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Spooky experiences


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Like others here I tend to set aside the spooked reaction in favor of more rational explanations. We have a much more comprehensive knowledge of the world around us to draw on than at any time in our evolution, giving confidence in (the more mundane) explanations over the supernatural.

I think our capacity for dreaming and imagining is both a strength and a vulnerability - and the imaginary can be spoken or sung or otherwise communicated in ways that affect us emotionally, which I suspect amplifies or reinforces. When the explanations we imagine are close to reality it helps us solve mysteries and real world problems. When the real world responses we make to what we imagine is going on advantage us rather than disadvantage us it helps us. In the presence of imaginary dangers we may do things that help against real dangers - staying near each other and patrolling the camp perimeters for fear of imaginary predators can protect against real ones.

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1 hour ago, Ken Fabian said:

Like others here I tend to set aside the spooked reaction in favor of more rational explanations.

Most of us anyway.......check out these weird formations, that possibly the more gullible among us may put down to "spooky"

Unusual clouds - in pictures | Science | The Guardian

15 STRANGE CLOUDS seen around the world - YouTube

http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/smartnews/files/2012/08/08_28_2012_mammatus-clouds.jpg

f5cd76ec35ab5eb09a69314f859bb3c6.jpg

Ball Lightning: This bizarre electrical phenomenon usually occurs during thunderstorms and lasts for up to thirty seconds. 

lightning

Mass lightning bolts light up night skies by the Daggett airport from monsoon storms passing over the high deserts early Wednesday, north of Barstow, California.

Then we have the other "natural" weird stuff like sprites, St Elmo's Fire, mirages, illusions etc etc etc

The atmosphere, storms, lightening, the brain etc can all play tricks on our imagination/s.

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8 hours ago, StringJunky said:

Auditory pareidolia. Being pretty deaf, I experience it several times a day, it's just my brain trying to deal with a poor signal in my case.

As stated, the first thing I try is to find sensible explanations. I have had similar experiences as those mentioned here of auditory or visual phenomena.

I have always been able to find those explanations. I have not claimed to see or hear things. I don't.

6 hours ago, Peterkin said:

  the energy requirement is prohibitive. Some form of ESP, why not?

 

I am pretty sure that energy plays a part and is some how available, possibly for all forms of its manifestation.

If you can believe it, the Russian experiments on remote viewing made much of Theta waves.

5 hours ago, Phi for All said:

 

I don't blame people for their skepticism. I am still a big skeptic hearing others stories, because I've seen so many who choose to allow themselves to be mislead. They want to believe., Or have one unexplainable incident (to them) and start looking for meaning in every coincidence or fluke.

By the same token, who am I to tell some one else they are mislead or did not experience what they believe they have.

I think the charlatans are far more more likely to gain advantage from their deceptions than any genuine cases, who it seems don't talk about it.

My experience is there is no practical advantage. To make use of any 'ability' its got to be an ability. I don't understand what is happening so have no control over what does. Those experiencing it 2nd hand generally are 1st creeped out, then normalize it with what ever explanation they find. Very easy when what you are experiencing is not shared. 

That does not favor an evolutionary advantage, nor does our natural skepticism. If a woman told you she often predicted peoples deaths, or could smell disease, or things fly off shelves in her presence I don't see many people here who would be likely to see her as a good mating prospect-quite the opposite.

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I don't know the limits of possibility. Seems like, most or all of the paranormal claims are bogus or deluded. And yet, shit still happens that we're not sure why...

so I keep my mind open. Not wide open so anyone can walk in, just a little ajar, in case something unexpected and wonderful comes knocking.  

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Pretty much how I see it.

As for the things I have experienced, they fall under the shit happens that we are not sure why. Until we know other wise, I will assume there is an explanation but the science hasn't caught up enough yet to provide one.

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5 hours ago, Peterkin said:

 And yet, shit still happens that we're not sure why...

Just because we can't be sure what something is, doesn't mean it is supernatural, paranormal or a UFO/UAP visitation. It means we don't know.

5 hours ago, Peterkin said:

so I keep my mind open. 

So do I, as rationally as possible though. Ghosts, Goblins, fairies at the bottom of the garden, are at the bottom most cellar of that rationality though. UFO'S/UAP'S are real in a number of cases, but highly skeptical of any claim for them being Alien controlled vehicles. 

6 minutes ago, naitche said:

Pretty much how I see it.

As for the things I have experienced, they fall under the shit happens that we are not sure why. Until we know other wise, I will assume there is an explanation but the science hasn't caught up enough yet to provide one.

While agreeing with the above, the ironic thing is every man and his dog, are now in possession of smart phone cameras, and if we were being visited, or ghosts and goblins were doing their shit, we should have more evidence in photos of these things.....and I don't mean the usual poorly focused, grainy pictures of ghosts and UFO's that some of our gullible friends claim as genuine and real. 

As the great Carl Sagan often said, Extraordinary claims, require extraordinary evidence.

 

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Posted (edited)

Sure. I don't believe in ghosts or Goblins. I repeat, I have never experienced visual or auditory phenomena  that could not be explained by the science we know.

A friend once organized a week end in a house touted as the most Haunted in Australia. For Halloween. The only thing remotely interesting I witnessed was the fear of the patrons, of me. I asked my friend was it my imagination, or was the proprietor aiming all his dialog at me, and staring. Several people who were also there for the weekend over heard and confirmed. I still don't know what that was about, but all I had to do the whole weekend was clear my throat and I would get the most wide eyed stare and just about a step back. I agree people are easily gulled, especially once their minds are already made up. So I try to assume nothing. Either way.

Others reinforced  what I was experiencing.  If all those people saw was a photo, or caught only as brief a moment as that, It could have any number of easier explanations. It would indicate nothing, except a wide eyed stare with no context that could have been photo-shopped.  I don't see how that discounts what did happen. 

I don't call that paranormal either. Just some thing I have no logical explanation for. It happens.

If others choose to call such things paranormal, then I guess you could say thats how people understand  unexplained things and I will use that word for their understanding. But I don't believe in magic, or that things happen with out cause, even if we don't understand what that is.

If a person goes fishing and picks up a pack of dogs, one by one on their walk who spend the day with said person only to peel off in the same manner on the way home, some these days might think that creepy strange. Maybe paranormal. They would just be missing information unlearned.

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2 hours ago, naitche said:

If a person goes fishing and picks up a pack of dogs, one by one on their walk who spend the day with said person only to peel off in the same manner on the way home, some these days might think that creepy strange.

Nothing creepy about that. Dogs like pack activities. When I lived in Vancouver, I used to frequent one of those little corner stores in a residential area. It was about five blocks from my flat and by the time I got there, I had a retinue of six or seven neighbourhood dogs. By the time I got home again, they'd all gone about their own canine business. There was nothing about me particularly to attract them - if I smelled of anything, it was ashtrays, not fish - except that I was going for a walk.

When thinking about unexplained mental abilities, I think it's crucial to separate it from external 'paranormal phenomena'.

That is, ESP of some form can be investigated as a processes entirely contained within the human subject. All we need to assume is that the human subject has a functional brain about which we do not yet know everything.

Any investigation that's predicated on the existence of ghosts, spirits, haunts, banshees or whatever is a whole other matter. For that you have to make a very different set of assumptions.

To lump the two together is to render both kind of investigation meaningless.  

   

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I wouldn't either.  I was trying to say that a person could think a lot of things 'paranormal' if they haven't earned the back ground to figure it out. I  don't think we are anywhere near finished figuring things out.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/1/2022 at 6:51 PM, Phi for All said:

I've told this here before, but I had an experience when I was about 8-10 years old. I'd gone to bed, and woke up when I heard something tapping. My window was open, and my brain identified the sound as a woman in heels walking up to our front door. I waited for the footsteps to stop and the doorbell to ring, but they just kept clicking, as if she was pacing beneath my window. I got out of bed and pulled the curtain back to look down and it stopped, and there was nobody there. I went back to bed, and a few minutes later it started up again. Lather, rinse, repeat a few times, exactly the same way. I couldn't figure it out. 

Eventually I gave up on the idea of it being someone outside, and I think that made me listen more closely. I saw that the wind from my open window was moving the curtains, which made the plastic curtain pull knock against the wall. When I pulled the curtains aside to look down, it moved the plastic pull away from the wall and stopped the clicking. 

I do remember how convinced I was at the time that the sound was a woman walking in heels on a concrete sidewalk, but when I figured out what it really was, it didn't sound anywhere close. It sounded exactly like a curtain pull clicking against the wall.

I had a similar experience at a similar age, though it was a strange smell rather than a sound.

When I was around 7 my youngest sister was born. A couple of years later my parents decided that we would swap around bedrooms so that my 2 sisters could share the larger bedroom leaving me with my own smaller room. Shortly after I had moved in I started to experience a rather unpleasant but faint fishy smell. I noticed that the smell would only be there at certain times, mostly from early evenings and then through the night, often, but not always, disappearing by morning. We searched high and low to find the source of the smell, deep cleaned the room top to bottom, added air fresheners etc.. but to no avail. Me and my sisters decided that it must be a ghost and named it "Mr Fishy". Oddly I was never frightened by it even though I was convinced it must be paranormal. 15 years later I decided to do a full re-vamp of the room. On swapping out the electrical accessories I found a single socket outlet that was thermally damaged, looking at it close up I could distinctly, though faint, smell "Mr Fishy". Turns out that the fishy smell was indeed the socket outlet that when used for my bedside lamp and tv would get warm and material it was made from would give off the fishy smell.  

On 2/19/2022 at 8:00 AM, Peterkin said:

At one time, sometimes or many times, we have a moment .... we hear something, see something, feel something, remember something.... otherworldly.

I have had a number of experiences that some would consider to be psychic, but to be clear I don't believe in such. 

For some unknown (to me) I have had a number of premonitions of people's deaths which sounds all rather grim but its true. I have had 5 very clear and distinct experiences where I have "felt" (for want of a better word) the imminent death of a person. 3 of the 5 were people close to me and the other 2 people I had met but only had very brief encounters with. Sadly all 5 deaths came as a surprise to everyone, either caused by accidents or previously undetected ill health.

I would have the "feeling" 2-3 days prior, it would just come over me with no apparent trigger or reason, I would not necessarily have been thinking about them or had any encounters with them recently beforehand. The only way I can describe the feeling is that it was this overwhelming wave of sadness for the person that would then make me think of their death.

To give you an idea, there was one chap who I had met only once who was the father of a friend I competed against in my chosen sport. For some unknown reason, just out of the blue, I had the "feeling".  A few days later I was told the sad news that he had suffered a massive heart attack at the wheel of his car and had died on the scene. This accident occurred 2 days after I had the "feeling" and thoughts of such. 

Now I don't believe in the paranormal of any kind, and I don't claim to have any special abilities!!!!  

I believe that these premonitions can be explained by science. A couple of possible theories I have is that time is not as linear as we imagine. Another is that maybe there are multiverses existing simultaneously that though not directly physically connected have some field connections of some sort be it EM or similar. Another is that I just coincidently for no apparent or special reason just happened to think about it.    

Edited by Intoscience
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  • 1 month later...

This qualifies as spooky, every word is true as I experienced it, though you can make of it what you like. I treat it as a mystery, not proof of spooks.

This is one of only two "odd" things I've ever experienced. Odd it certainly was. But it didn't strictly happen to me. I'm including it here because I was sitting right next to the guy it happened to.

The two of us had been to a nightclub disco in Nailsworth in the Cotteswold hills. We were travelling home at about two am, the road was completely empty. We'd had a few drinks, nothing excessive, and I was driving, he was in the front passenger seat.
I have to mention now that my friend was 0% superstitious, a totally non religious, non-superstitious individual, and I'd known him years. He was a down-to-earth son of a farmer.

As we drove, along the tops of the local hills, I was looking ahead and noticed how much like an arch the trees were, above the road, in my headlights.

I was looking up, admiring that arch effect. Suddenly my friend sat bolt upright, and shouted "what the fuck was that?" at the top of his voice. Then he shouted "stop the car, stop the car!!"

I stopped and asked him what the hell he was talking about.
He was saying "didn't you see it? You must have seen it" and stuff like that. I said "see what? I didn't see anything".
He said that a weird little creature crossed the road, right in front of the car. He kept saying I must have seen it, but I saw nothing. I know I was looking up at the arch above the road made by the trees, right at that instant.

He sounded so genuinely shocked, I asked what it was like, and he said that it was 'horrible', less than a meter in height, black, shiny, and smooth, with a body rising to a peak at the front, and then gradually flowing down towards the rear end. And he said it didn't run, like an animal, it "flowed" across the road, and "glided" up, and over the stone wall.

I was laughing at him, and ribbing him, but he was really shaken. I said, OK, lets back up and have a look. So I reversed up about 100 meters, to where he swore it happened, and he pointed to a wall on our right, and said it came from there, and then pointed at another wall
on our left, and said that it disappeared over that wall.

With me still taking the mickey, we got out of the car, and walked up to the wall it disappeared over. It was very very dark, no moon or street light, just my headlights pointing down the road, so I couldn't see much to start with, but when my eyes got used to the dark, we could see that there were gravestones, and then I made out the shape of an old church.

I have to admit, my confidence was a bit rocked then, but I still took the mick, and told him it must have been the devil, and we both ended up standing on top of the wall, shouting "come on out, you bastard". Pure bravado, fuelled by a few pints of beer.

Anyway, nothing 'came out', and we got back in the car and drove on home.
Nothing more happened, except that when I called at his house the next day, his girlfriend asked what the hell we had been up to, because he woke her up in the middle of the night, babbling about seeing a weird creature, and wouldn't shut up about it till it was getting light, and she got no sleep.

I know this guy so well, I know for a fact that he saw something that really shook him. I told him it must have been a fox, but he was adamant that he saw it really clearly in the headlights, and he was a farmer's son, and knew a fox or deer if he saw one.

Anyway, that is an odd occurrence, especially if you knew how cynical and skeptical this guy is, but not that mysterious I guess. But the story has a postscript.

About two or three years later, I was housesharing a flat, and a new girl moved in. A few of us were chatting one evening, about Stroud, the town she came from. ( not too far from Nailsworth ). She was talking about superstitious stuff that went on in the area, evidence of witchraft and such. I could tell that she was a fairly superstitious person herself.

Then she said, "and of course, there are the Sfarts on Haresfield Beacon!". We all laughed at the name, and I said "what the hell are Sfarts?" And she said "they are little creatures that people say they have glimpsed at twilight on Haresfield Beacon. ( A local beauty spot ).
I said, "what are they like"? and she said " they are about two and a half feet tall, black and shiny, with a point at the top, and flowing down gradually to a tail. And they don't run, they 'glide' across the fields.

We were still laughing at the name, and the description, but something was nagging at me, like I'd heard something similar before.
This was a good two or three years later, so it didn't immediately dawn on me, till the next morning, that it was practically word for word what my friend had seen.
And this girl had definitely never met my friend, I hadn't seen him for ages, and she had only just moved in, and she came from a town ten miles away. I must admit I haven't got any decent explanation for why she should give such a detailed description, that so accurately matched what he said he saw.
 
The end of the story is that I've asked other people since from that area if they have ever heard of Sfarts, or of weird creatures on Haresfield Beacon, and the answer has always been "no".
And one more detail, I didn't connect the two initially because I knew that you would need to drive about seven or eight miles to get from where it happened to Haresfield Beacon, but I looked at a map once, years later, and if you travelled overland, along the ridge of the hills, it was actually less than a mile!

Anyway, make of that story what you will. I can assure you every word of mine is true. (although I can't guarantee that other people didn't invent). It was frustrating that I wasn't looking, at the very instant it happened, maybe that would have been the end of it, if I didn't see anything, or maybe I would have seen that it was a fox, or bin liner in the wind.
(although I do remember that there was no wind that night)

But anyway, I didn't see it, so that's all there is.

 

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Posted (edited)
On 5/3/2022 at 8:17 AM, Intoscience said:

Now I don't believe in the paranormal of any kind, and I don't claim to have any special abilities!!!

Neither do I believe. But, rather than rule out such abilities entirely, I classify them as marginormal: not understood at the moment. Maybe sometime they'll be understood as normal; maybe understanding them is beyond our capabilities; maybe they're psychological anomalies symptomatic of an evolutionary adaptation. I get the impression that the most common premonition is of death or at least imminent danger, which would certainly be useful once in a while.

(However, I rate ghosts and supernatural entities of any kind at a probability so close to 0 as to be negligible.)

The problem is how to study extrasensory events objectively. As with other mental processes, the evidence can only come from the subject, and is therefore unverifiable in a controlled setting. Can't expect scientists to kill off the families of their student lab-rats, because the tuition money would dry up. But that doesn't mean they'll stop trying to study some aspects of unusual mental ability. 

https://noetic.org/blog/the-science-of-precognition/

On 5/3/2022 at 8:17 AM, Intoscience said:

A couple of possible theories I have is that time is not as linear as we imagine. Another is that maybe there are multiverses existing simultaneously that though not directly physically connected have some field connections of some sort be it EM or similar.

Those sound pretty far-fetched. But so does quantum entanglement. 

 

1 hour ago, mistermack said:

Then she said, "and of course, there are the Sfarts on Haresfield Beacon!". We all laughed at the name, and I said "what the hell are Sfarts?" And she said "they are little creatures that people say they have glimpsed at twilight on Haresfield Beacon. ( A local beauty spot ).
I said, "what are they like"? and she said " they are about two and a half feet tall, black and shiny, with a point at the top, and flowing down gradually to a tail. And they don't run, they 'glide' across the fields.

Some other people must have known about whatever the phenomenon is, in order for the girl to to be so definite, and not anticipate ridicule (She must have been an innocent maiden!) but it must be a very small circle. And she mentioned no harm or mischief done by these weird creatures, which doesn't fit with the pattern of local legends, or folklore in general, in which seldom-glimpsed entities are usually held responsible for peculiar events. No specific location is shunned, or considered haunted - they just glide past once in a blue moon, and disappear.

*Of course, they're marooned extraterrestrials, hiding from the harsh light of our sun by day, seeking their meager sustenance in the woods and fields after dark .... *

*then again, probably not* but it's a good story. I'm glad we haven't explained away all the spooky things that happen in our world and in our heads.   

Edited by Peterkin
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36 minutes ago, Peterkin said:

Some other people must have known about whatever the phenomenon is, in order for the girl to to be so definite, and not anticipate ridicule

I've often puzzled over that story, and how it can be explained. I don't believe in spooky creatures, but it did happen as I said. I noticed a while back that she definitely said Sfart, but that svart is a germanic or swedish word meaning black. And the description is definitely of something black. I doubt that she would have known that, so there must be more people than her who have heard the story, and come up with the name.

My own "best" guess would be that there are people going out at night, setting up some sort of rig to perpetuate this myth. A bit like the crop circle people. If they are, they must be very dedicated, to hang around a deserted old church yard at 2 in the morning, to wait for a car, to give people a fright. 

It's not a very likely picture, but I can't do any better. 

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29 minutes ago, mistermack said:

My own "best" guess would be that there are people going out at night, setting up some sort of rig to perpetuate this myth.

And not a word in the travel brochures, Midsomer Murders or online spook-chaser circles?  That strikes me as peculiar.

I also thought of schwarz, swart or svart, but this is all I can find:

Quote

In Norse mythology, the svartálfar ("black elves") or dökkálfar (" dark elves") are supernatural beings (Old Norse " vættir," wights) that are said to reside in the underground world of Svartálfheim. https://www.cs.mcgill.ca/~rwest/wikispeedia/wpcd/wp/s/Svart%C3%A1lfar.htm

They're supposed to give people bad dreams, not flit about harmlessly over walls. The lore may have come to England by way Iceland and changed somewhat en route. Nevertheless, one person you know to be unuprestitious actually saw something.

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11 hours ago, mistermack said:

This qualifies as spooky, every word is true as I experienced it, though you can make of it what you like. I treat it as a mystery, not proof of spooks.

This is one of only two "odd" things I've ever experienced. Odd it certainly was. But it didn't strictly happen to me. I'm including it here because I was sitting right next to the guy it happened to.

The two of us had been to a nightclub disco in Nailsworth in the Cotteswold hills. We were travelling home at about two am, the road was completely empty. We'd had a few drinks, nothing excessive, and I was driving, he was in the front passenger seat.
I have to mention now that my friend was 0% superstitious, a totally non religious, non-superstitious individual, and I'd known him years. He was a down-to-earth son of a farmer.

As we drove, along the tops of the local hills, I was looking ahead and noticed how much like an arch the trees were, above the road, in my headlights.

I was looking up, admiring that arch effect. Suddenly my friend sat bolt upright, and shouted "what the fuck was that?" at the top of his voice. Then he shouted "stop the car, stop the car!!"

I stopped and asked him what the hell he was talking about.
He was saying "didn't you see it? You must have seen it" and stuff like that. I said "see what? I didn't see anything".
He said that a weird little creature crossed the road, right in front of the car. He kept saying I must have seen it, but I saw nothing. I know I was looking up at the arch above the road made by the trees, right at that instant.

He sounded so genuinely shocked, I asked what it was like, and he said that it was 'horrible', less than a meter in height, black, shiny, and smooth, with a body rising to a peak at the front, and then gradually flowing down towards the rear end. And he said it didn't run, like an animal, it "flowed" across the road, and "glided" up, and over the stone wall.

I was laughing at him, and ribbing him, but he was really shaken. I said, OK, lets back up and have a look. So I reversed up about 100 meters, to where he swore it happened, and he pointed to a wall on our right, and said it came from there, and then pointed at another wall
on our left, and said that it disappeared over that wall.

With me still taking the mickey, we got out of the car, and walked up to the wall it disappeared over. It was very very dark, no moon or street light, just my headlights pointing down the road, so I couldn't see much to start with, but when my eyes got used to the dark, we could see that there were gravestones, and then I made out the shape of an old church.

I have to admit, my confidence was a bit rocked then, but I still took the mick, and told him it must have been the devil, and we both ended up standing on top of the wall, shouting "come on out, you bastard". Pure bravado, fuelled by a few pints of beer.

Anyway, nothing 'came out', and we got back in the car and drove on home.
Nothing more happened, except that when I called at his house the next day, his girlfriend asked what the hell we had been up to, because he woke her up in the middle of the night, babbling about seeing a weird creature, and wouldn't shut up about it till it was getting light, and she got no sleep.

I know this guy so well, I know for a fact that he saw something that really shook him. I told him it must have been a fox, but he was adamant that he saw it really clearly in the headlights, and he was a farmer's son, and knew a fox or deer if he saw one.

Anyway, that is an odd occurrence, especially if you knew how cynical and skeptical this guy is, but not that mysterious I guess. But the story has a postscript.

About two or three years later, I was housesharing a flat, and a new girl moved in. A few of us were chatting one evening, about Stroud, the town she came from. ( not too far from Nailsworth ). She was talking about superstitious stuff that went on in the area, evidence of witchraft and such. I could tell that she was a fairly superstitious person herself.

Then she said, "and of course, there are the Sfarts on Haresfield Beacon!". We all laughed at the name, and I said "what the hell are Sfarts?" And she said "they are little creatures that people say they have glimpsed at twilight on Haresfield Beacon. ( A local beauty spot ).
I said, "what are they like"? and she said " they are about two and a half feet tall, black and shiny, with a point at the top, and flowing down gradually to a tail. And they don't run, they 'glide' across the fields.

We were still laughing at the name, and the description, but something was nagging at me, like I'd heard something similar before.
This was a good two or three years later, so it didn't immediately dawn on me, till the next morning, that it was practically word for word what my friend had seen.
And this girl had definitely never met my friend, I hadn't seen him for ages, and she had only just moved in, and she came from a town ten miles away. I must admit I haven't got any decent explanation for why she should give such a detailed description, that so accurately matched what he said he saw.
 
The end of the story is that I've asked other people since from that area if they have ever heard of Sfarts, or of weird creatures on Haresfield Beacon, and the answer has always been "no".
And one more detail, I didn't connect the two initially because I knew that you would need to drive about seven or eight miles to get from where it happened to Haresfield Beacon, but I looked at a map once, years later, and if you travelled overland, along the ridge of the hills, it was actually less than a mile!

Anyway, make of that story what you will. I can assure you every word of mine is true. (although I can't guarantee that other people didn't invent). It was frustrating that I wasn't looking, at the very instant it happened, maybe that would have been the end of it, if I didn't see anything, or maybe I would have seen that it was a fox, or bin liner in the wind.
(although I do remember that there was no wind that night)

But anyway, I didn't see it, so that's all there is.

 

It's an interesting story and the fact that your friend described what he saw and then another person completely (as far as you know) unconnected described the same thing a few years lately raises the interest and adds some validity to your friends account. 

Thanks for sharing it with us! 

My father had a similar experience when he was courting my mother. They had been out for the evening, whilst driving home he stopped at a layby to well... "use the toilet". At this point he saw what appeared to be a figure, grey in colour around human height and shape but not very discernible. Spooked he shot back into the car and asked my mother if she had seen anything, she said "only you crossing the road". He then explained that he had not crossed the road at any point, at which point it dawned on her that she had found it odd that he would have crossed the road and also that she couldn't really make out if it was him or not and that she had just assumed so. 

Neither of them are suppositious or believe in the paranormal. Even to this day my father always states that it was just an illusion due to him being tired. This might well be, and probably is the case, however the only oddity being that my mother saw a figure that was not my father cross the road at the same time.    

Edited by Intoscience
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There are also optical illusions, due to some unusual interaction of light and dark, fog and reflection, nerves and synapses... We often see and hear things that either are not there or are in reality something other than they appear: the human sensory equipment is not yet perfected to an evolutionary absolute, and our imagination has always been very good at filling in blanks in a pattern, providing a narrative for experience.  

When two people see the same unlikely thing, it's more likely the physical world providing unaccustomed phenomena (like those weird cloud formations earlier in this thread) than pure imagination, but the imagination still adds its own commentary, especially if another person provides a clue.

I've seen a lot of very strange things on night roads, most of which I could not be sure I seeing. Once, in broad daylight, in countryside, I very briefly saw a  monkey the size of a small child, washing something at the edge of a little pond. No way! This is cold Canada; we have raccoons and bears, not monkeys. But the next time we drove that way, I saw it again: a perfectly normal macaque, perched on top of a rock, scratching its belly, contemplating life. Sometimes the weird things we see are just weird things other people do.  

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Plus one to @mistermack for telling a good story.  Cannot help but think the several pints of beer are relevant.  I like the notion of dedicated pranksters waiting on lonely roads with cables and black shiny blobs they drag in front of approaching cars.  Not sfartfetched at all!

 

Weirdest experiences for me have been people I encountered, like when working in a county courthouse in my youth.  I did LEXIS searches, helped the public find law books (those wanting to do their own research), and there was the occasional crackpot (this was the West Coast).  One of them said I was clearly an ancient soul who had been part of the ruling class in Teotihuacan, the ancient Mesoamerican city.  She said it was easy to spot people like me, and that we had special powers, and we worked behind the scenes.  I said something like "wayyyy behind the scenes."  Then the phone rang, and I was rescued, and also saved from the temptation of seeing if my special powers meant she had to go get me a sandwich if I asked.

 

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The other really weird thing that's happened to me was a hallucination, I know that. Apart from dreams, it's the only one I've ever had, but it was astoundingly real at the time.

I was in Ireland on holiday, I was on my own, fishing for trout along the local small river. I was on my way home, walking along a narrow leafy country lane, and coming up to a sharp bend, I could hear, absolutely clearly, a full marching band, coming towards me, but out of sight, around the bend. The sound was so loud, and so crystal clear, that I kept in to the side of the road as I walked, to give them room to pass. I was amazed that there was a marching band, out in the middle of nowhere, but if you hear it so clearly, you don't question it. 

But as I went further round the bend, expecting to pass them, the sound sort of tailed off, and it became the sound of a waterfall that was right there next to the road. The further I went, the more it was the waterfall making the noise, and by the time I got level, there was no marching band at all. 

It had been so real, I was absolutely stunned, asking myself, "did I hear that, or imagine it?" so I decided to walk back around the bend, and sure enough, there was the sound of the marching band, absolutely clear. I walked back again, and again it faded and became the waterfall noise. 

I was so amazed , I repeated going back and forwards slower and slower, and the effect gradually faded, as I concentrated on what I was actually hearing, so that after three or four repeats, I stopped hearing it.

What stunned me was the sheer clarity of the experience. The real sound of the waterfall obviously sparked off something in my brain, and the brain filled in the missing detail to an amazing degree. I know it can't have been anything spooky, because I recognised the tune later, and it was a tune from a tv commercial for Peter Stuyvesant cigarettes, a real rousing military marching tune that was a popular ad at the time. Not a likely choice for spooks.

There was no drug or alcohol connection, I was stone cold sober, so although I didn't see anything, I can appreciate just how real a hallucination can feel. If it wasn't for the postscript of the girl, and her Sfarts, I would 100% put my friend's experience down to a hallucination sparked by a trick of the light, or possibly sparked by an owl, gliding across the road. The gliding bit does sound a bit owl like, but it's stretching credulity for people on Haresfield Beacon to be having the same hallucination, and often enough to be giving it a name.

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2 hours ago, mistermack said:

It had been so real, I was absolutely stunned, asking myself, "did I hear that, or imagine it?" so I decided to walk back around the bend, and sure enough, there was the sound of the marching band, absolutely clear. I walked back again, and again it faded and became the waterfall noise. 

Did you recognize the tune they were playing?

Often, a resemblance of something new and unknown to something familiar triggers an automatic memory search. Faster than you can be aware of what's happening, your auditory center in the temporal lobe say: "Here is a sound I ought to know." Switchboard replies, "Let's look in the data base. Like this? More like this?" A.C. "Yes, that's it!" Sw.Bd. "March. Played by brass band. With big drums." And now the frontal lobe finally gets the message. "Hey, there's a marching band around the corner." "A what?" "Just listen." "Is that Sousa?" "Sorry, nothing in that file." "Big band, huh?" "Affirmative." "I'd better stand aside."

That's human mind - always striving to make narrative sense of its environment and experience. A capacity that gets us into trouble sometimes, but also contributes to general viability - and engenders a good deal of creative production.

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I've heard it's quite common to hear voices or music in the sound of water.  Something about the frequency range, and the cognitive fill that @Peterkin describes.  Have noticed the "babbling brook" effect on several occasions.  As I kid I also noticed from the back seat that engine and highway noise, on long trips, would sometimes seem to have choral singing in it.  When I was a little older and saw 2001: A Space Odyssey and the black monoliths emitted those long choral notes I recognized it immediately as the singing of a 1965 Dodge Dart on the Kansas turnpike.

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