Mystery in The Field

Dave Ring may be pretty well versed in modern technology. Yet, he’s at a loss to explain the expertise used to create a large key-shaped pattern that appeared overnight in one of his wheat fields in the summer of 2006.

Dave Ring

Dave Ring

The discovery of what have generically become known as crop circles brought the Rings a brief period of notoriety. They gave numerous interviews to journalists and found complete strangers—crop circle followers—wandering their farm days later. Dave Ring was even scheduled to appear on the Montel Williams Show when a strike by television writers scuttled the appearance.

“I had told Williams’ staff that if they wanted me to say I thought little green men jumped out of a ship and made the design, they had the wrong guy,” says Ring. “We had people from Pennsylvania and Cincinnati visit, and one person from the University of St. Louis came over.”

Ring recalls the discovery the morning of June 25, by a hired man who was harvesting nearby. “He calls on the radio and says, ‘You better get over here, you have a problem with your wheat.’ Brent and I drove the four-wheeler over there. When I saw it, I knew what it was.”

To get a visual record, an employee of nearby Huntingburg airport (at Ring’s request) took an aerial photo of the design, which featured wheat flattened downed to create a circle 100 feet in diameter with a narrow 80-foot pathway leading out from the circle. Two shorter paths branch off at right angles to the long path to give the entire design a key shape.

Crop circles, which have been found all over the world, are often attributed to well-organized pranksters who want to give the impression a farm field has been visited by aliens from outer space. If that’s the case, Ring gives credit to a job well done. Even though the fields were damp at the time, there wasn’t a track left by man or machine to be found leading into or out of the field.

They left the crop circle pattern in the field for a week before harvesting, mostly because people kept showing up to see the pattern. Ring says about 75 people visited during the course of the week. When they combined the field, the pattern, of course, disappeared. “In hindsight given all the interest,” laughs Ring, “I should have put up a chain link fence around the area and sold tickets.”

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