Lights In The Woods

UnknownUnknown

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#1
* Dear mods, please feel free to move this, if this isn't where it is supposed to be! *

So, reading the Pan(ic) in The Woods thread has encouraged me submit this story, which happened a full 20 years ago now, in 1996, when I was a teenager.

I was staying with my mother, brother, and grandparents, in a holiday caravan near Pitlochry, Perthshire. It was summer time, and the weather was warm and clear. Without a car, we were reliant on public transport and walking, so did a fair amount of tramping about the woods. One evening we were walking back to the caravan park along a narrow path close to the River Garry. It was quite late, and the sky was gradually darkening though there was still enough light to see by. Not dusk, so much as gloaming. On the opposite bank, the woods sloped up steeply, with fairly thick vegetation: the two sides of the valley formed quite a deep V, with the river running along the bottom.

As we walked, the view opposite opened up slightly, and we saw lights through the trees. The lights were approximately at our own level, or even slightly higher, up the opposite slope. We couldn't hear anything, but they moved quickly and resembled a train or large vehicle hung with a great number of multicoloured lights, moving at speed parallel with the river. We stopped and waited for the lights to come directly opposite us. We expected to see the vehicle appear on what we assumed was a road, directly opposite us. It looked unusual and attractive, so we waited to get a better look. The lights never reached us though, simply tailing off among the trees. We assumed that the road (which we couldn't see) through the trees, had turned off sharply in another direction.

The next day we went for a walk, and decided to cross the River Garry and climb the slope we had walked alongside the evening before. We reasoned that as there looked to be a road running that way, it would be an easy climb. We crossed a small wooden bridge and left the footpath to climb up through the woods, in the direction that we thought the road must run. But we never hit it. We scrambled on, up the slope and through brambles and gorse, convinced that any moment we must come out onto the road which had carried the strange vehicle. Eventually we simply emerged in a clearing at the top of the hill, where we found a church and cemetery (through looking at maps, this must have been the Church of Scotland Tenandry Kirk). There was a road leading to the kirk, but this was not the one we had seen the lit vehicle on the day before: it runs behind the valley ridge, and wouldn't have been visible form our vantage point. Walked back down it, puzzled, so can be reasonably sure.

It couldn't have been any kind of vehicle that we saw, because the vegetation was so thick that it was difficult for a couple of walkers on foot to get through it. There was no way a truck or train could have zipped through without leaving a trace. So what did we see?

My questions are these: Are there any similar stories? Are there any non-supernatural explanations? Does this fit in with any existing folklore?

Here is a map link to the approximate location.

PS - I discovered recently that there is a tourist attraction called enchanted forest nearby. This is new I think, and wasn't there 20 years ago. I don't know what it is exactly though.
 
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EnolaGaia

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#2
... My questions are these: Are there any similar stories? Are there any non-supernatural explanations? Does this fit in with any existing folklore? ...
The basic aspects of your sighting are similar to will o' the wisp, earthlights, and Brown Mountain Lights sightings.
 

PeteByrdie

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#4
Corpse lights is all I can come up with. Sometimes they follow the path the imminently dying will take to the churchyard. Otherwise, fairies. Or vampires. Or vampire fairies. Or small UFOs. Or vampire fairies flying in small UFOs. It seems strange lights in the wilderness are a bit of a folklore theme.
 

rynner2

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#5
How about Fireflies?

All fireflies glow as larvae. Bioluminescence serves a different function in lampyrid larvae than it does in adults. It appears to be a warning signal to predators, since many fireflies larvae contain chemicals that are distasteful or toxic.

Light in adult beetles was originally thought to be used for similar warning purposes, but now its primary purpose is thought to be used in mate selection. Fireflies are a classic example of an organism that uses bioluminescence for sexual selection. They have a variety of ways to communicate with mates in courtships: steady glows, flashing, and the use of chemical signals unrelated to photic systems.[7] The signal provides potential mates with information about the species of the signaller or its quality as a mate.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firefly
 
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#6
How about Fireflies?

All fireflies glow as larvae. Bioluminescence serves a different function in lampyrid larvae than it does in adults. It appears to be a warning signal to predators, since many fireflies larvae contain chemicals that are distasteful or toxic.

Light in adult beetles was originally thought to be used for similar warning purposes, but now its primary purpose is thought to be used in mate selection. Fireflies are a classic example of an organism that uses bioluminescence for sexual selection. They have a variety of ways to communicate with mates in courtships: steady glows, flashing, and the use of chemical signals unrelated to photic systems.[7] The signal provides potential mates with information about the species of the signaller or its quality as a mate.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firefly
I'm not saying you can't get Fireflies in the UK, but they are usually considered a European species. Glow-worms on the other hand do occur on mainland Britain, however with them it's the flightless female that glows to attract a mate. So they don't move. The book I am using for reference is from the mid nineties, about the same time as the OP's sighting and that states they were confined to areas south of the Humber at the time.
 

JamesWhitehead

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#7
Poachers? It is an area celebrated for trout and salmon fishing; didn't they construct a fish-ladder to protect the migration, when the hydro-electric dam was built?

I have fond memories of a visit to the area when that engineering feat was quite new! :)
 

Ghost In The Machine

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#8
I used to see glow worms a lot in the hen house, as a kid. (1960s/early 70s). That was in North Yorkshire. I haven't seen them since that time, ever again. Once you've seen them you'd recognise them, if you saw them again, I think?
 

UnknownUnknown

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#9
All good suggestions. My memory of the lights is that they were multicoloured - reds and whites for sure - maybe also blue and / or green. I remember someone saying that it looked like the coca cola lorry.
And it appeared to be moving at speed - or at least, it looked like something that was a reasonable distance away, moving at speed through the trees. But I suppose this could be a mis-perception: it could perhaps have been something smaller and slower that was closer to us. (At the risk of being a bit Father Dougall) .

I have a stupid question about corpse-lights, willo the wisps and such like: what are these things? Have they ever been studied? Or are they just names for the 'lights in the woods' that lots of people seem to see from time to time.
 

Zeke Newbold

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#10
As we walked, the view opposite opened up slightly, and we saw lights through the trees. The lights were approximately at our own level, or even slightly higher, up the opposite slope. We couldn't hear anything, but they moved quickly and resembled a train or large vehicle hung with a great number of multicoloured lights, moving at speed parallel with the river. We stopped and waited for the lights to come directly opposite us. We expected to see the vehicle appear on what we assumed was a road, directly opposite us. It looked unusual and attractive, so we waited to get a better look. The lights never reached us though, simply tailing off among the trees. We assumed that the road (which we couldn't see) through the trees, had turned off sharply in another direction.



My questions are these: Are there any similar stories? Are there any non-supernatural explanations? Does this fit in with any existing folklore?

Oh for godsakes everyone!
Glow worms! Poachers! Talk about a blind spot! This belongs in the Ufology section. Obvious, innit!

I reckon that section could do with a bit of patronage anyway.
 

Old_Shoe

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#11
A bit unrelated, but it reminds me of the time I spent an afternoon in my back yard in Texas chopping an oak tree stump into submission. It was hard work and I'd worked up quite a sweat, so when the sun finally went down I went in the house and took a shower. With clean clothes and feeling a bit refreshed I poured off a little bit of whiskey and stepped onto the back deck to relax a bit. Some light caught my eye in the darkness of the back yard. I went to the edge of the deck for a closer look. There was a bright green light where there shouldn't have been any light, so I set my drink down and ventured out into the darkness. I found foxfire glowing brightly on the tree stump I'd just been working on earlier. That was interesting to see!
 

special_farces

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#12
Love these sort of posts. The range of colours is particularly interesting. Have you looked up any folklore for the area UnkownUnknown? Only thing I found was this entertaining 'something to tell the tourists' story:

http://thefairytaletraveler.com/2014/06/25/perthshire-scotland-killiecrankie-legend/

I have whiled away a half hour looking at various maps of the area. The OS 1:2500 shows lots of prehistory-named stones, ancient hut circles and field systems near by-and historic sites in the general vicinity but nothing in the immediate area. And there is nothing shown on The Megalithic Portal.

Tried to find some translations for some of the hill names and features but as yet nothing interesting.

The geolocation.ws site for the area has plenty of photos (to supplement the OP Google link):
https://geolocation.ws/map/56.731762,-3.774718/16/en?types=&limit=300&licenses=

And here is the British Geological Survey online map (Sheet 55E):

http://www.largeimages.bgs.ac.uk/iip/mapsportal.html?id=1002408

A very quick read makes me think the rocks underlying the hill above the path are pre-cambrian. Specifically 'Banded Schist - ‘banded mica-schist siliceous psammite’'

!

There is a possible fault to the south, by The Falls of Tummel.
 

PeteByrdie

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#13
I have a stupid question about corpse-lights, willo the wisps and such like: what are these things? Have they ever been studied? Or are they just names for the 'lights in the woods' that lots of people seem to see from time to time.
I'ill have a little look through what books I have tomorrow. I doubt I'll come across anything very useful, but I'll have a butchers. Personally, I'm not a believer in ghosts or the notion that the 'powers that be' what to give us messages about our futures. Corpse lights are supposed to hover around the houses of those about to die, banshee-like, but are also supposed to follow the future path the ill-fated will take to their final places of rest. My suspicion is they represent a range of luminescent phenomena, some of which may indeed be 'supernatural', and may travel through the wild places that once separated our domiciles with our graveyards.
 

Mungoman

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#14
G'day UU, we have something similar down here called min min lights. They are part of the Old Peoples mythology and so predate European origins.

Here's a few first hand accounts of singular lights, but I like what you saw - the idea of it being 'The Hunt' I rather enjoy...


http://www.australiasomuchtosee.com/2009minmin2.htm
 

UnknownUnknown

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#15
I've never heard of min min lights before - that's totally fascinating!

Living-In-Ithilien, I'm afraid I didn't ask around at all. It didn't occur to me at the time. If I'm ever back up that way I could try I suppose.

Thanks to everyone who has been undertaking extra research! I'm impressed and indebted. It's illuminating. ;)
 

Skrymr

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#16
I was camping in Scotland once and had a weird red light, light up the area. Stupidly bright, never been able to work out what it was
 

rynner2

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#17
I was camping in Scotland once and had a weird red light, light up the area. Stupidly bright, never been able to work out what it was
It might have a red distress flare (parachute or hand-held variety).

These flares only have a limited 'shelf life' for the obvious reason that an out-of-date distress signal is no bloody use if it doesn't work! So some users fire them off after their expiry date (although strictly speaking this is illegal). You'll often see a few on Guy Fawke's night, and other celebrations. Red parachute flares can indeed light up quite an area.

Of course, if you were near the coast, it might have been a real distress signal! :eek:

Probably a bit late to ring the Coastguard now, though... :rolleyes:
 

Skrymr

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#18
It might have a red distress flare (parachute or hand-held variety).

These flares only have a limited 'shelf life' for the obvious reason that an out-of-date distress signal is no bloody use if it doesn't work! So some users fire them off after their expiry date (although strictly speaking this is illegal). You'll often see a few on Guy Fawke's night, and other celebrations. Red parachute flares can indeed light up quite an area.

Of course, if you were near the coast, it might have been a real distress signal! :eek:

Probably a bit late to ring the Coastguard now, though... :rolleyes:
Nowhere near otherwise I would have thought flare, and the ones I've seen flickered a fair bit. Not ruling it out but when I went hiking out having a look there was no sign of anything. I just put it down to one of those weird things that happen when you're on your own in the middle of nowhere
 

Ghost In The Machine

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#21
The Enchanted Forest website shows numerous photos of installations that might go some way to accounting for your sighting:









Perhaps you saw workers installing the first setups, or placing test rigs to assess the effect of finished works?

maximus otter
That looks so tacky and at the same time, so wonderful.

ETA: Followed the link to the PANic thread. Brilliant stuff - cant believe I missed it the first time round.

This Enchanted Forest... Not there in the mid 1990s, though:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-tayside-central-19831382

Went to Pitlochry in 2005 - maybe OP saw a ghost from the future?
 
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Naughty_Felid

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#22
* Dear mods, please feel free to move this, if this isn't where it is supposed to be! *

So, reading the Pan(ic) in The Woods thread has encouraged me submit this story, which happened a full 20 years ago now, in 1996, when I was a teenager.

I was staying with my mother, brother, and grandparents, in a holiday caravan near Pitlochry, Perthshire. It was summer time, and the weather was warm and clear. Without a car, we were reliant on public transport and walking, so did a fair amount of tramping about the woods. One evening we were walking back to the caravan park along a narrow path close to the River Garry. It was quite late, and the sky was gradually darkening though there was still enough light to see by. Not dusk, so much as gloaming. On the opposite bank, the woods sloped up steeply, with fairly thick vegetation: the two sides of the valley formed quite a deep V, with the river running along the bottom.

As we walked, the view opposite opened up slightly, and we saw lights through the trees. The lights were approximately at our own level, or even slightly higher, up the opposite slope. We couldn't hear anything, but they moved quickly and resembled a train or large vehicle hung with a great number of multicoloured lights, moving at speed parallel with the river. We stopped and waited for the lights to come directly opposite us. We expected to see the vehicle appear on what we assumed was a road, directly opposite us. It looked unusual and attractive, so we waited to get a better look. The lights never reached us though, simply tailing off among the trees. We assumed that the road (which we couldn't see) through the trees, had turned off sharply in another direction.

The next day we went for a walk, and decided to cross the River Garry and climb the slope we had walked alongside the evening before. We reasoned that as there looked to be a road running that way, it would be an easy climb. We crossed a small wooden bridge and left the footpath to climb up through the woods, in the direction that we thought the road must run. But we never hit it. We scrambled on, up the slope and through brambles and gorse, convinced that any moment we must come out onto the road which had carried the strange vehicle. Eventually we simply emerged in a clearing at the top of the hill, where we found a church and cemetery (through looking at maps, this must have been the Church of Scotland Tenandry Kirk). There was a road leading to the kirk, but this was not the one we had seen the lit vehicle on the day before: it runs behind the valley ridge, and wouldn't have been visible form our vantage point. Walked back down it, puzzled, so can be reasonably sure.

It couldn't have been any kind of vehicle that we saw, because the vegetation was so thick that it was difficult for a couple of walkers on foot to get through it. There was no way a truck or train could have zipped through without leaving a trace. So what did we see?

My questions are these: Are there any similar stories? Are there any non-supernatural explanations? Does this fit in with any existing folklore?

Here is a map link to the approximate location.

PS - I discovered recently that there is a tourist attraction called enchanted forest nearby. This is new I think, and wasn't there 20 years ago. I don't know what it is exactly though.

Was this the Caravan Park? http://www.faskally.co.uk/ the river appears quite substantial and I wonder if you saw a boat that had lights? Would explain it being on at eye level or higher.

The hire row boats near by https://www.fishfaskally.com/

Here's the caravan park.

 
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Rabbit Will Run

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#23
I had a somewhat similar experience whilst on holiday with my parents in the late 80s/early 90s. We were staying in an apartment overlooking the cliffs in Porth, near Newquay in Cornwall. One evening we saw a row of white lights all moving at speed across the clifftop path. We assumed they must be walkers with headlamps or even cyclists, although the lights as I remember them seemed quite constant and not faltering as you might imagine with the the turning of heads or handlebars. We were all quite fascinated by the lights, they seemed unusual even with our rational explanations. The next day we went to explore the path and found it to be very rocky, undulating and overgrown. Difficult to move at speed in daylight, and seemingly very dangerous and almost impossible in the dark.

A few years before this we saw something similar on the beach, people with lights almost moving in a dance or procession. My dad always put it down to looking for bait worms on the beach, but there was something odd about the whole thing that stayed with us.
 
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UnknownUnknown

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#24
Regarding the Enchanted Forest stuff, not only do the dates not fit, but the Fortean nature of the sighting was due to the inaccessibility of the site. There was no route through the trees at all so it couldn't have been any kind of rig.
I like the boats idea! Not sure how feasible but I am mulling it over.
Love your account Run Rabbit Run. And I'm curious that there are such similarities.
 

PeteByrdie

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#26
I had a somewhat similar experience whilst on holiday with my parents in the late 80s/early 90s. We were staying in an apartment overlooking the cliffs in Porth, near Newquay in Cornwall. One evening we saw a row of white lights all moving at speed across the clifftop path.
Clearly just a procession of bucca.
 

Rabbit Will Run

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#27
Sounds like you saw the Wild Hunt Rabbit !
I love this idea, Cavynaut, although possibly not the consequences! We did hear a lone horn blasting out in the distance whilst exploring Chanctonbury Ring this year, it was wonderfully eerie!

Obviously Bucca, PeteByrdie! This makes me very happy.
 

EnolaGaia

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WierdExeter

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The River Garry doesn’tt appear to be navigable by anything except rafts or canoes due to frequent rapids and shallow waters, but I might be wrong, or might it have been canoeists? great tale regardless
 
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