CIRCLES IN THE MEADOW
Entering a Crop Circle Formation in Washington State in 1964
During the late summer in 1964 when I was ten years old, my neighborhood playmates and I had taken a break from our current project. We were in the field behind my house and had been engaged in building an underground city. This involved digging a network of trenches just wide and deep enough for a kid to crawl through. The passageways led to each kid’s ‘apartment’. The excavations would then be covered with scrounged up plywood scraps and topped with a camouflage layer of dirt and weeds. The finished result was a hidden habitat with proportions just big enough to suit the bodies and imaginations of boys. It was now mid-afternoon and the temperature had climbed up into the eighty’s. There was general agreement among us that it was too hot to continue our hard work, and that maybe it was a better idea to come up with a less laborious activity on a broiling hot summer day.
One of the kids, I think it was John, had a clever idea of how to clean off at least some of the dirt on our clothes that had accumulated during our construction work. (This was in view of minimizing the trouble we might get into with our moms if we came home completely covered with dirt.) All that was required was running through the meadow grass, letting the weeds sweep us off! On this particular occasion we had amassed a considerable buildup of mud on our pants and shoes, necessitating that we move through the thickest and tallest grass in the field for maximum cleanup results. Our little group of seven boys ran into the center of the meadow, making at least a symbolic effort to become more presentable when we got home.
It was during the course of this excursion into the dense growth of grass and ferns in the field that we discovered an unusual circular spot that seemed to have been flattened down somehow. Having completed our cleanup efforts, we stood looking at the strange patch of grass, trying to puzzle out how it had been formed. Its shape was oval, about four feet by five feet wide. One of the kids ventured a guess that it was made by a deer that had used the spot to sleep in at night. This sort of made sense and was the best (and only) theory that had come up so far, so a deer lair it must have been. The only problem with this explanation was that none of us had ever seen a deer around our neighborhood, either in the woods or in the field. There was another weakness in the ‘deer theory’. The flattened grass in the circular patch had been neatly arranged in a spiral pattern with a small tuft of grass left standing in the center. If a deer had made this design then it must have been a very meticulous one, judging by the thoroughness of the work. While some of us were trying to come up with new explanations, another one of our group, Riley, yelled out, saying that he had found more circles of flattened grass. These turned out to be very nearly the same shape and size as the first patch that we had found. We began to wonder about how many deer were secretly sleeping in the meadow at night.
Almost like connecting the dots, my friends and I moved from one newly discovered small circular opening to another, moving us ever closer to the eastern border of the field. Eventually we ended up uncomfortably close to farmer Garrett’s old house. This fact, however, was relegated to insignificance compared to the new discovery that we made. Now we had found a very large circle of flattened grass. This one was at least twenty-five feet in diameter and had the same spiral pattern as the others. It didn’t take long after entering this circle to notice that two more smaller circles were attached to it by causeways of more felled grass. These smaller, attached areas were about twelve feet across. My friends and I walked around and around this amazing architecture in the field. The wild grass had been growing all summer long and now in late August was at least four feet high, giving the feeling that the circles were enclosed chambers. Adding to this effect, the late afternoon sun was positioned low in the western sky, casting a dramatic shadow onto the site. It was perfectly obvious to me that these large circles were not bedding areas made by deer. In fact, they had an almost religious quality to them. For a split second, a fleeting, ethereal image of columns surmounted by arches ringing each circle entered by mind. I had the definite feeling that the source of this formation in the meadow grass was way beyond a child’s comprehension. Even adults probably couldn’t figure this one out.
Suddenly I got the creeps. I quickly walked out of the large circle where the other boys were positioned and abruptly yelled to my friends that they needed to get out of the circle immediately. Gordon and John yelled back to me that they had no intention of leaving the circle. Almost hysterical, I shouted back to them that they were in a devil trap. Something horrible was going to happen to them if they didn’t get out right away. I didn’t know where I came up with this idea or why I felt this fear, but it was surging up inside me like a boiling cauldron of pure terror. Gordon mocked me, calling me ‘chicken’. He said, “Ken is too chicken to stand inside the circle. Chicken, chicken, chicken.” This accusation cut into my pride like a razor sharp saber. Mustering all the self-control that was available to me, I reentered the circle. Now Gordon and John had set a new precedent. They had laid down on the flattened grass, declaring that they felt a little sleepy and were going to rest for a while. This just poured gasoline on the fire of my fear. Determined not to be branded as a chicken, I followed suit. Now all seven of us boys were recumbent inside the mysterious area in the field.
My body laid on the bent-over meadow grass. Almost like a mattress, the grass provided a cushion and warmed by the rays of the summer sun I now felt comfortable and relaxed. In only a few moments I slipped off into a very drowsy state. Was it my imagination, or was I hearing church bells? It seemed to me that a choir of chiming bells was ringing nearby. Also, there was the irritating sound in my head of a droning, high-pitched siren. This unusual combination of sounds grew more and more intense until I began to feel as though I was lifting up in the air through a vertical tube of light.
The light in the tube was bright white with shimmering, golden flecks. After rising some considerable distance, I found myself standing in a foreign environment filled with light. There was a noticeable vibration to this light, almost as though it was on the verge of shutting off. In front of me, I saw a huge book. The book looked like it had thousands and thousands of pages. There was something scary about the book. I didn’t want to look at it, but felt an undeniable compulsion to move closer and see what was in it. Looking around me, I couldn’t see any other people. At the moment, the air seemed foggy and my vision was limited to just the book. Approaching the enormous document, I immediately noticed that its chronology began in 1953. Like a stinging ‘bulls eye’ of truth, I realized that this was the year of my birth. An avalanche of information – the contents of the book – somehow connected with my awareness and involuntarily I began reading my entire life story. I didn’t want to know. It was too much for just a kid to learn. But unable to back away I stood in front of the huge book until the last page was revealed to me. At this point I managed to pull away from this terrible book. Then I looked down below me and saw a very strange sight. Maybe some hundreds or perhaps thousands of feet below me were what looked like millions and millions of people milling around. All that I could see of them was the vague shape of their heads and shoulders. They were crowded together in an awful congestion, all seeming to try to get closer to the tube of light that I had ascended. Located below them – and way below me – I somehow knew was Earth. Was this where all these people wanted to go? Or did they want to go up the tube of light to where I was? The flickering light grew even more unstable and I quickly found myself descending the chimney-like tube that had been my avenue up to the huge book.
Like awakening from a deep sleep I arose from the mat of wild grass in the strange circle in the meadow. Along with my awakening, I saw that the other boys were waking up too. Gordon and John, the two oldest boys, stood up and stumbling over their words tried to simultaneously explain that they had just experienced a very weird dream. I didn’t want to know about their stupid dreams. But they continued talking, interrupting each other and eventually all the boys related their strange dreams. It turned out that we all had very similar dreams. I felt queasy. It was as though parts of ‘me’ were still not fitting quite right into my body. Gordon and John seemed to be exhilarated. Maybe their books were happier than mine.
Illustration of the various components of my wierd dream.
1) My friends and I lay on the largest circle of grass pressed down in a swirled pattern.
2) After hearing the sound of distant chimes I ascended a tube of light.
3) I ended up standing in front of a huge book which recorded my life history.
4) Looking down from this point I saw a multitude of ghostly people crowded around
the tube of light who were apparently trying to travel down to Earth.
In beginning a discussion of the designs my friends and I discovered in the meadow I think it is important to note how the series of small oval areas of grass that were pressed down in a swirled pattern led us to the main formation. It was almost as though these small impressions were intended to operate like stepping stones, leading us along a path of discovery. I still vividly recall Riley calling out in excitement that he discovered a second and then a third and then even more small ovals of flattened grass. By this point our group of kids was irreversibly drawn into a puzzle that led point by point to an amazing masterpiece. Initially we entered a large circle but Kelley and John were quick to notice two other smaller circles attached by a narrow walkway just barely wide enough to pass through. It’s hard to relay what the level of excitement felt like in this experience there was much more involved than just finding something odd and out of place. We were literally standing inside of a mystery. But our initial jubilance turned to a more somber tone and after what seemed like only a few minutes a quiet, almost meditative atmosphere took over. As I recall the sun had rather quickly become positioned low in the sky and I wonder if a period of ‘lost time’ or perhaps even time dilation was involved during this ‘tween phase.
This is when I envisioned the faint form of a colonnade that ringed the flattened area of grass. Its ghostly presence seemed to hang on the verge of what was just barely visibly detectable and there was a subtle, almost hypnotic undulation to its appearance, as though it was rhythmically fading in and out of a physical connection and in the process taking me along with it. It was probably due to the pull of this other-worldy undertow that I suddenly panicked and ran out of the circle. For some reason I began to shout out warnings to my friends that they were inside of a trap, a devil’s trap! I have no idea where this idea of a devil’s trap came from, it just exploded out from somewhere in my recesses of my mind. And I should be clear that the feeling I had wasn’t that the formations pressed into the grass were intended to trap devils, but were devilish snares intended to entrap naive people, including innocent children.
It’s still upsetting for me to think back about this experience, even after more than four decades since it took place. One of the kids who was inside the large circle went crazy a few years later. Maybe this was just a random event that in polite society is explained away as a statistic. Also, it was bad enough to have to look at the book that contained my life history — the entire story had been written even though I was only a ten year old kid — but having to look down on the mass of ghostly people desperately attempting to get into the tube of light connected to Earth was, and still is something too much handle. This is the way of rapid induction into a merger of worlds, realms and realities. In the course of these events there will be those who fall by the wayside and others who understandably choose not to remember.
Copyright 2008, 2012 Ken Bakeman
Presented with author’s permission
Official website of Ken Bakeman: http://www.kenbakeman.com/