Vanished Without a Trace
The following is taken from the book Mysteries of the Unexplained by H.G. Carlson. Shewolfen1 wrote me about the book and it's section on Picnic at Hanging Rock. The book covers topics such as psychics, nature's mysteries, unsolved mysteries and the like.
This is, so far, the only source I have ever been able to find stating that the events in the movie really happened. If anyone has any further proof along these lines, especially newspaper articles or police reports, please let me know.
Now, from the book
The search party was almost ready to give up when, in their complete astonishment, the figure of 14-year-old Edith Horton suddenly staggered out of the Australian bush, covered in bruises and screaming hysterically.
It had been two-and-a-half hours since she had gone missing with three school friends whilst exploring a local beauty spot in the village of Woodend, near Melbourne in Australia. She was suffering from mild concussion and could remember nothing of the past few hours.
When the hunt for the others proved fruitless, the police were called in to assist. But despite extensive searches of the area, the girls were never seen again. They had apparently disappeared into thin air. So began the legend of Picnic at Hanging Rock, one of the world's strangest unsolved mysteries.
St Valentine's Day Mystery
Hanging Rock is an unusual geological formation. Several million years old, it rises abruptly 152 metres (roughly 500 feet) and pierces the arid skyline in a jumble of miraculously balanced boulders and monoliths from which its name is derived. It was St.Valentine's Day, 1900, and Applegate College was enjoying its annual picnic. The party comprised 19 girls, most of them in their teens, and two teachers. One taught French and the other, Greta McCraw, mathematics. They were accompanied by Ben Hussey, a local coach master.
At 3pm, three of the senior pupils asked for permission to explore the rock. The girls-Irma Leopold, Marion Quade and a girl remembered simply as Miranda-were all known to be sensible and responsible. After some discussion between the adults it was agreed to allow them to go, along with Edith Horton, who at the age of 14 was three years their junior.
The girls crossed a nearby stream and disappeared from sight at around 3:30pm. An hour later, Mr. Hussey became anxious about gathering up his charges and discovered that Miss McCraw was also missing. As the minutes ticked by with no sign of any of the absentees, irritation quickly turned to consternation and the worried picnickers began a search.
Path to the Rock
They soon found a trail of broken bracken and disturbed scrub. It led to the southern face of the Rock. The search continued for nearly an hour, before the hysterical Edith Horton suddenly emerged from the bush. She could tell her interrogators nothing at all of what had happened to the other three students.
The hunt for the missing girls and their teacher went on for several days. Bloodhounds were given samples of MissMcCraw's clothing and an Aboriginal tracker was enlisted-all to no avail. By the following Thursday, a week after the picnic, the worst was feared.
But then, to their amazement, the unconscious body of Irma Leopold was discovered on the Rock. Apart from minor cuts and bruises to her head, as well as a few broken fingernails, she seemed to have suffered little as a result of spending over a week in the bush.
Her shoeless feet were clean and unmarked and, despite the fact that her corset was missing, there was no evidence of sexual abuse. Like Edith Horton before her, Irma could not remember anything about her ordeal.
The mystery of what happened at Hanging Rock has given rise to endless speculation. one theory is that the girls were inadvertently involved in some kind of time travel, emerging at another time in the past or future. Others believed that they were sucked into a parallel universe, or that the primeval qualities in the Rock itself spirited the victims away.
The only certainty is that the incident seems set to remain an example of one of countless unsolved disappearances that are reported around the globe every year-many possessing uncanny similarities.
Edith Horton said she had noticed a strange pink cloud at around the time of the disappearances. This is a phenomenon which is often linked to the appearance of UFOs. Could the girls have been abducted by some alien spacecraft?
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