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Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters


Postby OpenC » Thu Jun 11, 2015 8:13 pm

I guess a fair few of us have a reasonable collection of hill and mountain literature, and I guess a fair few of us have at some point picked up Affleck Gray's "Big Grey Man of Ben Macdui". It's not a particularly august work, to be fair, and while the first two chapters of people getting freaked out in the Cairngorms contain some evocative prose, it starts to wander far too soon into ridiculous ghost stories and crackpot alien and religious rubbish.

Still, though, flicking through it today it got me thinking. There are a lot of references in there to the way that the mind invents things in lonely places and there's undoubtedly some truth to that; most of us will have at some point seen or heard something which has taken longer than usual to make sense of while misted out high up in the mountains. A distant sheep can sound an awful lot like a human voice shouting for help, for example :)

I have two places in particular that have made me feel uncomfortable on more than one occasion. The first time I felt it was the moor that runs between Long Crag and Hedgehope Hill in the Cheviots; more than once I've heard (imagined) the sound of very long and heavy footsteps out of sync with my own as I've crossed this moor, much like the traditional Fear Liath Mor story from Ben Macdui. On the first occasion, one of my dogs (which is not by any means a stupid dog prone to hysteria) has stood and barked and barked and barked at nothing at all on this moor. When I got down and looked at the map and saw that there was an indicated ancient settlement just a half kilometre from there, I got genuine goosebumps :)

The other is Coire nan Laogh on Beinn Alligin. Never seen anything there or heard anything there, but the three times I've been up there solo it's been a distinctly gloomy experience despite good weather two of those times; the surroundings are magnificent and the views back to Loch Torridon are probably my favourite in the world, but something about the place always casts a shadow over my mood and puts me in a strange and reflective and maudlin frame of mind. I went up again a couple of months ago in company (for the first time) and didn't feel it at all. It's a steep-sided and gloomy corrie, undeniably, so I don't suppose it's too surprising that it sometimes feels oppressive, but I've been in similar places and not felt anything like that.

I'm a level headed chap and I'm not a ghost story believer. I know that all these things can be explained, but even then my mind has occasionally overtaken me in exactly the way described in Affleck Gray's stupid book. Anybody ever felt a strange sense of gloom in the hills that they can't explain? If you don't have any of your own, just share your favourite mountain ghost stories for the sake of a good read :)
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Re: Ghostbusters

Postby teaandpies » Thu Jun 11, 2015 9:04 pm

ABSOLUTELY CRAZY.

I am honestly putting a chapter in my report about how I felt like I was being followed yesterday on Beinn Ime. I also thought I was hearing voices.
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Re: Ghostbusters

Postby OpenC » Thu Jun 11, 2015 9:24 pm

Uncanny :) all the way up and down, or just in a particular place?

Pleased it's not just me, anyway :)
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Re: Ghostbusters

Postby teaandpies » Thu Jun 11, 2015 9:48 pm

On the slog up.

Glad I'm not mental.
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Re: Ghostbusters

Postby NickyRannoch » Thu Jun 11, 2015 11:33 pm

A very good book on this sort of thing is Magic Mountains by Rennie McOwan.

I had a similar feeling on Ben Alligin but I put it down to fast flowing mist, darkening skies and trepidation aboutbthe horns which were to be my first scramble.

A couple of times I have got freaked out as the sun is going down when I'm on high camps in the cairngorms. Summit of beinn mheadhoin and mullach clach a' bhlair spring to mind. I think there is a trigger in the back of my mind that says I shouldn't there (plus dehydration,exhaustion etc).
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Re: Ghostbusters

Postby ChrisW » Fri Jun 12, 2015 1:47 am

I'm not a believer in ghosts and never have been but had the strangest feeling whilst on the return leg of a recent hike to Black Rock Mountain http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=51929 Ironically Black Rock is located in the "Ghost Wilderness" area :lol:

Anyway, about half way back along the trail I really began to get the sense that something was following me, I mean really strongly got that feeling. There wasn't any particular noise or movement that caused me to think it and it is very unlike me. I've walked hundreds of miles alone and often in darkness without ever getting this feeling or anything like it, but on the down side of Black Rock I was almost sure I was being followed, so much so that after turning around several times and seeing nothing, I rounded a corner and dived in behind trees/undergrowth and stayed dead still listening and watching for my 'shadow' ......there was nothing and after a short time I returned to the trail and carried on, and so did that feeling, that 6th sense telling me something was behind me. It stayed that way all the way back to the truck and there never was any sign of anyone or anything...it was really strange :shock: Never happened since, nor has it happened before.....I put it down to having too much sun on the day :lol: :lol:
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Re: Ghostbusters

Postby Caberfeidh » Fri Jun 12, 2015 8:48 am

Aaaarrrrrrrrr, shiver me timbers, aarr! There was the time I was hiking over a misty moor in highland Perthshire, a heathery open moor, only on this particular day it was so misty all I could see all around was an encircling wall of white mist. As I progressed in my own bubble of white-walled nothingness, I saw a strange apparition appear, floating in the air about six feet off the ground. A white disembodied skull, with long white hair flowing in the breeze as the skull bobbed gently up and down. I got quite a fright as I saw this, but as Martha Reeves would put it, having nowhere to run to and nowhere to hide, I approached closer, hairs tingling on the back of my neck, eyes staring, until I got close enough to see that it was only an old hank of sheep's fleece stuck on the end of a coil of wire from an old wrecked deer fence. Phooey.
Another time, hiking up to Bob Scott's bothy from the Linn O'Dee one winter's night, climbing kit strapped to my heavy rucksack, I wearily made my way along past the old ruined sheilings. A half moon showed between ragged clouds torn by the wind. As I passed the ruins left by the glen's inhabitants of ancient times, I heard a low, breathy whistle, or wail behind me. I turned quickly but could see no-one on the moonlit track. Perhaps it was a bird. I carried on, only to hear the breathy "Oooo-Oooo" behind me again. It was so close and loud I was sure it was some one taking the mickey. I twisted round suddenly, as the noise was happening, but it stopped instantly, and the brightly-moonlit track showed a complete absence of anyone. A herd of deer moved across the flood-plain of the river. The wind hissed over the tumbled stone walls of the old sheilings. I wondered if some of the guys from the bothy had been out gathering firewood and, seeing me coming, had decided to give me a fright.They were likely hiding behind the old walls, giggling to themselves. I carried on regardless, only for the spooky noise to start again immediately, right behind me. I twisted around ready to punch whoever was doing it, friend or foe. It stopped but started again, right behind me, in the direction I had been walking. "It" was between me and the bothy! I turned again, and again it was behind me, a traditional ghost story "Woooo-oooo". I could feel myself getting pale in the face, shaky in the knees and if I had spoken my voice would have quavered with fright. What I needed here was a weapon. Not being equipped with a Ghost Busters' style backpack,I figured an ice-axe in my hand would provide a reassuring psychological boost. I reached back to pull my ice axes from the lower straps of my rucksack and the spooky, breathy "ooooo" sound stopped. I let go of the axe handles and the noise started again. I gripped them and it stopped. They were Stubai Sierra Extreme ice tools, with a hollow tubular shaft. The wind had been blowing across the shaft ends, making a sound like someone blowing across the top of a bottle...
For real spookiness though, the Galloway Hills are the spookiest, giving a constant unnerving feeling of being watched. It is not just me; I mentioned this in a bothy and another bloke agreed that he felt the same way there, a feeling not felt elsewhere. I have camped in Glen Coe, infamous for the massacre of the MacDonalds, I have camped on Skye near to old battle sites, I have even dossed in graveyards, but the Galloway Hills are the spookiest.
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Re: Ghostbusters

Postby basscadet » Fri Jun 12, 2015 10:21 am

The only time I have been unnerved was near Ben Alder cottage.. I had spent the night, and there was some clattering from the other room, but this hadn't brought on any uneasiness, and I slept well.. The following day was dreichit and misty, as I took the path up to bealach beithe. At a particular place, I got a horrible feeling in my stomach, and I felt like something was very wrong. I couldn't see more than ten yards which didn't help, as I felt there was something terrible just out of sight. I started running, but just a few yards further on, I encountered a stag stood in the path - this thing was massive and just stood there looking at me.. I took to the bog, and gave it a wide berth, but the feeling didnt go until I was almost up at the loch.. :?
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Re: Ghostbusters

Postby Sabbathstevie » Fri Jun 12, 2015 1:05 pm

Spotted an interesting BBC news story where scientists managed to identify certain conditions where the brain becomes disorientated and mistakes yourself for being another presence close by - certainly likely in the conditions on places like the MacDui plateau.

http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=47334

As much as I love science, I also like to think that otherworldy things are possible... though this probably isn't one of them! :)
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Re: Ghostbusters

Postby PeteR » Fri Jun 12, 2015 5:15 pm

The long walk in along the Gaik Pass to do An Dun and its neighbour and I swear at one point I heard a voice close by as if they were talking to me. Turned round thinking there might be someone catching up behind me......................but nothing. Looked around for wild campers or walkers heading off the track maybe..................but nothing. Felt a bit uncomfortable for a while after that as I was sure there had been someone there, but the hills were bagged without incident.

Then on the long walk out along the Gaik Pass having just climbed An Dun and its neighbour and again I could swear I head someone speak to me close by. Freaked me right out this time as the sound was clear as anything (don't ask what I think might have been said as I can't recollect that bit) but I turned round and also scoured the area away from the track.......................but nothing.

That day was a clear day too, so no swirling mist or anything like that to disorientate or confuse me.........

I certainly walked out pretty fast after the second incident though :lol:
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Re: Ghostbusters

Postby dtr42 » Fri Jun 12, 2015 7:17 pm

on Ben Narnain a few years ago I saw a figure cresting through the spear gulley .I had seen no one on the way up so was a bit surprised ,anyhoo I got to top and the plateau was clear apart from 2 people at the cairn ,so I asked the usual questions have a nice walk etc and I said they must have been just in front of me at the spear as I HAD seen 1 of them in front of me ,but they said they had come up from the bealache side at Ime and I was the first guy they had seen come up the gulley :shock: so maybe I saw something ,maybe I didnt but I have done Narnain about 10 times ,always up the gulley and have never seen this before or again
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Re: Ghostbusters

Postby Sgurr » Fri Jun 12, 2015 8:29 pm

Just went on reading down the page, and I got the spooky feeling that someone was trying to tell me something. I could just make out the following

"Walking can be dangerous and is done entirely at your own risk"
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Re: Ghostbusters

Postby 37201xoIM » Sat Jun 13, 2015 9:03 pm

I must admit, I find Strathan bothy a bit creepy - I've never spent the night there, but the complete darkness of the place and its partial dereliction, plus the random evidence of recently-departed human life (it's always been empty when I've passed) probably have something to do with it. Much as I generally love the isolation of the location, I had a real sense of trepidation pausing there today, to the extent that I looked in through the windows half expecting something unpleasant to peer back at me...!

PS Good thread, by the way!
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Re: Ghostbusters

Postby Navvarr » Sat Jun 13, 2015 11:41 pm

dtr42 wrote:on Ben Narnain a few years ago I saw a figure cresting through the spear gulley .I had seen no one on the way up so was a bit surprised ,anyhoo I got to top and the plateau was clear apart from 2 people at the cairn ,so I asked the usual questions have a nice walk etc and I said they must have been just in front of me at the spear as I HAD seen 1 of them in front of me ,but they said they had come up from the bealache side at Ime and I was the first guy they had seen come up the gulley :shock: so maybe I saw something ,maybe I didnt but I have done Narnain about 10 times ,always up the gulley and have never seen this before or again


I remember climbing Narnain a good 25 years ago in my youth and there was a plaque commemorating a young lad who had committed suicide from the spears head up on Narnain. I consider myself an atheist, but it makes you wonder sometimes.
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Re: Ghostbusters

Postby Mantog » Mon Jun 15, 2015 4:03 pm

Great thread!
Happened to me in Assynt, the most benign of all places! I wrote a full account in my blog, scroll down to Thursday 23rd June http://www.yorkshireflyfishing.org.uk/2011/07/assynt-2011/ but in essence I was fishing my way around a beautiful hill loch in idyllic conditions. You can marvel at the flank of Suilven from this location, a view that always makes me happy and utterly content. Half way around everything changed, I stepped into what felt like another time, pre-history. I was rather pleased when my mate came to rejoin me as I was getting very twitchy. Alas, although I blatantly heard him noisily walking over burned heather stalks and standing right behind me...literally...right up behind me, there was no one there. Nothing. Open space, nowhere to hide, and as it transpired he was a long way away on a different loch anyway. Very strange. I scarpered!
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