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A sign from above?

08/17/04 - The South Washington County Bulletin

Gene Smallidge noticed these crop circles in his oat field along 100th Street and Ideal Avenue in Cottage Grove. He says they weren't there a week earlier, and doesn't know how they were made.


The crop circles appeared in late July on a farm in Cottage Grove.
Photo courtesy: South Washington County Bulletin.

Crop circles spotted on Minnesota farm

08/17/04 - KSTP-TV

COTTAGE GROVE - A Minnesota farmer can't explain a strange phenomenon in one of this fields.

Gene Smallidge found five crop circles that were made sometime July 24 on his Cottage Grove farm. He said he made the discovery the following day, and did not find any evidence that this was a man-made prank.

"There's still grain in the heads," Smallidge said, referring to his flattened crop. "If that had been done by people using a board to drag across they would have pulled a lot of the grain out of the heads and off the stems and it's still there today."

As soon as word spread about Smallidge's discovery, a research company in Massachusetts came calling. Volunteers with BLT Research took samples and offered a scientific explanation for what happened.

"The main one they're looking at is possible plasma vortices that would be formed high in the atmosphere and create and have a different charge than the lower atmosphere," said volunteer Dean Deharpporte. "Somehow this plasma would be transported to the ground like lightning is."

Scientists say hot gasses could form a swirling pattern to create the circles without breaking the stems.


Are crop circles a sign from above?

08/02/04 - The South Washington County Bulletin

By Judy Spooner

When you ask Cottage Grove farmer Gene Smallidge how five “crop circles” got into his oat field, he shrugs. All he knows is that the five circles in the oat field were not there a week ago.

Mysterious circles in crop fields were first reported during the 1980s in England. Researchers have been documenting them since the early 1990s.

Speculation includes that the circles come from the exhaust of spacecraft from outer space. On the other end of the spectrum are those that label them as “hoaxes.”
Various researchers, professional and otherwise, say there are higher radiation counts in the circles than surrounding areas.

Smallidge would like to know how the circles got into his fields on Ideal Avenue and 100th Street. He is leaning toward a man-made solution.

But it does seem odd, according to his son, Scott, a geography teacher in Hastings, that the circles are 1/2 mile from where anyone can access the fields because they are fenced.

If the circles were made by a 2-by-4 board, someone would have had to anchor the board in the center of the circles and there is no sign of that from Scott’s observations.
All-terrain vehicles make paths in fields that can be easily seen by most anyone, but there were no tracks near the fields, which were harvested last week after Smallidge allowed photos to be taken. Now evidence of the cirles is gone, but the field is full of downed oat straw that will be baled when fully dried.

The oat field was ringed in hay baled a week earlier, long before Gene started combining the oats on July 29.

Scott said there are more frequent swirls of wind in and near the oat field than there are in other fields on the Smallidge's farm. “Bob Julen found some hay on his deck once and that’s a quarter mile away,” Scott said.

Scott made a rough measurement of the circles at about 27 feet each.
Gene’s wife, Louise, came out to the field to take pictures of the circles. Louise teased Julen, who sometimes helps with the harvest. “We think the neighbor did it,” she said.

“After I saw how to do it on Channel Two?” Julen responded in jest.

“We’ve been growing oats here for 40 years,” Louise said, “and it never happened before.”

At the end of the day, Smallidge still had no idea where the circles came from and his focus was instead switched to hoping it rains because his crops could use the moisture.

Posted: Thursday, August 05, 2004
Article comment by: Nancy Talbott, BLT Research Team Inc.

These 5 circles on the Smallidge farm look (from the photo printed in the paper)as if the event may be the "real McCoy." The only way to tell for sure is to carry out field-sampling (in this case of the soils, since the plants have been cut), which our group would like to do if the farmer will allow us access. For details of the plant and soil abnormalities which have been documented in crop circles over the last 12 years (these results published in peer-reviewed scientific journals), see the BLT web-site: www.bltresearch.com. Hope we can add this event to our current study-in-progress (an analysis of soil chemistry and examination looking at the mycorrhizal fungi in the plant roots) led by a mycologist/soil chemist at the Univ. of California, Davis, for the BLT Team. Nancy Talbott President, BLT Research Team Inc. (www.bltresearch.com)


Crop circles attract interest

08/09/04 - The South Washington County Bulletin

By Greg Moynaugh

If things get any busier at Gene Smallidge’s farm, where “crop circles” were reported two weeks ago, Gene won’t have any time to look after his crops.

After the Bulletin reported five crop circles were in the fields of the Gene and Louise Smallidge farm at 100th Street and Ideal Avenue in Cottage Grove, the phone messages started appearing on the answering machine.

Crop circle news travels fast.

Circles of downed crops in unharvested fields of cereal grains such as Smallidge’s oat field were first reported in England during the 1980s, but according to the many Internet sites, they have a long history.

Some people said they are from exhausts of alien space ships. Others were proven to be hoaxes perpetrated with lumber swung in circles. Still others remain unexplained.
The current prevailing theory is that some crop circles are associated with meteor dust that is constantly coming in from space that are drawn together by magnetic forces, according to BLT Research in Massachusetts.

There is research that demonstrates the molecular structure of the plants in circles is altered. Seed from circles grow plants that are hardier, more drought resistant and yield healthier and taller plants. Radiation has also been reported in crop circles.
All this information is news to the Smallidge family, which has heard about crop circles, but were not aware of the details or the curiosity their circles would generate.

On a sunny and warm July 29, Smallidge was harvesting the oats when the circles were discovered. After they were photographed, Gene harvested what he could, anxious to get the most out of his crop and deter anyone from walking into the field that is under-seeded with alfalfa.
BLT Researcher Nancy Talbot called the Smallidges, expressing interest in the five circles.

BLT volunteers Dean and Margaret Deharpporte, Eden Prairie, and Joel Henry, visited the field last Sunday to take soil and plant samples. They measured what was left of the circles and took magnetic readings.

The day before, Talbot called Smallidge and asked him to take seed samples from the field. She was concerned that rain might damage the seed that was left in the field.
Louise said they were told to ask neighbors if they have pets. “Nancy said that cats and dogs do things they don’t ordinarily do when there are circles,” she said.

“Maybe I shouldn’t have harvested the circles,” Gene said. “They have told me that the circles are the real thing. All the grain is going in the same direction. These people are serious. If I had known the seeds might be more hearty, I would have saved them for next year.”

Greg Moynaugh, Afton, is a University of Minnesota student with a strong interest in crop circles. He got permission to visit the Smallidges on Saturday and helped the volunteers gather information on Sunday. He thinks the circles are a phenomena and not the result of vandalism.


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