The end is nigh! Mayan apocalypse crop circle appears

A crop circle, measuring some 350 feet (107 metres) across and shaped like an ancient Mayan symbol said to represent imminent apocalypse, has mysteriously appeared in a field next to Silbury Hill.

The crop circle has got many "experts" quivering with so much excitement they can't even skin up.

Silbury Hill, near Avebury in Wiltshire, stands 130 feet high and as such is the tallest prehistoric structure in Europe. The Mayan civilisation, which ended around 900AD, is famous for being the only pre-Columbian society to have invented a developed written language and for the remarkable accuracy of its calendar. The present period in the 'long count' version of the calendar, which marks out vast stretches of time, is due to come to an end on December the 21st, 2012 - a date when, according to the same sort of people who believe that aliens regularly abduct humans and that crystals have healing powers, Very Bad Shit is going to happen, man. Some members of the crop circle community - also the type to believe in aliens and to like dolphins a little more than is normal - claim that the crop circle is identical to the symbol used to mark that event.

One crop circle fan said: "It is definitely a Mayan symbol and we are sure it is linked to the Mayan calendar, which ends in 2012. "It appears to be a warning about the world coming to an end when the calendar does. For the ancient Maya, reaching the end of a cycle was a momentous event, so we are taking this crop circle very seriously as an indicator of a possibly huge event in 2012." That's, like, really heavy stuff, right?

Crop circle enthusiasts have put forward several differing theories as to what causes the strange patterns, which have been appearing regularly in British fields since the late 1970s, though much earlier records are known. One of the most oftenheard is that they are caused by UFOs, either when they land or by some kind of beam used to collect samples of the plants. Others put them down to so-called Earth Energies (often related to the kind that causes leylines, apparently) and orgone, a hypothetical form of energy.

Some people believe crop circles are created by unusual forms of wind.

Those of a more practical (and, some would say, less stupid) mindset suggest they are more likely to be created by natural processes such as unusual forms of lightning or wind. Or mating hedgehogs, rather memorably.

Acid Rabbi falls into the second camp: we believe that they are indeed caused by a naturally-occurring phenomenon - hippies.

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