At the beginning of the 21st Century monsters still roam the remote, and sometimes not so remote, corners of our planet. It is our job to search for them. The Centre for Fortean Zoology [CFZ] is - we believe - the largest professional, scientific and full-time organisation in the world dedicated to cryptozoology - the study of unknown animals. Since 1992 the CFZ has carried out an unparalleled programme of research and investigation all over the world. Since 2009 we have been running the increasingly popular CFZ Blog Network, and although there has been an American branch of the CFZ for over ten years now, it is only now that it has a dedicated blog.

Friday, 14 February 2014

PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK

Many Forteans will have seen the movie or read the book Picnic at Hanging Rock (1967) by Joan Lindsay, which relates how a bunch of schoolgirls vanished from Australia on St Valentine's Day, 1900.  This occurred at the Hanging Rock a celebrated site.  At the end of the book, the author says the story may be either fact or fiction - it is for the reader to make up his own mind.  This has led it to appear in some Fortean literature as definitely historical.

Many years ago, I decided to look into the matter.  The book contains an allusion to data about the event being sent to the Society for Psychical Research in London.  I wrote to them and they replied saying the statement in the book was inaccurate.  They added that, while the Society itself held no position on the alleged incident, they had been told by an investigator that the work was entirely fictitious and this has subsequently become generally accepted.

Joan Lindsay's last chapter, explaining the mystery, was not included in the original book, but was published posthumously in 1987.  In this it we are told the girls who climbed the rock went through a kind of portal, except for one who was unable to do so.  Before going, they threw their whalebone corsets, which may perhaps be seen as symbolic of servitude, into the air.


Hanging Rock, Australia


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