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Crop Circles:

What follows is only intended to demonstrate what appears in the conclusion. Any other point of strangeness or alleged aspect of the "crop circles mystery is dealt with elsewhere, here.

A four-kilometer-long crop circle in Australia in 1998?

After having ensured of the existence of crop circles at all kinds of dates, all kinds of places, the author of a web page on the crop circles, who claims that crop circles are "a new challenge to our intelligence" and that they are created by small balls of light, gives this example of a crop circle:

"In Australia, the representation of a four kilometers length aboriginal, traced in sand was even photographed by satellite in 1998."

Source: "Les Crop Circles", web page by P. Melleret, undated, at

Wow! A 4 kilometers long crop circle!

Back to reality:

On June 26, 1998, a charter plane pilot, Trec Smith, flew above Australia between Marree and Coober Pedy, over Finnis Springs, 60 km in the west of Marree in the center of south Australia, when he spotted on the ground a huge figure of a naked man throwing a stick. The coordinates are 29░31' 48? S and 137░27' 56? E.

Sky view in 1998

The discovery created quite a sensation, because the figure was 4.2 kilometers long, the outline 15 kilometer and the total layout 22 kilometers, and that nobody knew who did it. The newspapers talked of the case, journalists invaded the location, at the residents reprobation.

There was a debate about what kind of man was sketched there. Some thought it was an aboriginal of the Pitjantjatjara tribe launching a stick used in this tribe to hunt walibis or birds, others wanted to see a Greek god, because of the nudity. The drawing is obviously of Western rather than of indigenous style.

The outline.

"The Marree Man", as it became known, is not a crop circle. It is not at all traced by flattening crop in a field, but traced with the tractor and plower into vegetation, thus discovering the darker ground of the plate. It is accessible by a preexistent track which enters and leaves the place.

"Enhanced" satellite phto.

Shane Anderson from the William Creek Hotel, located 200 km north-west of the town of Marree claimed the hotel received an anonymous fax describing the location of the artwork, but they ignored it, dismissing the fax as a joke.

Suzy Walsh, who works at Marree's Outback Roadhouse and General Store, said she is convinced she would have unwittingly served the culprits, and that she usually gets locals and people passing through buying several 44 gallon drums of fuel at a time, that there is heavy vehicle traffic from Woomera, so she would not have been suspicious.

Local people say that the eccentric Bardius Goldberg, who died in 2002, made it using a GPS and a bulldozer. Goldberg had expressed an interest in creating a work of art that could be seen from space and he apparently received a large sum of money at the time of the Marree Man's discovery. He never confirmed not denied he did it.

Artist Christopher Headley says that he sent two letters, one to Colonel Tom Meade, the head of the former US-Australian Joint Defense Facility Nurrungar, to ask about the possibility of making a permanent commemoration of the American presence in Australia. This could have inspired the idea of creating a geoglyph among locals. Also, Christopher Headley had created a camel-on-wheels figure, and a three dolphins figures, visible from the air, so he was suspected himself, but said he never did anything larger than 300 meters, and always with prior authorization.

It was also speculated that it might have been the work of workers from the Western Mining Corporation, with its Roxby Downs mine a few hundred kilometers away, but the company denied that.

Then there were reports of Australian army vehicles moving through the area. It turned out 17 Construction Group had been working with Aborigines on projects in the west of the State, but they said they did not do it, and the closest they ever went to the site was at least 200 km.

Adelaide surveyor Shayne Hennig explained that using an aerial photograph and hand-held global positioning system, each co-ordinate could be marked on the site with a stake every hundred meters or so. "From a surveying point of view, it's not very difficult," he said. And he suggested military personal could have done it.

Indeed, the site is rather close to the grounds of the restricted access military base of Woomera, used by the US military. It was thus thought that some military personal of that base made the giant drawing, since they have all the necessary equipment, bulldozer, planes, satellites, and powerful GPS system. Some think that it was a geolocalisation drill, others that the military, who are to leave the base, wanted to leave a memory. In fact, there were several anonymous statements sent to the Press, written in US rather than Australian style, which claimed it was a work of the US military.

After saying they were "closing in on the culprits", the police stopped investigating, saying they have are more important things to do and that no crime was committed, so the perpetrators are still unknown.

Because tourists were starting to go to the isolated site and put themselves in danger, because heavy rains had made roads impassable, the police eventually forbad the access to the area. Of course some conspiracy theorists then claimed this was to "hide" something sinister.

Because of the heavy rains and the vegetation growing back, the figure weakened considerably, and it is not thought that it could persist more than a few decades.

For the Press, public opinion, and various people who entered the debate, one thing was obvious: it was made by men. It was of course compared to other geoglyphs, the Nazca lines, the White Horse at Uffington, England, the Long Man at Wilmington, England, but nobody was silly enough to claim it is a "crop circle", or that it was made by aliens or something paranormal. The only relation between the Marree Man and crop circle is quite clear: when land artists do land art without prior authorization, they do not usually claim it.

And of course no evidence whatsoever exists that it was ot made by men but by aliens, angels or anything paranormal. The Marree Man was done with laser beams or UFOs or ball of lights.

But occasionally, crop circles buffs tell you it is a 4 kilometers crop circle...


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This page was last updated on April 20, 2010.