To be completely honest my interest in reading this book came from all of the controversy and conspiracy behind it – is it a true story or isn’t it?
The haunting story begins on Saint Valentines Day, February 14th 1900. A group of girls from the boarding school of Appleyard College, set out for a picnic at the famous Hanging Rock.
After the party has arrived and finished their lunch, the senior girls – Marion, Miranda and Irma – ask permission to go and explore the rock before heading home. It is at this point that different members of the group discover all of their watches have stopped at 12:00 midday. The girls are told that they may explore for an hour before everyone set off for home.
The school dunce Edith tags along with the girls and they set off on their journey. They struggle through bushland and jagged rock formations in their long petticoats and dresses in the hot summers sun, passing another group of picnickers on the way. Once they reach the famous rock the girls feel a strange sensation and all lie down for a nap in the sun.
The four girls wake and Edith, younger than the rest, tries to tell them she does not feel well. She receives no response and feels as if the girls are staring straight through her. She is then horrified as the girls drift away in a dream like state towards to rock-face without saying a word. Scared out of her mind Edith bolts down the rock and back to the party in hysterics and screaming.
The group soon discovers that one of their teachers has also vanished without a trace and after searching for hours they return panicked to Appleyard College to inform the headmistress Mrs. Appleyard.
Search parties are sent and scour the rock formation relentlessly for days to no avail and Edith has absolutely no memory to help with the investigation. The mystery goes on for over a week until one of the missing girls is recovered.
A miracle to have found someone alive after so long, everyone is hopeful that the mystery will now be solved – were the girls lured away? Murdered? Raped? However, once restored to full health, she too, has no memory of what happened.
Misery starts to spread to everyone involved and unfortunate accidents start to happened.
So is this a true story? What happened to the 2 other lovely young ladies who went exploring one summers afternoon? Will they ever be found?
Definitely give this book a read and decide for yourself what happened at Hanging Rock. Many different opinions have been shared by readers of this book and they are also worth having a look at if you enjoyed the book.
Years after the death of the author, the original 18th chapter of the book was released which is said to explain the secret of Hanging Rock and what really happened to the girls. Extremely hard to find and going for around $70 minimum, I am trying to get my hands on a copy. Update to follow….