In 2017 Hayley Williams wrote an article about Australia’s most intriguing unexplained phenomena. From strange boulder clusters to vanishing ships, the list covered off some of the more wild parts of the Australian environment and its history, but there are plenty more mysteries that we haven’t yet covered. Here are a few more of these incredible and unexplained anomalies.
As one of the strangest and most remote continents on the planet, it’s no wonder Australia has a few oddities hidden away. Our country’s 50,000 year history is filled with mystery, spiritualism and intrigue, right up to the present day. From South Australia’s unidentifiable Somerton Man to the mysteries of Lake George, here are five of Australia’s strangest unexplained phenomena.Read more
The Horned Man of Circular Quay
On June 9, 1979, the Luna Park Ghost Train burned down in a fire that killed seven people. Just hours before boarding the doomed train, victim Damian Godson was approached by the Horned Man at Circular Quay as he waited for a ferry. The figure supposedly put a hand on his shoulder, and the photo was snapped. It was one of the last photos taken of Damian.
Who or what this figure was never discovered, even in the long investigation after incident. The person behind the mask never came forward, and they’ve since become the subject of rampant supernatural speculation. Many state that he resembles the demon Moloch, who is most known for child sacrifice. Whoever this figure was, his presence still casts a shadow over what was a sombre and devastating event in Australian history.
Wilga’s Wailing Water Hole
A 1947 article by Bill Beatty detailed this mysterious phenomenon that endures to this day. In the article, Beatty describes the horrors of the Wilga Waterhole, where loud and enduring screams had been heard by travellers passing in the night. It was first reported by a team of bushmen, who fled the land when they heard “blood-curdling screams” and “devilish, unearthly shrieking” coming from the Waterhole.
These reports were filed in the late 1890s, but rumours about Wilga Waterhole persisted long after the fact. The source of the mysterious screams, which were said to rise in volume, before cutting out entirely, was never found. Birds, ghost, subterranean tunnels and bunyips have all figured into the theory of its origin.
The wreckage of Royal Australian Navy submarine HMAS AE1 was recovered in December 2017. But it had gone missing in 1914. For over a hundred years, people searched for the submarine that had gone missing in Papua New Guinea during World War I, but it wasn’t until the thirteenth search was launched that it actually turned up.
It had departed England in 1913, manned by Navy members from Australia and the UK, and was assigned the task of helping the naval forces capture the German Pacific Colonies, as well as the occupation of German New Guinea. At 3:20pm on 14 September, 2014, accompanying ship, HMAS Parramatta, lost sight of the submarine in dense fog. It never returned to port, and took its 35 passengers with it.
Researchers believe that it was sunk by a faulty ventilation shaft, but concluded that they didn’t really know where it had gone or what had happened to it. How this submarine laid undiscovered on the bottom of the ocean for so long is an enduring mystery.
Somewhere in the Central Australia in the 1890s, prospector Harold Lasseter stumbled upon literal buried treasure — a rich “gold-bearing quartz reef” worth billions. The story laid dormant for many years, until Lasseter came forward in the 1930s and announced that he’d stumbled upon the mine as a teenager, when he was about 1,100km out of Alice Springs, on the western edge of the MacDonnell Ranges.
Lasseter’s stories were conflicting, sometimes taking place in the 1890s, and sometimes in the 1910s. He claimed that after he’d found the reef, his horse died of exhaustion and stranded him in the desert. Despite the unlikeliness of the story, he raised enough funds to travel to the supposed location in July 1930. That search party, and every search since then, has found nothing. The location and existence of the mythical goldmine remains a mystery to this day.
The Marree Man
Nobody knows when the Marree Man first appeared in in central South Australia. All we know is that one day, there was barren land, and the next, there laid the shape of a giant Aboriginal hunter spread over 4 kilometres of land.
The land is inaccessible, and the shape can only be seen through a flyover. This was how it was discovered in 1998, but the only clues about its origin have been confusing. In 1999, a plaque by the artwork was discovered that featured an American flag, Olympic rings and a quote from a book about hunting. No further clues have been found as to its origin.
The Min Min Lights
After dark, the desolate lands of the Australian Outback are filled with mysterious, bobbing lights. Known as the Min Min Lights, these strange lights are circular, about a quarter of the size of the moon, and have fuzzy, vibrating edges.
Researchers theorise that the lights produced have a scientific explanation, such as that a layer of cold air sitting just above the ground is able to trap light, therefore creating the illusion of the Min Min lights. Of course, they also feature regularly in supernatural folklore, with local residents stating that they’re afraid of their erratic and seemingly unexplainable appearance. Their true nature remains a mystery.
In June 1826, Frederick Fisher, a businessman who hailed from Campbelltown, went missing while lodging with a man named William George Worrall. In October, his body was finally discovered, on Worrall’s own neighbouring property. It was a violent and bloody murder, and later sightings of a ghostly figure in and around Campbelltown led many to believe that Fisher’s ghost continued to wander the Earth.
So the urban legend goes, it was Fisher’s own ghost that helped police uncover the grisly remains of its body, after appearing to a drunk named Farley and guiding him towards the badly hidden body. To commemorate the story, Campbelltown City Council holds a regular festival in Fisher’s honour. They even have their own cartoonish, ghostly mascot named Fred that joins in on the festivities.
These are just some of the stories that make up Australia’s haunted history, but there are plenty more that are yet to be uncovered. Those are stories for another time.
Australia's become known as a country of dangerous creatures, from our poisonous snakes to our deadly spiders to swole kangaroos and killer jellyfish. But the most dangerous creatures are the ones we can't see. The ones that lurk in the Australian outback, chowing on goat carcasses and lurking in the muddied water. The ones that roam the wilds on two feet and peer from the bushes with glowing eyes as you pass them on your drive through country roads. These are Australia's cryptids, and they bite.Read more
This article has been updated since its original publication.