LIFE

Mysterious Fairy Circles Pop Up Around The World

by Phil Mutz
Phil is an Editor at LittleThings. He loves writing and the outdoors. You can often find him at the movies or the park.

While nearly every grown adult would be quick to discount the possibility of real fairies existing, mysterious “fairy circles” (also known as “fairy rings”) are quite real.

For those who have never heard of them before, fairy circles are unexpected circles that mysteriously form in nature.

Some people have observed them in the form of a naturally occurring ring of mushrooms in their backyard. Others have spotted a strange ring of dark grass growing among lighter colored grass.

And for years in Africa, scientists have struggled to explain the existence of strange, circular patches of dirt surrounded by plant life.

These unexplained circles have long been a source of intrigue, with explanations ranging from termites and aliens, to fairies themselves.

But the recent discovery of fairy circles in the middle of the Australian outback may finally have given experts the answer to the mysterious question that has plagued them for years: where did these fairy circles come from?

Scroll through below for a look at this potentially groundbreaking discovery, and how it might finally put the mystery of fairy circles to rest.

Have you ever spotted a fairy ring in real life? Let us know in the comments!

[H/T: Huffington Post]

fairy circles

For years, scientists have been unable to explain where these strange circles, known as fairy rings, came from.

Located primarily in the desert of Namibia in southern Africa, these rings occur naturally and feature a patch of dirt in the shape of a near-perfect circle.

fairy circles

The term fairy ring has also been used to describe any naturally occurring circle.

Quite a few bizarre explanations have surfaced in an effort to explain their existence. According to the Huffington Post, the desert rings have been “blamed on everything from giants and underground gas; to termites, radiation and aliens.”

fairy circles

Of course, there is also the more magical theory that these rings have actually been created by fairies themselves.

However, scientists have been trying to find a more logical cause for decades.

fairy circles

Scientists at the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research have suggested that the plants organize themselves into a circle due to a lack of water.

The Huffington Post writes, “When water is scarce, the liquid gets pulled in all directions by the plants, leaving patches of ground so dry that nothing can grown there.”

But some were quick to discount this theory. After all, if dry places caused fairy rings, why weren’t there fairy rings in every desert around the world?

With the mysterious rings only showing up in Namibia, the theory didn’t seem to hold water (no pun intended). That is, until now.

fairy circles

Scientists are thrilled to have found fairy circles in a brand-new place — the Australian outback!

With this discovery, in a desert nowhere near Africa, they believe that their theory of plants organizing themselves in circles in response to a lack of water might just be correct.

Finally, claims of alien arrivals, or the African bushmen’s idea of them being footprints made by the gods, may finally be put to rest.

fairy circles

So could there actually be more fairy circles out there?

Scientists Stephan Getzin told the Smithsonian, “I suspect there are more fairy circle patterns — it’s a matter of searching.”

But even if the “lack of water” theory pans out, this explanation doesn’t account for fairy circles that occur in different forms.

fairy circles

Rings of mushrooms are quite common around the world, and have led people to wildly speculate as to the cause.

Throughout history, these mushroom rings have been discussed in folklore and myths.

Germans told the story of fairy rings being used as sites for witches to dance. The Dutch thought the circles marked the spot where the Devil put down his milk churn.

fairy circles

Others in medieval times claimed that the rings were caused by elves dancing in a ring.

While each of these stories and myths may seem far-fetched, science has yet to come up with a definitive alternate explanation.

And though it might not be the most logical explanation, until scientists prove the real cause, it might just be fun to imagine that these bizarre markings were left by something a little more magical.

What do you think causes fairy circles? Have you seen a fairy circle before? Let us know in the comments.

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