Aliens, UFOs & Crop Circles

Otherworldly beings have appeared in artwork and literature for centuries, even dating back to the earliest known civilizations. But are they extraterrestrial in nature?

Many artists leave their work open to interpretation, allowing the viewer's personal mindset to derive meaning from the image. Even when artists attempt to convey a specific message, it's often distorted by the personal beliefs and experiences of the viewer.

We interpret images according to what we know. Without knowledge of the iconography used in ancient or even more recent works of art it's easy to misinterpret symbols that were common to the people of that day as something that is common to us in our present time and culture.

For example, imagine contemporary images from popular culture depicting astronauts, alien beings, and spacecraft while viewing the ancient hieroglyphics and cave paintings below. It's not difficult to make the leap into believing that our earliest ancestors encountered visitors from outer space, however, those familiar with the symbols and themes used by the ancient cultures that created these images are usually able to explain their true meaning.

Click images to enlarge

Cloud Spirit
Crucifixion Detail

In representations of the Nativity of Christ objects resembling strange crafts often appear in the sky above the scene while figures on the ground look up at the objects in awe or fear.

The Nativity depicts the Magi along with Mary and Joseph in the manger just after Christ is born. "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:8-11 (KJV)

Clearly, the figures looking up are shepherds and the object in the sky is an angel bringing them the good news of Christ's birth.

Click images to enlarge


Browse related subjects or scroll down to view images of aliens, UFOs, and crop circles in museum, library, and private collections.

See also: Fantasy, Paranormal, SF, Space

ASU: UFOs, Photography and Belief
An exhibit at the Arizona State University Museum of Anthropology, includes a small selection of exhibit photos online.

Ancient Artwork and UFOS
View images portraying objects similar to today's concept of alien beings and crafts.

Art and UFOs?
Includes famous works of art popularly thought to contain depictions of UFOs and explains the real meaning of the objects as defined in art history.

From Verne to Vonnegut: Aliens & Others
An exhibition in the special collections of the University of Delaware Library.

View contemporary images of flying including toys, comics, books, magazines and advertising.

A collection of images created by a group of people who witnessed something in the night sky over Wales.

BBC: UFO Photos
Photos taken in Wales, also includes a live UFO cam.

UFO Museum and Research Center, Roswell
Includes information about the 1947 incident at Roswell and a virtual tour of the museum.

Crop Circle Images

Includes photographs of crop circles created by a group of artists as well as instructions on how to make them yourself.

Lucy Pringle
Includes photographs of crop circles and related information.

Busty Taylor's Crop Circle Home Page
Photographs of formations dating from 1998 to 2005.

Wikimedia Commons
View a collection of images related to crop circles, includes photographs and drawings.

Crop Circles and Ancient Places
View a selection of photographs taken mostly in Wiltshire, England.

Temporary Temples
An online image library of crop circle photographs by Steve Alexander.

Crop Circle Resources

Canada's UFOs: The Search for the Unknown
An article about crop circles from a department within the Library and Archives Canada that was involved with conducting investigations and collecting data on UFOs.

The Truth About Crop Circles
An article that can be used as an example of deceptive arguments and as an exercise in critical thinking.

Includes an introduction to the history of crop circles, paranormal and alternative explanations, crop circles in popular culture, references and further reading.
About using Wikipedia as an Academic Resource

References & Suggested Reading

Didron, Adolphe, Napoléon, & Stokes, Margaret. Millington, Ellen, J (ed.). Christian Iconography, Volumn 1. London: Henry G. Bohn, York Street, Covent Garden, 1851.

Hayne, Roslynn. Seeking the Centre: The Australian Desert in Literature, Art and Film. Cambridge University Press, 1998.

Nash, George, & Chippindale, Christopher (ed.). European Landscapes of Rock-Art. London & New York: Routledge, 2002.

Parker, Janet, & Mills, Alice, & Stanton, Julie. Mythology: Myths, Legends and Fantasies. Struik, 2007.

Vallee, Jacques. Passport to Magonia: From Folklore to Flying Saucers.Chicago: Henry Regnery Co., 1969.

The Holy Bible, King James Version.

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