Date: December 1994-September 1995
Case: The Self-driving Bakkie/Ute/Truck
Location: Hotazel and Mooinooi, South Africa
Reports began to filter in of a Self-driving Bakkie on two or three mines in the Kalahari regions of South Africa.
This strange phenomenon seemed particularly prevalent in and near the towns of Hotazel (in the far North), and Mooinooi (in the North-West).
Witnesses described their terror and confusion upon spotting white Toyota Bakkies, of the high-suspension, long wheeled based variety so common in those areas. The cause of the witnesses terror and confusion was that no driver was apparent. These ghostly bakkies maneuvered themselves around the towns and mines with only the occasional misjudgement around a curb or dustbin, and occasionally a dip out in the field.
A few reports of terrified fleeing wildlife in the reserves also surfaced, with the ghostly white Toyotas flying across the veld towards them in a spirited way.
It was also apparent that these strange vehicles could not be controlled remotely in such a way.
Furthermore, vague reports of a suspected UFO sighting in Hotazel, near Kuruman, gave rise to much speculation.
The big Y: Why were these bakkies only spotted in those particular locations and no other?
I decided to note this phenomenon in these files for their curiosity value, and because this is one of the few cases which has since been solved.
The explanation: short drivers. It was later revealed that the mines in question had employed some short geologists (under 1.6m tall), who had difficulty seeing over the steering wheel. If they forgot their pillows at home, they just were not visible to passersby or other traffic, and therefore, the Toyotas appeared to be driving themselves.
We just love finding winners!
The winner of the our giveaway from last week is The Drabble who wins a copy of The Bear—Redemption and Here Be Monsters.