; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Monday, November 17, 2014

UFO or Min Min? The 1855 King's Plains Blazing Light Mystery

By Jon Wyatt - In 1855 a 'blazing light' haunted a distant paddock at King's Plains, New South Wales; and witnesses claimed figures of “a black man” and “a dog” appeared near the light as well.

What was happening at King's Plains in 1855?

King's Plains is an historic district on the Mid Western Hwy between Blayney and Bathurst, on the Tablelands NSW. Explorers reached there in 1815 and the early settlers drove out the traditional owners, the Wiradjurai tribe, after guerrilla battles. The NSW government set up a village on the plains to support the early settlers, and when this was later abandoned the residents moved to nearby Blayney—King's Plains Village Road reminds of this time. During the 1850s and 1860s gold miners fossicked in the creeks but they came and went. Today, King's Plains is home to sheep and cattle grazing properties, turning wind farm turbines, and memories.

The “large blazing light” appeared one night in May 1855 and returned over many weeks and months. A man called D H Davidson sent a description to a Bathurst newspaper and this letter was reprinted in at least two Sydney papers. His letter dated June 24, 1855, says:

“It is now almost seven weeks since a large blazing light first appeared in a paddock in my neighbourhood, which now appears every night without intermission—say about half an hour after dark. Its appearance to the naked eye is that of a large blazing light, and it continues lightening for about a period of five or six minutes at a time. The spot where it appears is about a quarter of a mile distant from my place in a paddock belonging to a Mr James Flood, and a Mr. Patrick Castello [sic], and a Mr John Cullen, all living within a quarter of a mile from each other... sometimes it has appeared as if there had been a dog walking near it, and a figure or shadow in the shape and appearance of a man has also been noticed, but no person has the courage to go up and speak to it.” (Sydney Empire 3 July 1855, p. 5)

The large blazing light apparently vanished for a time and when it returned another man called John Welsh published this confirmative letter, dated October 12, 1855:

“Having been informed that a large blazing light was constantly appearing at night on a large paddock belonging to Messrs Costello, Flood and Cullen, at King's Plains, I was curious to know if such was the case. On Wednesday night I watched on purpose, and I saw a large blazing light, six or seven times, remaining for about one minute, and appearing again in a different distant spot. To the best of my belief, there appeared in the middle of the said blazing light, the shape and figure of a black man. The distance... was about two thousand yards.

“The above are facts.” (Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal, 27 October 1855, p2)

The incredible letters could be dismissed as a hoaxes, however the people named in the letters were real and they never rebutted the story.

D H Davidson was ex-British Army and a schoolmaster; John Welsh a sheep farmer from Triangle Flat, 20 kms S of King's Plains.

The haunted paddock owners were men of some standing: Patrick Costello was a blacksmith; James Flood a hotel keeper; and John Cullen had an interest in politics.

During the 1850s a rising new breed of farmer and business person fought against an established pastoral elite for political control, and the names John Cullen, John Welsh and Patrick Costello appear as supporters of progressive candidates who were standing for the NSW parliament.

The five men were real—so what, we may ask, was this 'blazing light'?

Ghost lights have been seen by thousands worldwide and in Australia they are often called Min Min lights—after a town in Queensland. Scientists have suggested a minority of these lights may be caused by natural gas, radioactive gas, luminescent insects, electrical disturbances... but, they say, the majority are simply reflections or refractions from vehicle headlights--mirages. However the pioneers witnessed Min Mins before the motor age and some of them swore the lights had intent:

In 1897 Mr D Conway claimed a Min Min chased him for a mile along a road near Bungeet, W of Wangaratta, Victoria. The report says “It emanated from beneath a bridge in the vicinity and presented the appearance of being a light in two places. Mr Conway... says when he saw the object he was so terrified that he dug his spurs into his horse...and rode home as fast as the animal carrying him could go. Notwithstanding so, the object referred to followed him for at least a mile. Mr. Conway fainted in his room on his arrival home. The same thing was seen a few nights previously by a resident of Thoona”-- (Albury Banner and Wodonga Express 26 November, 1897, p31)

As well:

In the early 1920s a Min Min haunted the banks of the Brisbane River near Lowood, W of Brisbane, for many months. When people approached the glowing light it disappeared; the location was where an old German man had drowned. The report says “On dark nights its glow could be seen for miles, and on moonlight nights, foggy nights, and wet nights it could be seen just as clearly. Examination revealed no phosphorescent rock around the spot. For a year or two the light shone unfailingly every night... on the night following the death of the son of the man who was drowned the light vanished forever” (Letter published The World's News, Sydney, 2 October 1929, p12)

The King's Plains blazing light was probably an extraordinary Min Min and “the blackman ” and “dog” merely optical illusions, however there's a curious footnote.

In July 1856 Frederick Allmindinger of Carcoar a nearby town, posted a reward notice for information on the whereabouts of D H Davidson; the schoolmaster had apparently mysteriously disappeared. Did he venture too near to the 'light'-- was he abducted?

Was the 'blazing light' a visiting ET craft?


1. Photograph of King's Plains, Tablelands NSW

2. Davidson Letter, Sydney Bell's Life, 7 July 1855, p2

3. Min Min light, Melbourne Argus, 1 January 1944

4. Reward Notice, Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal, 23 July 1856, p3


Copyright 2014 Jon Wyatt

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