Australian Scientist Offers Explanation For Spook Lights

Jack Pettigrew, a neuroscientist at the University of Queensland, has offered an explanation for the mysterious Min Min lights.  The lights, most often reported around the Channel Country near Boulia, appear as glowing balls that consistently confound eyewitnesses.  

Pettigrew, who has experienced the phenomenon himself, described how he stumbled across the lights while researching a rare bird outside of town.  At first he and his team thought they had caught a fox in the headlights of their vehicle, but were surprised to find that what they thought were the illuminated eyes of a curious vulpine failed to dim when they extinguished their light.  

According to the neuroscientist, "We were surprised that the bright spot of light was still there when we turned off the headlights.”

Pettigrew goes on to describe the lights in his research paper by saying they had “fuzzy edges in rapid motion like a swarm of bees”, differing colors, and that it moved “with a mind of its own."

He now believes the lights to be a nocturnal form of Fata Morgana, a phenomenon whereby light can travel across vast distances, and even over horizons, in ideal climatic conditions.  The Fata Morgana occurs when the air is colder on the ground than above, and the resulting temperature inversion bends light across the atmosphere creating projections of images from hundreds of miles away. The scientist tested his theory by driving his car miles into the desert, hiding it behind a hill, and shining his headlights in the direction of his waiting companions at camp.  

“When I pointed the vehicle in the direction of the camp, observers saw a light floating above the horizon," said Pettigrew.  And, sure enough, when he turned off his headlights the light disappeared.

Pettigrew provides as further evidence the fact that in the same area a similar phenomenon caused a row of hills to appear on the horizon and slowly disappear as the ground warmed throughout the morning. 


Tobias Wayland