Mystery May
Crop Circles

Crop Circles
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.57

     challenging words:    Cereologists, cereology, circular-shaped, infernal, latter, supernatural, unexplainable, woodcut, exclusive, circular, theory, needless, busted, refused, crop, design
     content words:    United States, Mowing Devil, Strange News, David Chorley, Douglas Bower, As Chorley

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Crop Circles
By Vickie Chao

1     In the 1970s, "crop circles" began showing up randomly all over the U.K. Like their name suggested, "crop circles" were circles found in a field of grain or other crops. The designs of those circles varied. Sometimes, they were quite simple. But other times, they were rather complicated.
2     Needless to say, the strange appearances of those crop circles caught everybody by surprise. But as it later turned out, they were not an exclusive affair in the U.K. Similar incidents were also reported in other parts of the world, such as Japan, Canada, and the United States. The spread of crop circles intrigued many people. Almost immediately, a new field of study was set up just to understand why and how crop circles were made. That new field of study was called cereology.
3     Cereologists (experts of cereology) claim that the crop circles of the 1970s were nothing new. They believe that the world's first documented crop circle was actually found on a woodcut made in 1678. The woodcut was titled "The Mowing Devil or Strange News out of Hartford-shire." It told the tale of an English farmer arguing with a mower over the price for harvesting his field. The farmer did not want to pay the rate the mower demanded. He tried to bargain, but the mower refused to give in. In a fit of rage, the farmer swore that he would rather have the devil do the work. The next day, the farmer woke up and found parts of his field had been "neatly mowed by the devil, or some infernal spirit." The parts that had been mowed were circular-shaped. In the end, the farmer was so terrified by what he saw that he never entered the field to collect his harvest. Beneath the story, the woodcut depicted a strange-looking creature mowing the field and making a circular design. That strange-looking creature was obviously the devil himself.

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