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Jim Potts

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Member Since: Oct, 2007

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Australian Min Min Lights
By Jim Potts
Monday, October 08, 2007

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The Min Min lights are often seen in Western Queensland in Australia. They have been recorded since the turn of the century. Many explanations have been put forward for their existance.
I've travelled that country a time or two, and never seen them, although I've met others who swear they have.
This is the story of a time when I thought I was about to have an encounter with the Min Min Lights.

I hadn't been from Longreach to Boulia before. I'd come from Charleville that day, and seeing as it was only another 300K to go I decided to push on carefully through the dark, narrow bush track that wound through some hills and then across the long plains. One landcruiser driver passed me as I was sneaking uphill. He obviously knew the track as his speed was considerably more than mine. As in about 100k more. This startled a family of bush pigs who decided that the other side of the track was home. Remembering the hari kari roo , I managed to miss them all.
There was a bush pub about half way along the track. As I approached it I noticed a herd of grazing cattle both sides of the track so I slowed from 80 to 50k/h. What I didn't see was a couple of roos who were also grazing . As they put their heads up and bounded away I noticed that they seemed taller than my Landcruiser. I was obviously in need of a stop and revive so I pulled up at the little pub.
The pub itself was a collection of buildings with some travellers sitting on the verandah drinking wine (!) and a couple of station types at the bar. The barmaid was a tall backpacking girl who came straight across and asked what I wanted to drink. Somehow I don't think that the answer "You wouldn't have coffee would you ?" was what she wanted to hear, but I scored one anyway. I guess I must of been there about half an hour during which I decided that there was a bit too much life in that place for this sorry soul. Off I trotted to try for a quiet spot in Boulia.
The track itself was a lonely place in the dark. Flat but lots of trees and what might have been in the wet, swampy ground. I started to think of the stories of the Min Min lights. According to the story many travellers have not only seen them but actually been chased by them. I did read somewhere that they were caused by some sort of spontaneous combustion involving marshy gases. Of course the white fella explanation and the aboriginal ones were as usual, quite different. The aboriginal one involved spirits that chased you.
As I was musing about the Min Min, there was a single light in my rear vision mirror. I estimated it to be about 2k behind me and thought "gee its a small moon tonight". It was too bright for a car or bike and stayed about 2k behind me for the next 5 minutes or so. I slowed down and the light appeared to do the same. I went faster and so did the light. Now the min min story seemed a bit more immediate. I didn't believe it for a minute...or did I ?
I estimated I was about half an hour from Boulia. As I drove I had one eye on the track and one eye on the rear vision mirror.
Finally my Min Min light decided enough was enough. It started getting closer and closer behind me.
The min min turned into a huge road train with one surviving headlight. He'd been waiting for a long straight stretch so that he could pass me.
It's the only road train I've ever been happy to see. I pulled right off to the side of the track and let him go past . Bloody Min Min !
You know, in Boulia they have a Min Min visitors centre.
I reckon that road train must do that trip fairly often.

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