SMITHFIELD, Utah, July 10 -- For the second time in less than a year, mysterious crop circles have appeared in a Cache County barley field outside Smithfield, leaving residents scratching their heads as to their cause.
The circles were discovered Sunday [July 6] at 6:30 a.m. by farmer Gary Hansen in his field across U.S. Highway 91 from his house.
Hansen's daughter Maegan, 15, said drivers have been pulling off the highway since Monday afternoon. She said people are taking pictures of the circles or standing at the center of the larger one, presumably for cosmic enlightenment.
Visitors have been a problem, she said, trampling through the 750-acre field of barley that is about 2 1/2 feet high. "We've had to put up 'no trespassing' signs," said Maegan.
She said there are two unusual things about the circles. First, when a visitor to the site opened his compass, the needle started to spin wildly. Second, the rocks within the circles have not been disturbed as one would expect if something were dragged over them, such as a board or rope.
Maegan's brother, Dustin, said the stalks in the circle were laid down perfectly. "It's amazing the way it's made," he said. "Every grain piece is laid in a perfect spot. No kernels broken. If you step on it, the kernels are (normally) crushed."
Gary Hansen is also mystified, saying he has never seen anything like it. He refused to guess the cause of the circles, but called them a "mess" that has cost him about $500 in trampled grain.
When asked if he believed in UFOs, he said, "I haven't, but it's starting to make me think a little bit now."
Others have been thinking about it, too. Maegan Hansen said that some have speculated the designs were made by the devil in an attempt to "corrupt our minds," while others have attributed them to "angels sending a blessing."
One observer said he thought they were gifts of art from a higher intelligence. "My friends think it's all pretty weird," said Maegan. "They call me the 'Alien Girl."'
The circles were not the first in the county. On Aug. 23, 1996, a circle with an extended design appeared in farmer Seth Alder's field in Providence, about 15 miles south of Smithfield.
While no one ever came up with a definitive answer for what made it, county Sheriff Sid Groll said a farmer told him that gophers will make grain lie down when they trim kernels from the stalks. The sheriff's department did not investigate the latest incident.
Original file name: CNI - Crop Circles.Utah
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