The village of Rosmead near Middelburg in the Eastern Cape Karoo Heartland wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the railway. Most people probably don’t even know it exists at all. Middelburg Road as it was initially called, was a Cape Government Railway station and was established around April 1883, when the Railway Line from Cradock was inaugurated. Due to its location at the junction of the Western, Midland and Eastern Railway Systems, the village played an important role in the Military and Economic affairs of the Region. In 1898 it was renamed Rosmead in honour of Sir Hercules Robinson, Governor of the Cape from 1881 to 1897, who was appointed Lord Rosmead in 1896.
Rosmead was still a thriving settlement in the early 1970s and included a busy station, huge fuel storage tanks and a military camp. On the evening of 12 November 1972, a number of locals and soldiers at the camp saw a bright light (some said it was a series of moving red lights) zig-zagging across the Karoo sky. The light reportedly hovered over the school’s newly built tennis court and then disappeared.
Closer investigations the next morning showed a number of scorch marks and holes in the tar of the tennis court. Nearby trees were burnt and died soon after and fragments of tar and rock were later found strewn as far as 200m away. It seems an alien craft could have hovered over Rosmead, landed briefly and then, using its afterburners, simply took off into the dark night again. The official word though is that it never happened and the damage was caused by vandals. Sounds a bit like the Roswell incident at Area 51 in the USA.
Read more about UFO spotting in the Karoo on the Karoo Space website.