Researcher reports flood of Min Min light stories


Senior Lecturer in Aboriginal Studies Dr Curtis Roman.

Senior Lecturer in Aboriginal Studies Dr Curtis Roman.

A Charles Darwin University researcher appears to have tapped into a rich vein of the Australian outback psyche with his enquiry into the Min Min light generating numerous responses.

Senior Lecturer in Aboriginal Studies Dr Curtis Roman said he was delighted that “people from all over” had contacted him, including the author of a book on the subject, and a hopeful movie-maker.

Dr Roman said that even professional people had approached him with their experiences, albeit in hushed tones, with some holding fears that judgmentalism may affect employment prospects or social relationships.

“It’s one of our enduring mysteries,” said Dr Roman, a Larrakia man, whose project is designed to find out what Indigenous people know and believe about the strange phenomenon.

“They are nothing new. It turns out that many of these stories have been around for a long time. Indigenous people from the bush are not scared of these lights, although the same cannot be said of people from urban areas, who often seemed to be spooked by them.
“Nonetheless, I got the sense that in a lot of cases people were just grateful for an opportunity to talk about these things; that nobody had stopped to ask previously.

“One person from a remote community has sent me a video clip he took on his mobile phone of some moving lights that he wasn’t able to explain.”

Dr Roman said that several dominant themes had arisen from his line of enquiry.

“Water is a very consistent factor. Many of the reported sightings have taken place near bodies of water, or where water was once known to have been.

“There are also consistencies in descriptions of how the lights move; basically, like a snake, which may link in with Indigenous people’s beliefs about the rainbow serpent.

There’s a suggestion that they perform a ‘guardian’s role’ to check on sacred sites and perhaps to scare off people who aren’t supposed to be there.”

Dr Roman said that what he thought about the stories was not important.

“It’s not for me to question their beliefs. What’s important for me to do is to observe ethical research practices and cultural sensitivities and to provide a safe and respectful environment for gathering these stories.”

Dr Roman said that he expected to deliver a public seminar about the project early next year.

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