professes that the devil leads women to sexual excesses; of which men are the innocent victims... As a truly fanatical inquisitor, he judged and condemned, with the blessing of the Catholic Church absolutely delighted with all the witch hunt. He was directly responsible for the death of nearly 900 people, mostly women convicted of "witchcraft" and often condemned to the stake. His hatred against those he accused of witchcraft was such that he had even had children of ages 6 and 7 stripped and flogged while forced to walk around the fire where their parents were being burned alive.

About the location error: This file shows that Nicolas Remy and Robert Plot gave the correct location. Nut Plot, whereas he clearly states that "Remigius" that is to say, Nicolas Remy, is from Lorraine, fails to indicate the country. And he calls Assenoncourt "Assenincuria" (*) - He did not Latinize the names himself, Rémy Nicolas' book was simply written in Latin.

The error appears in fact in the article in the "Journal of Meteorology." I do not have the entire article, but I know that the author, David J. Reynolds, did not use Rémy as a source, but Plot, and he writes about his "search" for the right place for "Assenincuria". It might have been obvious since Plot says Remy was from Lorraine, and there is a Assenoncourt in Lorraine, but David J. Reynolds is mistaken, considering various places and finally says that it must likely be Assen in Holland because Plot wrote of "low lands" - like "Netherland" ("low countries" or "low counties"?). And probably also because of the Germanic-sounding names of the protagonists; every English people do not know that Lorraine was sometimes German, sometimes French.

To wit these excerpts:

The wrong plave "Assen in Holland" was then copied by lots of authors, in books and on the Internnet, until Theo Paijmans, coincidentally a Dutch ufologist, indicated the right source, Nicolas Rémy, who give the correct place.

I think that's what put Jérôme Beau [jb1] (or another maybe) on the track, he probably read Paijmans and read the primary source, but for some reason that escapes me - maybe the Alsatian-sounding names of some of the protagonists - it located the place in Alsace instead of Lorraine.

Still, thereafter, most Internet sources continue to claim that the place is Assen in Holland (and present the case as a "genuine crop circle"), with a small number of sources now giving the location as Assenoncourt "in Alsace".

The places are in Lorraine, not Alsace. But to be fair, it is possible that at the time, this was in Alsace, or even right on the border. Indeed, Assenoncourt is a French name but Germingen is an Alsatian name. Its subsequent francization to "Guermange" suggests that a change in position of the border occurred.

(*) In the "General toponymie de France", Volume 2, Part V, page 882, by Ernest Nègre, 1996 (See Below) we have confirmation that the Latin name of Assenoncourt in Moselle is Assenuncuria. In general, there are indexes of correspondence between Latin names and current names for places, simple to check to avoid changing some "Assenuncuria" to "Assen"...

The date: originally (Nicolas Rémy), the date is July 25 1590. In Plot's version, it is the eighth day before the calends of August 1590. In Colin Andrews's book, it is August 8, 1590. In Wilson's book, it is August 18, 1590. For the CRAS, it is June 18, 1590...

There is no big need to list all the other errors... Colin Andrews changing Nicolea, feminine, to Nicolae, masculine, for example. The "Plott" and "Plot" issue - they are the same person. And above all, the silencing of the full text, which does not sound "scientific" enough, and the insistence on Plot being a "doctor of chemistry" - when we know the worth of "chemistry" and "science" in general at that time...

About crop circles: I stated in this case file that crop circle are neither alien nor paranormal, they are a hoax that began in 1978, and also "land art" thereafter. I do not demonstrate it in this file, this is not the place to do it. But everyone can find the base of my opinion in my web pages about the crop circles.

Evaluation:

Nothing to do with UFOs.

Sources references:

* = Source is available to me.
? = Source I am told about but could not get so far. Help needed.

File history:

Authoring:

Main author: Patrick Gross
Contributors: None
Reviewers: None
Editor: Patrick Gross

Changes history:

Version: Create/changed by: Date: Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross April 13, 2016 Creation, [nr1], [rp1], [tp1], [pg1], [jb2], [jb1], [mo1], [tp2], [mp1], [co1], [si1].
1.0 Patrick Gross April 13, 2016 First published.

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