Adelaide Hills grazier Andrew Davidson is frankly baffled. What spooked one of his horses to go into a wild, galloping, whinnying panic for a couple of nights recently? What caused a big, egg-shaped "circle" to appear mysteriously on a remote paddock about the same time?
"It's almost as if you'd brought a huge branding iron down and went whoooosh and pulled it up again," Andrew says, shaking his head. "Like putting a brand on the hide of a cow - but the strange thing is, the grass isn't burned. It's more like it has had the life sucked out of it and been left lying down in flat patterns."
Andrew, who owns a large sheep farm 35km east of Adelaide, points out the odd patterns - one clockwise, the other anti-clockwise. The dead grass patch [ring] is 56cm wide, forming an egg shape 22 meters by 13 meters. "There were no wheel marks - no trucks or tractors or rollers," Andrew says. "My mate can back me on that." (There were definitely no signs of tracks when we went to the site 11 days later)
Andrew's friend John Purvis was the first to find the circle as he cut across the paddock to get wood for his fire early on november 16. "The untouched surroundings really puzzled me. I raced home (he lives in a cottage on the property), got my video camera and recorded it.
"It was weird about our horse, too. He was in the same paddock as the circle, and a few nights before I found it, he was galloping and whinnying and carrying on like a mad thing." Andrew Davidson's way of heading off the sceptics who might think he is crazy has been to call in a group of experts to unravel the mystery.
"I got the agronomist from the Department of Agriculture at Mt Barker. I wasn't there when he called, but from what I've heard he was totally perplexed. When I talked to him later he said, 'Look, there's no biological or agricultural explanation - no fungus, no root-rot or weedkillers or anything like that."
Graeme Budgen, a scientist with a consulting engineering company who did soil and radiation tests, found strange readings in the circle. The salt content in the circle was 40% higher than the rest of the paddock (a characteristic of "UFO circles") and radiation was up.
"The moisture content is especially weird," Graeme says. "It's much higher on the circle than away from it, yet the soil on the circle feels and looks dry and crumbly and the rest of the paddock is soaking wet. There's something very strange here and I cannot conclude what has happened. My opinion is that it's no hoax. A hoaxer couldn't duplicate an elaborate thing like this." [There's a couple of very good photos, one showing the egg-shaped 'track' from an elevated position with three men standing inside, and one close up showing the 'dead' grass]
Colin Norris, director of Australian International UFO Research, agrees. "I've looked into thousands of UFO phenomena and I can spot a fake a mile off. This is no hoax. There has been a visit from an extra-terrestrial craft here, for sure. In the eight weeks leading up to this I had a spate of UFO reports around these parts. The Air Force rang me because they were getting so many reports of lights moving and standing still in the Adelaide Hills."
As the evidence piles up, Andrew Davidson admits his lifetime disbelief in UFOs has taken a battering. Crop circles, or "the calling cards of UFOs" as their believers call them, were first reported in 1976 and serious research began in 1980. One of the most controversial sites has been in the Wessex Triangle in England - an area rich in mystical associations and location of Stonehenge. XX
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