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Type: Crop Circle
Date: September 5, 1981
Location: Blanchardville, Wisconsin
Source: Albany, WI Herald, September 10, 1981
From UFO to lightning, marks remain a mystery
When Robert Johnson found a small, triangular-shaped patch
of dead alfalfa in his field near here on Saturday, he didn't figure it
would stir up a debate.
He was wrong, because it did.
centers around the origin of the markings.
Iowa County Sheriff Arnold
Fritsch said he believes the marks were caused by lightning striking the
Ronald Johnson (no relation to Robert), director of the Lafayette
County Office of Emergency Government, however, disagrees, and argues that
it wasn't lightning. His speculation of the cause ranges from the
possibility of an unidentified flying object to the freezing of the ground
or some kind of chemical spill.
Ronald Johnson has taken samples of the
marred grasses and the soil where they were found, and has sent them to be
examined by county and state agricultural officials.
"I have seen
lightning strikes before and this doesn't at all look like that," he said.
"Why would lightning strike the ground there when there was a 65-foot-tall
oak tree less than 100 yards away on a hill?"
Johnson said there also
were unexplainable marks in the ground at the points forming the 46-inch
triangle. "It is real, but strange," he added.
When asked about the UFO
speculation, Johnson said, "I've never seen one, so I couldn't say if they
would leave those kinds of marks. Nobody reported seeing anything in the
area that could have made them such as a UFO."
Robert Johnson, the owner
of the land, wouldn't talk about the incident. The longtime
Blanchardville-area farmer told authorities that he hesitated at notifying
them at all, figuring someone would think it foolish and that they wouldn't
believe him. When he finally contacted officials in Madison, he was
immediately referred back to his home county, where he got in touch with
the Lafayette County emergency government director.
Mrs. Johnson said
there had been a number of lightning strikes in the area in recent weeks,
and tended to lean toward that as an answer to the mysterious ground
"Lightning has put out a number of my appliances and caused a
number of electrical problems, Mrs. Johnson said. She said no buildings or
animals were affected by the thunderbolts.
Agriculture officials say
certain fungus diseases caused by wet weather such as experienced in the
past few weeks may have caused the strange markings, but couldn't say for
certain without examining a sample of the alfalfa.
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