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A Dartmoor Tale

Dick Turpin

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DT, as soon as I read your tale ( good build up by the way) I knew what this was having been caught out by the same noise only my close encounter was in daylight so less creepy. I spent a good half hour being convinced the Beast was prowling after me.

Yes it’s a mazing what the imagination conjures up isn’t it Eyespy.

Can you elaborate on your story please. Are you saying that you had the same experience with a cattle grid and on Dartmoor.?
 

WeirdExeter

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I share your love of Dartmoor. It was on my horizon when growing up in Devon. After many day trips I finally got to live on a Dartmoor farm for a year in 2012-13.

i used to scare myself silly going on solo night drives across the open moor. The night sky is wonderfully unpolluted by man-made light and mundane astronomical events can be quite spooky. Sadly, no major Fortean phenomenon to report other than evidence of Pagan goings-on in some woods and possible poltergeist activity in the farmhouse (including cold spots).

However, Nich Redfern uncovered a relatively recent Hairy Hands encounter (detailed in his British Bigfoot book (2007)). There is also a lesser known local legend regarding the River Dart, which springs up on the high moor and runs down to the sea at Dartmouth. The legend is that the river will take a life every year, or else it will take two the following year. Sadly, even a quick Google search shows that this legend is not without foundation..

interestingly, I found the forested fringes of the moor to be more remote than the high moor., with lonely back roads almost devoid of either traffic, people or habitation.
 

RaM

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I was parked up on the moor many years back when there was this sort of
thump on the passenger window, I looked over to see a big pink hairy thing
pressed against the window, sadly not the hairy hand but the noise of a Dartmoor
pony wanting to share my butties, she and her foale got their share and ambled
off to frighten other unsuspecting motorists.
 

catseye

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During a night at the Pixie's Holt youth hostel up on Dartmoor, I woke in the middle of the night to see lights reflecting off a mirror in the room. It was only in the morning that I realised that the mirror shouldn't have reflected any lights, as it didn't point towards the road.

Our school used to frequent Pixie's Holt for Geography field trips and DofE trips. We used to enjoy scaring ourselves with ghost stories (and one of the rooms was rumoured to be haunted). Anyone know if this is still the case?
 

bugmum

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i used to scare myself silly going on solo night drives across the open moor.
Never done that solo, but whilst at University in Plymouth I had a couple of friends with cars, and occasionally a night-time trip to Dartmoor would be proposed. Went up with my (male) best friend once, a very dark moonless night; he pulled the car over somewhere before Princetown, turned the lights off and said "Right, let's tell ghost stories!" However, within five minutes we were so spooked by the atmosphere that we headed back towards Plymouth, stereo on full and both singing away to chase away the heebie-jeebies!
 

catseye

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I think it might be something to do with the way that Dartmoor rolls up onto moorland and then down into villagey valleys that makes it spookier. I live on the North York Moors now, which are bigger, less populated and bleaker, but don't seem to have that 'looming menace' thing of the moors down south. Less ice cream vans too.
 

Eyespy

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Dick- sorry for delay in responding. Yes I was creeped out by distant, intermitted growly noises. Those cattle grid rumbles do carry when there is not much wind and there are few people about to distract you.

Many years ago ( 1987?) I was supporting 10 Tors event, one of the the teams who had been camped out on the moor overnight came in first thing- they were waiting for us to sign them through. They were very hyped up and nervy as the Puma had been prowling around their tents all night and had eaten some of their food. they were so spooked they got up and fled as soon as there was sufficient light to break camp.

I did wonder later ( when i was properly awake) if they had heard vehicles moving, and their youthful imaginations had filled in the rest
 

Dick Turpin

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Dick- sorry for delay in responding. Yes I was creeped out by distant, intermitted growly noises. Those cattle grid rumbles do carry when there is not much wind and there are few people about to distract you.

Many years ago ( 1987?) I was supporting 10 Tors event, one of the the teams who had been camped out on the moor overnight came in first thing- they were waiting for us to sign them through. They were very hyped up and nervy as the Puma had been prowling around their tents all night and had eaten some of their food. they were so spooked they got up and fled as soon as there was sufficient light to break camp.

I did wonder later ( when i was properly awake) if they had heard vehicles moving, and their youthful imaginations had filled in the rest
Catseye, that is the one thing I’d always expected to run into during my time hiking the moor, an ABC. But alas, never did.

Although one fortean experience we did have once, was when we were sheltering from a storm in the old ruined gun powder mills.

We again were on a 10 mile schlep, but got caught out by a storm half way through. No time to turn back so made our way to the powder mills, which according to my map were owned by Historic England. I figured that if the powder mills were owned by Historic England, then it must be a visitor attraction, and catering facilities would be provided, - at least somewhere we could shelter from the storm, but all I could see were the ruined mills and a five barred gate which I presumed lead onto private property.

There we were huddling together with our backs against the mill walls, when the missus started shouting in my ear that we were being watched by a strange looking man. I couldn’t hear her at first because of the wind and the rain, but got it eventually so looked over and there was nothing there. I told her this, but she said “there look, he’s staring right at us”….I couldn’t see a soul.

She later described him as wearing grey flannel trousers and a white shirt with the sleeves rolled up, certainly not suitable weather for a walk on the moor in mid-October. Later after chatting to the hotel receptionist, I was told that the powder mills are a local haunted spot, with many hikers reporting the feeling of being watched while passing through that part of the moor.

Interesting that she could see someone but I could not.
 

living-in-ithilien

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I’d been meaning to tap this one up for ages, but have always been put off by the length of the bloody thing. Today however some IT dude knocked out the systems at work, so the internet is all we’ve had since 2pm

Sorry, this is long, bear with though,,

Dartmoor in SW England is one of my favourite of places, and England’s last wilderness according to some travel books

It’s definitely a very fortean location, and abounds with folklore from Kitty Jay’s grave, ghostly hairy hands that steer motorists off the road, demonic dogs and the devils footprints in the snow.

However some years back, Mrs DT and, I were given the opportunity of a child free weekend, when my sister in law offered to take the kids off our hands for a few days. Of course we leapt at the chance, so I booked a double room for 4 nights in a well-known Dartmoor hotel, and planned to spend at least two days of the four hiking

On our first full day we set off for a hike with map, compass, warm clothes, flasks of tea etc and parked the car in one of those funny little car parks that are dotted over the moor.

The walk I’d chosen was a 10 mile circular route, that started and finished back at the car. Now Dartmoor can be a very unhospitable place at times, and the terrain can be quite arduous, so we started off at 11am, calculating it would take us no longer than 4 hours to complete the walk, and we should be back at the car around 3pm and long before nightfall – this was in early November, so the Sun would have set by 4.30pm.

What I didn’t calculate however, was the fact that neither of us had done anything like this in years, and just how knackering Dartmoor can be . Fatigue set in after a few miles so our pace was quite slow, however we carried on and by 3pm I reckoned we were only about a mile away from the finishing line.

We had just stopped for a quick tea break, when we heard a sound in the distance that set my mind racing and made the wife look at me open mouthed.

Mrs- Did you hear that..?
Me – Yes
Mrs- What was it..?
Me - I don’t know
Mrs- Really..?
Me – Yes really
Mrs – Okay, but what did it sound like to you..?
Me – Said nothing and shrugged my shoulders

I packed the flask of tea away in my rucksack, and we set back off, but after about 5 minutes or so we heard the sound again, but this time it was louder, so whatever it was, was closer.

Mrs –My god did you hear that noise again.?
Me – Yes I did
Mrs - what the F--- is it.?
Me – Dunno
Mrs – Okay what did it sound like to you..?
Me – Did not answer, just carried on walking

Couple of minutes later, there it was again, but louder still.

Mrs –FFS Turpin, I’m getting a scared. What on earth is it..?
Me- Lets just keep moving forward love

Two minutes later, we heard it again and louder still, that’s when the wife threw a bit of a paddy.

Mrs- Right that’s it, I’m turning back.
Me – We can’t turn back we’re in the middle on no-where. The cars is less than a mile away in this direction, and anyway there’s nowhere to turn back to
Mrs – Stop walking. I want you to tell me what you think it is
Me –I don’t know what it is
Mrs- Okay tell me what you think it sounds like then..?

I couldn’t dodge the question a third time, so stopped walking and looked at her in the eye

Me – Okay well to me, it sounds like the howl from the werewolf in the film an American werewolf in London

And it did too, you know the bit early on in the film when the 2 American lads are walking over the moor, that noise they heard in the background - It sounded exactly like that, absolutely 100%

Mrs -Yes, Yes me too, that is exactly what it sounded like. Oh my god, can we call anyone, where’s my mobile, fcuk I’ve got no signal.
Me - Right calm down love, of course it not a bloody werewolf. If we quicken our pace we’ll be back at the car in under 10 minutes.

We carried on as the quickly as we could, but every so often would hear this blood curdling noise, and even I was beginning to feel panic set in.

Well, of course it wasn’t a werewolf, in fact what was causing the noise was so mundane that we both felt genuinely embarrassed.

In our defence though, we was out alone on a cold and windy moor. It was slowly getting dark, and there was this noise in the distance, that sounded exactly like the werewolf in that film.

I can only assume that when John Landis came over to England to direct the film, and was filming on location on the north Yorkshire moors, he heard a similar strange acoustic and thought wow I’ll use that in the film.

I know how intelligent we all are on this forum, but anyone here willing to hazard a guess, as to what was causing the noise..?
You get points for saying ‘ lets quicken our pace‘ when under duress. Very british. Anyhow, you heard a werewolf. If not that, once in ireland we heard the wind going thru stone walls with a moaning howl
 

Coastaljames

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Never done that solo, but whilst at University in Plymouth I had a couple of friends with cars, and occasionally a night-time trip to Dartmoor would be proposed. Went up with my (male) best friend once, a very dark moonless night; he pulled the car over somewhere before Princetown, turned the lights off and said "Right, let's tell ghost stories!" However, within five minutes we were so spooked by the atmosphere that we headed back towards Plymouth, stereo on full and both singing away to chase away the heebie-jeebies!
Funny, I used to do the very same thing when I was at University of Plymouth too! Good memories.
 

Eyespy

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Dick, If I am thinking of the same Power Mills it may be that there were people about. there are occupied cottages nearby as there is a tea room as well as some workshops. It is pretty remote they are not very obvious from the road, in the dark but it is possible that you and your friend gave someone quite a fright by appearing outside an empty tea room in a storm.
 

Dick Turpin

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Dick, If I am thinking of the same Power Mills it may be that there were people about. there are occupied cottages nearby as there is a tea room as well as some workshops. It is pretty remote they are not very obvious from the road, in the dark but it is possible that you and your friend gave someone quite a fright by appearing outside an empty tea room in a storm.
Hi Eyespy.

We never found the tearooms, never knew they were there. We just huddled up against the ruined walls of the old mills, and when the storm passed we retraced our steps back to the hotel (two bridges) as we were freezing cold and soaking wet.

Whilst sheltering from the storm that day, I could see a 5 barred gate that I assumed led onto to private land. I now know that we had gone through that gate and walked up the short pathway it would have led to the tearooms.

What a pair of divs. Could have enjoyed a nice hot cuppa and a sticky bun instead of sitting there in the freezing cold and wet.
 

catseye

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You get points for saying ‘ lets quicken our pace‘ when under duress. Very british. Anyhow, you heard a werewolf. If not that, once in ireland we heard the wind going thru stone walls with a moaning howl
I've written before on this site about the local farm that had its name spelled out in horseshoes on the top of the gate. These gave off a peculiar 'whistling moan' in windy conditions. At least, I thought it was the horseshoes. However, the gates have recently been replaced, and, whilst they were down I was running past the farm entrance in the recent gales. And the 'moaning, whistling howl' was VERY noticeable. I later encountered it again, to a lesser degree down at a field gate. Experimental prodding, poking and putting my ear to things showed me that there were holes in the metal gateposts, presumably to allow for wind resistance and drainage etc, and if these holes and the wind were aligned, it made a noise similar to blowing across a milk bottle top.

So. Yes. Gates and gateposts and wind. Occult noises.
 
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