A few kilometers south of Alexandra, deep in the Central Otago region of the lower South Island, while travelling along Highway 8, (or Alexandra-Fruitlands Road as it is otherwise known), there is a place you will pass by called Butchers Gully.
An isolated area that was used mainly for goldmining, until the diggings were swamped by the Butchers Gully Reservoir, built in 1935-1937 as a water supply for Alexandra, and now used for irrigation. The location once had an 1865 store and a butcher, as well as an 1890 built hotel and not much else.
This strip of road seems to hold a few stories of intrigue. One is of a cyclist seen from time to time. Not your typical road-hogging, lycra-clad type either. This one is an old man with a grey beard, wearing a brown cheese-cutter hat and a dirty brown plaid coat, riding a very old and rusted up bicycle in a wobbly, and painfully awkward manner. Like he was either learning how to cycle or was genuinely struggling to move himself along.
His socks are pulled right up to his knees and his brown plaid trousers are tucked in tight.
He has caused some concern due to his elderly and ragged physical appearance and the fact he is a long way from any houses or nearby towns and is cycling so slowly that he’d take a long time to get anywhere safe.
Some have concluded he’s a homeless person or hermit, living off-grid in the bush. Others feel sure that what they saw wasn’t an actual human, as he ‘’didn’t look or move right’’.
One story detailed that as they drove past him, the driver looked in his rear vision mirror for a second glance, and the old man had gone from view. Disappeared on a long straight road within a matter of seconds.
Mysterious glowing balls of light have also been reported travelling at great speeds along this deserted road. One person told his story back in the 70’s on Radio Pacific, a talk-back radio station.
He and his wife were on a driving holiday around the South Island in a hire car. The man told of being followed by two glowing spheres of light whilst they drove along highway 8 in darkness. One on each side of the car but travelling a short distance behind. They then sped right up to the car’s back window, blinding them momentarily, before speeding ahead and disappearing around a turn, at what they claimed was ‘’an unbelievable speed’’. The couple were adamant that what they encountered was definitely not a car or motorcycle.