Min Min Lights of the Outback
Min Min Lights of the Outback
By Michael Williams "It wasn't seeing the light after the rum, it was drinking the rum after seeing the light"
Stories of anomalous nocturnal lights come from virtually every country in the world. Australia is no different. Here, the Aboriginal word for these lights is "Min Min". It is not known for sure which dialect or tribe is responsible for the term. While it may be a part of Aboriginal myth and legend, there are certainly plenty of white men who have seen and experienced the unsettling mystery of the Min Min lights for themselves.
The Night Rider "This night I was riding a very quiet horse and I was heading back towards where the camp was, probably 3- 4 miles away, and it was 9pm at night. This light was coming down where I reckon the road would be. The light was so brilliant the horse started to tremble. "I judged the light to be no more than 3-4 feet off the ground, and I put it down to being a light on a highish vehicle or some sort of truck. It came within about 3-400 yards and then veered off to the left...when I next saw it , it was south of me and coming back towards me again and was about the same distance from me. It was travelling at a terrific rate of knots. Then it came up within 150 yards and lit up the grass all around...the light was flying dead level, not undulating or swaying, then disappeared.
"Anyhow , we had about a mile to go before we hit the junction when the light got there ahead of us and seemed to make a circle. This is the remarkable thing, as though it knew the way we had to go. It slowly did a turn, moved around the corner and headed north-east along the road to Boulia.
"There were two lights, like good sized torches. These lights turned around and took off like motorbikes going along the road together and they were going 65mph because we were going 60mph and the lights were getting away from us. When we got within about a mile of the gate, one light just went off to the left and disappeared. The other light was going along , and when it came to the gate , it just rose up and went straight over it.
"It just appeared to be like a vehicle travelling at 200 or 300 miles an hour, then it totally disappeared.
"We were scared to ride towards the light because only a year ago, a ringer had chased it and broke his neck when his horse hit a barbed wire fence." Cattle Country
"Once I camped a thousand cattle, bullocks etc in a fenced stock route corner. They were uneasy and ready for mischief, until after midnight when they began to settle down and cud. Then came the Min Min Lights to dance all over and amongst the cattle, until I was near frantic that they would up and rush. I even saw the reflective flicker of light on the white face of a cow, but she paid no attention, yet when the headlights of a car washed over the mob, they were on their feet and ready to be gone in an instant and it took all five men to settle them down again." The Duck Hole Lights
"The Min Min I remember at Fairview near Kynuna, just used to appear right out in the direction where there was absolutely no roads, no homesteads, nothing. We used to call it the Duck Hole Min Min because it appeared from the direction of a water hole called the Duck Hole. You have to remember in those days there was no vehicles travelling around as there are today, and yet everybody knew everybody else's movements for 100 miles around. These Min Min lights were totally different from a camp fire. Sometimes a very bright light, going down to a very weak torch light, very dull and a long way in the distance."
*Stories from ABC radio Rockhampton, Queensland and The Mystery of the Min Min Light by Maureen Kozicka, 1994.
The obvious place to attempt to look for a explanation is within the earth's crust itself. The lights relate to a given location. Many scientists such as Persinger, Deveraux and Derr use the term "earth lights" to describe this type of light phenomena.
Whether they are bizarre life forms, the product of exotic physics, or craft from outer space or another dimension, there has to be something such terrain-related lights need in these geographical zones at certain times. That requirement can only be some source of energy that can facilitate their appearance and mobility, if not actual existence. The tectonic strain theory suggests that low magnitude seismic disturbance may be sufficient to provide the conditions for light phenomena in certain circumstances. *Earth Lights Revelation, Paul Deveraux, 1989.
Another potential mechanism involving the semi-conducting properties of polymetallic ore bodies has been proposed by Demin. The idea involves electrical discharges from cracks that are amplified by unusual occurrences of semi-conducting minerals. This theory entails the generation of ultrasonic waves and electron emission, in addition to luminescence, and suggests that light phenomena might be associated with polymetallic ore bodies near the surface. *Experientia, Persinger, Derr, 1986.
Other possibilities that have been mooted include: a colony of luminous insects visiting from Asia, a species of bird from Vietnam that glows, a pocket of gas that will not disperse, refracting light from over the horizon, ball lightning without a storm, a homestead light and reflections off rubbish.
I have interviewed many people over the years while looking for the lights. I have seen and videotaped unusual light phenomena but due to the height that it was appearing at, do not believe it was an example of the "classic" Min Min lights.
Some of the personal recollections that have been shared with my by people include the following:
"We used to have young horses in a specific padddock. "A Min Min light used to sit on the fence and scare them. They would injure themselves running into fences to get away from it. But when we put cattle into the same area, they never reacted to the lights. We shot at the light with a .22 calibre rifle. This had no effect. But when we used a larger calibre like a .303, the light would instantly go out.
"The light appeared above us as were shooting at kangaroos. We became scared and shot at it. This had no effect, so we jumped into the car. The light chased us for about 20 minutes, we were screaming and crying."
What is interesting is that some of the toughest and roughest people I have ever met, such as shooters and drovers, had no qualms about admitting that they have wept with fear after encountering the lights. When I was in Boulia in 2000, some shooters arrived from Alice Springs. They had been chased by a "pack" of lights along the Silver Highway, the road that joins Boulia and Alice Springs.
There is some correlation with Min Min lights and "earth lights". And no doubt some of the reports may be explained using those sort of terms. The lights pre-date the white man in Australia. Some Aboriginals that I have spoken to have stated that there parents used threats of the Min Min light to curb their behaviour when they were children.
Problems with current Scientific Explanations
The lights can/do react to observers movements. This is a major stumbling block for most scientists. They dismiss all reports that talk about the lights reacting to observers. They have to. And we are not talking about "the lights are reacting to the cars/humans magnetic field", which is just pure bilge. At present there is no known mechanism to explain the energy source of the lights. Rock crush experiments causing lights to be created are measured in milliseconds. The second problem may be explained one day using modified physics explanations.
There is no doubt that they lights seem to exhibit a form of "intelligence" - and this is not just a simple attempt at an anthropomorphic interpretation of their behaviour.
Some of the information here was taken from Maureen Kozicka's book "The Mystery of the Min Min Light." She wrote the first and only book on the subject and was a true pioneer. She actually went out looking for the light and collected a wealth of personal recollections dealing with the phenomena.
This page is dedicated to her.