Academic spotlight zooms in on Min Min light

19-Sep-2018

Senior Lecturer in Aboriginal Studies Dr Curtis Roman.

Senior Lecturer in Aboriginal Studies Dr Curtis Roman.


The eerie Min Min light has become the subject of a Charles Darwin University researcher seeking to gather an Indigenous understanding of the outback phenomenon.

Senior Lecturer in Aboriginal Studies Dr Curtis Roman said the purpose of the project was to find out what Indigenous people know about the Min Min light.

“There are various scientific theories about what causes them but there has been no academic inquiry into what Indigenous Australians believe or know about them,” Dr Roman said.

“Indigenous people living in or travelling to remote areas may have their own experiences and beliefs, some of which may have been passed down through the generations. For example, there are some stories that suggest that Indigenous people may believe the Min Min light is a spirit.”

Dr Roman, a Larrakia man, said he was asking his fellow Indigenous Australians to share their stories and beliefs with him in a culturally safe and respectful way.

“Eventually I hope to share with everybody a collection of stories that tell of Indigenous beliefs in this long-standing curiosity through academic journal papers, a seminar and a book.”

Dr Roman said he was aware that stories of Min Min light sightings had been reported in remote and outback Australia for the past century.

“People who have seen the light say that they can follow cars, jump in the air and appear and disappear at will. One of the beliefs is that if the lights catch you, you will never been seen again. Others speculate that they are reflections of distant lights or mirages or a result of warm and cold air coming together.”

Dr Roman recently completed a project that explored Indigenous beliefs in Little People, said to be guardians of the land but who are sometimes perceived as vexatious tricksters.

“The aim is to publish a book with Indigenous folk stories so that these stories are accessible to all people,” he said.

To share a story, please contact Dr Curtis Roman on P: 8946 6067 or E: curtis.roman@cdu.edu.au