Mythical Monday: Australia’s Min Min Light by Mae Clair

This one doesn’t really qualify as mythical because its existence has been documented, but there’s plenty of debate about what it is and what causes it.

A dark night sky with several glowing discs of lightA light phenomena of the Queensland region of Australia, the Min Min is a large flickering disc of luminescent light that appears at night, hovering about three feet above the ground. Named after a small settlement in the Outback, the Min Min made its first appearance in 1918 when discovered by a stockman (cattle worker). Its origin, however, can be traced farther back in time to Aboriginal myths that predate western settlement of the area.

The lights do not appear to be harmful and will vanish if fired upon, only to reappear later. They have been known to follow people on foot, horseback and in cars, sometimes keeping pace for miles. A few night time travelers have reported them assuming the shape of a horse or a man. Most, however, claim the Min Min to be a glowing amorphous light. According to legend, anyone who chases the lights and successfully catches one will never return to tell the tale.

Sign welcoming visitors to Min Min Light Territory in Boulia, Queensland, Australia

Photo by GondwanaGirl 6 January 2009 (Public domain) via Wikimedia Commons

Theories put forth include an optical illusion, swarming insects that have taken on bio-luminescent characteristics, and a geophysical phenomenon produced from an natural electrical charge. Whatever the cause of these unusual lights, thousands have reported seeing them. The town of Boulia in Queensland, welcomes visitors to the Land of the Min Min Light with a large sign proclaiming the mystery.

As someone who has been fascinated by atmospheric ghost lights and spook lights since I was a kid, I find the idea of the Min Min enchanting. Wouldn’t you love to see one of these eerie weaving lights?

16 thoughts on “Mythical Monday: Australia’s Min Min Light by Mae Clair

  1. I find ghostly lights interesting too. These look spectacular. I’ve never seen anything like these but I would love to. Perhaps I might one day if I travel to Australia. Another fascinating post.

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    • I’ve never seen any ghostly lights at night either (unless I count that UFO when I was six, LOL!), but I would love to. Yet another reason to visit Australia! Glad you enjoyed the post, Daisy 🙂

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    • What a great way to describe them! I wonder if that’s why I’m fascinated by lightening buys . . . because I love ghost lights at night. Great to see you here, L.J.!

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    • The Will of the Wisp is one of my favorites, Flossie…so mischievous and spectral.I think it would be great to see either one weaving around some night-time abode!

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    • A great way of describing it. I imagine it as being curious and somewhat impish as it shepherds travelers on their way. I lvoe the name too. Min Min just rolls off the tongue 🙂

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  2. Oh boy…late to the party (at Dr, appointments all day) But what fun! I love all things paranormal and especially that which has absolutely no explanation! So… if I am ever in Australia….

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    • Well, I certainly hope the appointments weren’t anything serious, but I’m glad you had a chance to pop in and check out the Min Min. I think we could form a party of travelers and chase the Min Min together. Wouldn’t that be fun?

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  3. Well, this one hits home! Literally. I lived out bush in Mount Isa, Queensland, only a couple hours from Boulia. And Boulia is TINY, barely a crossroads, mostly Indigenous people living in very basic conditions, still in 2014. When I first moved to Australia, my Aussie husband and his mates took me out camping, and as soon as it drew dark, along with many many beers, they pulled forth their repertoire of Aussie myths including the Min Min lights and the Drop Bear. I lived in Queensland for years and never saw the Min MIn phenomenon. And anyone can get easily lost in the bush, whether they are following the darn lights or not. If you aren’t used to the harsh environment, just don’t stray from the road. LOL

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    • So cool to think you’re familiar with the Min Min (even if you did actually see it) and lived very near the area where it’s most prevalent. I’ve never heard of the Drop Bear, but you have me curious. I’m going to have to do some research and pocket it for a future Mythical Monday post.

      I love the camping story. It sounds like the start of a spooky movie 🙂

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    • I would never want to see a ghost *shudder* but I gave seen a UFO and I would love to see a spook light. The photo I used for this post was actually stock photography of a light illusion but it seemed to match the Min Min pretty closely so I chose it. I?’m glad you enjoyed the post, Mary!

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