by Peter Sorensen

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Eight-Fold Pi formation

    The eight-fold formation that appeared with a Pi "signature" next to it at Avebury on September 1st this year (1999), is the latest English crop formation of any season in my experience. And, to my knowledge it is the last one of the Millennium! Several of its nine major circles also had very peculiar lays, including raised, snake-like coils that could be clearly seen from the air.

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Medium Close-Up of Eight-Fold Pi formation

(Click to enlarge)

    I visited it the next day with Ulrich Kox, the German researcher who had taken aerial shots of it for me with my video camera on the first morning. The formation had occurred in one of the very last fields still standing, and the wheat, past due for harvesting, was shabby, with its ears bent down, and readily released seeds if rubbed gently between the fingers. There were also some small bald patches which added to its disheveled appearance. Yet the lay was every bit as amazing as we expected!

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Close-Up of "Coiled

Medium Shot of "Coiled Snake"

Wide Shot of "Coiled

  (Click to enlarge)

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A Circular Lay that is Puffy,
but Without "Snakes"
A Circular Lay that is Puffy, but Without "Snakes"

    The unique "snakes" were formed by narrow arcs of crop which was bent (crimped) over as high as a foot above the ground, and therefore a good eight inches above the more normally flattened crop that surrounded them. The term, snake, was coined because one of them (lower left on medium-close aerial shot) suggested a loosely coiled serpent, but on the ground they defied comparison to anything. They were curved, puffy bands  which went down much higher than the surrounding lay.  Virtually every large circle in the formation had them, but only a few were dramatic. 

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Center Circle Showing Concentric and Radial Lays 

(Click to enlarge)

    Equally remarkable was the lay of the central circle, which consisted of three distinct different flows.  The very center was a small, ordinary clockwise swirl with a "bird's nest" in the middle. There had been a clump of standing stalks inside the nest, but these had been cleanly cut off a few inches from the ground  - probably taken by someone sampling the crop. This central swirl overlapped a radial lay that went out about 10 feet before it, in turn, overlapped a clockwise, concentric lay. (The radial and concentric flows are distinct in the aerial shot, but the little central swirl is barely recognizable.) I have never heard of combined radial and concentric flattening - have you? Radial is rare enough!

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  Pole shot of Pi 

(Click to enlarge)

The Greek Pi symbol was a controversial feature.  Suggestive of a signature, some croppies have rejected the entire formation because of it, while others believe it was merely added by an early visitor.  Still others are adamant that it was/is very important. At least two dowsers found positive results.

Charles and Frances Mallet reported that the tapering point at the right end of the Pi's curvy, horizontal stroke, had a very thin (2 or 3 inch-wide) line meandering off and out into the standing crop for well over a hundred feet. Amazingly, it was crimped down just a few inches below the ears of wheat - not at the bottom of the stalks! Unfortunately, no one took an aerial close-up of the Pi, although one of my pole shots shows the horizontal stroke tapering to fine point, and there appears to be a line going straight off from it a ways. 

When Charley tried to photograph it, his camera failed. He was surprised, not only because his camera had never had a problem before, but because it was a very old, mechanical camera with no electronics in it. Assuming it had simply decided to break down after all these years, he was taken aback when he thought to test it with a shot of the formation from the roadside, and it worked perfectly. His curiosity peaked, he went back into the circle, and, classically, the camera again failed - only to behave when he returned to the road. [If anyone has a photo of the mysterious line or an aerial close-up of the Pi, please contact me or the Crop Circle Connector! I would also like to hear reports of other unusual features or experiences.]

The formation may not quite qualify as a Grand Finale, but it is a fascinating finale - for the year, AND the


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Peter is having difficulty keeping up with his email. He does read them all and, is very grateful for all comments and criticism.

Peter Sorensen

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