Clocking the swirls of summertime

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The Independent Travel
Lucy Pringle, a stylish fiftysomething, has been researching crop circles for the past 10 years. In spite of a meagre budget, she travels constantly from her home in Hampshire to inspect new formations, and, whenever she can afford it, she hires a light aircraft for aerial photography. She has lectured widely in this country, as well as the United States and Canada, and her book, The Sky is Not the Limit, about "crop formations and other associated mysteries", is to be published next year.

Lucy's own research has led her to believe that the force at work is electromagnetic energy, and her particular interest now is the effect of electromagnetic fields on living matter. She believes that some formations, at least, are caused by sudden, intense bursts of energy that destroy the cellular structure of the stalks, so that the crop goes over in a smooth, even swirl, sometimes clockwise, sometimes anti-clockwise.

She and others say they have found evidence that overspill energy extends into the standing crop all round. But what produces large and intricate patterns, she cannot say.

She herself claims to be highly susceptible to the energy with which new formations seem to be charged; some make her positively ill, but many, she finds, have strong therapeutic powers. She tells with relish how she took an 82-year-old friend into a formation near East Meon at six one morning. For someone of that age, suffering acutely from osteoporosis, it was an exhausting walk out and back.

After such exertion the old lady would normally have been flat on her back, reaching for her painkillers. However, she telephoned later that morning to say that she was feeling wonderful, and says that in the three weeks since then she has had no pain at all.

Lucy believes that her area of research is becoming "seriously valuable", and was very excited to receive reports that five women who went into a big formation near Stonehenge last year all later suffered from abnormal menstrual bleeding. She feels that if five responded "on such a delicate subject", there must be some strong effect at work.

Duff Hart-Davis