FAIRFIELD — The wheat field is empty this year.
It’s only been planted once since that Saturday morning, June 28, 2003, when farmer Larry Balestra checked on his grain and found about a dozen crop circles in the middle of the 80-acre field.
“You could see there was something wrong with the field,” Balestra said Thursday. “There was a big hole in the center.”
He phoned his wife and then went about his business. That evening, he attended a party and shared his discovery. The news was then phoned in to the Daily Republic.
Once the story appeared in the newspaper, the field at the corner of Rockville and Suisun Valley roads was inundated.
Visitors carried handfuls of wheat out of the field. Others sought healing, believing the crop circles were the work of aliens with special powers. There were even stories of glowing lights in the field as well as UFO sightings. Some guests donned tin-foil hats to shield the brain from electromagnetic fields and prevent mind control.
Balestra remembered a bridal party, still in formal wear, walking through the field.
T-shirts commemorating the event were sold. Balestra even autographed some. He still has some in stock today. One woman even told him he was “the chosen one.”
Nearby businesses benefitted from the valley’s newest tourist attraction.
Then, four teen boys stepped forward, under the condition of remaining anonymous, and claimed responsibility in a local newspaper.
Scientists who investigated the crop circles doubted their story. In December 2003, a report on the crop circles was issued. The six months of research came to the conclusion that the crop circles were not the work of human beings.
Gradually, the novelty wore off. The crop circles became another chapter in Solano County history.
They seem to have been somewhat forgotten. Balestra was surprised when contacted by the Daily Republic to find it was the 10th anniversary.
So was Steve Moreno of PsiApplications, who investigated the circles, working closely with a nonprofit based in Massachusetts whose primary focus is crop circle research.
The evidence strongly suggested they were not man-made, Moreno said in 2003 and again Friday, the anniversary of the Solano crop circles phenomenon.
An extremely advanced working knowledge of Euclidean geometry would have been needed to make the unique size and shape of the formation. In addition, the stalks of what inside the circles featured “nodules” on their stems, were abnormally lengthened. Researchers were only able to duplicate the elongated “nodules” subjecting them to microwave energy.
“How did they come up with the geometric elements?” Moreno asked. He said he gave the teens opportunities to step forward and show how they did it. “They avoided me like the plague,” he said.
Moreno did say he was happy “no more formations popped up around here.”
He currently works in the home remodeling business and recalls the crop circles fondly.
John Parker stopped by Larry’s (Balestra) Produce Thursday and remembered the excitement – and craziness – of the crop circles. He didn’t want to brave the traffic for a firsthand look but a friend told him the crop circles were “a sight to behold.”
“I think they were great,” Parker said. “They brought a lot of people together. I wish they would come back.”
Marilyn Bushong, also shopping at Larry’s, went to see the crop circles in 2003. “We go and see everything that happens,” she said.
Her verdict on how the crop circles came to be is still out.
“I think we’d be a little haute to think there couldn’t be life other than on Earth.”
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.