Thursday, August 5, 2010


In the movie Signs, Mel Gibson’s character wakes one morning to an amazing sight. Overnight, an enormous design has appeared on his cornfield! What he sees is a crop circle—a design made when wheat or corn is swept down to form a pattern. More than 5,000 of these patterns have been seen in more than 40 countries. Most of them, though, appear in England. Some designs are astonishing. There are crops circles in the shape of mazes, spinning wheels, and maps of the planets. Some designs are simple, and some are as complex as a snowflake. Many believe that crop circles are made by aliens. But many more believe they’re made by jolts of energy from the earth. Others conclude that crop circles are simply an unsolved mystery. Do you think crop circles are a hoax— the work of pranksters? In 1991, two British men confessed that they’d made crop circles all over England. Wooden boards pulled by ropes were used to make the patterns. Matthew Williams was arrested for trespassing on a farmer’s field in 2001. He says making crop circles isn’t hard. “All you need is a pencil, a compass, and a ruler to design it on paper,” he says. Peter Sorensen from California said that he and his friends have made about a dozen crop circles. They designed them on computers. Some people, however, insist that crop circles, especially the complicated ones, can’t be made in one night. William Gazecki, a documentary filmmaker, said, “How many man-hours would it take to make a perfect crop circle, with no mistakes? The summer nights in England are only four to five hours long. It takes me five hours just to draw one of these things. How could they do all that work with ropes and planks in the dark?” One design, discovered in July 1996, was called the “Triple Julia Set.” Nearly 1,000 feet long, it was made up of 700 perfect circles. Another design, called the “Galaxy Spiral Arm,” was spread over 11 acres of wheat. It was made up of 409 circles. Could such enormous, perfectly drawn designs be made overnight? One crop circle was made on the evening of July 7, 1996. The pilot of a small plane passed over a field. Half an hour later, when he flew back the same way, a huge, complicated design had appeared on the field. It was 900 feet long and 500 feet wide! Many insist that at least some crop circles are not made by humans. They wonder why the stalks of grain are bent, but never broken. Why are crackling sounds heard near crop circles? And why have so many people seen strange “balls of light” just before the patterns appear? Ron Russell has seen one such “ball of light.” “It was like a planet,” he said, “but too bright to be a planet. It went straight above us before it disappeared.” Jim Lyons, an engineer, says the plants in crop circles show changes in their nitrogen levels. After testing flattened crops, he says the electrical fields around them often seem to be disturbed. Yet some think such research is nonsense. Michael Glickman gives lectures on crop circles. He believes most crop circles are not fakes. “But who cares how they do it?” he says. “If the circles are made by people, I’d love to meet them. They must have very beautiful minds.” MIND OVER MATTER Un Geller says he uses his mind to bend metal. When he strokes a metal fork, it bends. Even after he takes his hand away, the metal keeps moving. Geller says he has the power of psychokinesis. That means he can move objects with his thoughts. In the 1970s, Un Geller was famous. He often appeared on TV, bending metal and stopping clocks. He described drawings that were hidden in envelopes. A novel, a board game, and a record were based on him. He appeared on the covers of 400 magazines, and 20 books were written about him. Geller, an Israeli, grew up in a poor part of Tel Aviv. His mother was a seamstress. His father was in the military. Unfortunately, when Geller was ten, his parents divorced. In an interview, Geller remembered his parents’ divorce as a painful time. It was then that he created a fantasy world where he had total control. He dreamed of being rich and famous. As an adult, Geller worked in a women’s clothing factory. There, he met a photographer. Eager to show off his metal-bending talent, Geller bent a ring for him. Impressed, the photographer invited Geller to a party. As Geller tells it, “I was quite a hit. After that the parties got better and better. First they were for businessmen and army officers. Then judges and lawyers came to see me.” In 1969, he met the prime minister of Israel, Golda Meir. Later, when Meir was on a radio show, someone asked her about the future of Israel. “Don’t ask me,” she said. “Ask Geller.” After this remark by Golda Meir, Geller ‘s fame skyrocketed. Suddenly, everyone wanted to interview him, or to demonstrate his feats on TV. Mind Over Matter Geller said he was especially loved by Israelis after the Six-Day War in 1967. “The country was in a depressed state,” he said. “In me they found a happy outlet.” Grieving mothers would beg him to get in touch with their dead sons. Geller moved to England as his fame was spreading around the globe. Spoon bending had made him a celebrity in every country in the world. He had a 1976 Cadillac with more than 5,000 bent spoons attached to it. Many of the spoons were given to him by celebrities. A few of these famous people were Winston Churchill, John Kennedy, Elvis Presley, the Duchess of Windsor, and the famous Beatle, John Lennon. As Geller’s fame grew, some people accused him of being a fraud. James Randi, an American magician, doesn’t believe in Geller’s powers at all. He insists that Geller is a magician, not a psychic. Geller ‘s tricks are not that hard to do, he claims. At the height of his fame, Geller was planning to be in a Hollywood movie. Then a producer, Robert Stigwood, told him that he needed to lose some weight. As the Israeli told it later, Stigwood’s words triggered a terrible reaction. Geller became bulimic. Finally, his doctor warned him that if he didn’t eat normally, he would die. After quitting show business, Geller wrote books about positive thinking. He also used his powers to search for gold, oil, and minerals. In recent years, he’s occasionally appeared on TV. According to Geller, a number of world leaders ask him for advice. These days he lives very comfortably in a mansion in England. “When I was a boy,” he said, “I had no bed, so I had to sleep in a cupboard. Now I’ve got 12 paintings by Dali and six servants. Important men often ring me up to ask about world peace. How many people can say that?”


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