The Mowing Devil: England's First Crop Circle

By | July 15, 2019

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Did the Devil mow a farmer's oats into a crop circle more than 300 years ago? Source: (

In the 1970s, strange geometric shapes began to pop up overnight in some of the wheat fields of rural England. The designs, at first, were simple circles, giving rise to the name "crop circles," but as the '70s and '80s went on, the patterns became more detailed and elaborate. These unexplained crop circles led many to speculate that a new, mysterious, supernatural phenomenon was happening. It seems, however, that the crop circle phenomenon may have been much older than the 1970s. Let's look at the story of the Mowing Devil, perhaps the earliest known reference to a crop circle. 

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An account of the Mowing Devil. Source: (

Story of the Mowing Devil

The written account of England's Mowing Devil is dated 1678 and tells of an incident in Hertfordshire. According to the story, a wealthy farmer asked his poor neighbor to cut his field of oats for some extra cash. The poor farmer agreed at first, but the two men couldn't reach an agreement on price. As they parted ways in a huff, the poor farmer realized that if he upset the rich farmer, he would not get hired for future jobs, so he ran after the rich farmer and explained his change of heart. To that, the rich farmer responded that "the devil should mow" his oats before he would allow the poor farmer to work for him again.