I watched a Netflix series called Stranger Things.
It features a mysterious underground monster, nefarious government officials, and appealing teens.
I had my own strange experience in a park in an Armidale (NSW) park just a few weeks ago.
I went to the park after work to hit a ball against a tennis practice wall.
I saw and smelled spray-paint fumes on the far side of the wall.
I looked there and saw a guy spray-painting the wall in an artistic way.
I said hello.
His spray-painting did not strike me as strange because I had heard that the local shire allowed some young individuals to do that.
On the near side I saw three guys on the left side of the wall.
I ignored them and started hitting the ball against the near-side wall.
Then I heard music coming from the direction of the three guys.
I looked over at them and noticed that one was dressed in a long black robe, wore silky black gloves, and had a silky black hood that covered all of his head except his face.
I stopped hitting the ball.
The man in black looked to be about 40 years old.
He danced, about as well as I do, and he made big facial movements, bigger than I have ever made.
He may have been lip-syncing.
One of the other guys video-recorded the performance.
The third fellow eventually put up a big green screen on the wall behind the man in black, blocking the colourful graffiti on the near side of the wall.
I tried not to gawk as I practised swinging my racquet without hitting the ball.
I had a feeling that the ping-ping of my hitting a ball would not add much of value to the recording.
It occurred to me that a lot of artistic expression was happening at the same time involving the tennis wall.
What a town!
What a species we humans are!
If I were a nosier or more outgoing person, I would have interrupted the trio and asked what they were doing.
Instead, I took my ball and racquet and left behind a mystery.
Did I witness a religious ritual?
A TAFE project?
Or something stranger?
John Malouff is an Associate Professor at the School of Behavioural, Cognitive and Social Sciences, University of New England.