‘Now here is something really special to me. It’s only the second time in about 15 years that I’ve painted the Praying Mantis Man and his little person companion. It’s so special to me because it’s my first experience of the Dreamtime and culture of mine.
Must have started around the age of 5 or 6 years old until I was about 10 or 11 years old.
Many, many nights in the 70s while sleeping they would both chase me in my dreams, but it honestly seemed so real. The Praying Mantis Man would chase me around the same footpath on Gap Road in Yipirinya (Alice Springs). But he dragged himself along the ground with one leg stretched out along the ground and the other leg with knee really high above me like a gigantic praying mantis. His little person companion would be running alongside him, with me in front, screaming aloud because I was so frightened. Absolutely shitting myself. And each and every time he would always catch me and as he was just about to grab hold of me, I would wake up and run into my parents’ room and jump in the middle of them in their bed. It always seemed to be in slow motion. And when I screamed out nobody ever heard me.
Now years later in 1983 at Wallace Rockhole I saw the very large pillar shaped cloud and the little cloud right next to it, I didn’t know what this was. I knew they were clouds, but I couldn’t understand how the pillar shaped cloud did not break up and blow away. It just didn’t and that day that cloud stayed on top of the hill all day long.
Well years later, a friend of mine was listening to me telling my story, then he pulled me aside. We went outside and he told me that this was the Praying Mantis Man and his little person companion and they were scared, always being around at Law Time for Men’s Business, and I shouldn’t know anything about them, because I was not an initiated man myself. But I told him where to go because as a little boy he always came into my dreams for years, and I never ever to this day understood why.
So it’s good to keep his name as Alien Man and this always be a secret from the Law Men of my Country (Aranda, Kaditja, and other surrounding tribes).
I’ve always felt special about myself, maybe one day I’ll get the answers why. Thank you and enjoy this true story of my life, it’s so special.’
(Signed, Cameron Ross)