Fear of the dark

  • Hey Guest, We've had to cancel our 2020 Summer BushMoot PLEASE LOOK HERE for more information.

taws6

Nomad
Jul 27, 2007
293
1
Anglia
I guess this sounds kinda silly to some, but sometimes the darkness can be a lttle daunting (guess it's human nature).
How have you solo campers learned to deal with being on your own over night?
I know there's nothing really there, it's just fear trying to take over, and I know I'm in more danger in the towns etc, guess I've seen to many 'Blair witch', and 'Chain saw massacre' type films lol.....
Thanks for the advise
 
  • Like
Reactions: Silverclaws2

Peter_t

Native
Oct 13, 2007
1,353
1
East Sussex
not silly at all, everybody was once scared of the dark (or still is).
i think i lost my fear because i always enjoyed walking alone and sometimes in winter it would get dark befor i was at home and eventualy i got used to it. now it doesnt reely bother me:) althow there still is the odd occation when you hear a noise that gives you the creeps lol

so i reccon slow exposure to it is best. go for lots of short walks but dont go strait into the dark but go late evening and let it get dark around you.

hope this helps
pete
 
  • Like
Reactions: Silverclaws2
Welcome Taws6

Social Anthropologists have debated for a long time whether there is an inherent fear of things likley to put us at risk and that these are somehow genetically built in, for example there is a universal fear of snakes across the world even in regions where snakes do not exist. Fear of the dark is similar.

The reality is that yes there are things that go bump in the dark but you need some knowledge and common sense to make a realistic assessment of what it "probably" is until you have the knowledge and skills to id the noise. The trick is to know whether it is animal or human. If it's animal you have no fear at all, if it's human, be very aware.
But realistically how reasonable is it to assume a person is going to be bumping around your well hidden camp at 3am? Very very small unless you are near lots of people. So if I were you I'd go out with a very big torch and that will give you the confidence to see what makes any noises and that will reassure you that everything is ok.

It's quite funny this topic as last week I was out fishing late one evening in a fairly remote area and there was a guy trying to hide from me about 800meters away on the other side of the loch. Then as I watched him through bino's he started howling like a wolf woooo oooooooooooooooooo eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee oooooooo
I kid you not and this jkept going for some time. It was quite unnerving. I packed up and started walking back and I had to walk past his side of the loch, anyway as soon as he saw me moving he stopped howling and ran like the devil up a forestry track and I heard a car driving away. I had seen a car on my way in and took a photo just incase...

Anway that's been my freakiest experience in a wee while, my only precaution was to pick up a cricket ball sized rock and put it in my smocj just incase he needed to get close to some geology pmsl.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Erbswurst

firecrest

Full Member
Mar 16, 2008
2,496
4
uk
Its not silly, we have an inbuilt fear of darkness for good reasons in the past. I suppose the only way to get over it is to do it until you eventually calm down.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Erbswurst

Melonfish

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jan 8, 2009
2,460
1
Warrington, UK
whilst in the peaks me and col spied some eyes reflecting in the dark of the woods!
couldn't figure out what it was what with the sheep being on one side of the barb wire fence and not able to get into the plantation.
could have been anything i guess but meh didn't think twice about it, anything out there is more scared of me then i am of it. (except the midges)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28GaKoCuobU
 

Cobweb

Native
Aug 30, 2007
1,124
2
Ludlow, Shropshire
I prefer the dark as well, but that dosen't help you much.

Depending on where you are, I would suggest a big fire, that should keep any animals away and for the people side of things, keep your axe and knife handy will give you confidence.

If you are sneaky camping, then the chances of someone stumbling across you are minimal. Perhaps going out with a friend for a few nights will help you to overcome the fear, especially if the friend has been out on their tod as well, they can advise you on what's making a particular sound which could prove to be interesting.

Being afraid of the dark is not something to be ashamed about, it's natural :)
 

Calculon

New Member
Jul 17, 2008
83
1
Old South Wales
Have you noticed how much more acute your hearing becomes, whilst sleeping alone in the middle of the woods in total darkness? I feel sometimes that my ears almost twitch like a cat's. :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: Silverclaws2

dwardo

Maker
Aug 30, 2006
6,215
231
43
Nr Chester
Chant the mantra "you are the scary thing in the woods with axe" :eek:
I am a lot more wary walking through a town at night than the woods, and with good reason.
 

Ian H

Tenderfoot
Jun 5, 2009
58
0
33
South Wales
I went solo camping last night for the first time. I went to a place I know and have been a few times with friends. Got there early to set up and collect wood and it was great. Although at around 1am 2 people walked past with a torch but that was the only thing that scared me (was fine once they walked past)

will be doing it again without doubt!
 

phaserrifle

Nomad
Jun 16, 2008
366
1
South of England
I have only been honestly scared of the dark, or more precisely what may be in it, twice while on camp.

the first was when I decided to turn in early, after watching a film that the explorers had made the year before. it was called "duct tape" and was an attempt, only an attempt mind you, to create a scary, "psyco killer" type movie.
but when you are out in the same trees the film was filmed in, your torch dies, and you hear rustling........:yikes:

the second time we where in a group, and from out of the dark comes what later turned out to be the cry of a mating fox. one girl ended up having a panic attack, and we all slept inside for that night (and the next)
 

Prawnster

Full Member
Jun 24, 2008
806
0
St. Helens
I've had mild heebie-jeebies once or twice. Your senses are heightened in the woods anyway and then when you take sight away your mind plays tricks on you. Then it's difficult not to get that weird feeling up your spine that someone or something has crept up right behind you whilst you've been staring at the fire.

I agree with the mental technique of remembering you are easily the scariest thing in the woods (unless werewolf fantasies come into play).
I don't consider any of my cutting tools weapons but I suppose from a tactical point of view, if some crazed maniac wants to molest a wild-camper then he better prepare to get feather-sticked because I am armed to the teeth!:D
 

Ian H

Tenderfoot
Jun 5, 2009
58
0
33
South Wales
Also you could set up simple trip wires with cans for alarms. I got a link on my computer, I'll post it up later.

Although I'm sure you would be bricking it if a hedgehog or something daft set one off!!
 

Shewie

Mod
Mod
Dec 15, 2005
24,260
18
45
Yorkshire
Get some nights out in a place you're familiar with, the further away from civilisation the better too. Even try and make an effort to go exploring in the dark and see what sort of creatures are making those dodgy noises.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Silverclaws2

mace242

Native
Aug 17, 2006
1,015
0
49
Yeovil, Somerset, UK
I used to have a serious fear of spiders. It was a thing from my childhood and sometimes they still give me the creeps. But if you spend enough time doing stuff where they are likely to end up near / on you then you eventually dont't care so much. I think for you the dark may be the same. You'll cure it by spending more time out in it. Try going for a lot of walks at night without planning to stay and then increase it. It'll work out in the end - did for me.
 

cccc

Tenderfoot
Mar 25, 2007
75
0
49
North Hampshire
I guess this sounds kinda silly to some, but sometimes the darkness can be a lttle daunting (guess it's human nature).
How have you solo campers learned to deal with being on your own over night?
I know there's nothing really there, it's just fear trying to take over, and I know I'm in more danger in the towns etc, guess I've seen to many 'Blair witch', and 'Chain saw massacre' type films lol.....
Thanks for the advise
Interesting one, I haven't camped out solo much in recent years, but in the winter I do a fair bit of night cycling. My favourite routes tend to follow tracks in the local and not so local woods. I am normally the only one out there and once in a while the odd noises do get to me. I can remember two occasions, one when I had to repair a tyre and the other when I saw some odd green lights ( that turned out to be fallow deers eyes reflecting back my lights ).

Both times I was riding along fine, until the doubt / feeling crept in, then you start to hear things and the brain starts to race.

I can remember being pretty freaked out and nervous or what ever was near to me, just out of the torch light, but then logic started to kick in, I had a job to do ( mend tyre / not fall off etc ) and concentrating on this helped a lot. As soon as I got moving again, things seemed to calm and I could enjoy it all again.

I think I have had the same during the day when way out in the sticks, but you can see better then so its not as bad. I guess like a previous comment, theres not much worse than me out there, so does that mean I should worry more or less :-D
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
3,756
2,925
Mid Wales
First thing - don't watch scary movies or documentaries about the moors panther before going out (especially don't watch Dog Soldiers if you're camping in Scotland).

Get to know what wild animals sound like at night - foxes, deer, and owls can all make very scary noises (does anyone know if there are any DVD's of those noises?).

Try to camp with something solid behind you - a tree or rock or something - it may not do any good but it makes you feel better if nothing can approach from behind.

Don't camp near bubbling streams or gushing rivers - it may sound nice but at night you cannot hear anything alse and that can be scary.

Above all don't allow your mind to dwell on the ugly possible - train yourself to daydream the delights of being out in the wilds whilst you stare at the bushcraft TV.

Cheers,

Broch
 
  • Like
Reactions: Brizzlebush