Construction myths
and "the Moire"

Preconditions and Assumptions

It's easiest for us to think in terms of true and false (paranormal causes or man-made hoaxes), our whole logic is built up on duality, but the (relative) truth may be more flexible.

Among others, this assumed condition is widely accepted for hoaxing formations: No use of artificial lights, and thus no measuring equipment which must be clearly read.

But constant hilltop night-watches through the summer overlooking all plausible formation-sites ... is a myth; they're sporadic. Also, many formations are sufficifiently distant from a village or houses, or so hidden within a field, or so off the beaten track that small flashlights or laser-lights and even scaled instruments could be sparingly used in their construction without discovery.

The brilliant geometrical reconstructions, the "reverse-technology" analyses and drawings by especially Dutch geometricians also often presume: 1. The use of a straight-edge only, without a numbered scale. 2. The absolute necessity of previous physical "construction-lines", missing in the actual, finished field-formaton (footnote 1).

The overwhelming elegance of these visual analyses lets us forget that the ancient traditional tools of desk-drawn figures (compass and straight-edge) may be different than both modern computer-programming of drawings and from the practical techniques and tools used in a field. There are big differences between the simpler way carpenters and masons reckon needed lengths and positions in practice, and the techniques used in drawing their blueprints. Constructing a diagram on paper can sometimes be more complicated than copying the finished product in a field.

Also, the drawn ideal diagrams from aerial photos of formations too often overlook or ignore the actually photographed geometrical inconsistencies, which are perhaps either purposely put there, or signs of an imperfect higher technology, or human construction-mistakes.

By general agreement, the most impressive formations of last summer were perhaps the Avebury Trusloe "magnetic field"/"Moire" and the Woodborough Hill "sunflower"/"crown chakra".

If the first one can be humanly accurately produced in a night, are we justified in assuming a paranormal cause of it? If some of the absolute leading crop-circles turn out to be man-made, this partly discredits belief and assumptions of paranomality. But if the only hoaxing teams known to be plausibly capable of such complex creation are ruled out, who else could do it and would remain silent? Can we still assume human production? If it could possibly fool so many people by its beauteous optical illusion, where's a researcher's feeling of security to be?

The Book

On the very first three pages of John Willson's 1983 book of illustrations, "Mosaic and Tessellated Patterns and How to Create Them" (ISBN 0-486-24379-6), there are jarringly precise drawings of these four impressive formation-patterns from 2000: the "sunflower", the "inflated pillow", the "1600-piece grid", and the "Moire", and within the book are further instructions of how to set up these and many related patterns before their shading (corresponding to making pathways before downing crop)(book figures: 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, and 10).

Figure 11 is from Zef Damen's diagram of the finished Moire crop-circle. For comparision, photos of the actual field-formations by Ulrich Kox, Francine Blake, and Steve Alexander are cropped and rotated in figures 2, 6, and 9, while Lucy Pringle's photo in figure 12 is compressed to make the Moire circular.

1. 2. 3.

4. 5. 6.

7. 8. 9.

10. 11. 12.

Of course statistically, precisely these patterns in the fields during one summer cannot be coincidental. Common sense demands that we initially suppose the easiest solution, the most familiar earthly one, to be most likely true. Books are designed for human readers, and if the booklet and (optionally) a computer were used to model these formations, all four should be man-made. But then how to explain the anomalies below? Or do we need the far-out scenario of paranormal forces referring this book to us for some reason? Or what?


The 1600-parts grid had numerous blown nodes (albeit collected a month later by Geoff Stray)(2) and Ed Sherwood photographed many BoLs in it(3).

Camera failures and blown nodes were reported in the "inflated pillow" by Freddy Silva(4).

Three large, undisturbed, raised nests filled the "sunflower" formation's center, one containing a stone broken by heat or pressure into many adjacent, fitting pieces. But this work-place was needed to make the 15 concentric circles. Also, the Dutch "construction-lines" requirement indirectly applies here: the 44 logarithmic curves could only be trodden down if elevated straight radial lines to measure by had connected this center to all the perimeter points (fig.3). So its human construction from the ground is quite improbable.

In my research of the literature, there were no reported anomalies in the Moire. Freddy Silva found however that three geodesic lines met there, whereas even two tend to imply genuineness. It was in a somewhat isolated location outside Avebury Trusloe and the lay in its main section was unimpressive, in my opinion.


Three of us in Denmark made a simple practical experiment with a surveyor's 164-foot roll-up metal tape measure, and with a 207-foot ball of 1.5 mm. thick string which can support 132 pounds without breaking. Holding the tape at breast-height (above the height of mature wheat), it could stretch between 98 to 115 feet without sinking too much to be a straight air-born guideline, whereas the string easily remained taut for the 200 feet required to measure the longest straight line in the Moire formation and it was not tiring to hold aloft. It took one and a half minutes at maximum to slowly walk (at a stomping-board pace) the equivalent of the longest (max. 150') of each of the thin paths required to make the Moire's 120 partial spokes, and about 15 seconds for the shortest.

A computer or even ruler can figure and measure the actual relative lengths of a pre-drawn figure's lines, the distances between them, and the straight distances between points on a circle's perimeter. These numbers can be blown up to the field-formations' scale in diagrams of the finished pattern-to-be, and a reasonably few of the most-used distances knotted on strong strings beforehand.

History shows that the loudest speaking crop-circle hoaxers enjoy claiming extra formations they could not have made. "The Circlemakers" team (previously "Team Satan") claimed the Moire in the Daily Express article of Aug. 3, 2000, but their mathematical explanation was so inaccurate, that it proved they had in fact not made it. The arms on Matt William's 7-pointed star later in the season were of such differing lengths and distances from each other, that neither he could have mastered the more demanding Moire process. Who's left?

Possible practical human construction

After learning most of this formation's approximate measurements from Andreas Müller of the International Crop-Circle Archives, and figuring out the others, here's one way to practically construct the Moire with 4 people ("W,X,Y,Z") during a British summer night (figures 13 and 14 - photo by Lucy Pringle). The possible ranges of the actual recorded measurements are given in parentheses:

13. 14.

1. The compass direction along the tramline has been checked from a map or a visit to the field beforehand, or is done so on the spot. Now W holds a short string pre-knotted at about 10' (between 9.8'-10.4'), while X walks from the tramline into the field and to the knot at point A. W joins him with a second string: 200 feet of strong, wound-up string. Six degrees is added to the tramline's figure, giving 15 degrees North here, and with a compass and small light X walks at this angle to the long strings's end-knot at point E, about 199' (197.8'-199.2'). This is the only time light or compass is needed, maybe 3 minutes (I know no way to do this with string alone), and during this short period, Z can be the look-out for cars or midnight-strollers on the nearby country road.

X then backtracks to a knot a little short of 100' (98.9'-99.6') for center C and then W makes both large circle perimeters, and with help flattens the outer ring in 6 rows (19.4' in all) as the surrounding working space.

2. Epicenter D (half the radius) is now found by string-knot, and X remains there, as W (with both strings), Y, and Z all move to E. The straight distance between the inner circle's arcs (E to E2, E2 to E3, A30 to E, etc.) is again about 10', so W stands at E while Y walks the circle until the string tautens at E2. The persistent precision of this one many-times repeated measurement is a must! W walks to E2, stretches his long string with X to form a taut line in the air, and Z walks beside it to D. The same from E to A30, then this wedge is flattened as a convenient exit from the epicenter or work-space.

This same procedure for every following perimeter point connected to D, but to save time, on every second trip Z walks from D straight out to the next point. Then the same process for every point from B. Lastly, each second patch is flattened.

To summarize, a knot is made at around 10' (tram to A, E-E2) on a short string. On the 200' string, knots are placed at around 100'(EC), 120'(CF), and 150'(AD).

If short time is an issue, the process-time can be halved by two teams working from each their epicenter, but this risks style-differences.

How many total hours would be needed to walk the initial diameter-line, find its center and two epicenters, walk the two circles, flatten the almost 20 feet wide surrounding ring, mark and walk the 120 equally distanced spokes, and then flatten every second section in the main pattern?

Well, the actual formation differs in several further subtle ways from both the book's and later ideal diagrams. What more can these tell us?

15. 16. 17.

Design details

Are these human marks? - Most measurements are rather close to conveniently measured whole, round numbers of feet. There's a largish downed spot in the formation's center. The centermost elongated, thinnest sections in only one semi-circle, near but not on the tramline, are missing significant portions - is this from too much traffic and the delicacy required in these thin sections, from early deeper darkness or later fatigue? The convergence point of each disproportionately large epicenter is respectively only 1/3 and 2/5 into it - not in its middle; while on its "most used" side there's a lot of non-matching, randomly amorphous "wasteland" - if the epicenters' spokes were made individually rather than fairly simultaneously, a lot of trips would be required there.

Artistic touches

As Freddy Silva points out, a regular pentagon subscribed around the inner circle would touch the outer circle, hardly an accident, and their ratio is that of a musical note, a harmony.

The main, lain diameter (AE) slants 6 degrees from the tramline, the same angle as between the formation spokes (E-C-E2), and this revolves the whole formation with a segment's width onto the tramline. Also, the central "spine" or column perpendicular to that diameter S-curves at first in both semi-circles (fig. 16). These combined touches give the impression that the whole figure is slowly turning. Of the 8 spokes closest to this same diameter's ends, at least 6 fall considerably short of the circle's perimeter, and this (for me) creates the feeling of a sort of organic whole with entrances (E2-E-A30) gliding into the epicenters. Are these aesthetic signs of a more comprehensive, thereby implied higher intelligence?


We need to question our favorite crop-circle myths, communicate together more on our focused research-projects, examine the details and weigh all evidence, and as uncertainty mounts even so, ply our sense of humor.

copyright jonah ohayv 3/2001


1. Bert Janssen's construction-line articles, and
2. Ed Sherwood's luminosity photos,, experiment.
3. Freddy Silva's yearly summary, and

Additional acknowledgements:
1.)Tågekammeret", the Århus University student club of math and physics students, for the basic construction idea. 2.) Paul Vigay, Zef Damen, and Freddy Silva for their construction-models. 3.) Frank Laumen for his aerial photos. 4.) Nick Kollerstrom for finding the book. 5.) Jan Dupont and Susan Schmidt for experiment-help.

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