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Nhill’s “saucer man”

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John Williams, Treasures of Nhill & District Facebook page, 10 February 2024, Nhill Free Press & Kaniva Times

In the 1950s, reports of “flying saucers” became a cultural phenomenon.

And Nhill was not alone when it came to such sightings.

It was 10 minutes to midnight on an October night in 1954 when three local residents saw what they thought was a flying saucer.

Max Mann, Jack Kay and Mrs J. Jones saw the object while standing in front of Mr Mann’s Macpherson Street home, and what they witnessed was a saucer-like object glowing orange and cream.

It hovered in the sky at a height of only 100 feet for about three minutes and then disappeared with the light suddenly extinguished.

Mr Mann said the saucer seemed to be about 10 feet across.

His workmates started calling him “saucer man” even though he was initially sceptical about such a phenomenon.

Mann’s final comment to the Nhill Free Press was: “I am receiving such a ragging from my mates that I wish I had never seen the thing… but me and my two friends were definitely not mistaken”.

A year before this sighting, strange lights were reported over Nhill, prompting the newly formed Flying Saucer Committee to say 5 per cent of UFO sightings cannot be explained.

In 1951, a brilliant ball of light shooting sparks was seen over Nhill and crashed near Horsham, causing a tremor. That was put down to being a meteorite.

Was the Nhill flying saucer a manifestation of a “Min Min Light”?

Many readers will have experienced travelling the flat plains of the Wimmera at night, convinced that they are being followed by a light. It’s very unnerving, and you can’t wait till daylight.

These mysterious lights have tormented motorists for years in all parts of Australia, and in the Boulia Shire in Queensland, Min Min lights have been made a tourist attraction.

To indigenous Australians, the lights are said to be spirits and locals believe if they catch you, you will never be seen again.

Other names for the lights include Paddy’s Lanterns, Quinn Light, Will-o’-the- Wisp and Jack-o’-Lantern. It’s all very spooky!

The name “Min Min” is said to come from the Boulia Shire’s Min Min Hotel which burnt down in 1918. A local stockman reported a strange light in the area shortly before the fire.

Nhill does have an official Martian link though.

A 22-kilometre diameter Martian impact crater on the red planet has been named “Nhill”. And this came about because Earthlings at the International Astronomical Union named craters on Mars after small towns and villages.

So Nhill is now best friends with the “little green men”, and no harm will come from future flying saucers!

The town’s only previous dealings with aliens were during WW1 and WW2 when hapless local Germans were deemed “enemy aliens”.

Nhill Free Press & Kaniva Times 28 February 2024

This article appeared in the Nhill Free Press & Kaniva Times, 28 February 2024.

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For all the news from Nhill Free Press & Kaniva Times, go to https://www.nhillfreepress.com.au