Symi

Jacket_Potato

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#1
Recently i went on a trip to the Greek islands, which i absolutely love. We took a day trip to the island of Symi (one of the Dodecanese islands i think) as everyone said it was beautiful, which it was - all the pastel coloured houses, a stunning place

But the place gave me a funny feeling that I couldn't put my finger on, it was oddly quiet and still, even full of people the place felt subdued. The island is right off the Turkish coast and a lot of the boats moored there had Turkish flags, but the town felt very Italian - the restaurants were mostly trattorias & pizzerias serving Italian food and the buildings looked Italian (i think due to ww2 but not totally sure) - we commeted over lunch that it felt more like Italy!

The buildings were pastel coloured and beautifully tumbledown ramshackle when you got close to them and around the back lanes, but the whole place gave me the feeling that the buildings were watching your every move, the buildings felt like shells that were watching you through the windows

We climbed some of the hundreds of steps on the island to get a better view over the bay and even my boyfriend said 'i can't wait to get off this island'. Turned out we both found the place eerie! A very beautiful place with a very strange atmosphere

I would recommend going for the day if you can to take in the architecture, but it's not my cup of tea for a full holiday (but of course that depends on what you're looking for in a holiday)
 

markrkingston1

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#2
Recently i went on a trip to the Greek islands, which i absolutely love. We took a day trip to the island of Symi (one of the Dodecanese islands i think)
[...]
But the place gave me a funny feeling that I couldn't put my finger on, it was oddly quiet and still, even full of people the place felt subdued.
Very curious.

Two things occur to me:

(a) You mention "oddly quiet and still" and I have noticed that some places can be like this, especially if there is minimal road traffic. I think that some locations may have soil, rock, building materials or building styles that can act like a large, outdoors, anechoic chamber. Just as I understand that many people find anechoic chambers to be rather creepy because sound is just "sucked away", it is possible that some locations naturally replicate this effect outdoors.

(b) There is what the Army calls "atmospherics", this is the seemingly ineffable change in the psychological atmosphere of a place shortly before some sort of trouble is going to kick off. If there was an underlying tension (e.g. local social, cultural, political, economic, etc.) in the place then could it be that this is what you were detecting?


As an aside, this "atmospherics" effect is, itself, a subject worthy of Fortean study. Is it some kind of telepathy, pheromones, or 'simply' picking up on subtle differences in noises, people's actions, and so on?
 
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#3
(a) You mention "oddly quiet and still" and I have noticed that some places can be like this, especially if there is minimal road traffic. I think that some locations may have soil, rock, building materials or building styles that can act like a large, outdoors, anechoic chamber. Just as I understand that many people find anechoic chambers to be rather creepy because sound is just "sucked away", it is possible that some locations naturally replicate this effect outdoors.

(b) There is what the Army calls "atmospherics", this is the seemingly ineffable change in the psychological atmosphere of a place shortly before some sort of trouble is going to kick off. If there was an underlying tension (e.g. local social, cultural, political, economic, etc.) in the place then could it be that this is what you were detecting?
I had exactly this experience in Cyprus as a boy, but for me the 'atmospherics' were normal, crickets and so on and then all noise stopped quite suddenly, replaced with complete silence and stillness. I bolted, the only time I've ever done so.
 

Jacket_Potato

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#4
Very curious.

Two things occur to me:

(a) You mention "oddly quiet and still" and I have noticed that some places can be like this, especially if there is minimal road traffic. I think that some locations may have soil, rock, building materials or building styles that can act like a large, outdoors, anechoic chamber. Just as I understand that many people find anechoic chambers to be rather creepy because sound is just "sucked away", it is possible that some locations naturally replicate this effect outdoors.

(b) There is what the Army calls "atmospherics", this is the seemingly ineffable change in the psychological atmosphere of a place shortly before some sort of trouble is going to kick off. If there was an underlying tension (e.g. local social, cultural, political, economic, etc.) in the place then could it be that this is what you were detecting?


As an aside, this "atmospherics" effect is, itself, a subject worthy of Fortean study. Is it some kind of telepathy, pheromones, or 'simply' picking up on subtle differences in noises, people's actions, and so on?
Hi Mark - thanks for the reply, very interestin i think it was probably due to the buildings being built up a steep hill, the whole harbour seemed to have been built on a very steep gradient and when you got up close to some the buildings in the back lanes, they were derelict & collapsed from behind (still beautiful in a romantic tumbledown way, but derelict and abandoned nevertheless); i think both of these things contributed a lot to the atmosphere, as the people there were almost hidden by the gradient of the place, maybe that made it feel more still than it was

Throw in an unfamiliar place, a mix of a sitting in an Italian restaurant (they were all Italian pretty much) surrounded by Italian style, in Greece, looking at Turkey over the water - and clock watching / paranoia so as not to miss the boat (what time is it now?? are you sure you remember the way back??) and perhaps it's no surprise we felt strange!

I don't think there was an civil unrest or anything like that, although it was a brief visit and i could be wrong

A beautiful and interesting place, but one visit was enough for me
 

Jacket_Potato

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#5
I had exactly this experience in Cyprus as a boy, but for me the 'atmospherics' were normal, crickets and so on and then all noise stopped quite suddenly, replaced with complete silence and stillness. I bolted, the only time I've ever done so.
Very interesting - your experience sounds more striking than mine, for all the noise of crickets etc (which can be very loud in a place like Cyprus!) to suddenly be sucked away is quite extreme? It makes me think of a sudden void in a place which must be very unnerving - if your instinct says to run away then do it

Symi felt a bit 'void' to me, pretty on the surface but oddly empty of noise and atmosphere, a bit stepford if that makes sense
 

markrkingston1

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#6
i think it was probably due to the buildings being built up a steep hill, the whole harbour seemed to have been built on a very steep gradient and when you got up close to some the buildings in the back lanes, they were derelict & collapsed from behind (still beautiful in a romantic tumbledown way, but derelict and abandoned nevertheless); i think both of these things contributed a lot to the atmosphere, as the people there were almost hidden by the gradient of the place, maybe that made it feel more still than it was
Your description reminds me somewhat of a small, abandoned stone quarry I came across in south Wales. I think it is the enclosed nature and the steepness of the enclosing boundaries that sparks the comparison in my mind.

The quarry was (probably still is) in either the Llynfi or Afan valleys, up on the side of the valley and in a not-heavily visited area (at the time, 1996 or so). Annoyingly I can't remember which valley it was and I cannot now find it on a map. I was walking alone and entered the quarry, wondering what was inside. As I recall, there was nothing spectacular: It was just a small stone quarry. In particular I recall a rowan tree perched on a rock outcrop. But the overwhelming thing about it was the deeply oppressive atmosphere, an atmosphere of threat, of lurking danger. I very briefly looked around but left after just a few minutes.

To be honest, I don't think there was anything magically evil or haunted about the place and nor did I seriously think there was an ABC lurking on one of the rock shelves, ready to pounce on me[1]. I think it was all in my mind.

In another part of the Llynfi valley was a slightly larger abandoned quarry in a not quite so out of the way location, although still quite lonely when I was there. This larger quarry was more friendly looking with largely grassy, sloping sides. And yet, even here, I felt a sense of foreboding. (Rather hilariously, this quarry is now the locality's civil amenities site!).

In comparison, the smaller quarry was more remote and much more enclosed, with hard vertical, rock walls, and my sense of doom was greater still.

So I think that somewhere in my cave-man subconscious mind is something telling me that small, rocky enclosed spaces could contain some sort of unseen danger, possibly of the sabre-toothed pouncing sort.


P.S. Google Maps links available if anyone wants to look over the area.



Footnote:-
1: The forests in that area have had several ABC sightings and it would be excellent country for a puma (mountain lion) or leopard-like big cat to prosper. I.e. Very large areas of forested cover, vast numbers of sheep and deer to eat. For what it's worth, the little quarry I was in would have been an ideal perching point for a big cat with rock ledges around the place.
 
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markrkingston1

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#7
I had exactly this experience in Cyprus as a boy, but for me the 'atmospherics' were normal, crickets and so on and then all noise stopped quite suddenly, replaced with complete silence and stillness. I bolted, the only time I've ever done so.
Very intriguing. Are there any large(ish) predators on Cyprus?
 

Jacket_Potato

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#13
Your description reminds me somewhat of a small, abandoned stone quarry I came across in south Wales. I think it is the enclosed nature and the steepness of the enclosing boundaries that sparks the comparison in my mind.

The quarry was (probably still is) in either the Llynfi or Afan valleys, up on the side of the valley and in a not-heavily visited area (at the time, 1996 or so). Annoyingly I can't remember which valley it was and I cannot now find it on a map. I was walking alone and entered the quarry, wondering what was inside. As I recall, there was nothing spectacular: It was just a small stone quarry. In particular I recall a rowan tree perched on a rock outcrop. But the overwhelming thing about it was the deeply oppressive atmosphere, an atmosphere of threat, of lurking danger. I very briefly looked around but left after just a few minutes.

To be honest, I don't think there was anything magically evil or haunted about the place and nor did I seriously think there was an ABC lurking on one of the rock shelves, ready to pounce on me[1]. I think it was all in my mind.

In another part of the Llynfi valley was a slightly larger abandoned quarry in a not quite so out of the way location, although still quite lonely when I was there. This larger quarry was more friendly looking with largely grassy, sloping sides. And yet, even here, I felt a sense of foreboding. (Rather hilariously, this quarry is now the locality's civil amenities site!).

In comparison, the smaller quarry was more remote and much more enclosed, with hard vertical, rock walls, and my sense of doom was greater still.

So I think that somewhere in my cave-man subconscious mind is something telling me that small, rocky enclosed spaces could contain some sort of unseen danger, possibly of the sabre-toothed pouncing sort.


P.S. Google Maps links available if anyone wants to look over the area.



Footnote:-
1: Although the forests in that area have had several ABC sightings and it would be excellent country for a puma (mountain lion) or leopard-like big cat to prosper. I.e. Very large areas of forested cover, vast numbers of sheep and deer to eat. For what it's worth, the little quarry I was in would have been an ideal perching point for a big cat with rock ledges around the place.
What a stunning sounding place - sounds like a sort of desolate and wild beauty where you realise just how small you are

Pretty sure i saw a big cat on a grassy verge of a dual carriageway in south wales a few years ago - did a double take at this sleek black cat like creature (a lot bigger than a domestic cat and it wasn't a sheep or anything) standing on the verge, but was going too fast to stop and look - just went oh my did you see that panther?!
 

markrkingston1

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#14
What a stunning sounding place - sounds like a sort of desolate and wild beauty where you realise just how small you are
I used to enjoy walking the hills and forests of south Wales. Despite the fact that you're never really far from a town or village, I often felt metaphorically that the the countryside could somehow still remember how, not so long ago, it was very wild indeed. A lot of it is a post-industrial landscape, 'polluted' with conifer plantations, and yet the impression of only-just-lost wildness seemed to remain.

Pretty sure i saw a big cat on a grassy verge of a dual carriageway in south wales a few years ago - did a double take at this sleek black cat like creature (a lot bigger than a domestic cat and it wasn't a sheep or anything) standing on the verge, but was going too fast to stop and look - just went oh my did you see that panther?!
Despite the difficulties of being certain about fleeting sightings, I would nevertheless not be surprised if you did see a big cat. As mentioned, it would make excellent country for them. Lots of room for them to hide and feed and, I suspect, lots of room to hunt them.
 

Jacket_Potato

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#15
I used to enjoy walking the hills and forests of south Wales. Despite the fact that you're never really far from a town or village, I often felt metaphorically that the the countryside could somehow still remember how, not so long ago, it was very wild indeed. A lot of it is a post-industrial landscape, 'polluted' with conifer plantations, and yet the impression of only-just-lost wildness seemed to remain.



Despite the difficulties of being certain about fleeting sightings, I would nevertheless not be surprised if you did see a big cat. As mentioned, it would make excellent country for them. Lots of room for them to hide and feed and, I suspect, lots of room to hunt them.
It was up towards the Black Mountains, as you say, lots of space, few people, good hunting I suspect
 

AlchoPwn

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#16
Recently i went on a trip to the Greek islands, which i absolutely love. We took a day trip to the island of Symi (one of the Dodecanese islands i think) as everyone said it was beautiful, which it was - all the pastel coloured houses, a stunning place.
I was weirded out when watching an episode of Poirot set in the Dodecanese, as I had no idea about the Italian presence in the area at the time. What happened is that in 1911-12, before WW1 broke out, the Italians went to war with Ottoman Turkey and seized the islands. While the Italians were supposed to give the islands back, they never did.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italo-Turkish_War

It is a war that is utterly overshadowed by WW1 in history books, but in many way presaged it and even encouraged it. In particular it was important as an early milestone for military aviation, as Italy led the way with building and flying military aircraft. A weird footnote to history.
 

Jacket_Potato

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#17
I was weirded out when watching an episode of Poirot set in the Dodecanese, as I had no idea about the Italian presence in the area at the time. What happened is that in 1911-12, before WW1 broke out, the Italians went to war with Ottoman Turkey and seized the islands. While the Italians were supposed to give the islands back, they never did.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italo-Turkish_War

It is a war that is utterly overshadowed by WW1 in history books, but in many way presaged it and even encouraged it. In particular it was important as an early milestone for military aviation, as Italy led the way with building and flying military aircraft. A weird footnote to history.
Absolutely fascinating and something I had no idea about, thanks for the info - was very surprised to step off the boat and feel like I'd docked in Italy! Totally different to any of the other Greek islands i've been to
 
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