/ Spooky hills and other places.
As an antidote to all the shit we’re having thrown at us and as it’s near All Hallows’ eve, do any of you good folk have any spooky tales from the hills?
I’ve read several accounts of weird happenings by hill-going writers and occasionally felt specific emotions myself in particular locations.
I always put it down to my own emotional state at the time.
Apparently there's a phenomenon called Mountain Panic. There was a discussion about it on Facebook, a while back. A guy whom Jim Perrin knew had either written a book about it or was going to write a book about it. It seemed to be pretty well attested - some pretty hard characters, from Victorian times onwards, getting really freaked out and, in some cases, literally running away.
For what it's worth, my only experiences were twice hearing a kind of screaming in my head, in exactly the same spot, down below and to the right of Standing Stones crag. When I moved away, thankfully they quickly went. Because the experiences were so outside any sense of normality, it was temptingly easy to rationalise that they hadn't happened. And twice - really?
Mentioned it once to Jim and he very gently said, "You do realise... it's Saddleworth Moor?" And, until then, I hadn't consciously realised. Had just thought of the crags, not the place.
There's an account by I think F. S. Smythe in which he relates a vision he has somewhere in the Highlands of a column of mournful highlanders marching by, possibly a scene from the Clearances. Sorry can't be more specific.
Then there's Am Fear Liath Mòr, the "Big Grey Man" on Ben Macdui, and of course the haunted bothy beneath Ben Alder. I knew someone who got quite spooked staying there years ago, as someone was very clearly heard cutting up wood. But every time they went and checked, there was no one there.
The Benalder Cottage story (and it’s supposed origin in the last gamekeeper hanging himself) is a myth though, put about to discourage people using it after it fell vacant when the gamekeeper moved out.
it’s certainly haunted by mice though...
the ‘mountain panic’ phenomenon is interesting though, speculation that it could be the cause of this:
And i seem to remember Bonington describing a strange incident in a mountain hut in one of his biographies, mysterious vanishing visitors, can’t remember the details though.
A few years ago I went up to Cloggy with a good mate to climb The Boulder (E1 5a). We arrived to find we had the crag all to ourselves. The climb went well and we lazed around on top, enjoying the views of the Snowdon massif stretching out its limbs in the sun. Eventually we decided we'd better do something else and began descending back to the Terrace. Our nostrils were caught by a strange aroma drifting up, which we eventually identified as pipe smoke. We concluded at least one more team must have arrived and looked forward to a bit of banter - presumably with some other veterans of a similar age to ourselves. However, when we got down the crag was still as deserted as when we'd arrived: no murmur of voices, no jangling of gear - just the obvious acrid scent of pipe tobacco. We searched around and scanned every inch of the crag: nothing and no one. Eventually, we decided we must have been in the presence of the great Jack Longland's ghost - returned for a while to smoke a reflective pipe and contemplate life, maybe wondering how far his successors had progressed towards his vision of a better world 'with fair shares for all.'
> The Benalder Cottage story (and it’s supposed origin in the last gamekeeper hanging himself) is a myth though,
Shows the power of myths. First time I went up Ben Macdui it was fantastic haunting weather; I was on my own and it was still and snowy, with a deep and disorientating mist. But as I'd never heard the story I had a nice relaxing time. Now I know what could be lurking up there, my experience in such conditions might be completely different. It's all about the stories . . .
A good thread to start . I'm interested to read such accounts.
I really wish I'd experienced something like that myself.
Strange lights in the sky on several occasions are the most I can attest to and I've wondered around a few places in the middle of the night .
Wild camped in the woods at Goyte valley several years ago on Halloween , listening to Coil albums specifically "Astral disaster" , "the angelic conversation" and "the moons milk in 4 phases" was a brilliant place to be but alas apart from falling tree's and the wild , wild wind nothing to report that I couldn't account for.
Maybe one day
I did stay a night at Ben Alder bothy when on a Tulloch Mountaincraft winter course and during the night I woke up and had a frighteningly strong feeling somebody was looking in the window at me. I've never forgotten the fear!
The Moor's grim history isn't limited to the Brady/Hindley murders. Below Upperwood and nearer Greenfield was the site of the Moorcock Inn where the landlord William Bradbury and his son Tom were biudgeoned to death in Victorian times. The incident became known as the Bill o'Jack's murder since that patronymic name form was common in the area (presumably William's father was called John Bradbury). The assailants were never caught but one of the murder weapons (an old pistol complete with matted remnants of bloodied human hair) was on display in Uppermill Museum when I was a schoolboy.
We did this a few years ago:
I'd forgotten about Ben Alder Cottage
Many years ago my ex-partner and I were overnighting in a shooting hut in the Dales. It was very cold and I could only sleep fitfully due to a too-thin sleeping bag. At an early hour in the morning we both heard something rumbling along the track just outside the door. It sounded like a heavily laden handcart with wooden wheels (I know what that's like as I used to see fruit barrows on the Dock Road in Liverpool as a kid). Both of us heard and and wondered what it was but neither of us got up to investigate. The track accessed some disused lead mines further along so was this some ghostly miner pushing his barrow to work, still seeking out that lucky strike?
I've had a hallucination on the Strahlhorn; very ill judged attempt to ski tour it in bad weather completely unacclimatised. Our group of four were strung out along the summit ridge, fighting our way up.
I 'saw' two skiers come down and ski between me and the person in front. Clearly, it didn't happen as there was no-one else silly enough to be on the hill that day, the others didn't see them, plus no ski tracks after. I guess if you were of a more mystic persuasion you could imagine they were the ghosts of dead free-riders, but reality was I was hypoxic.
Pretty scary that I pushed that hard; lesson learned about when type II becomes dangerous.
Caves are perfect places for attracting all kinds of sinister stories and legends - they are after all the Entrance to the Underworld in every sense. In my youth I would often solo down easier caves and would often feel a 'presence', especially when taking a break. Usually, it could be rationalised - running water in a cave can sound uncannily like people talking with perhaps just the occasional word coming through. Although I can't recall anything definitely odd occurring to me I do know of one colleague who had a pretty amazing experience in the Ecton copper mines in Derbyshire. When the team were having a break he decided to explore a nearby side passage. As an aside, many of the levels there are described as 'coffin levels' due to their cross-sectional shape. At some point he decided to stop and eat his Mars Bar. As he sat there, quite alone, he felt a hand placed on his shoulder. Startled, he looked behind to see - no-one! In a panic he fled back to the others who were all highly amused and skeptical of course.
A friend and I went to try and find a way through a disused railway tunnel in Blaenavon, according to him there was a crawl type passage that linked the two tunnels together halfway along, the tunnels are open one end but brick blocked the other end vice versa, so to exit the other end you would need to utilize this passage he was telling me about, so we put our head torches on and found the passage and it wasn't all that bad, you had crawl a bit, very exciting and quite long, anyway I got a wiggle on and walked on down the other tunnel while he examined the air vent tunnel in the roof, as the tunnel started to light up from the sunshine this bloke was stood in the arch where the railway workers would have sheltered from the passing trains and just quietly said, Boo! He didn't even smile afterwards !
I had peel myself off of the ceiling and legged it out of the tunnel, I asked my mate about the bloke and he said he saw nobody and I didn't see him come out either, annoyingly he gave me that look as if to say I was loosing the plot, and that was frustrating enough to say the least.
> A few years ago I went up to Cloggy.... Our nostrils were caught by a strange aroma drifting up, which we eventually identified as pipe smoke....
Sorry to throw potential cold water [?] on a lovely story but have you heard of false cigarette smoke smelling? I had it repeatedly for a year or so living in a flat, strong smells - while alone there with all the windows and doors shut tight. Eventually I Googled it, interesting reading, "Phantosmia", for me anyway]
I remember once being on top of Carmarthen Fan in very dense fog, not seen anyone all day when right behind me there was a polite but very loud cough.
> have you heard of false cigarette smoke smelling?
I get false weed smelling from time to time; some plants smell very similar. Walking north up the Broad Walk in Regent's Park is one such place, although here I don't think it's the plants but the animals in the zoo at the top (skunks?).
I got false fresh coriander smelling the other day on the bike; Himalayan balsam.
I do a fair amount of caving on my own and I experience the 'being following or watched' sensation a lot. Purely psychological but there are certain caves, often connected to mines, it feels stronger.
We're a bit short on moors and mountains here in Warwickshire so will have to make do with Edgehill
Yesterday was the anniversary of the Battle of Edgehill in the English Civil War and since then there have been many reports of people witnessing ghostly re-enactments of the battle .
Well Perrin seems quite tuned into the spooky himself; he ran away from 'something' in a quarry up in Cwm Pennant and had an encounter with a glowing raven!
Dead mountain by Donnie Eichar is a good read on this. Apparently his conclusion is that it was infrasound and a karman vortex street.
My aunt lived in a house near the Edgehill battle site that was there at the time and in which a wounded royalist soldier died. They know in which room, and many people claimed to have seen him. Some also claimed to have seen a much "colder feeling" roundhead soldier looking on.
A friend funded his PhD by working as a night watchman at a London College. One night he saw a figure in an "odd looking" grey cloak looking furtive and turn into an alleyway and he followed them in, thinking "student prank". There was nobody there, the alley was a dead end with no doors or windows or any way of climbing out. He was quite shaken and went into a nearby pub to calm down. The locals weren't at all surprised and told him the story of the "Grey Lady" who had been murdered there in the 16th century. He hadn't known the tale before that night and is a very down to earth Mancunian who would previously have scathingly dismissed anything psychic as complete hogwash.
Not spooky per se - mountain places can feel a range of things - occasionally intimidating - but I generally find them free of phantasmagoria!
September 2016 we were staying overnight in Strathchallieach bothy, Cape Wrath. A guy camping outside with his dog joined us at the fire before leaving to cook at his tent. He didn't return the rest of the night and after a last visit outside went to bed. I was in the West room and my mate in the small one on the East side. The rain was making quite a noise on the tin roof so I put in ear plugs. During the night I got awoken with noise at the bottom of the bunk area. I kind of thought I imagined it until wide awake I clearly heard movement. I sat up and put the headtorch on but nothing was there.
Anyway got up in the morning and was relieved to see the campers dog lying at the bottom of the room. Made breakfast and the camper joined us. He thanked us for letting his dog in as he let it out for the toilet but didn't return and heard the door open and shut so was happy enough. Thing is neither of us opened the door and it was back on the latch in the morning. Must be a very clever dog!
never felt spooked at the usual places, Benalder, Boleskine, Shinigag etc but the South beach/fairy hill on Iona definitely has a bad vibe about it.
> Sorry to throw potential cold water [?] on a lovely story but have you heard of false cigarette smoke smelling? I had it repeatedly for a year or so living in a flat, strong smells - while alone there with all the windows and doors shut tight. Eventually I Googled it, interesting reading, "Phantosmia", for me anyway]
I understand your scepticism, but since both I and my mate smelled the phantom smoke I'm sticking with spooky supernatural agency. Consider that pipe bowl still smouldering despite the cold water!
Many years ago I was camping with some friends in North Lees campsite and walked into Hathersage over the fields past St Michael's church for dinner and drinks in the Little John.
Rolled out of the pub at closing time and retraced our steps back past the pub and up towards the campsite. On the way, past the pub, we passed the ruined remains of an old wall with a gate and continued on towards the campsite.
Or so we thought.
I'm pretty sure it was my birthday that weekend and, yes, we'd had a few and were a bit merry (but not drunk!) and it was dark and a little bit misty, but some time after passing the aforementioned ruins, we ended up back at them!
Now, all of us would swear we hadn't turned back at any point and had "definitely" been heading uphill all the time, but there we were, back where we started.
By then, we'd sobered up a bit, found the path, had another bash and made it back to the campsite without further mishap.
Still no idea how we managed it, but a couple of the group still mention it even today.
> I understand your scepticism, but since both I and my mate smelled the phantom smoke I'm sticking with spooky supernatural agency. Consider that pipe bowl still smouldering despite the cold water!
I'm not sceptical at all! I wish it could have been Longland. I was just telling my experience with smelling non-smoke in our flat
I solo wildcamp in winter on Dartmoor quite a lot so no darkness terrors etc for me.
However, one particularly shocking January evening I was walking alone in the middle of the North Moor and had an unexpected "meeting"...
I had started after dark and it was around 9ish so pitch black and pouring with rain. Suddenly I could smell a ladies perfume really strongly and had the very clear feeling that someone was stood next to me. Hairs on back of neck stood up etc and the smell was unmistakable.
No-one there to see of course and presence and the smell stuck around for 15mins or so and then went completely. I camped up and saw and heard nothing else. I was around 2k from Cranmere Pool, a famously haunted place although my incident doesn't fit with any of its legends.
Genuinely don't believe in all that stuff, but it was all very very odd!
Were you near Hangingstone Hill?
Yes, within a couple of k. It was in the valley near Vergyland Combe. Very lonely spot!
My dad went for a walk from Ogwen Cottage in the winter of 1951. It was a cold, wet day with grey cloud. The hills were empty of people. He was on his own but walking past Llyn Bochlwyd he noticed a tent and a man standing outside it.
They met up and fell into walking together over Bristly Ridge and then west over Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr. It was blowing hard and they spoke very little. They met no one. They descended down off Glyder Fawr and approached the top of the Devil's Kitchen cliffs.
My dad made to go down them. The man became very anxious and strange in manner. He refused to descend that way. My dad, being cold and wet and wanting to get back to Idwal Cottage quickly said ok, see you later and descended.
When he got to Idwal Cottage he was greeted by the warden. My dad told him where he had been.
'Did you see a tent by Llyn Bochlwyd?' the warden asked.
'Yes, I have been walking with the man from that tent all day but he wouldn't come down the kitchen cliffs so we said goodbye there. We haven't seen another soul all day'.
The warden went a little pale and said ' No, that is not possible that man died yesterday.'
'How? Where?' asked my dad.
'He fell over the Devil's Kitchen's cliffs' replied the warden.
Proper spooky, how did you sleep that night?
Perhaps it's the memory of it that's more wierd than the actual experience.
> A friend funded his PhD by working as a night watchman at a London College. One night he saw a figure in an "odd looking" grey cloak looking furtive and turn into an alleyway and he followed them in, thinking "student prank". There was nobody there, the alley was a dead end with no doors or windows or any way of climbing out. He was quite shaken and went into a nearby pub to calm down. The locals weren't at all surprised and told him the story of the "Grey Lady" who had been murdered there in the 16th century.
I know a similar story concerning Glasgow University. About 20 years ago I had a job in the computing service there - public access computers for students etc - and got to know the janitors reasonably well as the place was often pretty quiet. The service in its earlier days had been in a small building called Pearce Lodge, one of the oldest bits of the university - I think it was moved stone-by-stone from the old High St site to the Gilmorehill campus. One of the jannies - a very straight and non-jokey man - told of once being on duty in the Lodge and seeing a small woman dressed in oldfashioned clothes come up the path to the door. It was only a short path and there were bushes alongside, so there was nowhere to go apart from to the door or back down the path. But there was no sign of anyone when my colleague opened the door just a few seconds after seeing her. He thought this was very odd, and some time later when he mentioned it to other staff members there was a reaction along the lines of Oh, so you've seen *her*...
Incidentally, goodness know if there's any evidence for this, but I've also heard it said that there have been a number of puzzling road accidents just outside the Lodge over the years - it's at the corner where Kelvin Way swings uphill to University Avenue - as if people have been trying to avoid someone who then was nowhere to be found.
Excellent tale. I like your writing style, there could be nice short story in this. I' m not poo pooing the story by the way.
More macabre than spooky, but my Granddad (a keen climber and bogtrotter) was walking the dog on Kinder Scout, near Cluther rocks, either during or just after the war. The dog became quite excited and agitated and intent on digging. Walking over to see what it was he was a little startled to see it was a human head, most likely an airman from the Hampden which crashed there in 1942.
Slept pretty well. As I said I do often camp up there in some pretty quiet spots in winter. I do recall walking up the valley side to make sure no one else could be about and although I can't say I was panicked my heart was certainly pounding. Really clear smell of perfume was the freeky thing. No mistake about that and it was impossible for anyone else to be there.
I have seen things too...
.... but they are all probably related to two nights of sleep depravation and exhaustion at 90+ miles on the LDWA100!!
Do tell anyway!
That reminds me of a tale I read (can't recall where) about someone walking or climbing on Scafell who met and spoke to Siegfried Herford (of Central Buttress fame). They parted company and it was only afterwards that he learned that Herford was serving in France and had been killed at about this time.
LDWA valleys hundred after 22hrs of rain and at around midnight on the second night walked up to a white van parked in a layby thinking it could be a supporter. Nope, no van, imagined it. At Mile 98 at the top of a cobbled lane just before the last checkpoint saw a Marshall waiting by the gate. Told the guy I was walking with that it was great to see someone and that he was bound to hold the gate open... Nope, no one there.
Last year coming down off Hexham racecourse in the early hours of second night saw a line of supporters leaning over a pedestrian barrier just before the finish. Nope... sorry. Odd thing was that someone else I spoke to saw the same apparition about 3 hours earlier!!! 😀
> Incidentally, goodness know if there's any evidence for this, but I've also heard it said that there have been a number of puzzling road accidents just outside the Lodge over the years - it's at the corner where Kelvin Way swings uphill to University Avenue - as if people have been trying to avoid someone who then was nowhere to be found.
This must be across the road from the Students' Union. Spend many Friday and Saturday nights there around 1970. Disappearing ladies were very common there. - As soon as I tried chatting them up.
The guy who reckoned he met Herford after he was killed was CF Holland, one of his partners on Central Buttress. The story is in one of Harry Griffin's books (and I think in one of Bill Birkett's too).
That could be a way for the mind to process grief and trauma.
On December i was at Stanaig bothy with two friends. It was late afternoon, we'd walked from the Lairig Leagach bothy I poor weather. We set ourselves up in the right hand room. The other two went to get water from the burn whilst I laid the fire. Looking back across the room towards the window I noticed something moving left to right across the hillside above the bothy. Casually I went over to the window to get a better look. What I saw was a man in tweeds traversing the heathery slopes. To my eye he looked like a gamekeeper. I could see that he was slowly dropping down the hillside but away from the bothy. Thinking he'd probably drop down a couple of hundred yards west of the bothy and then he'd call in, they often do in my experience. Thinking nothing of it I turned away and got on with the fire. A few seconds later the other two came back from the burn. I asked if they seen the game keeper on the hillside. They looked at me blankly and said they'd seen no one. This surprised me. They must have been looking at the same bit of hillside as me and st the same time. I went outside to look. No sign of anyone. To this day I'm unsure as to what went on that day.
Obviously that occurs (my mum "saw" my dad several times after his death). In the Scafell story though Holland didn't know at the time that Herford had been killed, just assuming that he was home on leave. Makes it much harder to explain.
> No sign of anyone. To this day I'm unsure as to what went on that day.
Interesting story. Vanishing people tend to stay with you, as it were. About 20 years ago I was starting down the Gannel glen path in the Ochils, a narrow trench of a path along the flank of a linear glen. Maybe a third of the way along I could see someone coming towards me, up the glen. He - I'm pretty sure it was a man - was a couple of minutes away and I did the almost subconscious thing of preparing to say Hello, nice day, or whatever as we passed. Except he never appeared.
It was a clear day and there are no big rocks to sit behind in that stretch of glen, and there aren't any branch paths or particular targets to aim for. If someone turns sharply uphill or drops to the floor of the glen they'd still be in plain view. I was puzzled all the way down the glen and kept stopping to look back - there's a long line of sight - in case whoever it was had stepped off the path for a snack or a pee or whatever. But no sign of anyone, and in lots of visits to the area over the subsequent years I've remained puzzled by it. I mostly now use the higher path on the Helen's Muir shoulder (was on that today, in fact), rather than the more confined glen path, but when I do use the lower path I always find myself wondering about what happened that day. I don't really think I saw some kind of ghost, but at the same time I have absolutely no idea where the person could have gone.
There are a couple of Youtube videos by a guy who explores old mines in the US of one particular mine called the Horton Mine.
Here's the first:
Which is pretty freaky.
Not deterred our undaunted friend goes back for another look:
Which is even more freaky.
I double dare any of you to watch with headphones in, alone!
So click bait, set up, elaborate counterfeit or weird aural effect perhaps but in keeping with the thread!
There was an old mine shaft in one quarry in former Czechoslovakia with a legend about a crazy WWII German soldier that went into hiding there after the war ended. I was told that if you go there and ring the old mine bell there he will come after you a year and a day after. I think nobody did test it, obviously
Ah hadn’t realised that detail.
I’ve had one uncanny experience of that when one evening I had a most vivid memory of a friend I hadn’t seen for a long time, the following morning I learned she had died from the breast cancer she’d been fighting for a short time.
> The Moor's grim history isn't limited to the Brady/Hindley murders. Below Upperwood and nearer Greenfield was the site of the Moorcock Inn where the landlord William Bradbury and his son Tom were biudgeoned to death in Victorian times. The incident became known as the Bill o'Jack's murder since that patronymic name form was common in the area (presumably William's father was called John Bradbury). The assailants were never caught but one of the murder weapons (an old pistol complete with matted remnants of bloodied human hair) was on display in Uppermill Museum when I was a schoolboy.
What a horrible business. The Mountain Panic guy mentioned that Saddleworth moor was also used by a coven of witches in the 1960s. There was a very well known couple (whose names escape me now). I suppose it's a wild, desolate place - which I liked - but accessible for those intent on evil.
Jim - for all his foibles - is a gutsy guy, so it must have been quite a sight. Mind you, there's something about the raven about him. Perhaps it was his doppelganger!
if we're talking false smells don't get me started on those lime trees
> It was a clear day and there are no big rocks to sit behind in that stretch of glen, and there aren't any branch paths or particular targets to aim for.
You’re right, it is an open area with apparently clear views but I used to nip over to descend by Daiglen and the transition is surprisingly quick. So that might be an explanation.
It wasn’t me you saw though, I was doing that around 35 years ago ;)
You'll be thinking of Alex and Maxime Sanders self styled "King of the witches". I met Maxime in the 80's as well as Patricia Crowther another of the original group. Though I would hardly describe tham as intent on evil.
I'm suprised no one has mentioned Affleck Greys' book 'The Great Gray Man of Ben Macdui'. Which (if memory serves) has a few tales in it, including FS Smyth and his account of seeing a phantom ambush of Jacobites somewhere benind Glen Shiel. He attributes 'mountain panic' to electromagnetism and low frequency sound from mountain geology playing to heightened senses in the quiet of the hills.
My apologies, I meant crossing over to Kirk Burn, not Daiglen.
A few years ago on a misty day on Black Hill I came across a bunch of black men dresed in white robes chanting and praying. My brother had run into them a few times and said they were a sect from Sheffield called the Friday Apostles. They barely acknowledged me as I passed them and I left them to it.
> My apologies, I meant crossing over to Kirk Burn, not Daiglen.
Possibly yes, although the man was walking purposefully along the path quite far up the Gannel glen (from memory and looking at a map just now, I'd say somewhere around NS922997), so it'd be an odd thing to suddenly turn sharp R up a steepish tussocky slope as a means of crossing to the Kirk Glen (which is lovely, as you'll know - I quite often go down that way from King's Seat). But even had he done that I still think I'd have seen him - he'd been in plain view, and only a couple of hundred yards away heading towards me, then just gone.
The reverse option is a possibility too: that he'd dropped L off the path, down to the Gannel Burn itself, with the intention of going up the other side, eg up the S shoulder of Andrew Gannel. I very occasionally - maybe once a year - do that kind of thing from a little further down the glen, and plod up the Whum Hill spur - which must be the least-frequented of all the main Ochil ridges - I've probably been up or down it 25-30 times and don't think I've ever met or seen anyone on it apart from that spell a decade ago when a Cessna ended upsidedown in one of the side-cleuchs and suddenly all sorts of plane-wreck spotters appeared. But had the man done this I think I'd have seen him even more than had he turned uphill as you describe, as I kept turning to look back over the next mile, all the way down to near the Stagecoach rock. It's possible, however - likely, even, I guess - that he was just in some kind of extended blind spot. I've never heard of any actual spooky stories concerning that glen or the central Ochils generally, anyhow.
Not really the mountains but two experiences stand out. 1) Walking up to the Dewerstone with wife and daughter midweek, nobody else around. I heard panting behind as if a dog or some one running was approaching fast. It got so close we stepped to the side of the path to let whatever it was past. Looked to see what was there and absolutely nothing. All three of us heard exactly the same thing.
2) Daughter rented a house in the country in County Down, after a few experiences she wanted to move and we helped her move On the final evening there the place was cold, colder than the outside, we had the heating turned up, and we were still dressed in fleeces , hats and duvet jackets. I've never felt colder or more miserable in my life. After we'd moved her stuff I went back after dark to get the dogs, they were in the kitchen where we'd left the lights on, they were absolutely terrified and could'nt wait to get in the car. I got in the car and it was parked in the middle of a large gravel drive with nothing around and the parking sensors all started beeping. Never done that before or since.
I'm normally fairly sceptical looking for logical explanations but the incident in the Dewerstone was spooky and the Irish house had quite a few incidents that were inexplicable to me. I did try and find out history of the house but drew a bit of a blank. There was evidence the owners (who were renting out the property) had departed rapidly with a big pile of personal belongings in the garage. Their dad, a nice old irishman would only say his son's wife did'nt like the country and decided to move to the city .. and not only that received several strange texts from my son in law the day we moved out, texts he is absolutely adamant he didnt send and that the phone had not been out of his possession. Totally weird.
Could be as Hamish Brown relates in one of his books how he became a ghost? He was descending a steep slope above Glen Shiel waving a stick to ward off the midges. Later, on a bus he overhead some tourists describing how they'd seen the ghost of a Jacobite warrior running across the glen wielding his sword. I don't think he put them right.
Nothing scarier than Doug Moller coming out of the fog at the Roaches with an axe over his shoulders. I unclipped the belay and ran off!!!!
Here's a good one. Niall Grimes' JamCrack podcast, and Dermot Somers reading his climbing/ghost story 'Dark Mourne'. There the usual intro and outro from Niall so the whole thing comes to about an hour, but well worth a download and a listen!
> Dead mountain by Donnie Eichar is a good read on this. Apparently his conclusion is that it was infrasound and a karman vortex street.
sounds pretty far-fetched to me. what does he say about the military exercises (parachute mines) going on in the area at the time?
> Vanishing people tend to stay with you, as it were.
reminds me of AW hiding behind rocks to avoid people;)
> Could be as Hamish Brown relates in one of his books how he became a ghost?
Ha, good story - didn't know that. On a similar theme (and relating to the disappearing Ochils bloke), it can be a laugh to deliberately vanish and leave people scratching their heads. Again on the Ochils, if coming down the Law but wanting to get back to the Alva end of things, rather than going all the way down then along the bottom, I'll often turn sharp right halfway down as there's a bridge (now quite rickety) at a pretty obscure but very nice spot known as the Daiglen Green - Raskye will know where this is. From there you can work along the top of the quarry, then down steeply to join the woodland track about ten minutes faster than the standard way. There's one very slight dip on the Law slope, so if you leave the ridge here - with someone coming uphill below and having seen you coming down the top part towards them - then you'll just vanish as far as they're concerned.
There's also the opposite, seeing someone twice in a weird way. There's a very good Ochils runner named Andrea Priestley, quite distinctive as she's tall and rangy and runs with a dog on a lead. One of her standard circuits is to run up Wood Hill from Alva, then across to join the main southern spur, but then rather than just carrying on towards Ben Ever etc as almost everyone does, she'll get some extra ascent in by heading straight down to the Mill Glen then back up via the Law. This brings her to Ben Cleuch/Ben Ever from the opposite side, so if a walker has met her on Wood Hill it's quite likely that they'll again meet her on Ben Cleuch, but coming from the wrong direction. I'd imagine this has puzzled quite a few people over the years, as you'd need to be fast and strong - which Andrea is - to get round the long side of the loop fast enough for it to work.
> For what it's worth, my only experiences were twice hearing a kind of screaming in my head, in exactly the same spot, down below and to the right of Standing Stones crag. When I moved away, thankfully they quickly went. Because the experiences were so outside any sense of normality, it was temptingly easy to rationalise that they hadn't happened. And twice - really?
> Mentioned it once to Jim and he very gently said, "You do realise... it's Saddleworth Moor?" And, until then, I hadn't consciously realised. Had just thought of the crags, not the place.
Very interesting to hear this Mick. I had a very similar experience at Standing Stones around the Womanless Wall area over a decade ago. I was relatively new to the area and went down there on my own to check out the crag and boulder about a bit. It was heading towards dusk and I suddenly felt an overwhelming urge to flee - not quite a voice in my head but almost. Struggling to bottle up a rising terror I swapped my shoes and jogged back over the top to the road. I have been back many times but never on my own (nor would I). It wasn't until a few months later that I became aware of the location with regard to the Moors murders after reading an article on line.
I'm of rational mind and not prone to flights of fancy but this was a very strange experience that has stuck with me. I suppose I may have picked up some knowledge about the location and the story at some point and that my sub-conscious instigated the event.
Great thread topic.
I had a weird one in Glen Nevis. I'm not claiming spooky and supernatural, but odd.
It was an amazingly still, but very cold January day. An easy wander day, as I fancied a pootle along Glen Nevis as I hadn't been along there for ages.
At around Tom an Eite , I could hear a conversation, the words were inaudible, but definitely someone speaking. The only way to describe it was like having a Radio 4 interview on the radio turned down so low you can't hear what the actual words are. It wasn't the wind, there was no wind. It wasn't the Water of Nevis, too distinct. When I turned around to walk back, I could still hear it. I even stopped and checked my phone in my pack to see if with some fantastically random button presses, I had set off a podcast or something. But nope. Still the murmuring as I walked back. It faded away around Steall, where it was just the sound of the river.
> I'm of rational mind and not prone to flights of fancy but this was a very strange experience that has stuck with me. I suppose I may have picked up some knowledge about the location and the story at some point and that my sub-conscious instigated the event.
Nothing to do with the hills but here's an example of something that my father told me decades ago about when he was a wet-behind-the-ears merchant seaman and off the boat for the first time in Australia. This would have been in the early fifties. My dad and his pals were walking into town when he began to have a premonition of sorts. He told them that he knew the names of streets that they were going to walk into before they got there. And he was completely sincere when he related this to me. I can't think of any rational explanation. You could rig this easily today via Google but back then .... There were a few examples of 'odd' things happening to him over the years (he was a seventh son of a seventh son as well). A neighbour said that they'd seen my dad at the foot of their hospital bed when seriously ill telling them that it wasn't his 'time' yet - my father had been dead for a few months. Now that could have been hallucination or drugs?
> At around Tom an Eite , I could hear a conversation, the words were inaudible, but definitely someone speaking. The only way to describe it was like having a Radio 4 interview on the radio turned down so low you can't hear what the actual words are.
Could the voices have been carrying from quite far away? Sound can travel remarkable distances in still air, particularly in winter. Reason I ask is that I was lucky enough to be out on what quite a few people (including Tom Weir) regarded as the best day for Scottish hill conditions in living memory, 29 December 1985. Very cold, excellent snow cover and amazingly still. A group of us did a Binnein Mor - Na Gruagaichean circuit from Kinlochleven, and on popping out on to the Sgor Eilde Beag ridge we could hear conversational voices quite distinctly - but it took us a while to realise they were coming from across the void on Sgurr Eilde Mor, almost a mile away. As with you, we couldn't quite tell what was being said, but we could see the people and there was no doubt it was their voices we were hearing. They weren't at all shouting or showing off in the modern way - just perhaps the odd bit of loudish laughter - rather it was that the sound was carrying straight across to us, very sharp and clear.
Funnily enough, the only other time I've known this concerned Andrea Priestley, mentioned upthread. She's often been one of the marshals for the Maddy Moss race in the Ochils, run on a July evening, and one year it was held in absolutely still (and hence hellish midgy) conditions. My pal Ken and I opted to watch it from the summit of the Law, and could clearly hear Andrea - who is quite chatty - talking to someone across at the Andrew Gannel crag, if anything even further away than in the Mamores example.
Yikes, that's two of us. I agree, I must also have been aware, at some level, that it was Saddleworth moor - I mean, that's what's on the map and I must surely have looked at a map!
Because the experience(s) - I'm pretty sure I went back and it happened again - were so bizarre, they didn't seem real, in retrospect. What would have been instinctive for me would have been to drop totally into the zone, threat assess, move. And, with movement, the feeling very quickly diminished; it seemed highly localised. After that, it would have been a careful retreat to the road.
I'm pretty used to dangerous situations - even ones where I might not survive - but know I've never felt anything like this sense of panic pressing at me, before or since. When you say, 'Struggling to bottle up a rising terror', that was exactly the experience.
It's a pity. I'd love to go back to Standing Stones and Ravenstones. But I think that now I'd be far too upset thinking about those poor children and their tormented families.
> It's a pity. I'd love to go back to Standing Stones and Ravenstones. But I think that now I'd be far too upset thinking about those poor children and their tormented families.
I'm inclined to say that's a bit of an over-reaction. As teenagers we had two favourite bivvy spots: one was in Dovestones Lower Right and the other was under Standing Stones. And the nights we were dossing out there were less than five years after the poor little souls had been put under the peat.
I wouldn't want anyone to miss out on an ascent of Pulpit Ridge because of some nearby historical circumstances.
Marco Siffredi was a mountaineer and avid snowboarder who lived for adventure.
It was a clear and sunny day in September 2002. Siffredi was standing on top of the world — 29,000 feet above sea level at the summit of Mount Everest. For Siffredi, reaching the top was only step one. His ultimate goal was to descend the gully on the north face, known as the Hornbein Couloir, by snowboard.
Siffredi had previously attempted this goal in May 2001. However, he came up just shy when unfavorable snow conditions on the couloir forced his snowboard onto a different route. Not settling for second best, Siffredi was now back again to conquer the deadly Hornbein Couloir.
The snow that greeted Siffredi and his Sherpa companions was thick and deep. Nevertheless, they plowed through chest-deep snow for over 12 hours to reach the summit.
It took much longer than anticipated, so the Sherpas urged Siffredi to wait until the next day to descend. Siffredi couldn’t be stopped. He set out down the treacherous Hornbein Couloir and quickly disappeared from the Sherpas’ sight.
Worried about the coming storm, the Sherpas hurried back down to base camp. They had descended roughly 4,000 feet in the opposite direction of Siffredi when something unusual caught their eye: a lone figure on the slopes below them.
The Sherpas maintain that they were completely alone on the mountain. All of them said that they saw the figure on a snowboard. However, when they came upon the place where they had seen the rider, there were no tracks. At that moment, they instinctually knew that Siffredi was dead and that the figure was just an apparition.
Siffredi never returned, and his body was never discovered.
Sometime ago I was working my way round the Welsh mountains with short trips from Coventry. One trip took me to a campsite at Dan yr Ogof as a base to walk The Black Mountain - Carmarthen Fan. I had a really uneasy feeling about the place and had a very poor night's sleep but set off on my walk. On returning to the tent I noticed the inner zip was not fully closed and warily opened it. As I did so there was a rustle from underneath the groundsheet and an adder scuttled away into the bushes. Some years later we camped there as a family and my two daughters felt very uneasy and asked to come into our tent, my wife then revealed that she had bad feelings about the place from when we pitched. Though nothing actually happened the threat seemed there all the time. We packed up early in the morning and moved on.
That was my guess Dave, I didn't see anyone else that day, but as the conditions were so superb there would likely have been some folk on the Mamores somewhere. As with your example, it was absolutely still and cold, but not a huge degree of snow cover lower down.
Seems most likely, but odd to experience. Interesting you were in the Mamores as well.
I read an account by a guy all alone on the summit of a mountain in Wales one warm summer's day. He sat down to eat his lunch and a deep voice boomed, "Hello there."
There was no one in sight. He looked all around but he was most definitely alone. Rather spooked, he quickly packed up and left.
Twenty years later the same guy made the same ascent alone up to the same summit. He sat down to eat lunch and reflect upon his previous experience when the same voice boomed, "It's you again!"
I love the Entish element of mountain-time in this story.
> That could be a way for the mind to process grief and trauma.
I don’t think so; as I recall the story he didn’t know Herford had died.
> Sometime ago I was working my way round the Welsh mountains with short trips from Coventry. One trip took me to a campsite at Dan yr Ogof as a base to walk The Black Mountain - Carmarthen Fan. I had a really uneasy feeling about the place and had a very poor night's sleep but set off on my walk. On returning to the tent I noticed the inner zip was not fully closed and warily opened it. As I did so there was a rustle from underneath the groundsheet and an adder scuttled away into the bushes. Some years later we camped there as a family and my two daughters felt very uneasy and asked to come into our tent, my wife then revealed that she had bad feelings about the place from when we pitched. Though nothing actually happened the threat seemed there all the time. We packed up early in the morning and moved on.
That'll be because you can sense the dinosaurs that protect the show caves.
Nothing crag related but i used to do a lot of night fishing, one particular spot on the lake always felt ominous to me - i never did manage a full night there, packing up the gear in a mad dash!!
Spooky stories abound about some lakes, Redmire pool for example - even a website dedicated to it somewhere iirc.
Booming greetings on a mountain, twenty years apart? Bet you anything it was Brian Blessed, and he just wasn’t very visible because his beard was acting as camouflage foliage and his voice was carrying so well, he was two miles away.
Great story but it wasn't Hamish, it was a guy called Sydney Smith. He wrote it up as "How to become a ghost without really trying". It's in Roger Smith's anthology "The Winding Trail".
Not the hills but Mark Stephen (Scotland Out of Doors presenter) has a story about recording an interview with a historian in the mediaeval chambers under Edinburgh's North Bridge. At the end he went off to the loo, accidentally leaving the tape running. When they later transcribed the interview there were very quiet voices on the end of it. They amplified them and they turned out to be a man and a woman talking in a 16th century gaelic dialect. The historian (who was still in the room) swears there was nobody else there.
Here's my (not-so-spooky-in-the-end) tale from a thread from 2015:
Ok, on the theme of eerie goings on. A few years back I did a full traverse of the Glyderau from Bethesda to Capel Curig, including out-and-backs to Elidir Fawr and Tryfan. It was September, but the sun was quite intense and I had no sun cream, so was feeling a bit tired and frazzled towards the end of the day. On the quiet section between Y Foel Goch and Gallt yr Ogof I spotted three men ahead, walking steadily in single file; the only people around. I gained ground on them, and eventually was quite close behind them. As I passed we exchanged a "hello" and I carried on. After another hundred meters I looked back and they were gone. No sight of them at all.
For those who don't know the area, there aren't really any established routes down to the valley from this point, and besides, why carry on when the ridge line is the most direct way to the village. I started thinking: they were wearing quite antiquated gear, and the three were completely quiet until I said hello, then they vanished. Had I just seen three ghosts wandering the end of the Glyderau? I don't even believe in ghosts, I'm rational. I got down to Capel and was thinking it all over with a pint. About twenty minutes later three men walked into the pub: "blimey, you were going fast on the ridge back there."
Clearly, for whatever reason, they had decided to free range over rough ground into the valley, and walked along the old track into Capel. A fine lesson in the effects of a bit of sun and a long, tiring day on the ability of the mind to play tricks.
Going back to Ben Alder Cottage, even though it's widely known that the keeper-suicide story is (supposedly) untrue, and hence there shouldn't be any cause for alarm, still there are stories all the same. One I know concerns a friend who with another friend went to stay there maybe 25 years ago. I forget the internal layout of the place (it's even longer since I've visited), but I believe there are a couple of downstairs rooms, as so often in bothies. There was a large metal pot on a wide windowsill in the room that my friend and his pal were not sleeping in, and in the small hours they were woken by a loud crash. They went through next door to find the pot rolling around on the floor. It was too large to have been dislodged by mice, it wasn't windy, and there was no one else in the building. I'm not sure they slept so well after that.
Also going back to the Macdui Grey Man, in the early Angry Corrie days I had dealings with an investigator into these kind of things - I think his name was Andy Roberts - and he had a particular interest in the Grey Man and had undertaken research into the various reports. If I recall correctly, he was of the opinion that the reports were very varied in type and didn't really form a coherent whole - some were of things being heard, others of things been seen, while others were just feelings of unease. Also, the locations didn't really follow any pattern - what counted as Ben Macdui for the purposes of the supposed apparition was pretty vague and widespread. Andy had a sort of scale of mysteriousness of such things, where 5 was (I think) pretty vague and unconvincing, whereas 1 was genuinely puzzling - and although he found the Macdui stories interesting, he reckoned they were down towards the 5ish end of the scale. (I'd had an incident of my own - indoors in Aberdeen - that he reckoned was a 1, and which to this day still very much puzzles me, but I won't bore you with that here.)
Really enjoying this thread.
I was reading the following article this morning https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/oct/25/experience-i-own-a-haunted-pub
It's the Landlord of the Skirrid talking about the place. A mate and I had a bit of a strange one there about two years back.
We'd been out walking all day and were camping down the road. On the way back to the tent we called in at the Skirrid for a pint. Sitting opposite each other other on a bench in the beer garden around dusk we were about halfway through the first pint when we both, at exactly the same time, jumped and shouted in terror.
For my part, I thought I'd seen a big black cat, like a panther, walk behind my mate. For his part, he said he'd seen a woman in Victorian era style clothing cross the ground behind me.
Being the fearless, manly macho chaps we are we legged it inside and put the sleeping bags a little closer together that night.
In terms of hills, I've no idea why but Wild Tor on Dartmoor really gives me a sense of unease. Can't put a finger on it but I just sincerely dislike being there and will avoid it if at all possible. Just a sense of something not quite right with the place.
> Great story but it wasn't Hamish
Just goes to show how the human mind plays tricks ..... spooky or what?
> Just goes to show how the human mind plays tricks ..... spooky or what?
Hamish does however have a version of the story - reported in more than one location, I believe - of car headlights approaching along a dead-end track and then vanishing with no car to be seen.
PS - A proper scary thing with an entirely natural explanation is being on a hill at night and having a vixen suddenly make the banshee howling noise close by. Has anyone else experienced that? Thankfully I knew within a second or two what it was, having previously read about it somewhere, but for those couple of seconds it was pretty alarming.
Agree totally about vixen noise, even the second time after your dad's explained your first experience of it!
Not knowingly heard a vixen - always assumed it was just the local banshee riding about on a broomstick ..... I do recall being terrified by sheep when out camping as a kid on the moors at Anglezarke. They sound (to a 13-year-old's over-active imagination) just like someone having their throat cut or the life squeezed out of them. I'd imagine roaring stags could be just as terrifying (we didn't have them roaming the hills above Horwich back then).
Absolutely. I regularly tell that story to my groups when I'm in Kintail, so maybe I've told it around 150 times in 20 years. A couple of years ago I went back to the anthology and reread it. I was horrified to find out how much of the detail I'd changed.
> I'm inclined to say that's a bit of an over-reaction. As teenagers we had two favourite bivvy spots: one was in Dovestones Lower Right and the other was under Standing Stones. And the nights we were dossing out there were less than five years after the poor little souls had been put under the peat.
> I wouldn't want anyone to miss out on an ascent of Pulpit Ridge because of some nearby historical circumstances.
Perhaps you're right. I'd love to go back. Loved the place (otherwise).
Spookiest thing: a stunted tree suddenly appearing out of a whiteout. A real hairs on your neck moment.
> Be glad we don't have lynx in the UK. They sound terrifying!
Ha! That's my Charlie squaring up to B*stard Cat next door.
> Ha! That's my Charlie squaring up to B*stard Cat next door.
Ha, beat me to it - it also looks and sounds like our Jack encountering his enemy Dandy from round the corner.
Anyway, sunny and snowy (up top) here, am off out to get up something.
Excellent spooky/oh moment.
> I'm normally fairly sceptical looking for logical explanations but the incident in the Dewerstone was spooky and the Irish house had quite a few incidents that were inexplicable to me. I did try and find out history of the house but drew a bit of a blank.
This reminded me of an experience we had in a holiday cottage. We were staying in Noss Mayo, close to Plymouth. The building was originally three fishermans' cottages which had been knocked together. It didn't feel unfriendly or scary, but there were quite a few inexplicable incidents, particularly in the left-hand end of the building. It was more like there was a practical joker in the building, but the things that were happening were out of character for everyone there. Every morning, all the pictures on the wall would be squint, and sometimes they would be squint if after we came back after a day out too. Small items went missing and turned up later in strange places. One night I left homework in a pile in the middle of the dining table. In the morning, it was on the floor, tucked underneath the table but no-one admitted to moving it. Electrical equipment turned itself on and off, and at one point the dishwasher opened while it was actively running. Even my Dad, who is the world's biggest sceptic, admits that it was a strange place. That holiday is still a talking point!
> Could the voices have been carrying from quite far away? Sound can travel remarkable distances in still air, particularly in winter.
I experienced this in winter on Creise a couple of years ago. Out on my own, cold with cloud rolling in and out. I had already done Meall a'Bhuiridh and walked the ridge to the west. When I joined the north-south ridge that Creise sits on, I began to hear voices - as someone else said, like the radio turned down so low that I couldn't make out individual words. Heard them most of the way to the summit of Creise and back to the spur ridge. The ski centre wasn't open, so it wasn't coming from there. I didn't see any other people or any tracks that day, so I can only suppose it was carrying from one of the nearby peaks.
Nothing to do with hills:
My Dad used to repair violins as a hobby, and once he came home with a really old one. A week later my sister was alone at home one midday with our dog George, a huge black Great Dane/Labrador cross who was usually game for anything. A single high violin tone started to play upstairs; George bristled and started to growl. My sister, then about 18 and certainly not lacking in courage (she later became a war correspondent) took George by the collar and tried to go upstairs, but he wouldn't let her. So she went alone; the tone stopped when she got to the landing, and when she opened the door of Dad's workroom everything was normal. The window was closed, so it couldn't have been the wind. There were no repeats, but Dad was persuaded to get rid of the instrument that same evening, and George returned to normal.
Not hill related, but once spent a night in a friends family farmhouse in Somerset, a lovely but dilapidated old stone building. After a night out and many drinks, we rolled in late and me and wife went to sleep in the spare room.
Woke up in the middle of the night with the horrible feeling that someone was watching me, and stood close to the bed, and I really didn't want to open my eyes or look around.
The next morning my wife recounted almost exactly the same thing, and owner then told us about the 'haunted' room, and many other people seeing a lady in the room, or hearing strange things.
I'm not religious and fairly level headed, but the fact that we both independently experienced something makes me think.
> This reminded me of an experience we had in a holiday cottage.
That's interesting, and it's pretty similar to the "grade 1" experience I had upwards of 35 years ago in Aberdeen and which I mentioned upthread. It was in one of the big old town houses on Crown St, close to the docks, and I lived there in a community (it was effectively a Church of Scotland manse) where we took in people when they were struggling. There was a period when we had a local spiritualist staying with us - she was a strange woman generally, and was sort of an evangelical spiritualist who tried to convert non-believers at least to an extent. Anyhow, we knew her and she was homeless, so we gave her a room. All sorts of odd things happened while she was with us, and they seemed to increase in terms of proximity to her room - she was in an attic and I was in the basement, so I didn't get much but the others experienced things being moved around and turning up in strange places, as described by Kathryn, and men's voices were heard occasionally (of course she could just have been a very good mimic).
My own main incident came on a fine summer evening when everyone had gone out (apart perhaps from the spiritualist, who had a habit of hiding upstairs), and over the course of a few minutes the big heavy living room door twice swung open as if caught by a draught - but this was something that had never happened before and it wasn't at all breezy. Both times I shut it, then a few minutes later the old electric kettle switched itself on - this was a very oldfashioned thing without a rocker, simply a case of plugging it in and turning the plug switch on/off - not very safe! The first time it happened I thought maybe the plug switch had been half-on, but when I definitely turned it off and it then came back on again I became quite unnerved and headed out for a walk up to Queen's Cross and back, by which time someone else had returned to the house and things felt safer/less strange. In retrospect I wish I'd stayed put, properly unplugged the kettle, then waited to see what happened next - but I wasn't brave enough! There were various other incidents as well, and we hurried through the rehousing process for our lodger as fast as we could. It was noticeable that as soon as she left, the weird stuff stopped happening and we all felt much happier in the house.
Incidentally, people we vaguely knew in another big old house nearby had problems with objects flying around the house and visibly moving - I believe they ended up moving out.
Yes, does sound like it has similar elements. In my case, there was absolutely no sense of discomfort about being in the house - it just felt like there was a naughty child around!
I was intrigued by your Glasgow University stories too - I work there now and have heard similar from some of the janitors, although I have never come across anything untoward myself. That said, I am in a newer building where University Avenue meets Byres Road, so a reasonable distance from Pearce Lodge and other reported hotspots.
> Yes, does sound like it has similar elements. In my case, there was absolutely no sense of discomfort about being in the house - it just felt like there was a naughty child around!
With our Aberdeen situation nothing really bad ever happened but we became quite unnerved over time and the whole mood in the house changed. The sudden improvement in atmosphere when the lodger left could have been down to simple relief that she had gone, but it felt like more than that, as if she'd brought something with her and taken it away again when she left.
> I was intrigued by your Glasgow University stories too - I work there now and have heard similar from some of the janitors, although I have never come across anything untoward myself. That said, I am in a newer building where University Avenue meets Byres Road, so a reasonable distance from Pearce Lodge and other reported hotspots.
Interesting that there are still reports and stories. The porter (I realised after putting up the earlier comment that I was doing him down slightly by calling him a janitor) who told me of his Pearce Lodge encounter will almost certainly have retired by now - a nice chap named Walter, but this was 20-odd years ago and he was probably at least mid-50s when I knew him. Are the reports you're hearing of relatively recent incidents, or recountings of tales from days gone by?
Incidentally - and I never really know what to make of any of these things, but their inexplicability for want of a better word gives them a certain fascination - the best/most alarming such story I've been told first-hand came from my better half's late uncle, who did some of his National Service in Berlin as part of one of the clean-up squads after the war. He and his colleagues saw disembodied footprints moving across the room, in thick dust, in an upstairs room of a building which they later learnt had been used by the Gestapo for interrogations. The squad fled at top speed - "I was first in the room and first out!", the uncle said. He was a bit of a joker and quite capable of spinning a convincing yarn, but when we sat him down and got him to recount this story again at a family wedding towards the end of his life, it was noticeable how serious he became - it was like he was back there in that room 60 years earlier, still puzzled by and troubled by what he saw.
> Interesting that there are still reports and stories. The porter (I realised after putting up the earlier comment that I was doing him down slightly by calling him a janitor) who told me of his Pearce Lodge encounter will almost certainly have retired by now - a nice chap named Walter, but this was 20-odd years ago and he was probably at least mid-50s when I knew him. Are the reports you're hearing of relatively recent incidents, or recountings of tales from days gone by?
It's hard to be sure. Rumours have been around for a long time so it's difficult to know if people are recounting old stories they have heard or recent tales, especially when they are often from "a friend". In addition to Pearce Lodge, there are reports of a younger woman in the cloisters and around the Lion and Unicorn staircase, and screaming from the chapel when no-one is in there.
First time I wild camped was up Helvellyn in the early 90s.
Just after we nodded off I thought I heard distant bells but then it stopped so I went back to sleep.
10 minutes later, there it was again.
Me and tentmate both heard it this time, but it was distant and stopped again within moments.
There were no other parties camping out nearby so we just presumed it was some weird wind effect rattling our pans or something.
We heard it a third time and it seemed closer so we poked our heads out to see if we could work out what it was.
In the distance across the tarn was a small glow and that bell sound was coming from there.
We were properly freaked out teenagers now (X files was just getting popular) but decided whatever it was was a fair way off so just needed to ignore it.
Except it was coming closer.
The glow became brighter and bigger, the gentle jingling gradually got louder.
By now it was heading directly for us, it must have sensed us.
Worrying about what I might find, I peeled back the porch fabric one more time, bracing myself for whatever paranormal or alien presence had detected us.
Rescue dog's wet nose poked it's head into the tent, on a callout looking for a lost walker; bell around it's neck and glow stick on it's collar.
I’ve heard that story before, - is your dad a famous climber?
About 15-20 years ago, a couple were bivvying in the summit hut on Cadair Idris. In the wee small hours a large man stumbled into the hut, sat down and placed a bottle of whisky and a very large knife next to him on the bench. He then proceeded to remove his damp shirt and to their horror, his upper body was mutilated with fresh cuts and he was covered in blood. They decided a hasty exit was in order and they left the hut without any objection from the new arrival. They descended the mountain and reported the incident to the police. Later on that day, our bloodied friend was seen by a group from a local outdoor centre. No idea what became of him. Spooky or what!
Were you that couple in the hut? Were you the bloody knifeman...
I've also read it before, maybe in The Lakes of Eryri.
I was in McBrayne hall in the 70s , there were a couple of areas there with a “reputation “
Great thread. I’m fascinated by the effect tiredness, emotional state, environment etc can have on our brains. The most spectacular I have experienced wasn’t spooky, only because I was with a dozen good mates. It was at the end of a long, cold couple of days on Dartmoor for an exercise. Maybe 3 hours sleep out of 48 and sub zero temps. We were wrapping up and getting debriefed by our less than impressed Troop Sergeant in the pitch black in the middle of a copse. Right next to him appeared a two foot high impish/goblin figure pulling faces at me. To me at that moment it appeared 100% real, it wasn’t one of those vague shapes that disappear when you try to focus. I’m sure if I had that level of hallucination out there alone I would be absolutely terrified. As it was, my main concern was not getting the giggles in front of our stripey... he really was terrifying.
A member of the climbing/caving club I used to belong to related to me once how he and a friend were bivvying one night somewhere in the gap between Peel Crag and Crag Lough which are on the line of Hadrian's Wall. During the night he heard what he described as the sound of people marching by and the sound of clanking armour. His reaction was to bury his head inside his sleeping bag. When he spoke to his friend about it in the morning, the friend had also heard something and been similarly too afraid to investigate.
The ninth legion? Went north and never came back.
Be serious, Mick - a heavily armoured Roman was a fearsome thing
You'd be scared if you heard that going past in the night ......
> During the night he heard what he described as the sound of people marching by and the sound of clanking armour.
Sounds quite like the ghostly Souther Fell soldiers.
These photo's are from a few years ago up on Harris near Sron Ulladale. They are absolute real, no photoshop etc.. (I tried to attach the photo's but couldn't, so have had to link to the facebook page. Not sure if it will work though)
Not spooky as such, but definitely seasonal (almost as if we'd forward planned it), here's a piece on weird myths and legends associated with upland lakes and lochs: https://www.ukhillwalking.com/articles/destinations/lakes_with_legends-12268
I can't see the pictures and you've piqued my interest now.
> I can't see the pictures and you've piqued my interest now.
Poltergeists stole the FB page.
If somone who knows how, tells me how to attach a picture to a post I'll put them up!
ok, so I've found a link to an old blog post on my website that has the pictures on it. Its hard not to believe they have been created, but they are all true.
Ha! you got me there! I feel like i've been rickrolled.
My grandfather who was from the Isle of Eigg died in the 1940s but passed down many tales to my mum about Hebridean folklore especially on all souls night when the dead can make contact once more.
He told how they would put food outside for the dead on this night and specific seers would go to places where people met a violent death then stay until morn to calm them.
My grandfather recalled one such night long before he was born where two heedless boys wanting to see if this was true crept out their crofts late at night then went to a well known place down by the sea where many innocent people brutally died in a clan massacre, to see if the local seer was there and what might happen.
There they waited and waited in the still freezing night within eye sight of the place but seen nothing as the moon moved in and out of the clouds across the sky so eventually they decided to return back to their warm hearths and beds.One boy walked a little ahead of the other and turned a corner in the path around some bushes and trees when on the gloomy wooded path up ahead he saw what looked like an old hooded woman coming along who then silently beckoned him and pointed over yonder whilst moving quickly down the path toward him.
He turned and ran back around the bend in the other direction to his friend who was standing petrified looking back to the place they came from as a lit up wailing ghost procession went along the rocky shore from the other direction and a ghost clansman on horseback was galloping toward him.
When they ran back to the crofts they were hysterical with bulging eyes it was told and they could not speak for weeks.
Here is another one though it has nothing to do with the outdoors but is still a bit spooky.
My old friend who is now dead told me of an old house she briefly stayed in as an 11 year old child growing up in Edinburgh where unusual occurrences happened.
It started by hearing footsteps coming up the stairs in the middle of the night then walking along the corridor to her room and stopping. At first she thought it her mother checking on her though the footsteps sounded a bit heavy.
One night she woke up and as she lay there the sound of footsteps came up the stairs then down the hall to the last room which was hers then stopped outside it but she had gotten up on her feet to tell her mum she was fine and opened the bedroom door to find there was no one there. Practically knocking her mums door down she jumped into her bed with her .Her mum said she must have been dreaming and that they would be moving soon anyway.
Years later her mum told her she went down stairs to the bathroom one night and when she walked past the open door and looked into the dark sitting room a figure of a man was standing at the window. Running into the kitchen she grabbed a knife before noisily running to the sitting room to confront the man but there was no one there.
My friend heard the footsteps a few times afterwards but didn't feel any fear at all and there was no malice there.
About 20 years ago I met a bunch of RAF lads who had fled Steall Hut in the early hours. They were pretty sheepish at the time but footsteps and banging inside the building that they couldn't explain spooked them severely.
Not read every reply but there are lots of tales of strange lights in the cliviger valley South of Burnley in the pennines.
> Not read every reply but there are lots of tales of strange lights in the cliviger valley South of Burnley in the pennines.
Quite a well-known example of this are the 'Longdendale Lights' which have been attributed to UFO activity or a kind of piezo-electric effect from rock movements along fault lines. Not far away Bleaklow has reports of ghostly Romans and aircrash victims.
I'm surprised that the lights haven't been attributed to the headlamps of ghostly navvies since their chances of seeing out the building of Joseph Locke's first tunnel are variously described as being worse than surviving Waterloo/ The Somme.
I have a couple of tales.
Our first Alpine route was the Punta Innominata above the Sciora hut. Being skint we stayed in the woodshed; it was a perfect Alpine night, freezing hard and brilliantly moonlit. Early in the morning - probably about 2:00 - we heard Italians gearing up outside so looked out - there was no one there. This happened a bit later - I can see the boulder field clearly after all these years - again, there was no one there.
It was only later that we realised we had had stayed in the same woodshed that Molteni and Valsecchi had stayed, equally skint, before perishing on the FA of the North face.
Similarly I bivvied below the Signal du Petit Mt Cenis. That was a seriously spooky place, and very unsettling. It was only later that I read in Terray's autobiography that it was the scene of one the last - and most pointless - battles between the Resistance and Germans.
I'm intrigued by what it is about certain landscapes that produces a particular emotional response, so I wondered what exactly it was that made the Signal so spooky and unsettling before you knew of its history? My feeling - and I haven't done any research on this yet - is that spookiness is based around some sense of threat that isn't strong enough to be articulated in a classic flight or fight way. A kind of landscape 'uncanny valley'. So opportunities for concealment might be a concern, or being out in the open with a strong sense of exposure (in the non-climbers' sense) might be involved.
That's an interesting thought, and brings to mind something I read years ago about the Big Grey Man (and instances of mountain panic from other hills). One suggestion to explain some of the feelings of terror was a sort of flip side to "being at one with nature." Instead, the vast scale of the landscape triggers overwhelming feelings of insignificance and terror.
I've never felt anything this strong, but felt very odd heading to a summit in Swedish Lapland a few years ago. After climbing up through the woods, the last stretch entailed leaving the path and beelining for the summit which was visible two miles away. These two miles were across a vast, slowly rising plateau; no trees, no features; no people. Crossing it made me feel very uneasy and anxious, and I can only assume that my brain simply wasn't happy with that level of openess and exposure.
I'd agree about the Cairngorms, that the openness can be unnerving. I've felt that a lot - if contained, it leads to inspiration and excitement, but you might see how some take that to be terror.
Interesting. I mentioned on another thread a while back about having feelings of intense loneliness in the Afon Amnodd-Bwll valley near Arenig Fawr. It's a beautiful valley but abandoned, there are several empty farms decaying into the ground and disused workings higher up. The pasture is replaced by forest plantation in the valley bottom.
I guess that I picked up on this sense of abandonment and former use by people. Seems obvious but I was caught by surprise as I actively seek out 'lonely' places and never feel lonely in them.
> That's an interesting thought, and brings to mind something I read years ago about the Big Grey Man (and instances of mountain panic from other hills). One suggestion to explain some of the feelings of terror was a sort of flip side to "being at one with nature." Instead, the vast scale of the landscape triggers overwhelming feelings of insignificance and terror.
That reminds me of the Romantic notion of the sublime - as in Burke:
"WHATEVER is fitted in any sort to excite the ideas of pain and danger, that is to say, whatever is in any sort terrible, or is conversant about terrible objects, or operates in a manner analogous to terror, is a source of the sublime; that is, it is productive of the strongest emotion which the mind is capable of feeling."
Quite a few years ago I was walking along a path with two of my mates on the way to the pub when suddenly , without a word, the 3 of us took to our heels and sprinted for half a mile. I had felt the presence of something deply evil and terrifying and the other 2 had sensed similar. Now this was a place we had walked daily back and from school along, played in the area for years, ran through viirtually daily for about 15 years. We continued to ue the path in the future and never felt anything like that again. Very strange. Thats what makes me doubt whether some of these things are merely attributes of the landscape configuration.
About 25 years ago I was descending from Cairn Toul in the Cairngorms, heading to the col between it and The Devil's Point. Just before I reached the col, I met a guy dressed in 50's type gear, hairy breeks and an orange anorak. We chatted for a couple of minutes and he told me he was camped in Glen Geausachan, but needed to get to the top of Cairn Toul so bid me farewell. I walked the few minutes to the col and turned to see where he was, but despite having a clear view all the way up the hill, he wasn't to be seen. In the short time since leaving him I'm sure that even if he had stopped to remove his anorak, I would have been able to spot him, but he had apparently disappeared. It was a bit unsettling, and I still have clear memories of that day!
I recommend reading Michelle Paver - either "Thin Air" or "Dark Matter", preferably using a candle and in a remote bothy for a sense of foreboding and fear associated with place.
Reading the latter I didn't want to get out of bed to go for a pee
Same Hill, same direction walking. My mate disappeared from behind me. I zig zagged the hill. Asked people who were behind us if they saw him. Nope. Got to the bothy and spent 2 hours waiting before heading out. It hit 8 hours since I lost him and the wife was saying on the phone to call the MRT when he showed up. He was unaware of any fuss and couldn't believe how far behind he ended up. I always call that day you were abducted by aliens, Brian.
Dark Matter spooked me more than any other ghost/supernatural book I've ever read! I was looking at 'Thin Air' the other day and didn't buy it because I was afraid it would be too much like 'Dark Matter'. Is that the case?
It's pretty spooky but you are forstrengthened by having survived "Dark Matter".
Be careful - it's desolate and lonely up there, though you won't quite be completely alone ...
Ha... I don't know if I have been strengthened... I was a nervous wreck after I finished it! She marshalled the dread brilliantly.
The following might be instructive: an extract from my diary of our expedition to the Kishtwar Himalaya in 1981.
Sunday 6th-Thursday 10th September. What does one say about these last days? A sort of living dream in which reality and unreality are confounded in an experience that has not yet finished. Sunday was what I feared, a 6 1/2 hour flog up to Super Advance Base, going slower and slower… There followed three nights of an extraordinary existence, half nightmare half torpor. The weather worsened. On the first day I did not even put my contact lenses in and only got up about 2pm because I needed a crap… [I was in a Wintringham kennel the others overcrowded in a small tent]. That night (Monday) I virtually drugged myself to sleep (two sleeping pills, one Duxil and one Paracodal) because I had nothing to drink or melt water with and felt my head beginning to split. That night too Simon really began to feel ill and by the next day was in a very bad way. Tuesday too the wind rose to a gale. I lay in my low kennel for most of the day and when I tried to sleep all I ended up was countlessly adding up a particular series of numbers (I thought it was by passport number, but it wasn't): is this what it is like to go mad? That night we were all almost buried by the snow.
Next day discussion made it quite clear that we could not go on like this as we had basically taken food for five days and it was obvious that unless the weather produced a miracle we could not all stay… So it was decided that if there was to be any chance of success only two could stay, I was clearly a dead loss and Simon was hors de combat, so it was a matter of which of Mike or Nick stayed with Roger, Nick won the toss…
So, a little before midday Wednesday the three of us set off back down. Simon was in a dreadful state, glazed and staggering and it was obvious that all he could do was make advance base: which was about all I could too. So from the col Mike went on ahead and eventually made base camp, absolutely shattered, just at dark. Simon and I night stopped at advance base, sleeplessly in my case. In fact we almost had hallucinations, because I at one stage woke him to reach outside from his end of the tent for an ice axe as I was sure there was something prowling around (he believes I actually sent him out to deal with it!), whilst he thought he had seen something monstrous earlier on. In fact all it could have been was the glacier creaking, the wind getting up and the snow falling. Whilst it fell as low as base camp it only settled as far as the glacier, but this was enough to make the descent quite horrifying next day… The whole of our weak state was due to lack of food and altitude. We had all spent six nights over 4,550m and three of them at 5,350 in bad weather. Simon, who had hitherto been going almost too well, suddenly had things catch up on him. Indeed, according to our medical text he was only just short of developing full pulmonary oedema, and had he not got out when he did he would certainly have passed into a very grave state. Then there was the food problem. Our food was limited and disgusting, particularly the proto-veg. which was supposed to be the protein basis of our diet. The result was that there was nothing to tempt us to eat and some of us failed to recognize that one of the symptoms of altitude is lack of hunger. Thus, for example, on the day we came down all I had before setting out was a cup of sugarless black coffee, and on arrival at advance base a quarter of a small bar of the wretched Indian chocolate and about two ounces of processed cheese washed down by glacier water...
arghh "Cheese, possessed"
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