Chasing After Mysteries in Victoria’s High Country


snow-capped mountains. Green valleys. And a series of unsolved disappearances.

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I’ve spent much of the past week talking to people about ghost stories and real-life mysteries where the boundaries between the two often seem blurry: Victorian high country.

A string of people disappeared in its remote snow-capped mountains between 2019 and 2020. None of his bodies have been found so far. The stories revolve around a local recluse known as the Button Man.

I thought it contained all the elements of a good Australian mystery.

It didn’t take me long to realize that the actual story was far more complicated.

The problem when fact and fiction are blurred is the impact the stories have on their real-life themes. This has especially been the case with Button Man, a real man who lives in the mountains and who has been unknowingly dragged into speculation.

There is no evidence that he was involved in the incidents, which is said to have been the last person who saw one of the missing hikers. But their peculiar habits have become the fodder for gossip.

Locals who know Button Man do not think he had anything to do with the affairs and are beginning to suspect the big city news media, believing it to fuel speculation. Months later police clarified that the button man was not the suspect, locals say, with journalists still calling and asking to meet him.

Rhyll McCormack could see it both ways. A journalist in the field, until recently, she knew all too well the value of a good story.

“Especially if you’re from the city, for someone to talk about a reclusive monk who wears bones to buttons and preys on unsuspecting campers, that’s a good thread,” she said. “It’s good flick value, it’s intriguing, it’s mysterious, it’s a whodunit. It has all the qualities of a good story. Too bad if you’re the button man.”

When speculation about Button Man first hit last year, he wrote a front page Article For the local paper titled “Button Man Trial by Media”.

“Imagine how he would feel if he were innocent. That’s why we wrote the story – What happened to the innocent until proven guilty?” he said.

Josh Todaro, who wrote and directed a short horror film about Button Man, has received messages from concerned people about his influence. nominated film will be on the man.

For them, it’s all about how the character is drawn. When the 30-year-old from Melbourne began filming, shortly after hearing the stories for the first time last year, he conceptualized Button Man as a “typical horror movie character”, he said.

But after researching, he decided to use details that were reported by the media and did not indicate that the character is malicious. “We took it back, for him to be a mysterious ghostly figure who, like there, is not there,” he said.

He said that the horror of the film is not rooted in any kind of villain, but in the feeling of being alone in the remote Australian wilderness – until you suddenly realize that you are not.

“Say I am camping with my wife in the farthest part of the bush and at midnight an old man appears in our camp,” he said. “What would I do in that situation? I’d be scared.”

Writing your own story has raised questions about responsible reporting and sensationalizing true events. In the end, I felt that Button Man was still part of the story. And there are also concerns that people have about how the status of an urban legend is affecting a man who just wants to be left alone.

But there is much about the Victorian High Country that is strange and interesting beyond the story of the Button Man. Check out my article about it in the near future.

Now for this week’s stories:


  • The man behind China’s aggressive new voice. How a bureaucrat armed with just a Twitter account turned Beijing’s diplomacy into a nationalist era.

  • Inked mummies link tattoo artists to their ancestors. As scientists find more tattoos on preserved remains of indigenous cultures, artists living today are drawing from them to revive cultural traditions.

  • Why the Delta variant could end Australia’s pursuit of ‘Covid Zero’. The country’s current outbreak offers a caveat: Without more widespread vaccination, the usual strategy of lockdown and blanket testing may no longer suffice.

  • Māori vision of Antarctica’s future. The Maori may have been the first to reach Antarctica in the seventh century. But the past matters less than what lies ahead, say indigenous scholars.


  • A Digital Cat Is Melting Hearts (and Napping a Lot) in Japan. Calico spins and dozes on 26-by-62-foot LED billboards in Tokyo. It has drawn crowds in real life and spread happiness on social media.

  • Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg’s partnership didn’t escape Trump. The company he built is wildly successful. But he didn’t have Washington knowledge, and neither did they have close working relationships.

  • A battle between a great city and a great lake. The climate crisis plagues Chicago’s future as a warming world pushes Lake Michigan to new extremes — higher highs, lower lows, more uncertainty.

  • The Egg Dish So Good We Have A Society In France To Safeguard It. The recipe for Oeuf Mayo is super simple, which means the details really matter.


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