Finding God in Grain: Crop Circles and the Construction of Spiritual Experience
Department of Sociology
Informed Consent: “You are being asked to be interviewed about your experiences and beliefs about Crop Circles, how you came to know about them, what you think they represent, what your experiences with them have been. I am interviewing individuals to understand more about the spiritual meanings of crop circles to people and using the results to possibly present at an academic conference and/or publish an article in an academic journal. Your identity will remain confidential, individual responses will be aggregated in my report (although I do not consider any of the questions to be very personal). Your participation in this study is voluntary, you may choose to skip any questions or stop the interview at any time. There are no risks or benefits to participating, other than helping others understand how people find crop circles to be spiritually significant and meaningful. Do you have any questions about the project? Having been informed about the nature of the interview and study, are you willing to participate?” (verbal)
Yes ____ If yes, would you like to receive a copy of the final report?
No _____ If no, thank you for considering being interviewed.
1. How long have you been interested in the crop circle phenomena? We’ll talk more about this later, but how would you basically describe your view of crop circles?
2. How did you first hear about crop circles? What started your interest?
If through a friend – What did they say about crop circles, what were their experiences? What parts of their experience resonated with you, were most interesting and moving?
If through media, internet – How did you come across reading about/viewing them? What was your first response to them, how did you think and feel about them?
3. How did your interest in crop circles grow? What did you do after first hearing about them, how did you explore them more? What do you think pulled you further into the phenomena?
4. How much did you connect with others about crop circles? What were people or websites saying when you were first exploring them? What kinds of things did you first learn about crop circles?
5. Did you find yourself believing in the phenomena fully right away, or did you have some skepticism at first? What aspects were you initially unsure about? Have the things you have wondered about changed over time?
6. Have you ever been in a crop circle, experienced them directly? When, where, for how long? How did you know what to do, such as which circles to visit, how to enter them? Where there some informal rules or guidelines? How did you learn about them?
7. What was that like experiencing a crop circle/shat did it feel like to be in one? Did you sense energy, get any messages, etc.? How did you experience the circles as an individual, and what aspects did you experience with other people?
8. At this point in your involvement, interest in crop circles, what do they mean to you? What do you think they are about? Do you talk with other believers about them? What do you talk about, share together?
9. Do you ever encounter people who believe they are hoaxes, made by people? How does that feel? How do you handle it? How do people who are believers manage or deal with those who are not? Does it help having a group of people who do believe to affirm your experiences and views?
10. In what ways are crop circles spiritual to you? What do they mean to your spirituality in life? What do you think is “the meaning of it all”! How would you describe the crop circle experience to someone who is open and interested in exploring them for themselves?
11. Is there anything else you would like to add about your experience with crop circles that we did not cover?
Thank you for sharing your experiences with me!
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