Crop circle mystery solved: It was all just a marketing stunt

Jay Busbee
Yahoo News

If and when aliens do ever show up on our planet, they're going to have to go a long way to convince us cynical earthlings they're not just the creation of a technology firm bent on hawking a new product.

In the latest example of an advertisement to go viral, a "mysterious" crop circle found in Chualar, near Salinas, Calif., turned out to be a stunt by Silicon Valley chipmaker Nvidia. The company's CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang, confessed to the marketing stunt on Sunday evening at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The crop circle first drew notice in late 2013 when Julie Belanger, an aerial photographer, observed the crop circle in a field in Salinas, a town about two hours south of San Francisco. Within the intricate design, observers noticed the numbers 1, 9 and 2 repeated in the center in Braille.

"It was beautiful. Quite beautiful," Belanger told NBC affiliate KSBW at the time. "I believe it's possible that aliens exist, but I don't know if they would bother making a crop circle to give us a message."

Here's video of the initial discovery:

Accordingly, plenty of observers immediately suspected a stunt. Soon afterward, the landowner, allegedly infuriated by the national attention, plowed over the mysterious crop circle, leaving some to think we'd never know who — or what — was responsible.

Then three days later, Huang came clean about the stunt and noted that the "192" observers correctly picked out of the circle stood for the 192 cores in the company's new chip.

"We've bridged the gap," Huang said, "We've brought mobile computing to the same level as desktop computing."

So there you go, it was all a big advertisement. Seems like we've learned nothing at all from Ralphie and the Ovaltine saga from "A Christmas Story," have we?

Contact the writer of this story at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or on Twitter at @jaybusbee.