Something in the Woods

I believe I’ve had several encounters with the Good People, since I was a small girl.  Too much has happened around me that I can’t really explain for it to be coincidental.

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Most of these have been happy, for the most part, though cautionary.  Even in the event it scared me, I didn’t feel particularly threatened.  I hear a bell quite often, just a soft tinkling sound that my dog seems to key in on, which is usually followed by finding something that I’ve been missing.

I’m careful not to say thank you when this happens, but it’s a strange, comfortable sort of thing.  I don’t really have words to describe it.  I live in a semi rural area, wooded on all sides of the houses.  We have about half an acre of woods on the property, but we also have neighbors across the main road and on either side of my home.

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I like to go out for hours and sit on a swing in my yard, enjoying nature, and occasionally listening to music, sometimes singing, or reading, and the swing faces the woods, so you see darting shadows and animals which occasionally regard you with almost knowing eyes.

Recently, however, I’ve been experiencing things of a nature that has me on edge.

It started about a week before Samhain.  I was spending the weekend alone for the most part, my family was out of town, but I had to work and was unable to take the days off.

My cousin came up and we had a good time, with some comfort food and music, and playing games and just generally talking until early in the morning.

About 1:00 in the morning, my dog decided she had to go out, so I let her out, standing out on my front porch.

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There was a chill in the air, as is typical for a fall in the Mountain State, but there were alot of nightly noises.

My dog stayed close to the house, in the light, straying only to the edge of it and staying there.

I noticed a light then, drifting too high to be someone carrying a flashlight or a phone, which came around the trees from my neighbors home, across the road, around another neighbor’s car and then drifting to the woodline down the road where it disappeared.

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I’ve seen things out of the corner of my eye before, and it startled me to be sure, but I let it go and didn’t think much of it.

I mentioned it to my cousin, as strange as she could see me staring at it from inside the house but hadn’t seen it herself.

This MAY have been my mistake, but I cannot say for certain.

We continued our night as though nothing had happened, and she left about 2:30 in the morning.  I walked her to her car.  It was still a very clear night and fairly noisy.  She drove off, and I went back inside.

My dog was agitated and antsy, so I decided to settle in for a bit to see if this would let her in turn, calm down.   It did not.  So I took it to mean she needed to go outside.

It was now 3:00 in the morning and I stepped out onto the porch I’d just been on not half an hour prior.  It was dead silent and there was a thick fog that had rolled in out of nowhere.  My dog had her hackles raised and darted into the dark out of sight in the fog, definitely not in her nature.

I didn’t want to wake up my neighbors, but I was instantly on edge, peering through the fog trying to discern where she’d gone, hissing her name.  She came back several minutes later, coming just into the light from the porch, stopped and turned her head to look behind her, and wagged her tail, then came trotting back to me.

I was straining my ears, as she was obviously reacting to someone, and hesitantly called out “Brent, is that you?” hoping my neighbor was outside for some unknown reason at three in the morning and I just couldn’t see him.  What met my ears, however, was a scream.

I jumped, but then let out a sigh.

It was bone-chilling and sounded very much like a woman’s scream.  My brain automatically began rationing, as I calmed my hammering heart, that it was a fox.

And then I heard distant laughter.  Males, though I couldn’t make out the conversation.  Again, while it alarmed me, I figured one of the neighbourhood houses were having some sort of party and people were goofing around on a porch and was about to laugh, when I heard a horse.

Now, I should mention, that while I live in a rural area, no one for several miles has horses.  I was quick to head into the house, and was unable to sleep for several hours.  In fact, it was dawn before I was able to settle enough to sleep.

It was several days later and the family was back from their trip.  I was up before any of them, and took the dog outside as part of the morning routine. That thick fog and deep silence was back, and I felt uneasy, but let it go.

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She went out and came back to the porch, calm as calm could be.  And we were about to go back in when there was a low whistling from the dark around the side of my house, in the yard next to the wood.  My dog instantaneously perked her ears up and trotted to the stairs leading to that part of the yard with her tail wagging.

I couldn’t see anyone but I could sense that someone was there, and it unnerved me.  So I called to the dog and we headed back into the house, where I shut and locked the door up tight.

My parents got up and got ready for work, we made breakfast and I didn’t mention this to them, as they tend to make light of things and make me feel like I’ve gone crazy because “these things don’t exist.”

I was in for the shock of a lifetime though.

Because I heard my father swear, which he never does, when he opened up the door to use the remote start on his car and ensured it turned on so the heat would get started, as it was a very chilly morning.

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My mother and I both looked and there, sitting on the porch was my dog, who wagged her tail at us, and then bolted off of the porch into the fog.

Dad started out the door after her, and mom was on his heels, but they both stopped when I, panicked now, shouted for them NOT to go outside.

We’d all seen her, collar and all on my porch, but in the midst of the arguing, I pointed out that our dog was asleep on the floor in the living room, and I didn’t know what was outside but I was very much afraid.

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I have a set of old iron keys that I use for a decoration, which I retrieved from the wall with a look that did not barter room for discussion and I walked my parents to their car.

Nothing has happened since, and the feeling of foreboding is gone now, but I have been carrying these large heavy iron keys to and from my car when I leave the house after dark.

I’m taking every available precaution, paying close attention to my surroundings.  My feelings of peace are restored when i’m outside in the daytime, but I can remember every detail about that encounter and it’s stuck with me and I’m finding myself gazing into the dark expanse between my car and the wood line almost every night as I head out for work.

Jennifer – West Virginia, U.S.

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Granny hears the Banshee

Vee shares some memories of her Granny and her extraordinary life: being born and raised in a cottage built within a Fairy Fort!

It is clear the Good People looked kindly upon Vee’s Granny, as she had knowledge of the mysteries. She knew, if you treated them with thoughtful kindness, they would not harm you. And more, she knew the call of the Banshee….

* The Sidhe/The Good People.

*

My Granny Hollywood was born in Killean, South Armagh, Ireland. old granny

The cottage she was born and raised in was built in a Fairy Fort. The path around the house on one side was actually an internal path in the Fort, with a wall to each side. It was only one person wide, and the wall which made the gable end of the cottage, had markings scratched on it, with swirl patterns and V shapes, reminiscent of the markings at Newgrange.

The dog slept in ‘ the box’, which was a sort of small ‘cave’ made of stone slabs along the wall, topped with a massive slab. A fox would come and share the box with him sometimes.

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Granny married a Hollywood, and so was gifted the cure of the whooping cough. When people were frightened of the Si*, she wouldn’t say anything, but she always told us after never to be afraid, that the Si knew us and wouldn’t ever harm us. We just had to leave white Foxglove flowers for them.

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Although a devout catholic, Granny followed the old ways too.

There was a bend in the road a bit down from the Fort. One of Granny’s sisters was afraid to pass this place alone, and always had to be escorted past…to school, to work, any time she had to go that way. If she was alone, she would walk the fields rather than pass it!

She married and lived over the road a bit. One night when my Dad was wee, he was sleeping up in the cottage and he kept waking up complaining he could hear a cat yowling.

Everyone passed it off as a dream, but Granny got anxious, and wanted them to go looking for her sister who hadn’t arrived for her usual Ceili.

They went looking for her, and they found her dead, just at the bend of the road.

Granny said it wasn’t a cat, it was the Bean Si (Banshee) that Dad had heard, trying to warn them. She said Dad was special to the Si.

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On Mam’s side, most of my female ancestress’ had the gift of perception. Some could see, some could hear, but they nearly all could foretell danger. But as they lived in the town, Granny discouraged them speaking of it, as they would be shunned.

Even yet, some people will be hostile. ☘️

Vee – Ireland