Visit from a crime novelist and Australia’s strangest unsolved mysteries

International author Jeffrey Deaver will be speaking at a long lunch in Mollymook on Wednesday, June 28th. Famed for his mystery thrillers and winner of the Crime Writers’ Association Steel Dagger for Best Thriller, Deaver will be discussing his newest novel, Burial Hour, which promises to be as gripping and intense as the rest of his works.

Australia’s full of strange, unsolved cases. Here are three of the creepiest ones persisting to this very day!

1. Luna Park Ghost Train Fire

In June 1979, a happy family was waiting for a ferry to transport them to Luna Park, a popular amusement park located in Sydney. After a day of fun, the two young sons decided to head off into the Ghost Train with their dad, John Goodson, to spend their final tickets. Jenny, the mum, went off for some ice cream, and returned to the horrible spectacle of a train belching smoke in great choking waves as it plunged repeatedly from the tunnel, unable to be stopped. John Goodson and his sons did not make it off the ride alive.

Days later, Jenny found the above photo of her children posing with a demonic figure in a mask who was never located but was thought to have had a hand in the fire on the train. Was it a tragic electrical fault or a deliberate act of murderous sabotage? We don’t know.

2. The Missing Cessna

This one has all the feel of the Bermuda Triangle and Amelia Earhart’s famous disappearance in 1937 over the Pacific. On August 9, 1981, a Cessna 210 was flying from Proserpine to Sydney with four men on board. But bad weather set in as they were flying near Taree – 52-year-old pilot Michael Hutchins decided to buck protocol and, rather than applying for permission to fly along an alternate route and circumvent the storm, continued on the original flight path.

A vacuum pump failure on board and extreme turbulence threw Hutchins’ sense of direction way off, and his last words picked up by air controllers were “Five thousand-“, before he was abruptly cut off. No sign of the plane or the passengers has ever been found.

3. Marree Man

This one is a bit more geographical in nature. The figure above is 4km across and was first found by a tour guide in the remote Australian desert in 1998. No one knew who had carved this enormous outline of an indigenous man, but many indigenous communities and others lodged angry complaints, saying they wished it would disappear as it became a crowded tourist attraction. These wishes came true – the landscape in 2015 was almost entirely featureless, and the figure of Marree Man can no longer be seen clearly. This year, it can once again be seen in its South Australian home, restored – again – under unclear circumstances.

While UFO conspiracists claimed its existence was proof of extraterrestrials, nobody truly knows what the purpose of the carving was in the first place. The responsibility for its preservation has been repeatedly passed along throughout its history.

If you’re interested in attending Jeffrey Deaver’s promotional event, tickets are $70 and include a two course meal at Rick Stein at Bannisters in Mollymook and a glass of sparkling wine. A book signing opportunity will follow the lunch. Call 02 4455 3044 for tickets.