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UFOs in the daily Press:

Mystery circles solved, Austalia, 2002:

This article was published in the daily newspaper The Mercury, Hobart, Tasmania / Australia, on August 30, 2002.

Alien rings mystery solved

Mysterious rings which appeared almost overnight on a Victorian farm had UFO hunters speculating that alien craft had touched down.

Up to 40 rings, ranging from less than a metre to more than 20m across had Campbells Bridge farmer Bruce Hemley baffled.

Residents of nearby Stawell drew links with unexplained lights over the Grampians.

Some muttered about farmer Hemley going on midnight jaunts spraying weed killer to make the circles.

"I've got better bloody things to do with my time," Mr Hemley said yesterday. "I put a mob of sheep in there the other week and noticed these circles where it looks like something has killed off the grass. Some of them were fully circular but not quite perfect."

The weird patterns last week pricked the ears of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment and they sent pastoral expert Hayley Johnson. But even Ms Johnson was initially stumped.

"At first I had no idea what they could be, I hadn't seen them before," Ms Johnson said.

A ring-around of some DNRE veterans soon found the answer. The cause was found to be a simple subterranean fungi, which radiates in almost perfect symmetry as it grows and starves pasture of moisture.

"They are known as fairy rings because in the olden days they used to think the fairies had been dancing around in circles," Ms Johnson said.

Mr Hemley said he never believed fairies or spacecraft were the cause.

"Nothing could have landed there because, as I pointed out, there was a tree in the middle of one of the circles."

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