What happened at Hanging Rock?
St. Valentines Day in the year 1900 granted brilliant sunshine to the village of Woodend near Melbourne (Australia). On this day, the Applegate College usually undertook a school excursion in the nearer surrounding of the village. In the early morning, a group of schoolgirls with their teachers set out for a picnic to one of the famous outing places. In the evening, four of them had disappeared, three of them were never seen again.
According to the report, a group of schoolgirls with their teachers drove out for a picnic at Hanging Rock. This geological rock group of rocks and monoliths is several million years old and of vulcanic origin. Around the turn of the century , it was a famous outing place.
The excursion group consisted of 19 girls, most of them were over 10 years old. They were accompanied by their two teachers, Diane de Poitiers and Greta McCraw. At Saturday morning, the group set out to a 7 kilometers far place. They ate there and dozed under the trees and rocks. Another picnic group camped a bit farther away. It consisted of the former colonel Fitzhubert, his wife, her nephew and the groom Albert Crundall.
At around 3 o'clock in the afternoon, three of the elder schoolgirls asked the French teacher for allowance to explore the rock. The girls Irma Leopold, Marion Quade and Miranda X., all at the age of 17, had been known as reasonable and responsible. When they started, it was stated that the only two available watches within the group had stopped at noon. Finally, the 14 year old Edith Horton accompanied the other three girls as well.
The girls withdrew from the picnic area and disappeared out of sight at 3.30 p.m. The Fitzhubert family saw them passing by. The groom whistled after them and the nephew attempted to follow them what he gave up later on. The others dozed off at the picnic area. At 4.30 p.m., when the protégées were gathered again, the French teacher discovered that Miss McCraw was missing also. It was supposed that she followed the girls. The Fitzhuberts had already left at that time. A search had been organized. A trace of trampled farns leaded to the south side of the rock. But later, the beaten path was lost.
At 5.30 p.m., suddenly Edith Horton came staggering out of the thicket at the south-west side of the rock. She cried hysterically, but could not say what had happened. Of Miranda, Irma, Marion and Miss McCraw every trace was missing. The missing people were reported to the police. On the next day, a Sunday, started a huge systematical search.
In the meantime, Edith Horton had been examined by the physician from Woodend, Dr. MacKenzie. She suffered from a light concussion of the brain. Her body was covered by several scratches and swellings, but no other injuries could be stated. Later on, in a questioning it came to her mind that she had met Miss McCraw on her way back and had seen how she ran towards the rock. The always so correct teacher was half stripped off her clothes and had not heeded Edith's calls. The police employed now a native scout and a bloodhound. Applied to Miss McCraw's scent, the hound followed a trace up the rock and on half height he stood for some minutes on a round plattform, growling and with coat standing at end. The police gave up the search. The nephew of the Fitzhuberts decided to spent a night alone on the rock. On the next day, Michael Fitzhubert was found undercooled, with sprained ankle and a hasty written note. He must have found something.
The search was taken up again and unexpectedly, Irma Leopold was found. She was unconscious, had several effusions of blood and smaller cuts on the head. Her fingernails were broken and torn, but there were no other injuries. When she woke up, she could not remember anything. Miranda, Marion and Miss McCraw had been never seen again. As a consequence, the schoolgirls were taken from Applegate College which had to be closed afterwards. A few months later, Mrs. Appleyard, the director, drove to the Hanging Rock. Her body was found underneath a ledge.
The mistery of Hanging Rock has produced endless speculations. One theory says that the girls had been abducted by an alien space-ship. Certainly, the rock is conspicuous enough to serve as an intergalactical flight mark. The presence of an UFO could also explain why the watches stood still. When she remembered to have met Miss McCraw, Edith Horton said, that a mysterious pink cloud was visible.
Another theory says that the girls were slipping into some kind of time travel and came out in the past or the future. This assumption refers strongly to the pink cloud. Christian Doppler and Albert Einstein assume that an object that withdraws at a very high speed, will be perceived with a "red shifting", a distortion of the light spectrum. The cloud could point to Miss McCraw, disappearing in a time travel.
Further hypotheses proceed from a parallel universe, into which the girls had fallen. Or that they had been spirited away by the native forces of the rock.
So what really happened on that long passed Valentines Day? By the way, there exist no proves that the event actually has happened.