A railway supervisor has told of a spooky encounter with ‘sentient’ glowing orb in the Queensland outback during an investigation into the mysterious Min Min lights.
For more than 100 years, drovers, truck drivers and travelers in remote and lonely regions have sometimes returned with strange tales of lights that seem to follow them along the ground.
A station supervisor at Cloncurry Railway Station has told his story on film for paranormal investigators in the upcoming documentary Australien Skies 3: Search for the Min MIn.
Supervisor Matthew Curro told documentary maker Don Meers that he and two other workers had been able to get very close to the strange luminescence in 1997.
‘It looked like a star on the ground,’ Meers said the railway worker told him.
‘They got very close to it, within 1.5 metres. That’s unusual as most see the lights bouncing on the horizon.
‘It lasted 45 minutes and they interacted with it. He had to write a report on it for work.’
Meers said it varied in size from a headlight to a truck wheel and reacted to loud noises.
Boulia, Queensland, population 230, is ground zero for the anomalous phenomenon. The crew headed to the home of the Min Min legend to try to catch one on film
Director of photography Attila Kaldy tests out a drone during filming
The documentary maker said railway workers have had many Min Min sightings, and have to take them seriously as they could be something that could lead to a derailment.
The railway supervisor told Meers he didn’t know what the light was but said it appeared to be sentient.
‘This one appeared to be intelligent and curious,’ he said.
Mr Curro features in the documentary to tell first-hand of his strange encounter with the anomalous phenomena.
Meers said that during filming, his crew of seven filmed a few strange anomalies and debunked about half of them.
‘Some were mirages or headlight anomalies, but the last one we couldn’t debunk easily. It remains a Min Min and it was pretty strange.’
‘It’s a fairly pragmatic crew but half of them were upset and a bit scared by it.’
Scientists say the mysterious lights are an optical illusion caused by temperature inversions in the air refracting camp fires or headlights from over the horizon
This is the third Australien Skies documentary for the Australian director, with the first picked up by Netflix and the second on Hulu and iTunes.
The film will be launched in the remote Queensland town of Boulia, population 230, with a free screening put on by the local shire council on October 11.
The outback town near the mines of Mount Isa is where the Min Min legends first began.
‘The Boulia region is ground zero for Min Min lights,’ he said.
Boulia Shire Council says hundreds of sightings have been reported to them over the past century.
Min Min was once the name of a small settlement between Boulia and Winton, where the glowing orbs were said to have been seen by a stockman in 1918.
But the first sighting was earlier than that.
Eerie lights were seen in the early 1890s, hovering over a grave at the rear of the Min Min hotel on the Kennedy Developmental road from Winton to Boulia.
Cloncurry railway station supervisor Matthew Curro tells of his eerie encounter in the film
The grave was the resting place of Mary Lilley, the wife of the man who built the hotel.
But the hotel burnt down in 1924 and nothing was left except the grave.
All that remains today is a large area of broken glass.
There are several scientific explanations for the appearance of mysterious lights.
Distorted objects can be seen sometimes in a narrow band above the horizon due to light rays bending as they pass through a thermal inversion which occurs when a well-defined layer of warm air rests over a layer of cooler air.
The curvature of the light rays within the thermal inversion has to be stronger than the curvature of the earth to produce the effect.
They are called Fata Morgana, the Italian term for the Arthurian sorceress Morgan le Fay, who was said to be luring sailors to their deaths with betwitching lights like fairy castles in the air.
The crew interviewed people from all round Australia who have seen the lights, in other outback locations. Documentary maker Don Meers says they debunked about half of them during their paranormal investigation but some remained unexplained
Temperature inversions in the air can also cause superior and inferior mirages.
At night, lights from camp fires, far-off moving vehicles, aircraft or buildings can be seen even though they would not be noticed in daylight because they are over the horizon and are too faint.
Australian neuroscientist Professor Jack Pettigrew has been reported to have solved the mystery by creating his own Min Min lights with his car headlights.
Professor Pettigrew drove 10km from a campsite and shone his headlights, Australian Geographic reported.
The people at the campsite reported mysterious lights bobbing just above the horizon, and as the professor switched his headlights on and off, the Min Min lights disappeared and reappeared.