Footsteps Behind Me, Then No One There

ChrisBoardman

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Today I bought a newspaper and went down the pub for three pints, strange as Sunday is normally the only day I stay in.

Just before 7pm I decided to go home (obviously dark by then). This involves walking up Mount Peasant Road (Alton, Hampshire) and just after the railway bridge turning right into an alley that brings me out into Goodwood Close. It's all on Google Streetview.

As I turned into the alley there was someone approaching me walking down Mount Pleasant road towards town (I was walking away from town). Then while walking down the alley I could clearly hear that this person had turned into the alley as I could hear their footsteps behind me. The sound of a second set of footsteps continued at least half way down the alley, then it seemed to go quiet. So I looked around and there was no one there.

There was nothing for sound to echo off, and I was wearing trainers that made almost no noise anyway.

I found it a bit freaky.
 

Damien

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tlz.jpg
 

maximus otter

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Today I bought a newspaper and went down the pub for three pints, strange as Sunday is normally the only day I stay in.

Just before 7pm I decided to go home (obviously dark by then). This involves walking up Mount Peasant Road (Alton, Hampshire) and just after the railway bridge turning right into an alley that brings me out into Goodwood Close. It's all on Google Streetview.

As I turned into the alley there was someone approaching me walking down Mount Pleasant road towards town (I was walking away from town). Then while walking down the alley I could clearly hear that this person had turned into the alley as I could hear their footsteps behind me. The sound of a second set of footsteps continued at least half way down the alley, then it seemed to go quiet. So I looked around and there was no one there.

There was nothing for sound to echo off, and I was wearing trainers that made almost no noise anyway.

I found it a bit freaky.

Allow me to suggest a prosaic explanation:

Here is what I imagine your general route was on Google Earth (orange path):

Alton-ghost-footsteps-Fortean-03.jpg


Here is the entrance to the footpath leading from Mount Pleasant Road to Goodwood Close:

Alton-ghost-footsteps-Fortean-04.jpg


You (orange arrow) have approached from town (upper right) and walked into the mouth of the footpath.

"Ghost" (yellow arrow) has approached from the opposite direction, and walked parallel to you but behind the hedge with respect to you, heading for the houses.

"Roughly half way down the path", "Ghost" has entered his front door, and he sound of his footsteps has been lost to you.

maximus otter
 

catseye

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I used to run in the dark before I got my current job, which enables me to run in the daylight.

I quite often used to hear someone running along just behind me. I'd stop and look round, nobody there (and the dog would never react as though someone was about either).

Turned out it was the laces of my trainers, flopping against my shoes and making the sound of someone running. I don't notice it during the day because there are many more background noises (birds singing etc) and I'm not slightly on my guard for 'mysterious noises;.
 

Floyd1

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Allow me to suggest a prosaic explanation:

Here is what I imagine your general route was on Google Earth (orange path):

Alton-ghost-footsteps-Fortean-03.jpg


Here is the entrance to the footpath leading from Mount Pleasant Road to Goodwood Close:

Alton-ghost-footsteps-Fortean-04.jpg


You (orange arrow) have approached from town (upper right) and walked into the mouth of the footpath.

"Ghost" (yellow arrow) has approached from the opposite direction, and walked parallel to you but behind the hedge with respect to you, heading for the houses.

"Roughly half way down the path", "Ghost" has entered his front door, and he sound of his footsteps has been lost to you.

maximus otter
maximus 'Poirot' otter.
 

escargot

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Today I bought a newspaper and went down the pub for three pints, strange as Sunday is normally the only day I stay in.

Just before 7pm I decided to go home (obviously dark by then). This involves walking up Mount Peasant Road (Alton, Hampshire) and just after the railway bridge turning right into an alley that brings me out into Goodwood Close. It's all on Google Streetview.

As I turned into the alley there was someone approaching me walking down Mount Pleasant road towards town (I was walking away from town). Then while walking down the alley I could clearly hear that this person had turned into the alley as I could hear their footsteps behind me. The sound of a second set of footsteps continued at least half way down the alley, then it seemed to go quiet. So I looked around and there was no one there.

There was nothing for sound to echo off, and I was wearing trainers that made almost no noise anyway.

I found it a bit freaky.
I used to have a job where I'd have to patrol at night. Part of the building was single-storey with a flat roof. When I walked along the corridor there in the early hours I'd often hear someone walking on the roof above me.

The floor was carpeted so it wasn't my feet and part of the job was accounting for everyone on site and I'd know nobody was up there.
I could easily check for intruders but there never were any. I just got used to it like everyone else.
 

Mythopoeika

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I used to have a job where I'd have to patrol at night. Part of the building was single-storey with a flat roof. When I walked along the corridor there in the early hours I'd often hear someone walking on the roof above me.
Not necessarily a human. Could have been a fox.
 

ChrisBoardman

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Allow me to suggest a prosaic explanation:

Here is what I imagine your general route was on Google Earth (orange path):

Alton-ghost-footsteps-Fortean-03.jpg


Here is the entrance to the footpath leading from Mount Pleasant Road to Goodwood Close:

Alton-ghost-footsteps-Fortean-04.jpg


You (orange arrow) have approached from town (upper right) and walked into the mouth of the footpath.

"Ghost" (yellow arrow) has approached from the opposite direction, and walked parallel to you but behind the hedge with respect to you, heading for the houses.

"Roughly half way down the path", "Ghost" has entered his front door, and he sound of his footsteps has been lost to you.

maximus otter

Very good analysis Maximus,

That scenario did occur to me after I posted.

But the human ears (and we have two of them to triangulate sound) are very good at detecting the exact direction where sound comes from.

If this scenario is true, for the first five yards they would have been behind me as the pathway bends around, but after that they wouldn't.

Three pints of Guinness is not enough to make me incoherent. I think I would have noticed the difference if the footsteps were on the other side of the fence and to the side somewhat. They sounded like no more than a car-length behind me.

Sometimes I do walk slowly. Maybe a lady could be scared if a man in front in an alley was deliberately walking slowly and she just stopped and hid out of sight? Maybe go back if she felt scared?
 

catseye

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But the human ears (and we have two of them to triangulate sound) are very good at detecting the exact direction where sound comes from.
Only if both ears work and work to the same degree. One of my daughters has intermittent deafness on one side and partial hearing loss all the time. She finds it very hard to tell where sounds are coming from. It only takes a blob of wax in one ear to alter our perception of direction and distance.

And also, in my Case of the Flopping Shoe Lace. It really did sound as though it was coming from behind me and to the left. If it had sounded as though it was coming from my feet, I'd have worked it out a lot sooner (and a lot fewer changes of underwear).
 

Dick Turpin

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Today I bought a newspaper and went down the pub for three pints, strange as Sunday is normally the only day I stay in.

Just before 7pm I decided to go home (obviously dark by then). This involves walking up Mount Peasant Road (Alton, Hampshire) and just after the railway bridge turning right into an alley that brings me out into Goodwood Close. It's all on Google Streetview.

As I turned into the alley there was someone approaching me walking down Mount Pleasant road towards town (I was walking away from town). Then while walking down the alley I could clearly hear that this person had turned into the alley as I could hear their footsteps behind me. The sound of a second set of footsteps continued at least half way down the alley, then it seemed to go quiet. So I looked around and there was no one there.

There was nothing for sound to echo off, and I was wearing trainers that made almost no noise anyway.

I found it a bit freaky.
Similar thing happened to me a few weeks ago. Went out for my usual walk and at one point heard the unmistakable sound of a jogger’s footsteps behind me. Pretty normal on my country walks as it’s a popular jogging route.

Then the footsteps seemed to fade away. It was like whoever it was had decided to turn around and jog in the opposite direction. I did turn and look but couldn’t see anyone. I just assumed that the jogger had found a footpath off the country lane I was walking in and took another route.
 

Giant R

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Only if both ears work and work to the same degree. One of my daughters has intermittent deafness on one side and partial hearing loss all the time. She finds it very hard to tell where sounds are coming from. It only takes a blob of wax in one ear to alter our perception of direction and distance.

And also, in my Case of the Flopping Shoe Lace. It really did sound as though it was coming from behind me and to the left. If it had sounded as though it was coming from my feet, I'd have worked it out a lot sooner (and a lot fewer changes of underwear).
Not quite the same but being misled by our own senses reminded me of story of a relative of mine.
Back in the 1960s he was installing a heating system into a house and, after soldering some pipes in the floor (using one of those old paraffin blow lamps) he went downstairs to get some things. When he came back in the room he could smell something burning still. He checked around where he had soldered, hoping he hadn't set light to something in the floor void but couldn't see anything. He then went into the next room and could smell something burning there too so started to get worried that he had really started a fire under the floor. He ran down stairs to get his workmate to help him look for it whereupon his workmate pointed out that the side of his overalls were smouldering where he had inadvertantly leant against his blow lamp....
 

gojiramonkey

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Today I bought a newspaper and went down the pub for three pints, strange as Sunday is normally the only day I stay in.

Just before 7pm I decided to go home (obviously dark by then). This involves walking up Mount Peasant Road (Alton, Hampshire) and just after the railway bridge turning right into an alley that brings me out into Goodwood Close. It's all on Google Streetview.

As I turned into the alley there was someone approaching me walking down Mount Pleasant road towards town (I was walking away from town). Then while walking down the alley I could clearly hear that this person had turned into the alley as I could hear their footsteps behind me. The sound of a second set of footsteps continued at least half way down the alley, then it seemed to go quiet. So I looked around and there was no one there.

There was nothing for sound to echo off, and I was wearing trainers that made almost no noise anyway.

I found it a bit freaky.

Hmmm. Interesting. I remember when i lived out in the boonies near Bradley, Staffordshire and every day i had to walk the mile back to the farm. I got caught out so many times being distracted by the wonderful world of heavy metal in my earphones that inevitably cars would creep up on me unawares, especially daytime so i would try to remain alert. Anyway this was a dark evening and i was nearly home when i became aware of headlights behind me and shining past me. I was annoyed because it had been raining so i had to step into a muddy verge to let the car pass, staring into the dark field away from the narrow road mainly to mask my annoyance. A few seconds passed but no car passed. I turned around and there was nothing. Nothing there. No cars or headlights turning off into the other farm which was clearly visible. And then it struck me. I had heard no noise at all. Just lights behind me. And no headphones on this time. Spooked to buggery i ran the remaining few hundred yards home!!
 

catseye

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My first thought? Lamping.

Image-8_242098872_392820151.jpeg


maximus otter
Lights shine an incredible distance when there's no street lighting or other light distractions. I find it impossible to judge distance when I'm out walking my dog at night, lights approaching could be from a person walking (I always find myself wondering WHY they need a torch or headlamp, until i realise that I am also out and they are probably scared of me), a bike, someone running, a car or bike, and they can be some distance away coming up the hill.
 

XEPER_

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When I worked in Dumbarton Castle I heard footsteps behind me a couple of times. Once, I was locking up, completely alone in the building, and heard someone walking right behind me - I'm getting chills writing it now, I shat myself at the time and made a hasty exit. Another time I was waiting for my manager to come down from her living quarters and heard her walking down the stairs towards me. I waited, but she didn't appear so I turned around and no-one was there. When she did come down I told her about it and she said the exact same thing had happened to her on those stairs (outside ones) and she'd got such a fright she fell down and broke her arm!
It was a spooky place at times.
 

ChrisBoardman

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The good thing about google maps and streetview is we can all go and look at where someone has had an experience.

After reflecting on this for a week, I am convinced someone walked into the alley behind me and changed their mind and walked back.

Two days before this happened I was walking the same route into town for a haircut and half way there I realised my wallet was not in my pocket, so I did an about turn and went home and got it. We've all done that.

Those footsteps were right behind me.
 
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escargot

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Lights shine an incredible distance when there's no street lighting or other light distractions. I find it impossible to judge distance when I'm out walking my dog at night, lights approaching could be from a person walking (I always find myself wondering WHY they need a torch or headlamp, until i realise that I am also out and they are probably scared of me), a bike, someone running, a car or bike, and they can be some distance away coming up the hill.
So true. Can remember being out driving one foggy night and seeing a motorbike light approaching, which turned out to be a panel van with only one working headlight. A driver who'd taken a chance on overtaking me might've got a fright.
 

Tempest63

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In my younger days when I was a lot less sceptical and dabbled in various arts, I went through a period where I was woken every night by footsteps slowly walking past the house. It always seemed to occur at about 1 in the morning and the footsteps seemed to take forever in passing our small terraced house. I did get up once or twice out of curiosity and looked out of the bedroom window but never saw anyone. This went on for months but what was weird was the footpath outside the house was quite a busy thoroughfare as the house was on an estate, but I was never woken by any other passing foot traffic, just those ones at that time.
 

escargot

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In my younger days when I was a lot less sceptical and dabbled in various arts, I went through a period where I was woken every night by footsteps slowly walking past the house. It always seemed to occur at about 1 in the morning and the footsteps seemed to take forever in passing our small terraced house. I did get up once or twice out of curiosity and looked out of the bedroom window but never saw anyone. This went on for months but what was weird was the footpath outside the house was quite a busy thoroughfare as the house was on an estate, but I was never woken by any other passing foot traffic, just those ones at that time.
Reminds me of someone's story I read, possibly an IHTM on'ere, about a house where a dog would regularly be heard walking around the outside of a house. The witness had been a child at the time and had later come to wonder how they knew it was a dog and why nobody investigated.
 

gojiramonkey

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Lights shine an incredible distance when there's no street lighting or other light distractions. I find it impossible to judge distance when I'm out walking my dog at night, lights approaching could be from a person walking (I always find myself wondering WHY they need a torch or headlamp, until i realise that I am also out and they are probably scared of me), a bike, someone running, a car or bike, and they can be some distance away coming up the hill.
Hmmm.... Not out of the realms of possibility I guess, though I do remember that a large bright light was behind me and shone through and past me.... And quite a few car headlights had done the same thing which made me believe it was a car initially....
 

Mr_Hermolle

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I used to run in the dark before I got my current job, which enables me to run in the daylight.

I quite often used to hear someone running along just behind me. I'd stop and look round, nobody there (and the dog would never react as though someone was about either).

Turned out it was the laces of my trainers, flopping against my shoes and making the sound of someone running. I don't notice it during the day because there are many more background noises (birds singing etc) and I'm not slightly on my guard for 'mysterious noises;.
This reminds me of when i was a kid, very much into spooky stuff. The Usbourne Book Of Ghosts has a lot to answer for. Falling asleep on a series of nights, I was disturbed by what sounded like digging in the garden. I convinced myself it was the ghosts of pirates burying treasure. After a few nights of supernatural fear I realwasd it was the sound of my own breathing growing heavier as I dropped off to sleep.
 
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catseye

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This reminds me of when i was a kid, very much into spooky stuff. The Usbourne Book Of Ghosts has a lot to answer for. Falling asleep on a series of nights, I was disturbed by what sounded like digging in the garden. I convinced myself it was the ghosts of pirates burying treasure. After a few nights of supernatural fear I realwasd it was the sound of my own breathing growing heavier as I dropped off to sleep.
That just reminded me! When I lay in bed as a young 'un, I'd hear this occasional 'hushing' sound, very softly and quietly.

Took me far far longer than it should have done to work out that it was my eyelashes sweeping against the pillowcase when I blinked.
 

Trevp666

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My (then) brother-in-law recounted this tale to me once.
He was living in the north Wales village of Bangor-on-Dee at the time, and was probably around 18/19/20.
Bangor-on-Dee is a small village, with 2 pubs, a church and a village shop, and a number of houses, sitting next to a very old single-track bridge built of stone across the River Dee.
At the time he was living in a farmhouse on the outskirts of the village, near enough to be able to walk it in 10 minutes.
One night he had been with friends in one of the pubs and left to walk home, a journey he had done many times before.
On this particular occasion he felt increasingly uneasy as he reached the part of the road where the houses and street lights ended, with the sensation that he was being followed.
As he continued walking he started to panic a bit, as the sensation of being followed increased further, and he was sure he could hear footsteps following him, getting closer.
It got to the point that he was certain he was being closely followed and that someone was almost within touching distance of him, and that he could clearly hear their footsteps and heavy breathing.
Too fearful to even look around in the darkness, he suddenly broke into a run, terrified.
He still didn't look around and could not confirm whether or not there was actually someone behind him.
But it was real enough to him to make him run.
(The scary bit is between the two red lines)
1659791042338.png
 

Mythopoeika

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My (then) brother-in-law recounted this tale to me once.
He was living in the north Wales village of Bangor-on-Dee at the time, and was probably around 18/19/20.
Bangor-on-Dee is a small village, with 2 pubs, a church and a village shop, and a number of houses, sitting next to a very old single-track bridge built of stone across the River Dee.
At the time he was living in a farmhouse on the outskirts of the village, near enough to be able to walk it in 10 minutes.
One night he had been with friends in one of the pubs and left to walk home, a journey he had done many times before.
On this particular occasion he felt increasingly uneasy as he reached the part of the road where the houses and street lights ended, with the sensation that he was being followed.
As he continued walking he started to panic a bit, as the sensation of being followed increased further, and he was sure he could hear footsteps following him, getting closer.
It got to the point that he was certain he was being closely followed and that someone was almost within touching distance of him, and that he could clearly hear their footsteps and heavy breathing.
Too fearful to even look around in the darkness, he suddenly broke into a run, terrified.
He still didn't look around and could not confirm whether or not there was actually someone behind him.
But it was real enough to him to make him run.
(The scary bit is between the two red lines)
View attachment 57801
Did he feel safe when he was over the bridge?
This is a common theme in fairy lore.
 
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