Fear of the dark

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mowerman

Full Member
Aug 23, 2015
120
11
Shropshire
Best thread on this forum.
Especially as I live near the river stour. I'm 6ft 4 and 17 stones and I still get the jitters in the middle of the night.
Never had a spooky nighttime experience but I'm pretty sure I saw a large black cat chasing 2 deer in the woodland near where I live.
At the time I put it down to a black Labrador with a long swishy tail until a few days later I was informed that labradors don't chase deer.
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
3,807
2,983
Mid Wales
Best thread on this forum.
Especially as I live near the river stour. I'm 6ft 4 and 17 stones and I still get the jitters in the middle of the night.
Never had a spooky nighttime experience but I'm pretty sure I saw a large black cat chasing 2 deer in the woodland near where I live.
At the time I put it down to a black Labrador with a long swishy tail until a few days later I was informed that labradors don't chase deer.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GRSbr0EYYU

:)
 

Laurentius

Native
Aug 13, 2009
1,883
175
Knowhere
In broad daylight on the flood plain the other day I was bashing down the Himalayan Balsam stalks (it is a terrible weed) and something was snuffling there in the undergrowth, I could not see it and have no idea what it could have been, such stuff are nightmares made upon.
 

Fadcode

Full Member
Feb 13, 2016
2,357
563
Cornwall
Strange that the antidote to the dark, and the fear of the dark is light, yet, in the situation the last thing you think about is turning the light on, as this will give away your location..........I am not sure the fear is of the dark or the noises in the dark, I usually sleep in the wagon for 3 days a week, and its the noises that wake me, even the wind bellowing through the trees, the wagon moving in high winds are the worst, as its as if someone is trying to get in, I assure myself it is the wind, pull my sleeping bag over my head and hopefully drift off to sleep.
 

Nomad64

Full Member
Nov 21, 2015
1,073
580
UK
In broad daylight on the flood plain the other day I was bashing down the Himalayan Balsam stalks (it is a terrible weed) and something was snuffling there in the undergrowth, I could not see it and have no idea what it could have been, such stuff are nightmares made upon.
I’m not easily frightened by wildlife but had a similar unnerving experience a couple of weeks ago with something making an ungodly snorting noise near some old ivy stumps under bushes at the front of the house - closer inspection (armed with a spade) revealed this little chap perfectly camouflaged amongst the ivy!

94A69EEE-9004-4AC4-B649-B757F4192097.jpg

A bit like wrens, hedgehogs make a racket out of all proportion to their size! :)
 
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Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
2,262
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
Years ago, I almost got an heart attack when a vixen started screaming close to my tent. Mating screams.

I got scared in a different way when my tent got surrounded by a flock of boar in Hungary. I hardly breathed.

I do not like sounds when it is dark. I have a vivid imagination. Wife's snoring I am Ok with though. Used to them.
 

MrEd

Full Member
Feb 18, 2010
1,453
395
Surrey/Sussex
www.thetimechamber.co.uk
i was bivvying in the surrey hills near guildford and a stag ran into my bash ridgeline cord in the middle of the night, i was actually wuite worried i was going to get hurt badly, it went beserk before i was able to cut the other end and it ran off.....
 

Sundowner

Full Member
Jan 21, 2013
876
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Northumberland
I'm reading the above stories and I'm starting to think about them, imagining being out by myself etc. ..
What makes it worse for me is that I don't sleep in a tent anymore , only hammocking. Trying to tell myself that EVERYTHING has a logical explanation. Had to sleep a long time ago at the edge of a field with a busy road not far off. Middle of the night I was woken up by a scratching noise from under the tent floor. Even before I turned on the flashlight I knew that it was a mouse coming out of its hole.
Now Goatboys story somehow gets to me.......wish I hadn't read it now 😵
 

C_Claycomb

Mod
Mod
Oct 6, 2003
5,838
911
Bedfordshire
There is a brief description in one of the Peter Capstick books about a chap in South or Central America being trapped in his hammock for hours by a Jaguar, sitting below him and periodically swatting his butt..."apparently fascinated by the swinging..."
:yikes:


Last year I am pretty sure that I had a skunk walk under my hammock...really glad that I wasn't properly awake, and assumed the odour was wafting in from the highway (thought road kill) it was only in the morning I realised that the road was a long way off and the wee beastie must have been very, very close.
 
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daveO

Full Member
Jun 22, 2009
1,334
410
South Wales
I got scared in a different way when my tent got surrounded by a flock of boar in Hungary. I hardly breathed.
The term for a flock of boar is a 'sounder' apparently. I looked it up after meeting a big group while walking in the Forest of Dean.

I've also encountered a very loud hedgehog in the dark. You don't really realise how they got their name until you hear them at full grunt.
 
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Jul 24, 2017
1,162
443
somerset
When I schooled on Dartmoor, there was the Exmoor beast! We also if shown to be competent could do midnight walks on are own as in (no staff) so me and a mate are out late on the moor we have map, compass and a know route, but a heavy fog came in, and we started to feel we were going off route so the option was find the road and take the longer way back, so with the stress of feeling a bit lost we think we can hear something in the fog its keeping out of range but staying with us, so my mate then said nervously " remember that bit in American werewolf in London? " I thought you SOB! and said as much! this is the moment when you both want to run but know its dumb, so fast walking came into play! and then we start on about who would die first he said me, as I was shorter and like the film the short guy get's it first and then he would only get wounded and become the werewolf, but then I remind him the other guy only lives because of a bunch of guys with shotguns help out..........we needless to say got walking very fast!
 
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fhaggis

Member
Aug 8, 2016
25
4
scotland
love being out in the dark, just need to remember that WE are the scary things out in the woods at night.

loved this thread and got my thinking of night walks we would the the kids on at camp the last few years in my job as a youth worker.

the whole point of the walk, in the dark, was to show the kids that we have night vision, don't always need torches and we don't need to be scared of the dark. thats what it was meant to be anyway lol, after 3 years it turned into a full blown ghost walk which was always the highlight of the weekend.

not sure if anyone is familiar with Inverkip in Scotland but it has alot of scary history with witches, wizards and ghost etc and our camp was in the hills above Inverkip.

we always told ghost stories the first night which always freaked them out before they went to their tents, the next day we would go awalk etc and make sure the kids noticed the big notice board in town with information on auld dunrod and the last witch burnt in Scotland/Inverkip, this would freak them out even more before that nights ghost walk.

so we would wait till it got dark (after 10pm) and we would all meet and go over "health and safety" tie your laces incase you have to run, be quiet etc incase we draw attention to our selfs and NO torches or phones as the lights would def give us away, and never ever go off the path!!!

long story short we would go a walk up the hill, visit the "auld dunrods house" visit the tree where the last witch was burnt and loads of other stories i made up as we went along, all this with no torches mind, the best bit was coming back down the hill (on same path) convincing them all we where lost and i would blame everyone but myself, had loads of frights and tears lol and that was just the staff, would always end the walk asking how much better people could see with their night vision before shining my hidden torchi n their eyes.

point of my story is its amazing how peoples imagination can go wild i the dark, we had kids (teenagers) convinced that they where begin chased by Orbs (evil fairy lights in the woods), seeing all sorts of shapes and sizes in the trees that weren't there and how easily the lost their bearings.

the scariest thing that happened for me was on the last one we did, i had set a wee joke in an area of the woods where we always told a story, on the way there the kids where saying they could here voices etc and i just assumed it was them freaking out and then i saw some lights in the area we where heading to, never once seen anyone up there before and didn't want to at near midnight, though we probably gave them the fright of their lives with all the screaming we where doing!

so apart from being terrified of the ghost stories the kids loved being out in the dark with no lights and it was so alien to them, just get out and go for a walk and leave the torch at home!
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,676
1,629
McBride, BC
I know that you don't have much in the way of animal predators which hunt humans in the UK.
Mid November, -20C mornings, all our black and grizzly bears have packed it in until next April/May.

We have 3 or 4 groups of 3-5 deer that live in the village for the winter.
No fear of humans or vehicles, they own the streets and the open gardens.
My local bunch are just next door!

The cougar sightings have begun. Broad daylight no less, beyond the edges of the village.
The deer have been easy pickings in the past.
Obviously, nobody is hammock camping in this weather but going out after dark has it's risks.
School children get rides to/from school. Very easy prey on a dark morning or after school.
 

JonathanD

Ophiological Genius
Sep 3, 2004
11,884
99
49
Stourton,UK
devalbushcrafter.webeden.co.uk
As this subject has popped up in another thread, I think now is the time to put my particular saga to bed.

In the last few years, I’ve been to the area a handful of times. Mostly to catch a glimpse of the otters and to do a spot of fishing. I’ve not done an overnighter there since I last posted that one here, possibly 2010/11? Due to the vast amount of flooding we have had in the preceding years, all evidence of ’our Tom Brown’ fan has gone, just a few caved in holes were his excavations used to be. Even the flora has changed slightly, with trees falling down due to the soft ground, and the balsam not growing anywhere near as high as it used to. The opposite bank to the stream is now well walked by the landowners there as they have removed all the scrub and created a path for dog walking. If Clem is up for it after the lockdown, then I’ll stop there again. It was a great spot, and the wildlife was amazing. But sadly/gladly, out pistachio munching oddball has long since disappeared.
 

ReasonSharp

Member
Jul 29, 2015
10
1
Croatia
With regard to bushcraft I guess I'm somewhere that people are before they become beginners. With regards to fear of the dark, I've been there. I used to be scared going down the dark stairs. Nowadays I walk through forests (those I know) and graveyards (they were never really scary to me, I just mentioned them for the drama) in pitch black. How did I do it? Simply put, it's about exposure. Go somewhere you're comfortable being in the dark, then walk a couple of steps in the direction that's scary. If you get overwhelmed, go back.

I used to think having a light or fire with me I'd be fine no matter what, but that wasn't really the case for me. Any kind of light illuminated things that were nearby, but made everything that was even a bit farther too dark to see. I'd imagine specters in those dark places and any sounds coming from beyond the illuminated area made me flinch. Whenever I can, I try to do without a light, relying instead on moonlight and/or my knowledge of the surroundings. Of course, if I was camping I'd have a fire going before I fall asleep. So far I've never camped alone, but I'm planning to next weekend for the first time.
 
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C_Claycomb

Mod
Mod
Oct 6, 2003
5,838
911
Bedfordshire
I recommend a higher caliber of hand held torch!
For instance:


White LEP lights are quite good for blinding specters of the night at ranges beyond human hearing. :naughty:

I say this in jest, but also seriousness. Knowing you have the means to illuminate anything you hear in the dark, out to 100m+ (don't really need an LEP for this) is certainly good for ones peace of mind. While it isn't stealthy, and won't make you popular in public campsites, where you can use a light that carries, it does offer an inoculation effect for your nerves. You hear something...you flip the light and see it was a small animal, or the wind on leaves, and the next time you hear something like that, you have had experience that it was nothing to worry about. The distance of throw can differ on where you are and the animal life there. On trips to the western US, and a week in Namibia, I was very glad to have my Tiabalo A9 (2x 123A powered). Could prove that no lions...elephants, or bears were sneaking up on me ;)