February 14, 1900: Three girls vanish at Hanging Rock, Australia

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Valentine’s Day, 1900 – Three schoolgirls and a teacher vanish while climbing a giant rock formation at Hanging Rock, Australia in Joan Lindsay‘s mystery novel Picnic at Hanging Rock.

What happened at Hanging Rock? Why is one of the missing girls returning with amnesia, while one of their accompanying friends suffers from hysteria?

book_side_icon&16Published in 1967 and written in the form of a true story, Picnic at Hanging Rock focuses as much on the setup and events as on the effects of the girl’s disappearance on the community.
While the final version of the book ends on an ambiguous ending, a 12-page final chapter solving the mystery but discarded prior to publication by Joan Lindsay and her editor Sandra Forbes was released posthumously in 1987 as The Secret of Hanging Rock.
The authenticity of this lost 18th chapter is however disputed. Published 3 years after Lindsay’s death, it goes against statements she publicly made defending the open-ended nature of her book.
Real or not, this “lost chapter” proves her right as the original ending of the novel only makes it more powerful.

movie_icon&16Australian director Peter Weir adapted Picnic at Hanging Rock as a feature film in 1975, written by Cliff Green and produced by Patricia Lovell.
A financial and critical success, the movie quickly became a cult favorite and a flagship of the Australian film industry for worldwide audiences.

The film marked the first collaboration between director Peter Weir and cinematographer Russell Boyd, who received a BAFTA and a Saturn Award in “Best Cinematography” for Picnic at Hanging Rock.

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