Proof that the proud tradition of hoaxing is alive and well in England today is provided by the phenomenon of crop circles.
Appearing in ever greater number since the 1970s, the shapes formed in fields of cereals were attributed to bizarre natural phenomenon, ghosts and spirits or – as the patterns became more elaborate – alien intelligence.
Strange then, that the aliens were so consistent in their choices of location. Whilst crop circles have appeared all over England, they are almost always situated near roads and towns. With the odd exception, they have also sprung up overnight.
In 1991, Doug Bower and Dave Chorley came clean as the creators of almost all the circles that had appeared across England since the 1970s. An aghast array of ufologists and self-proclaimed experts in the paranormal cried foul: such complex patterns, they insisted, could not be the work of human hands.
And then Bower and Chorley showed them how it was done.