Those Strange Circles

My brother and I stopped dead in our tracks as we found ourselves staring out at three strange circles outlined in the salt grass surrounding the lake in our pasture. The circles, approximately thirty feet in diameter, consisted of flattened, dead, yellowed grass defined by the stately green grass in which they lay.

Perhaps we wouldn’t have been so surprised coming upon this strange sight on our way to gather the cows for milking, had we not been at this very spot the afternoon before and noticed nothing unusual.

Twelve-year old Philip spoke first. “Wow, where did these come from” These weren’t here yesterday. What made these circles?”

Suddenly feeling wary in the middle of 400 acres of South Texas pastureland I peered out at the surrounding groves of mesquite trees and cactus clumps looking for anything else that might appear out of place or abnormal. “I don’t know, maybe a helicopter,” I offered?

Stepping into the first circles I noticed that the grass was splayed out from a point off center. “No, a helicopter couldn’t have smashed the grass down like this and killed it. This must have happened last night but what could possibly do this? This grass is deader than a door nail— and in three perfect circles,” I added.

“Wow, this is so cool,” Phil said. He called me over to the second circle. “Look at this, Sis.” He was standing near a pile of feathers in the center of the circles. The warm breeze sent them swirling around his feet.

“These look like duck feathers,” I said. “Now why would they be here in a pile like that?

I examined them closer looking for blood. Perhaps a hunter had cleaned his kill or some prey had eaten a duck. No, they appeared to be just clean, dry feathers. I noticed the grass was splayed out the same way as the first circle.

We walked on over to the last circle. They all appeared to be the same: perfectly stamped-out circles in the grass near the cow trail that some family member had walked every afternoon come rain or shine for forty years. I and my mother had run the dairy farm my last two years in high school, and I was now 22 years old, but I had walked this trail off and on since I was three. I guess that’s why the circles in the ground now looked so out of place and downright eerie.

That uneasy feeling returned as I walked around the circles, trying to think of some object or vehicle that could have made its way into this pasture in the dead of night to leave three huge circles. No one at the house had mentioned hearing anything unusual, last night or today. Phil interrupted my thoughts. “I’m going to run to the house and get my camera,” he said excitedly. He had just gotten his first Brownie and had been taking pictures of everything and everybody.

I looked at the circles and then out at the pasture, feeling uneasy. “Maybe we should both go, Phil.”

Laughing and starting to jog down the path, Phil turned and looked over his shoulder. “I’ll be right back, scaredy cat. You just stand guard in case someone is still out here.” He ran off laughing.

I stood there, all alone now. The eerie feelings I’d had earlier returned and the hair was standing out on the back of my neck. Except for the gentle breeze blowing salt-laden air from the nearby bay, it was almost too serene, too quiet. Where were all the familiar sounds of clicking grasshoppers and lizards scurrying through the grass? Where were the usual buzzards circling lazily in the sky overhead? I made my way out of the afternoon sun toward a large mesquite tree, nervously turning to look backwards and side to side every few steps.

Back in the shadows of this stand of mesquite I felt more comfortable. I sat down on the sandy ground and leaned against the bark of a tree, rearranging hair barrettes to keep back my unruly hair. It was getting hotter and beads of perspiration now peppered my face. My feet were also sweating in the black rubber boots. I stretched my long legs out in front of me and then crossed them and began an orderly survey of the lake and surrounding area. Starting on my left, I gazed intently as far as I could see into the tree line, moving around to the opposite side of the pond in front of me.

Whoa, what was that? I squeezed my eyes tightly shut and shook my head as a blinding flash momentarily hit my eyes. Now where did that come from, I thought as I searched the other side of the pasture. I jumped up and brushed the sand off my jeans and stepped out into the clearing. There! There it was again, but not near as bright as earlier. Gosh, if I didn’t know better, I thought, you would think someone was over there flashing a mirror, trying to signal me.

Several soundless minutes went by as I searched in vain across the pond for any source for the blinding light I had witnessed. All seemed normal now except for the eerie quiet. Then—CRACK! I whirled around recognizing the sound I had heard hundreds of times out here on the land. It was the sound of a large animal or a person stepping on one of the dead mesquite branches that litter the ground everywhere.

My breath caught in my throat as I found myself gazing at this—this—creature. He looked like a man in some sort of tight fitting uniform, but he certainly didn’t have the normal face of a man; it was more reptilian, like a cross between men, lizard and snake. It was a pale flesh color, purely grotesque.

Adrenalin was charging through my body as abject fear paralyzed my brain, rendering me speechless. My mind was spinning, trying to process what it was seeing but failing to find any logical explanation.

Neither of us had moved, but now the small lipless mouth opened and it or he said in a deep resonating voice, “Don’t be afraid. We won’t hurt you.”

We? “Oh great,” I thought. There are more of them.” I quickly looked behind me, but saw nothing unusual and turned back to face this reptilian creature that had just told me not to worry. With some of my fear actually subsiding, I now took more notice of his peculiar countenance. There was something almost surreal about him, as if he was not all the way into view. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but I got the impression he could appear or disappear at will and now was only three-fourths of the way into this dimension. At least that’s the way my mind was working it out at the moment. He appeared to have some kind of border around his body, like a shimmering outline.

I heard myself asking, haltingly, “Where did you come from?”

“Out there,” he said as he raised his right arm up towards the sky. “We are rarely seen by humans and I was on my way to the other side of the pond after finishing an assignment in the area. You turned around and startled me just as I startled you.”

“Do you mean others like you just walk around carrying out your business and we never see you?”

“Or fly around,” he said. “My business is not with you, fortunately, so you have nothing to fear from me or my kind. I don’t know why I materialized before you,” he added as he started toward me. “Maybe someday you will be told and understand the reason for this manifestation. Right now I must return to my assigned grid.”

‘Assigned grid,” I wailed as I stumbled out of the way to give him plenty of room. “Wait a minute. Did you have anything to do with those circles out there?”

His yellow green snake-like eyes darted at me as he passed and I shuddered to think what it would be like to “do business” with this creature. He continued walking towards the pond, past the circles, his image fading as he went. Off in the distance I could hear my brother calling out and as the creature disappeared completely, I ran to meet Phil on the cow trail.

“You’re…not…going to believe…what happened, Phil,” I said, trying to catch my breath. “There was some sort of creature, like a man with a lizard head…”

“Ha, ha, ha,” he said with a chuckle. That’s a good one, Sis.

“Oh gosh, Phil, I know you think I’m joking, but this time I’m not. It was really here talking to me, over there in those trees,” I said pointing and skipping backwards, trying to stay in front of him on the trail as he marched on toward the circles.

“Look, when they talk about little green men, I don’t think they mean lizards, I really don’t,” he said with a grin spreading across his freckled face.

He’ll never believe me, I realized, as I let him pass. He went to work with his camera, pointing and clicking in each circle. No one will believe me. If they don’t think I’m joking, they’ll just think I’m crazy. Without proof, I was thinking, while gazing out across the pasture—then sunlight flashing again at the top of trees way beyond the pond. A huge shiny object was rising slowly out of the pasture and I struggled to find my voice.

“Phil, look!” I yelled. “Turn around and look at that…that thing.”

Phil was getting a shot of the duck feathers, his back to the entire spectacle. “Boy, I’ll have to hand it to you, Sis; you could make it big in Hollywood.”

“It’s a giant flying saucer, you dope,” I screamed, “and you’re missing it!” Turn around and take a picture of it before it’s gone!” I watched mesmerized, mouth agape, as the saucer cleared the tops of the trees and shot off so fast it looked like it just disappeared…poof and it was gone.

I plopped down on the ground and put my face in my hands, too shocked and frustrated to say anything more. I looked up as my brother turned around.

“Thought you’d get me on that one, didn’t you,” he said with a big grin on his face. “Really good try, though,” he added as he turned and took his last camera shot of the circles.

About the story:

This incident actually happened to me and my brother in 1963, except for the creature and his ship which I added for fun. Years later when I saw my first TV pictures  of crop circles in England I called Phil and we relived finding those strange circles. I still have the faded photos.

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