Got Any Stories Of "sylvan Dread"?

Discussion in 'Wilderness' started by OursIsTheFury, Jul 16, 2017.

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  1. OursIsTheFury

    OursIsTheFury Expert Member

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    Sylvan dread is a term used for that "feeling" of nervousness or panic that won't go away when you are out in the wilderness alone or in a small group, and you either feel like somebody is watching, or somebody is following. I've never had this experience but my groupmates back in college had to walk 6 hours into their patients' community deep in the mountains for our outreach program, and about an hour into the hike they noticed that for every step they make, there's usually a sound that comes in the area where they were 10 seconds prior. It came to the point that they actually had to walk swiftly just to see if anybody's following them. They never found out if there really as anybody on their trail, but it really freaked them out.
  2. PriscillaKing

    PriscillaKing Expert Member

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    Never. As a child, during the parents' Nomad Phase, I had anxieties and nightmares and so on in strange cities, but the mountains always felt like home. Even though, for the first year or so after I was born, we lived in L.A. (San Bernardino, to be precise.)

    Of course somebody always is watching, in a forest. All the harmless little woodland creatures are waiting for you to go away so they can venture out and get back to what they were doing. Usually a few predatory creatures (mosquitoes, e.g.) are waiting for an opportunity to attack.
  3. TexDanm

    TexDanm Shadow Dancer

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    I have had that feeling on a lot of occasions. I used to walk about 5 to 10 miles almost every night in the wood sand swamps. I've spent thousands of hours alone in the woods and this is a fairly common feeling. Especially in a swamp sounds carry in extremely strange ways and you will occasionally hear people talking where you know there are no people. There are also places in most swamps where people just don't go and when you do you often get a feeling that you are being watched. Far out in a swamp you will find hummocks that nobody can get to except on foot and willing to wade mud muck and some deep water to get there. I used to know where several were and would go to them to hunt. The animals out there are not near as shy as you normally see.

    There was one area that was usually a dry walk to get to and I liked to walk it at night. After a while I started noting that I was being followed. This went on for several years and I got so I would talk to it and Named it Hugo. It got so almost as soon as I would get to the deep swamp Hugo would show up. You could hear it walking in the water and occasionally a sucking sound as it pulled a foot out of the mud. One night my 70 pound German Shepherd got loose and decided she was going to run Hugo off. She was always very protective of me. She jumped into the bushes snarling and growling and a second later was flying back out screaming. Hugo either kicked or threw her about 30 feet through the air. After that when Hugo would show up that dog would get right up against me with her tail tucked.

    I carried several people out with me to see if we could spot and see what Hugo was but were never successful. I finally just accepted Hugo as a friend and it seemed to like its walks with me and would listen to me talk with only an occasional grunt.

    I spent 2 weeks alone solo camping in the woods and was watched by all of my neighbors. Coyotes and such are curious animals as are racoons and even squirrels. Sometimes though it is as if the woods themselves have eyes on you and the feeling is rather odd. Over that 2 week period I fasted and "dreamed" and learned a lot about relationships from a copse of pine trees. They joust in the winds and decide over time who is the boss and where the limbs will be allowed to grow. The individual trees had different personalities and over time You begin to see a pecking order. In the end you come to understand that the group of trees in natural growth are stronger as a group than the sum of their individual strength. Most of the trees will have almost all of their limbs on one side but there will be one tree in the middle that is limbed all the way around. When a hard wind blows the lesser trees lean on that strongest tree and its limbs cusson their bumping. When the big tree starts to get pushed it leans on its smaller brethren and is supported. In the end you see that the trees are a group and not individuals. Each is allowed what it needs and the stronger don't seem to shade the weaker ones out as you would expect.

    I never feel alone in the wilds. I'm very comfortable there and at least where I live there is nothing to fear other than maybe two legged critters and they seldom even know that I am there and if they feel eyes they are right I am watching them. LOL, I know for a fact that I was once reported as a swamp monster. They never saw anything of me but my shadow but it scared the living crap out of them.
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