Chanctonbury Ring / Clapham Woods

curzone

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#1
The South Downs Way and Chanctonbury Ring

I would be extremely interested to hear if anyone has experienced any strange occurrences along or around the South Downs Way, particularly Chanctonbury Ring. Something scary happened to me there, of which I shall now recount:

A few years ago I had taken a day off from work, and as my girlfriend had to work that day, I had some spare time to myself. It was a bright, crisp February morning and I decided to drive over to Chanctonbury Ring and explore the area with my dog. I had driven past the spot a couple of times and it looked like a pleasant place to walk.

Anyway, we arrived and amiably walked up the footpath towards the Ring. There was a thick layer of ground mist at the base of the Downs but the sun could faintly be seen trying to break through and as we reached the summit we had risen above the stratum of mist and the sky was clear and blue, the sun was shining and the surrounding view was magnificent. From above I could see a vast expanse of low-lying hazy mist partially obscuring the surrounding landscape. In some places the tops of trees would break through the haze, giving the surrounding terrain an ethereal, mystical ambiance… all in all it was glorious.

We walked a few miles along the South Downs Way, taking in the isolation, silence, fresh air and sights, and enjoying the uncommon but exceptional sunshine before turning back. When I got back to the Ring I took a breather before attempting the descent down the hill to the car park, and I sat down on a tree stump beside the perimeter of the Ring.

Being an excitable but diligent thing, Bonnie, my dog (Heinz all-sorts - partly German Shepherd, partly Collie, and a bunch of other breeds for luck), whined impatiently. I took it to be an indication that she wanted to partake in a quick game of tug-o-war with branch, but unable to find anything at hand I asked her to, "Go find sticky!"
To which she pricked up her ears and ran around attentively trying to find a sufficient enough stick to play with.

After a while, and noticing that she was unable to find a stick, I looked around and noticed a few appropriate size branches lying on the ground within the Ring. I motioned for her to go and get one, but she appeared to not notice, and continued to search along the clearing away from the Ring.

Getting impatient, I got up, stepped over a broken piece of fence that was encircling the ring (I guess the fence was there to prevent interlopers from damaging the recent saplings that had been planted there), picked up a branch and beckoned for her to come over and play…

Instead she sat down, and did that quizzical look that dogs sometimes do - ears pricked up, head tilted to the side. I called her again but she didn't budge - just whined a little and still sitting, did a little side shuffle as if to say, "I ain't moving".

As I made a step out of the ring towards her, she instantly stood up, heckles raised, and half-heartily ran away with her tail between her legs. Plainly distressed, she ran for about ten meters before stopping to look back at me. (I must emphasise; Bonnie is usually a very obedient dog, habitually stays close at heel off the lead and has never run away from me before.)

I made a few more tentative steps towards her, whereupon she suddenly scampered off northwards towards some woodland clinging to the side of the hill and a steep narrow tree-lined animal-trail leading down the hill. I dropped the branch, and made a dash at her in the hope of intercepting her, but failed and I continued on after her down the trail.

The trail was steep, wet and lined with a scree of loose flint gravel, which could be described as treacherous - rivulets of ice, which despite it being a fairly warm day, was still noticeable on the ground… And before I knew it I lost my footing and I found myself slipping down the embankment on my backside. I slid down a few feet before grabbing hold of a tree to halt my fall.

Still lying on the ground, I composed myself for a few seconds, then hollered out for Bonnie… I couldn't see or hear her and held my breath hoping to isolate the sound of her scuttling about… Apart from the usual sounds of breeze grazed trees and the occasional droplets of moisture dropping to the ground, it was silent… Then I started to get what I can only describe as tinnitus. My ears hurt, my head felt like it was in a vice, the air suddenly felt like it was denser - similar to that experienced in an airplane when the cabin pressure changes during landing. I remember being aware of this sloshing type of heartbeat sound in my head.

I hollered her name again, but there was still no sign of her… The tinnitus was beginning to distress me quite a bit, and I was starting to feel a bit disorientated… And then suddenly from behind me I registered a continuous, rustling noise. I looked behind and above, expecting to see Bonnie bounding towards me, but she wasn't there! I looked around trying to pinpoint were the sound was coming from and noticed a small tree about twenty meters up the hill shaking violently from side to side then stop suddenly. I got up, carefully holding onto a branch to stop me from falling again, and called out to her, expecting to see that she had somehow got herself tangled up in it.

But there was no sign of her! Then I heard the rustling noise again, this time louder. I looked around to my right, facing slightly down hill this time, and saw fairly close to me, about ten meters away, another tree shaking violently. This time, it was evident that the tree was doing this by itself, it seemed without any external intervention! It did this for what seemed about 10 seconds, and then stopped. It was then that I sensed this "watching" presence, as if something had its face close to mine, scrutinising my features. The only way I can describe it was like it was busy and fly-like, evil, ubiquitous and all invading. I could feel a slight discernible vibrating around me, like a faintly perceivable white noise, not really a sound, more like a quivering in the air.

Obviously at this point I started to panic, and began running and stumbling down the hill. My head was still throbbing badly - so much so that I found myself grinding my teeth. The ground was still fairly unstable so I made most of the descent erratically on my backside, snagging myself on branches, occasionally standing, running, then slipping over again - all the while, with this leaden, eerie, buzzing presence surrounding me.

As I got to the base of the hill the presence suddenly disappeared, leaving me with a gloomy feeling, like a dark cloud had moved overhead, but the sun was still shining, the mist had practically abated and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. My head still hurt, and I was still conscious of me grinding my teeth. I was aware that I had come out of the woods, scratched and muddy, into a clearing beside what I assumed to be a pumping station situated a few yards away from the car park. Ashamedly, I had completely forgotten about Bonnie so half walked half ran towards the car in the hope that she would be waiting for me. Luckily she was - plainly distressed, sitting diligently by the car, shivering with fright.

As I got towards her she stood up, waged her tail coyly, then started dry heaving, vomiting a small amount of phlegm-like sick. So, with her still trying to vomit, I picked her up and dropped her in the car, got in, locked the doors, then drove out of the car park, glancing over towards the hill to see if anything was following, which thankfully there wasn't. I then pulled onto the main road and made my way back home to Brighton, still shaken but glad to be on the road away from there. The tinnitus and headache stopped about 10 minutes later, but that ominous feeling remained with me until I fell asleep that evening. Bonnie fell sound asleep throughout the remainder of the day without any other signs of sickness.
 

curzone

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#2
To this day I can't explain what happened to us at Chanctonbury Ring, and hope someone could provide an explanation as to what occurred.

I've never suffered from tinnitus before or since this occurrence, and on the rare occurrence that I do get a headache, it's never painful enough for me to grit my teeth. I'm aware of the possibility that I may have suffered some sort of migraine, causing me to hallucinate, but that doesn't explain why Bonnie behaved the way she did.

Despite trying to kid myself into believing that we suffered some sort of physiological problem or that a rare geological phenomenon had somehow affected our psyche, I still can't shake the feeling that we encountered some sort of paranormal entity.

Initially, I was drawn to this forum back in October in the hope that someone could shed some light on what occurred or if someone experienced something similar. Various searches on the internet didn't reveal much, however, I did find this intriguing extract on the Sussex Archaeology & Folklore web site:

Extract taken from: http://www.homeusers.prestel.co.uk/aspen/sussex/chanctonbury.html

Many people have been unable to stay the night near the Ring giving up after a short time of feeling uncomfortable. In the 1930's, Dr. Philip Gosse of Steyning declared in his book "Go To The Country" :

"Even on bright summer days there is an uncanny sense of some unseen presence which seems to follow you about. If you enter the dark wood you are conscious of something behind you. When you stop, it stops; when you go on it follows."

In 1966, several members of the Southern Paranormal Investigation Group decided to camp within the Ring. Arriving around 9.30pm and lighting a fire, they also talked with a group of motorcyclists who were camped there. Things were quiet until after midnight when a strange crackling sound started followed by the wailing voice of a woman emanating from a form that moved around outside the Ring. There was a period of quiet until 2am when there was the sound of a church organ and feelings of intense pressure from people within the group. At 2.30am the motorcyclists left complaining of "Something really evil" but feelings of pain within the group persisted until they left the Ring in the morning.

Other physical ailments have been felt such as sudden paralysis of all the limbs in a group of people and a levitating force that picked up a person and then dropped him, injuring his back. A similar force, in later years, knocked someone to the ground and ripped a crucifix from around his neck. The crucifix when found was red hot.
 
A

Anonymous

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#3
Sounds like something was warding you off from the ring. Its only a short bus trip from me so I'm gonna go there this weakend and take a look for myself.
 

AlistairP3

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#4
Chanctonbury Ring was, and still is, a popular meeting place for witches.

It was specifically Doreen Valiente, (who is pretty much repsonsible for most of modern wicca)'s stomping ground, and she writes about extensively in her books.

No time to go into many more details right now, but yeah, its got a reputation as a powerful place.
 
A

Anonymous

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#5
How odd. I'm originally from Sussex but moved away as an older child. Some of my happiest memories are of messing about and blackberrying near Chanctonbury Ring!

Playing outdoors I'd always be aware of a background feeling of tingly anticipation, as if something was playing invisible hide-and-seek with me. Until recently I'd put that down to idyllic childhood nostalgia, but thinking about it -- I never experienced it after we moved away, and whenever I do return to Sussex there seems to a be a pregnant stillness to the countryside.

Of course, all this lyrical waxing of mine may be pure imagination, but who knows? Maybe there's something there after all.
 

augustverango

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#6
I've OCR-ed the two Chanctonbury Ring articles from The Unexplained here -

mysite.freeserve.com/catsunpig/chanctonbury01.html

mysite.freeserve.com/catsunpig/chanctonbury02.html

Links are dead. See later post for salvaged content.

:)

BTW, if there are any glaring mistakes, blame my OCR software 'cause I haven't had much chance to proofread...
 
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Number 6

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#7
This thread reminds me of another one from a few months ago, I think it was entitled "IT" and was in IHTM.
I'm sure the trees shook in that account too but it may be nothing to do with this, as it was in the US somewhere.
Sorry for the vagueness of that, my memory is not functioning at its best (Saturday night ;) )
 

rynner2

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#8
Fascinating links, August. (Your OCR seems to be working well!)

I lived in Bognor Regis in the 60s (and once was engaged to a girl from Steyning!) but I don't recall any of these stories of UFOs etc then, although it was a subject that did interest me.

I just looked the area up in a road map, and just to the east of Chanctonbury Ring is a legend that says Danger Area! I assume this refers to some sort of military training ground, which raises the possibility of Military black-ops, or perhaps the UFOs were monitoring the military....

It'll be interesting to hear what Adam has to say when he returns - and after reading the articles above, let's hope he returns safely!
 
A

Anonymous

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#10
how did it go?

I was thinking of going today cos I'm in Brighton but had too much booze last night.

Also - have you heard about there being a lot of witches in Lewes? I've been told that even the top policeman is a witch and there have been 'dissapearances' among people who have tried to investigate. I don't have any more details than that, really - s'prolly just gossip.
 
A

Anonymous

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#11
Fairly uneventful day. I went up to the ring walked around it a few times, I did notice a few odd things...

First of all I got a headache as I approched the ring which went as I left. Im stressing this isnt neccersaril fortean though, headaches do occur.

An interesting thing to take note of which I realised as I was up there... if you look at all the trees which surround the ring, all the branches grow away from the ring.

An odd thing did occur at one point when I heard a loud humming noise in my ears. I looked around but couldn't see any plane and it didnt sound like an engine noise. It dissapeard after a few minutes just as suddenly as it arrived.

I also noticed a somewhat deppresing feeling as I stood within the ring. It could just be me but I would be interested to hear if anyone else felt the same.

I'm willing (with the exception of the branches) to put all the above comments under the placebo effect however. My dad told me that I could camp out withing the ring if I wanted to. :) I'm planning to do this not next weak but the weakend after. Now I just have to find someone mad enough to join me...
 

mejane

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#12
Glad to hear you survived your encounter Adam! The "buzzing" thing is interesting - have you ever heard of the Hummanduz? (think that's spelt right).

Tasha, are you talking about Lewes in East Sussex (small town - castle with a great view across the south downs?). A few years ago there was a big story about a man who committed suicide (or was murdered) as a result of witches persecuting him... I seem to remember that it also involved grave digging, animal mutilation, devil worship and pretty much everything else that gets tabloid newspaper editors foaming at the mouth (apart from rabies!).

I tried a quick google search, but since I can't remember the names of the people involved, know exactly when it happened etc, didn't find anything relevent. And to think I've had the cheek to critisize other people :)

Jane.
 

rynner2

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#13
AdamRang said:
An interesting thing to take note of which I realised as I was up there... if you look at all the trees which surround the ring, all the branches grow away from the ring.
Long time since I've been in the area, but couldn't that be the natural tendency of plants to seek their place in the sun? No point growing branches in towards the centre where other trees are already hogging the light.

Anyway, glad you returned safe from the Danger Area, and yes, don't camp there without at least one (mad) companion. Remember Video, cameras, tape recorders, whatever.
 
A

Anonymous

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#14
There isnt very much in the centre of the ring. The trees grow tall around it very high. I dont think light would have anything to do with it.
 

augustverango

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#16
I was pretty surprised to learn that Chanctonbury Ring had been badly damaged in the 1987 storms. From the more recent photos I've seen there doesn't appear to be very much of it left.

Adam, I trust you'll keep us posted on your proposed camping trip?

This page -

http://www.cotcpi.co.uk/fchanctonburyinvestigation.htm

seems to mention the tree shaking thing that Curzone experienced.

There are also alleged EVP recordings taken in the Ring here -

http://www.cotcpi.co.uk/fevp.htm

Just sound like they could be people in the group talking to me though! :rolleyes:

A rather dodgy website on the whole, but the forum is quite funny!
 
A

Anonymous

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#17
August Verango said:
Adam, I trust you'll keep us posted on your proposed camping trip?
Yep, will do. I'm just trying to find someone to accompany me. If everything goes to plan then I would like to do this the weakend after next.

[EDIT]

Alledged EVP's recorded at the ring...

"Shit, Oh my god."

"Go on get out."

"Please don't come here."

"Turn the light off."

"Turn the light off Bitch."

"Hide."

*Gulp*:eek!!!!:
 

punychicken

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#18
This is too all too much! I must visit the ring too. Ok, Im in Glasgow but Im off to Brighton again come May and that means I can have a good old mooch round.

This has also made me think about Bramber again. Long time ago we would spend a lot of time under the cover of darkness in the ruins of the old castle there, nothing really spooky but the graveyard of the church next to it was THE freakiest place to walk past. If I remember correctly there is a ghost of something that wanders around near the road there.

Sorry! Im having a blast from the past!! If you know the area around the A283 Bramber and Beeding Hill about 4 years ago there was a splendidly placed crop circle right in view of the road where the A283 meets the A2037 shown here!

Actually the A283 is one of the routes you can take to approach Chantonbury, the other is the A24, which as if by magic brings us back on topic (ahem!) :D
 

rynner2

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#19
Going off thread briefly (but at least it keeps the thread alive!) I am reminded of a story from back in the 60s, in the days of the V-bombers, before ICBMs rendered them redundant:

The RAF were exercising in the USA, testing the American defences against nuclear bombers, and were quite succesful, apparently, prompting stories like "RAF Bombs Washington!"

A TV show (probably TWTWTW) made a sketch about this. The RAF CO is reprimanding his pilots because they've just embarrassed the Americans.

CO: "Your target was Washington on the A24 in Sussex, not Washington, DC, you idiots!"

Laid-back pilot: "Sorry, CO, thought it was Washington, altitude 24 thousand feet!"
 

punychicken

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#20
reminds me of a tale I heard about German bombers ditching their payloads over the SouthDowns because they feared flying too far inland or something, hence bombcraters (NO! they are wonderful natural watering holes!!) in places like Lancing Clump.

And whilst where in Sussex, does anyone know or can anyone throw any light on tales about 'Clapham Wood' which is somewhere off the A27 above Littlehampton. From what I remember there are tales of plague pits, devils, hauntings and allsorts but when I visited the place all I saw was a typically sodden wooded area!
 

madgarlick

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#22
All this talk about visiting rings reminds me of a film I once saw. It was entitled 'visiting rings' funnily enough.

However it reminds me of my hunt for interesting places to visit of a fortean nature, and I was wondering if there was an index of British fortean sites. It would be really handy to know what is round and about, then My saturdays would not be as boring, instead of recovering from a night of excesses I could jump in the car and go take a look at sites within my area.
 

rynner2

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#24
I'd forgotten about that site, August (despite having posted a few pics there myself!)

The feature that finds sites within so many km of a postcode is handy. The map is good, but slow. But the website colour scheme is not the best, I feel - the text could be clearer.
 

augustverango

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#25
Yes, the design aim of The Modern Antiquarian site seems to be 'earthy', which tends to translate as various shades of brown on brown! Does look nice though.

Does anyone know the extent of the damage that Chanctonbury Ring recieved in 1987? Adam, I know you've been recently, but has anyone visited before and after? Are there any plans to try and regrow the damaged areas?
 

augustverango

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#28
Hey Adam, wasn't your proposed camping trip this weekend (just gone)?

I've seen you post since so I assume you must still be alive!
 
A

Anonymous

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#29
Yep, still alive. I cant find anyone willing to accompany me for some odd reason...

I'm definatly gonna spend a night there and I'm not going back on that. I'm not to sure what to do though... the only option really is to go with my dad.

Hmm...
 

madgarlick

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#30
AdamRang said:
Yep, still alive. I cant find anyone willing to accompany me for some odd reason...

I'm definatly gonna spend a night there and I'm not going back on that. I'm not to sure what to do though... the only option really is to go with my dad.

Hmm...
Have you been camping yet AdamRang????
 
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