01/18/2013 07:51 pm ET

Creepy Sheep Mystery Solved After Smiley Faces Branded On Hundreds Of Sheep Had Britain Befuddled

A mystery of hilarious proportions was solved this week, and the culprit had some people feeling pretty sheepish.

Hundreds of sheep in several different and unrelated pastures scattered across the United Kingdom were painted with rather creepy smiley faces this winter -- a baffling phenomenon that had both farmers and officials pretty confused, the Daily Mail notes.

The wooly animals, unable to drop the dime on their decorators, all sported almost identical faces, featuring large, black eyes connected to a grinning mouth.


The sheep with the faces on their sides were scattered across hundreds of miles, The Sun reports, and farmers were left scratching their heads.

“Passing motorists and walkers have had to double take," Ros Turner, a farmer whose sheep have been "smileyed" told The Sun. "It’s like crop circles - but on sheep."

Another farmer apparently had a similar theory.

"Have we been visited by aliens or is it some joker looking to start a new trend, like crop circles?” the man told the Courier.

The general British populace also got into the spirit of the mystery, spawning a #creepysheep hashtag on Twitter.

On Friday, however, the mystery behind the faces was solved. And as it turns out, they weren't crop circles after all.

According to industry site PRexamples, the faces were just a publicity stunt executed by Alton Towers, a Staffordshire amusement park about to debut a new roller coaster.

Not exactly a Sherlock Holmes novel, but clever nonetheless.