'Templar' crop circle appears in French field

A massive crop circle that's appeared in France has been described as a "horror" by the family which owns the field it appeared in.

The intricate design, described as a "Templar cross", was discovered on July 5.

"I noticed that the ears of corn were lying on the ground," Nicolas Benoit told Euro Weekly News, a Spanish newspaper. His father Gerard owns the farm, located in Vimy.

"I thought someone had damaged my wheat overnight, but then I realised it was forming a pattern." 

He said it was "well-done".

"We've never seen a crop circle before. We see it in movies. It's vandalism, but we said to ourselves, 'It's good for once.'"

crop circle
The intricate design. Photo credit: Reuters

Crop circles have been appearing in Europe and the UK for decades, particularly since the 1960s. They went international after widespread media coverage in the early 1990s, when a pair of British pranksters claimed they were behind the strange phenomena. There's no scientific evidence they're produced by aliens, as some believe.

The latest circle shows a cross inside two circles. While Benoit said it resembled the cross used by the ancient Knights Templar group, it also resembles the Iron Cross used by Nazi Germany and the German Empire in World War I. 

Vimy is in France's northeast, near the border with Belgium - an area ravaged by conflict over the centuries, including in World War I. 

"I can feel a lot of energy in the bit where the wheat is flattened... I think there is maybe a higher intelligence which makes these crop circles," retired teacher Genevieve Piquet told Reuters, after travelling 70km to see the curious design.

But Benoit doesn't believe it. 

"Some people tell us that it is the Templar cross, that energy flowed from the earth, that our field is blessed and can cure multiple sclerosis. They are crazy."

Thousands have reportedly visited the farm over the past week, after the family put images of the crop circle on Facebook. They took the pictures down, hoping to quell interest. The circle took out 300 square metres of wheat which were going to be harvested just next week.

"In the end, it is a horror," Benoit told Euro Weekly News. "We are not a museum. The crop circles are beautiful, but for someone else."

Since the Vimy circle, other designs have popped up in the UK's Wiltshire and Dorset.