One day in 1997 Steven McCulloch was riding his trail bike along a dirt track, one of the many that criss-cross the dense bushland that covers the Cobbs Hill area near Tuggerah, on the NSW Central Coast. The weather turned wet and Steven [who was mentioned in the previous chapter] became disorientated, riding his bike along another track, eventually coming to an old deserted weatherboard house, with a verandah and front door. An old chair sat on the verandah. He observed the house to be a large one, but it showed every sign of having been deserted for a very long time.
Curious to have a look inside, he suddenly got one of those uncanny feelings not to do so, and he rode on.
Steven returned to this track some time later but to his dismay the house was gone!
He has returned there many times since then, wondering if he had his bush tracks mixed up but has failed to find the building. He wonders, was it a “ghost house”, one that appears and vanishes on and off .“When I found the house the front door was partly opened, I could see from where I was sitting on my bike that there was furniture inside, and there was dust on everything.
It was a 1930’s building with a rusty tin roof and there was no fence. The old boards of the house were of the sawn variety and had been painted in an off-white colour,” he told me later.
Could Steven have just happened to be in the right place at the right time, when a shifting “window in time” revealed a house no longer there?
One June day in 1970 Rob and Melanie Barber were driving across the Nullarbor Plain, South Australia. Rob, who was doing the driving, asked Melanie to turn on the car radio to get the news. They did. Through a lot of crackling an ABC newsreader was reporting on the savage fighting going on around the Russian city of Leningrad – between German and Russian forces – on that very day in 1943! The news turned to other events of that time but faded away, to be replaced by a current program. “We checked with the ABC later and there had been no special historic broadcast. We can only conclude that something weird had happened to us,” said Rob to me later.
Could the Barbers’ have driven through yet another invisible “time window” to hear a broadcast of events 27 years in the past?
There can be little doubt that “windows in time” exist everywhere at different times. Sydney based camper, Steve Donovan passed through one such ‘window’ one day in October 1970.
An adventurous lone camper, he had entered Cedar Valley, over the ‘saddle’ between Ruined Castle rock formation and Mt Solitary. This ridge separates the Jamieson and Cedar Valleys below Katoomba, and is one of the most eerie locales for mystery happenings on the Blue Mountains.
Steve was working his way down the steep slope, intent upon crossing Cedar Creek to explore the western side of the valley.
There had recently been a bushfire that had burnt all the forest on the ‘saddle’ and down the western side of this ridge. However, as Steve reached the creek and crossed over onto its western side, looking back at the ridge he was startled to see that the whole slope was covered in forest, just as it had been prior to the recent bushfire!
Also he realised that, while the weather had been hot with a clear sky while he was on the ridge, and even while he had been climbing down the burnt slope, now that he was on the western side of the creek the sky was dull and he was freezing cold! Mist and rain began appearing – as if out of nowhere, he later informed me, and he decided to get out of that valley as soon as he could.
As Steve crossed the creek to climb back up to the ‘saddle’ he found that the green forest had vanished and the burnt landscape of the western slope had returned, and the sky was again clear and the weather hot.
During 1969 a group of teenage campers experienced a spectacular view through a “window in time”.
While camping on the southern cliffs of Burragorang Valley, they were exploring one morning when, in the valley far below them they spotted a town. They heard the distant barking of dogs, and the sounds of trucks and cars moving in and out of the town, and could see people moving about. One of the boys noticed with his binoculars that the cars were all old models.
The boys continued with their camp, but when they returned to their Penrith homes and related their adventures, one parent at least who heard the story of the town, remarked that there was only one town in that valley, and that was the old Burragorang Valley township, but it had been flooded for over 10 years by the construction of Warragamba Dam. A couple of weeks later the father and son, with some of the boys returned to the clifftop location from where they had seen the town. There before them stretched the waters of the flooded valley, there was no town to be seen!
The Katoomba area, which to the south overlooks Jamieson Valley and the Burragorang wilderness beyond, and the Megalong Valley on its western side, appears to have a close association with one or more “windows in time” through which UFOs have been seen to appear as if out of nowhere as already mentioned. There have been some particularly eerie incidents over the years out on Narrow Neck Peninsula, the vast scrub covered promontory accessible by a dirt road off Cliff Drive, and which separates Megalong Valley from the Cedar and Jamieson Valleys, as it snakes for some kilometres out to the south-west.
For many years the road went for only a short distance stopping at a parking area, with an offshoot road descending down to a pumping station operated by the Blue Mountains City Council to bring water up from the Megalong Valley to Katoomba. Beyond the parking area and on past the entrance to the “Golden Stairs” a narrow, winding track led out to the far end of the ‘Neck’, used only by hardy bushwalkers and campers.
Then between 1962 and 1963 the road was extended right out to the end of the promontory as a fire trail and a bushfire-spotting tower now stands out towards the end. However, a Water Board gate about 3km out from Cliff Drive now prevents ordinary vehicles from using this road. For those willing to walk for about 3 hours from the gate, there is a magnificent view at the end, giving the hiker a full vista of the Burragorang Valley, from the Kanangra escarpment to the west across the Warragamba Dam backwaters to the western suburbs of Sydney to the east.