Between Boulia and Bedourie, Western Queensland Outback
The benign, blue sky stretches away to infinity around western Queensland’s Boulia, mostly unrelieved by clouds, birds or planes. Unremarkable – at least by Outback standards – Boulia’s boundless blue backdrop is the ultimate Big Sky luring travellers to the Outback.
But it’s not the splendidly panoramic sky of daylight hours that attracts visitors to this remote capital of the Channel Country.
Min Min light country, Boulia, Queensland
Because the mysterious Min Min Light only appears at night!
The famous lights were not in evidence as we descended south from Julia Creek and Mt Isa into Boulia after 600km on indifferent outback roads – hardly surprising as it was still daylight.
With a mixture of anticipation and scepticism, we read signs around the town proclaiming we’d entered Min Min country – and our first foray into the paranormal world of a phenomenon for which there is no rational explanation!
While the Min Min light has been well known in Aborginal lore for generations, the first police report of the legendary light was lodged shortly after the Min Min hotel, actually a slab hut 100km east of Boulia, burned down, leaving only a bottle heap and cemetery.
Panicking after seeing a glow hovering over the graveyard, a passing stockman spurred his horse for Boulia, but to his horror, the light turned and followed him most of the way back to town.
Boulia’s Water Tank – another Min Min sign
While his report was met with derision, a short time later a couple new to the area arrived in Boulia, requesting an explanation for a mysterious light that moved away from them as they moved towards it, only to turn and follow them once they gave up and returned to the road.
Then, a few nights later, another stockman reported an eerie light originating from the Min Min graveyard but this time bounding through the air like a football.
Despite several theories (phosphorescence, burning gas, ghostly apparition, alcoholic influence, even fungus!!), as yet there’s no scientific explanation to completely explain the spooky light – often mistaken for a bright car headlight – now seen by thousands of people since that first sighting nearly 100 years ago. And despite attempts to chase it down, it’s never been caught, outpacing runners, horses and cars.
A Boulia morning at the Burke River
Even if the lights HAD appeared at the excellent Boulia caravan park on the Burke river (named for the explorer) on our first night there, it would’ve been impossible to see them through the slumberous depths to which we’d sunk after a long day on the road – so our paranormal adventure continued at the ‘Min Min Encounter’, the only place where a Min Min sighting is guaranteed!
Tragically, it’s not possible to photograph any part of the 45 minute journey this hi-tech production (developed by a professional set designer) follows, debunking possible explanations through eyewitness accounts of locals’ Min Min light experiences. Then the journey ends with a simulated night bus ride through the moonlit outback terrain, culminating in the appearance of the Min Min lights just before dawn!
Back outside, where the real world of outback dust, rocks and big blue sky seems an unlikly spot for otherworldly manifestations, an Encounter staff member (who hasn’t seen the light herself) tells us the light hasn’t harmed anyone – unless your count being scared half to death!
So was I still sceptical? Under Boulia’s spell, and keen to immortalise the uncanny occurrence we’d witnessed at the Encounter, I searched the gift shop for a suitably weird and wondrous souvenir to commemorate our visit. A fascinating booklet by local Charles Robinson to mark Boulia’s 1976 centenary (providing much information used in this post) was a good start – but I wanted MORE.
Then I saw the perfect way to keep the magic alive – and to share it with you, dear readers!
No, we didn’t get to see the Min Min light for real – this time, anyway.
But thanks to the formidable forces of modern science, technology and kitsch souvenir production I can re-live the Min Min light experience every time I have a coffee! And so can you …
When I discovered Haunt Jaunts, Courtney’s paranormal tourism blog, I just HAD to follow her adventures – despite rarely selecting destinations specifically for their haunt-value. Weirdly however, she seems fascinated by my adventures to the point of regularly recommending me to her countless Twitter followers. And because I live in fear of being left off her weekly list, I hope this first – and perhaps only – venture into the paranormal (albeit lame) may actually be of interest to she and her readers!
So … Courtney – this one’s for you!! Enjoy!!!
Check out skies from all around the world today at SKYWATCH! I’d be REALLY surprised if you regretted it …