Reservoirs

Spookdaddy

Cuckoo
Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
6,330
Reaction score
6,330
Points
294
Location
Midwich
The mention of Strines reservoir and a discussion on landscape and culture on other threads has reminded me of something I’ve been meaning to bring up for ages.

Although not much of a fortean nature has ever happened to me I am very sensitive to that vague notion we tend to call the “atmosphere” of a place. Reservoirs, it always appears to me, possess their very own and very powerful atmosphere. I have always found these bodies of water to be melancholy places with a distinct sense of something out of kilter with reality. In the past I always reasoned that a large part of the latter was due to the fact that even if we had little knowledge of landscape and how it was created we almost instinctively know when something is out of place. A man made lake and say an inland Scottish Loch may have a lot in common but the latter has been there long enough to affect and be affected by the land around it, the reservoir has no such influence.

Lately I’ve been reading a lot of interesting stuff about how relatively mundane elements like electricity and low frequency sound may be responsible for a great deal (although by no means all) of apparently paranormal activity. Now I’m pretty well scientifically illiterate and one thing I’d like to know from the more scientifically fluent people out there (you reading this Rynner?) is what electrical/magnetic etc influences, if any, a large body of standing water might have on the area around it and could those influences affect us. It seems pretty obvious that sound is affected in many ways but are there any less obvious influences that might explain the eerieness that surrounds these places.

Also am I right in assuming that other people find these places a tad unnerving? I live in a hilly upland area with lots of reservoirs and enjoy the countryide a great deal but there is always a certain intangible unease that settles over me near a reservoir.

Do reservoirs attract more than their fair share of strange events? Slightly to the north of where I live Woodhead, Howden, Derwent and Ladybower certainly seem to collect weird phenomena. Of course it could be the place itself has always been that way - reservoirs are often situated in lonely upland areas with an atmosphere of their own, but I can’t help feeling that the addition of large unnatural bodies of water stirs something up.

Any thoughts/information/stories?
 

ginoide

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Sep 7, 2001
Messages
785
Reaction score
110
Points
74
i agree
i think their eerie atmosphere is partially due to their artificial, man-made nature. and what's so eerie? for instance, they don't have waves (not like a lake, at least). they're always super calm and silent. of course one wouldn't build a reservoir in the middle of the road or something, but lakes are usually more lively. and usually there are only one or two buildings along a reservoir, which adds to the uncanny atmosphere.

i once experimented an apparently (but not really) fortean thing on a reservoir. i had gone up to this reservoir in liguria on my bike, long long ride, spent some time there, then it started raining and i got on my bike to go down again... and all of a sudden the road was full of small frogs. looked like a portentous rain, but actually they came out of their dens or whatever as soon as they felt the rain.
 

rynner2

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,242
Reaction score
9,040
Points
284
Reservoirs do have waves, just like equivalent size lakes. Perhaps if they are in remote regions people only visit them in fine, calm weather.

Personally I find lakes spooky too - all that water, hiding what...?

But there is one big physical difference between reservoirs and old-established lakes, and that it the weight of the water pressing on the ground beneath. In fact civil engineers have to carry out full geological surveys to ensure that the underlying rock is strong enough to take the load, or else the dam itself might be undermined, or the sides of the reservoir could collapse into the reservoir in a landslide.

(There was a terrible flood in Italy somewhere, where a landslide caused the reservoir to catastrophically overflow the damn, washing away a village downstream with great loss of life. In that case the dam itself remained intact.)

So even if you have a well engineered reservoir, the rocks beneath are under greater stress than they were before, and so presumably there is more chance of things like 'earth-quake lights', and other features associated with piezo-electricity, including (maybe) altered mental perceptions.

Each 30 foot depth of water adds another atmospheric pressure to the land beneath.

Many reservoirs in this country cover old farming land, and hide old farm buildings and even small villages. Perhaps there is some kind of sadness at the ending of all this activity, some sort of ghostly memory.
 

rynner2

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,242
Reaction score
9,040
Points
284
Hauntings near Dam
Dam nonsense? The eerie calm around the hydro plant has ignited ghost stories.

Haunted stories abound along the river bank within a stone's throw from the Potlatch mill.

Once a worker in the dam was reported to be checking machinery and he saw a reflection from someone standing behind him. When he turned no one was there...
etc.
 

river_styx

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Feb 8, 2002
Messages
1,823
Reaction score
14
Points
69
Perhaps it's the soundproofing effects of all that water combined with the concrete, steel and various other man made attributes that instill the eerie feeling.
Human beings are supposedly a social creature always requiring the need of someone else nearby or the knowledge that they are there and can be found. When confronted by such a sterile, manufactured super-structure such as a dam, something that above all else in human acheivements stciks two fingers up at nature we naturally feel seperated and alone. There is little sound that can be heard and little else is visible therefore bringing about the end of the world effect.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
You may well have something when you talk about a sort of 'one instinctively knows when something is wrong' effect with reservoirs. I suspect that one of the reasons why we react differently to different landscapes, and indeed, have developed an aesthetic of landscape at all, may be to do with very ancient primate influences in our psyches. For example, do we tend to like places with far-reaching views just because we can see predators and prey a long way off? Perhaps we do subconsciously realise that resevoirs are lakes 'in the wrong place'.

In the case of reservoirs in the Pennines, I agree with the idea that the sheer weight of the water may increase tectonic strain, and thus the amount of anomalous geological EM field activity.

Having said that, there are some small reservoirs on the top of the moors where I live that I find quite pleasant places which enhance the landscape. The chain of reservoirs up the Wessenden valley are also attractive, and though there are some indications they may be linked to light phenomena, I've never found the valley at all creepy, and I've walked there at all seasons.
 

ginoide

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Sep 7, 2001
Messages
785
Reaction score
110
Points
74
(There was a terrible flood in Italy somewhere, where a landslide caused the reservoir to catastrophically overflow the damn, washing away a village downstream with great loss of life. In that case the dam itself remained intact.)
i've been there. it's called Vajont and it's in friuli (north east of italy). it's scary: the dam is still there, just perfectly intact. but above the 8now dry) reservoir you can see the side of the mountain with sort of a <gap>, a bare part, from which the landslide came down
 
Last edited by a moderator:
A

Anonymous

Guest
One of the reasons we don't like reservoirs is because as a species we're not too fond of water, at least when there's enough for us to drown in. And yes, I agree that the artificiality of manmade lakes is unsettling, and I find this true of most very large manmade landscape features, like some forest plantations, some urban areas, particularly at night (too many places for things to hide), any very large surfaced area, like the landing apron at airports - I find the lack of visual reference points disorientating, although I note that when I've been on moors or deserts I don't feel this. I think we're very finely attuned to our enviroment and we can be confused by 'alien' landscapes.

Getting back to reservoirs, I've just remember the quote that's been alluding me since I started to read this thread; Raymond Chandler, 'Farewell My Lovely' where Philip Marlowe admits that one of things that frightens him is 'dark water.' Reservoirs are usually dark in my experience.
 

ginoide

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Sep 7, 2001
Messages
785
Reaction score
110
Points
74
uh-oh... this reservoir will really be scary....

(source: Associated Press)

HUNDREDS OF BODIES EXHUMED TO MAKE WAY FOR HUGE NEW Portuguese reservoir LISBON, Portugal (AP) _ Workers in protective white hazard suits and
masks began exhuming bodies Friday from about 300 graves in a rural cemetery and transferring them to a near-replica site before they are engulfed by a new reservoir
billed as Europès largest man-made lake.
Officials erected a 15-meter(50-feet)-high black net around the cemetery for the two-week operation, television pictures showed. Police guarded the site at Aldeia da
Luz, a village about 150 kilometers (90 miles) southeast of Lisbon.
Hearses ferried caskets containing the bodies, some of which were buried early in the last century, to a new cemetery several kilometers (miles) away, skirting the
village to avoid causing distress to locals.
The villagès about 400 residents are to be rehoused later this year in a new village which is a near-replica of the old one, with a church, school and bullring.
They are being uprooted to make way for a reservoir which is to be about the size of the Mediterranean island of Malta. A nearby dam was completed at the end of last
year.
It should take two years for the reservoir to be filled to a depth of about 150 meters (500 feet).
The reservoir was planned to irrigate 109,000 hectares (272,000 acres) of land for agriculture and tourism in the parched and largely deserted region.
The project is costing 1.7 billion euros (dollars) and promises economic growth for the Alentejo province, one of the poorest regions of the European Union.
However, environmental groups have contested the project, saying the reservoir will destroy important wildlife habitats.
(bh)
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Yes Wastrel - I too find artificial forest plantations nasty places. So dark and dripping and uniform, with trees in rows and no undergrowth. Like a parody of what a wood should be like.

When I was a kid, my family used to go to NW Wales once a year on holiday. About 2/3 of the way there was a reservoir that had a village at the bottom, which you could see the top of in dry weather. Especially the church tower. There was a local legend that you could sometimes hear the bell in this tower tolling. Never heard it myself but definitely remember thinking I wouldn't want to hang around on my own here - a melancholy and unnerving atmosphere.
 

rynner2

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,242
Reaction score
9,040
Points
284
Wastrel said:
One of the reasons we don't like reservoirs is because as a species we're not too fond of water, at least when there's enough for us to drown in.
??? !!! :confused:

So why are property prices near water always higher than those for equivalent properties elsewhere? (Ask any Estate Agent. Also see various discussions on the Aquatic Ape Hypothesis, on this MB and elsewhere.)

And Tomsk said
So dark and dripping and uniform, with trees in rows and no undergrowth.
No undergrowth is because of the darkness. Any well developed wood or forest has a pretty complete canopy to capture the sunlight, with the result that there is very little growth at ground level.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
We can find the views created by water features pleasant, but we still have an atavistic fear of drowning. Just as we like looking at forests but can find them scary places. I never thought of this while reading this thread before, but I used to live on the coast and found walking along the beach relaxing, but watching a stormy sea made me feel threatened and very small. We're a forest species so do vast landscapes intimidate us?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Thinking more about this, I'm no sure that its just reservoirs. There are quite a few lakes which have sinister folklore attached to them, and of course, its in lakes that people are prone to seeing 'monsters'. Even the drowned village theme is present in lake folklore; eg Semer Water.

I share the doubts about the idea that humans are nervous around water. Every year people drown in reservoirs up North because the attraction of the water on hot summer days is such that they ignore warning signs and common sense. And many reservoirs are popular picnic/walking spots, with extensive car parking to meet the demands of visitors.

Pine monoculture 'forests' are pretty miserable places. Away from the edges of the plantation, or in acccidental clearings, they have less creatures (from insects up) living in them than deserts.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
No undergrowth is because of the darkness. Any well developed wood or forest has a pretty complete canopy to capture the sunlight, with the result that there is very little growth at ground level.
If you go and hang about in a forest made up of oak or ash or one of our other top-quality native species, there's quite a bit of undergrowth, largely because the trees aren't planted in rows and way too close together in an effort to make them grow upwards not sideways. Also pines have that layer-over-layer horizontally-branching leaf arrangement so less light gets through - too much overlap. I suppose beech woods don't have much undergrowth - again they have that whole overlapping horizontal sheets of greenery thing going on. They can be pretty freakish themselves, but they're nowhere near as dark as a pine planation - more shafts of light get through . And I suppose evergreen trees are usually just darker-coloured than deciduous, for reasons I don't understand.

Sorry, my tree obsession is taking control of me again. Must...resist...blacking...out...

I think the issue is more with dark, opaque and cold water, not just bodies of water per se. I remember being a bit spooked by the small-ish pools of black water on top of tors - tarns, are they called? - when I was wandering about Dartmoor - small but you can't tell how deep they are or what's in them...
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I think the issue is more with dark, opaque and cold water,
You could have something there, and your mention of moorland pools makes me wonder if the undrinkable nature of the water (through the peat in it) has something to do with it. Two natural pools in the Peak District (Mermaid Pool on Kinder Scout & Doxey Pool on the Roaches) have 'monsters'.

Given that (in the UK) reservoirs tend to be in moorland areas, perhaps its something to do with the water 'not smelling right' at some unconscious level?
 

JurekB

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Sep 25, 2001
Messages
212
Reaction score
4
Points
47
tomsk said:
When I was a kid, my family used to go to NW Wales once a year on holiday. About 2/3 of the way there was a reservoir that had a village at the bottom, which you could see the top of in dry weather.
Are you thinking of Llyn Celyn just outside of Bala?

Map

I've heard stories about a village beneath Llyn Celyn but have never seen anything despite driving past it several times a year and even in the last big drought we had ('96?) when you could walk about 30 metres beyond the high water mark, I've never seen anything.


If you visit old-maps.co.uk and enter the grid refererence for Llyn Celyn (287500,340500) it'll give you a view of the area in 1891.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Living as I do in Cumbria, I see lots of mono culture pine forests.<spit> Idont find them scary just depressing that they're there for profit and not more 'natural'.<whatever that is>As for reservoirs around here they're generally surrounded by pine so seem darker than if they were not. That could have something to do with peoples moods around them. And I get spooked if I can see more than about 200m.
 

minordrag

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Jan 21, 2002
Messages
1,089
Reaction score
22
Points
69
The flooded village image is evocative. I live near a man-made lake that covers a couple old villages. You can see the old road just going straight into the water!

There's a North Carolina ghost story about a phantom hitchhiker, jumping on wagons as they passed a certain point in the road. Very heavy too. Apparently, when that area was flooded to make a man-made lake, the spook wasn't deterred--he just jumped on people's boats!
 

rynner2

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,242
Reaction score
9,040
Points
284
You can see the old road just going straight into the water!
(M.D.)
You can also see that in the Scilly Isles and (I think) the Morbihan in Brittany, because of rising sea levels.

It's also seen in Pagham Harbour, a little known tidal creek in West Sussex. At one time the harbour had been reclaimed from the sea and became farm land, but later the sea broke through again, drowning the roads and fields.

Incidentally, Pagham also has a Lagoon (not connected to the harbour or the sea), which local legend said was once a Roman Harbour, but I've never checked whether there is any basis for this claim. (Some Googling called for!)


And I get spooked if I can see more than about 200m.
Caroline

I'm the opposite! I like to able to see miles and miles. Comes from my love of astronomy and sailing.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Comes from living here all my life. Went to Norfolk for a week, scary.:eek!!!!:
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
this has always seem to puzzle me....some of my first memories are about the fear of water, not ponds and streams put "artificial" water, canals, swimming baths and the like. ive been up to the derwent dams and been very, very uneasy about walking under the dam walls, to the extent that if it wasnt for the fact i was with friends, i wouldnt have gone. yet i have have no fear of the sea or boats?

incidently, although i dislike the derwent and howden dams, i have no problem with the carsington reservour a few miles to the south. the only reason i can think is that both derwent and howden have towering stone walls holding back the water, carsington looks more like a natral lake with a much lower earth barrier.

i think i must have drowned in a previous life! :blah:
 

rynner2

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,242
Reaction score
9,040
Points
284
this has always seem to puzzle me....some of my first memories are about the fear of water, not ponds and streams put "artificial" water, canals, swimming baths and the like.
...
i think i must have drowned in a previous life! :blah:
From a very young age I had fearful dreams of a very small, weed-covered, semi-circular artificial pond - I later wondered if I had drowned in this in an an earlier life.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Spook, I'm totally with you on that. My family and friends have chastised me greatly over the years for my deep unhappiness and fear when near reservoirs, dams, and waterwheels.

It just freaks me - something is very wrong with man made water specifically for the use of power. It's like the energies are all wrong.

My unexpected tour trip to the Aswan dam was just oh so hilarious.

I'm just happy to know I'm not the only one.. :)

Persia
 

gyrtrash

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Dec 27, 2001
Messages
1,142
Reaction score
32
Points
69
A mate tells me that reservoirs are bad from a 'feng shui' point of view!
'All that water, un-moving, almost stagnant' he said, builds up the bad energies...:rolleyes:

I was walking up on the moors a few days ago. We crossed a large dam. As we reached the other side I had a feeling of surreal malevolence...('course the swirling mist didn't help!)I started to talk to my mate about the feelings that certain areas can produce in people.
I discovered later that night, that 3 bodies were pulled from the moors in past times, just near there...minus their heads!:eek!!!!:
 

darrenxyz

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Oct 25, 2002
Messages
122
Reaction score
7
Points
49
My parents sometimes go to a local reservoir for walks. My mum told me once that, in the evening, she had seen a small glowing light in the grass by the water. It wasn't moving, just glowing, red iirc. She didn't feel brave enough to investigate.

The next time they went to that area in full daylight, she checked the area but there was nothing there.

When she told me about that, I found that a very frustrating story! I wanted to know more! At any rate, to me it sounded like an LED, maybe on some piece of electrical equipment - maybe someone dropped something in the grass.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
fortean dream

And some wierd stuff from the Dale Dyke website
Amongst those who had narrow escapes at Bradfield was Mr. Richard Ibbotson. He removed five of his children to a place of safety some hours before the flood came. His house was flooded, and he had to carry his wife and child in blankets to the house of his brother. On the night before the flood his wife had a very peculiar dream. She dreamt that she was in a flood, and that she had a very narrow bridge to cross, but with great difficulty she managed to get across. It was in consequence of this dream that the five children were removed before the flood came. Mr. Ibbotson says that his clock stopped at two minutes past twelve, and that, as the clock was right to a minute, that was the time of the flood.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Hi Tomsk,
another tree obcessive here!

Firs and Pines let less light down to the floor, and in addition the fallen needles give off phenols and other substances which reduce competitive growth. Larch is a deciduous conifer, and so more can grow in those plantations because light reaches the forest floor in spring and autumn.

Beeches and oaks also have substances in their leaves to prevent competition.

Conifer plantations are certainly pretty barren, and in such dense packing can also cause soil deterioration through the release of heavy metals in the soil, and the depletion of iron. Early plantations are the worst..some lessons have been learnt, for instance, furrows now run along the hillside instead of up and downhill, which contributed to leaching.

Shame really that here in Wales we habe reservoirs in the uplands, surrounded by these acid and heavy metal releasing dark plantations JUST where we have so much lead, arsenic, and other remnants in the soil from millenia of mining...
..ho hum.

Hagrid.
 

rynner2

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,242
Reaction score
9,040
Points
284
ginoide said:
uh-oh... this reservoir will really be scary....

...

HUNDREDS OF BODIES EXHUMED TO MAKE WAY FOR HUGE NEW Portuguese reservoir
Update:

"On February 8, 2002, the 96 metre high floodgates of the Alqueva dam were closed. In 2006 the lake was filled to the planned level, with a surface area of 250 km².[1]

In 2004, the hydroelectric power station started to work, with a capacity of 240 megawatts. As of 2025 (though the endeavour is already slated to be finished by 2013), the lake should supply irrigation water for 1,100 km² in the Alentejo."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alqueva_Dam
 
Top