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The Good Stuff
Unseen Magic
by Barbara Llewellyn
Length: 502 words

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Unseen Magic

Picnic at Hanging Rock is an iconic movie for the Australian film industry yet, not only is the film based on a mystery, there are several mysterious circumstances surrounding the movie itself.

One major mystery is who were the three characters/actors whose voices were completely dubbed in the movie? Each dubbed part is really two actresses in one – one being the onscreen version and the other being the vocal performance. 

I can solve part of that particular mystery because I, Barbara Llewellyn, was the actress hired to completely dub the voice of the character, Edith, including her famous scream. But who were the other two onscreen characters who were completely revoiced, and who were the off-screen actresses who revoiced them? John Godl’s article Picnic at Hanging Rock – the Unseen Voices delves more into this fascinating conundrum and is well worth a read. But there is also another mystery connected directly to the days of filming that I can reveal to you.

Miranda told me

At the time of the Picnic at Hanging Rock’s release, the world buzzed with stories of unusual occurrences during the actual filming of the movie on that sacred and majestic rock.  The tales of stopped watches on set and a feeling of an unknown presence surveying everything that occurred were commonplace, but the story I like best is the one Anne Lambert (who portrayed Miranda) told to me personally.  As far as I am aware, only a small select group of people have ever heard of this tale … until now. 

Annie said that the crew, herself and her fellow actresses, who were about to film the segment where the girls disappear at the top of the rock, were all very concerned on this particular day by the dark and dangerous clouds looming around them – everyone felt sure Mother Nature was about to give them a thorough soaking. 


Then the weirdest of weird things happened – it started to rain. No, you’re quite right, there’s nothing weird about the fact that it started raining, even if that rain is particularly heavy and harsh.  What is weird is where it didn't rain.

The skies unleashed a torrent upon the rocks while the entire cast and crew huddled into a little circle, desperately trying to protect their expensive filming equipment ... but they need not have worried for they were completely protected by some unseen power.

Not a drop landed on the vulnerable humans and their precious equipment, even though a torrent poured literally all around them. The unknown force made a circle around the shocked cast and crew, ensuring not a single drop landing on a single person. It kept each and everyone of them completely safe and dry. The rain moved on but the circle of calm dryness stayed static, until all danger disappeared. 

Imagine how weird is must have felt looking up to see blue skies directly above you while all around that tiny spot of blue and dry safety are dark, tumultuous clouds, dropping their contents most profoundly upon the earth, drenching everything except the people obviously respected and protected by the magic of the rock.

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