Wednesday, February 8, 2017

If you go out in the woods tonight, you're in for a big surprise! And it isn't teddy bears.

If I saw this I'd have moved to town long ago! Sprites are just dim lights.

When it rains here a lot, and the ground gets soaked, you can see some strange things in the forest at night.  You see dim, phosphorescent lights sometimes, back in the woods.  Lots of the old people here who are native to Appalachia think these lights are the devil. They call him "Old Scratch or "Old Jack." Couldn't say why.

Other people say they are the spirits of the dead, people who died and didn't "pass over" for one reason or other.

I talked to a professor at North Georgia College about them in the late 80's, after I went back to school for my post baccalaureate degree. He said that the lights are caused by methane gas squeezed out of the rotting vegetation on the forest floor by the water from the rain.

I don't know about any of this, except that the lights do come out when the conditions are right. They don't show up on night vision devices, which makes no sense to me.  I also know they are not effected by a hail of bullets, as I proved when I first moved up here and saw them for the first time so long ago.

They were sure out last night. I turned out all the lights, inside and out, and stood out on the porch with night vision, because the dogs were fussing and I thought I had a bear or something coming in. But as soon as I went out there I saw the "sprites." They would pop up and fade out, not a lot , just here and there in woods. It was foggy and I think that helped me see them.

I don't go out in these woods at night anymore. As I mentioned before , the Cherokee who lived here thought there were evil spirits, that took the shape of half humans, half wolves and preyed on people at dusk or in the dark.  Not that I'm superstitious. Well, not very.... I guess.

Then again, there really are things out in the woods today more frightening that "Old Scratch" or the 
Cherokee's Uktina. And they are out there day and night...

If you really want to get creeped out, watch this movie with Kurt Russell in it.  I had never heard of it before, and just saw it by chance on the late show.  Pretty unnerving.

I will say this much about it.  If you ever break down out in the middle of nowhere and some friendly guy stops and offers to give your wife a ride to town while you wait for the tow truck,  Kill him! ;-)

Well, its four thirty in the afternoon and I still have a lot to do.  I dragged down tree limbs into a pile and burnt them all morning. Then there was the regular routine to go through, and that took time. I have just a few chores left, then I'll make something for supper and clean up.

After that, I'm going to visit other people's blogs, something I am behind on right now. At ten tonight, another episode of that new series about Seal Team 6 is on History Channel, and I am enjoying that.

Lots of very strange things going on in this country today, but I won't go into that. I'm kind of worn out with it right now. I am keeping informed but it's more a case of just hoping President Trump and his people can outwit the halfwits on the Demmi side.  Not a lot I can do to help them.

I put in an order with Sportsman's Guide last night.  They had free shipping, and I always jump on that. Didn't really need anything, so I ordered:

3 M-14 Magazines
8 Boxes of Fiocchi 12 Gauge 00 buck, 10 rounds to the box.
2 Boxes of French 7.54 MAS, twenty rounds to the box.

Why not?

Thought for the Day:

Just in case you didn't get the word. It's the ninth circuit court of appeals in San Francisco that is about to rule on the constitutionality of the improved vetting of immigrants. That bodes ill for the U.S.
{updated 0208172110E}


  1. I'm not really superstitious, either, but something like that would sure spook me!

    One time when I was out at a remote location "somewhere in the middle east", and I was just about the only one on the site, I was just getting to sleep, and though I heard something. It was a cold, rainy, and windy night night, and I thought it was just the wind.

    Or was it?

    I opened the curtains and looked out the window, and saw these beady, red eyes staring back at me!

    Turns out there were packs of feral dogs roaming the area, and they'd always come into camp after dark to root around in the dump on the other side of the big dirt berm.

    Or so they told me the next morning....

    1. That sounds like a great job! I envy people who could work way out in the boonies by themselves. My dream job was always to work in a forest service fire tower. But by the time I retired, they had done away with them and just put web cameras in the towers, no people! :-(

      In the middle east, I'd have been afraid it was Jihadis. Better feral dogs than them!

  2. Yeah, Sportsmans Guide gets me all the time with the free shipping. I really like it when they do the double discount, too.......

    1. My club membership expired the first week of Jan and I haven't renewed it. They upped the membership fee by $10.00, to $40.00, and they said they would give you two $10.00 coupons in compensation. But if you use the coupons on an order, you can't put in the free shipping code when they have it....

      Don't know if I should shell out the $40.00 or not. They kind of aggravated me, getting greedy like they seem to be.

  3. I grew up seeing "fox-fire" in the woods, but I've never seen the gaseous version. I once saw an entire rick of rotting firewood glowing; I thought THAT was sort of neat.

    1. Any idea what makes that happen? I've seen it often enough, but the methane thing seems pretty thin. For instance, my son and I were coming back to the house one night in a heavy rain, and we saw a newly plowed field with the sprites coming up out of the furrows here and there.

    2. I spent a lot of time on property my family owned in Western Washington. There were a few logs that you could see spots glowing if there was no moon and you were dark adapted. I'm pretty sure it was a fungus.

    3. R, I've seen some of that too. What we have here is bigger, and seeps out of the ground into the air. I've seen that fungus you mention out in the Sierra Nevada mountains, you can even pick it up.

  4. i was tempted to take one of those scary weapons off the street today, and i might still. figure i need other stuff more than i want an ak. like a paratroop stock for my m1 carbine, among other items. if i can shed some of my m4's i'll pick up an ak just for kicks. i'm with you, burned out on all this anti-trumpness and whining spoiled brats. i will do some much needed firearms training this weekend. take care.

    1. Riverrider, I like my Ak-47's a lot. I know they aren't as accurate as the M-16/AR-15, but they sure are reliable, and I'm so closed in here by forest accuracy at longer ranges than about 100 yards really isn't relevant.

      I try to stay up on the situation, but it's like waves of stupidity one after the other. It's pretty frustrating. But it could be so much worse, if the Dems were in the drivers seat.

      Hope you have a good time at the training this weekend. I am trying to think of something different to do but nothing has come to me yet.

  5. The methane is what causes the Fox Fire. I see it around my farm . I like it when city relatives or friends come to visit and it is out there. I tell them ghost stories and creep them out. Fun. ---ken

    1. Ken, it is creepy, especially in the depths of the forest on a foggy night. So that old professor was right all these years. I half way thought that methane thing was made up. Good to know what it is though, don't need my imagination running wild up here on this mountain top all alone! :-)

  6. That does sound spooky. Can't imagine it really is some sort of gas/flame burning out there. The whole place would go up rather quickly if it were so. Must be some kind of natural explanation. Perhaps some northern lights type thing just on a smaller scale.

    1. Ken is familiar with it and he said it's methane, just like the old professor at North Georgia so long ago. It's not real flame or fire. It's more like greenish flickering plasma strings, about six feet from the ground to the end of the light. I've tried to research it on the net but never had any luck, however, I didn't know that's what FoxFire was, so now I'm better keyed in. It's a bizarre and eerie sight, that's for sure.

    2. ken.. I just googled foxfire and it is something else according to Wikipedia. Apparently different things with the same name which is not unusual. For M. Silivius, it is not burning or flammable. I have tried to light it when I was a kid and there is not enough concentrated gas. It just shimmers. I have never seen it 6 feet high in the north where I live. I'd like to. It is only 2 or 3 feet at most here. Usually seen in boggy areas or deep woods on warm VERY still nights. No moon or any other ambient light as it is faint. And it doesn't seem to last long. Just briefly. I expect that it is one of those things that is not studied as it is only occasional and most appreciated by country folks making up stories about spirits and ghosts. No commercial value--hence no research. Which is good as stories are much better than facts on dark nights .--ken

    3. That's a good description of it, Ken.

      Some people here really think it is "boogers" or evil spirits. Of course, some folks here still pay "witches" to put a hex on people they are mad at. I'm not really being humorous about it, now that I think about the thing, because I wouldn't want to be hexed. :-(

  7. I hope you got Checkmate mags for the M1a. Best I can tell they supplied them to us at work in the period where we recycled the M1a. Slightly more expensive than derp tier stuff but good to go.

    More buckshot is always good.

    1. I don't know if they are checkmate. The most expensive mags are the ones they sell as "U.S. military surplus." The next most expensive "manufactured to U.S. military specs" are what I ordered. I got some before, and they fired out of my Poly M14S OK. I never tried them in my Springfield M1, but generally if it works in the Poly it works in anything.

      Yeah. I have tons of the stuff. I'm an addict. They need to open up a kind of methadone clinic for gun people. You could go every day and get some .22LR in a little cup, and then you wouldn't feel compelled to buy all this stuff on the internet so you can take advantage of free shipping!

  8. Harry,

    If the lights were a green type glow at night in the woods then it was more than likely foxfire.......or chunks of rotting wood/fungus. Most illegal activity in the woods will usually happen at night. Like you mentioned, one must be careful.

    1. I just don't know Sandy. Ken described seeing the same thing out west, so it must be a common enough phenomenon in mountains where there is lots of wet, rank, rotting vegetation on the forest floor. Whatever it is, it is really something to see. Especially in the middle of a dark night in the woods.

  9. That's interesting about the sprites. I haven't noticed anything like that here, but I don't walk around in the woods are night either. Sometimes I do a run before it gets light of I have no other option but I try not to because my depth perception isn't as good in the dark and I worry I will trip over a root and get injured.

    1. Lisa, if there are dank, moldering woods along your pasture or your garden, take a look some night after it has been raining steadily for several days, and then the rain stops and it gets cooler. You might see them then.

      I can't imagine running in the dark unless you were on a track, like when you did your long distance run that time. I shudder at the thought of tripping and crashing to the ground. It would hurt at your age but at my age, I'd probably be done for.

  10. foxfire is phosphor.
    i've seen those little fungi -indian pipe?- in the forest glowing.
    read where sailors see it in the ocean sometimes.
    maybe gorges woodrick was full of a fungus?
    as for the country, the roaches are just beginning to come out of the dark places and they have been preparing for decades.
    i remember our sixth grade teacher,mrs. mullins, told us about the 'situational ethics' she was lectured about in the summer training sessions teachers were required to attend [late '50's].
    the teachers were most of them horrified.
    the infiltrators have waited patiently for all the moral older teachers to die off.
    today's teachers are often pig ignorant--ask one of them a grammar question and see what answer you get.
    now today's parents are younger than my child and they and their parents have all been inculcated with the filth.
    when mrs. mullins told us about it--the 'who do you throw out of the lifeboat' scenario--one girl, judy s., wanted to play the 'game' but mrs. mullins nipped that in the bud and explained real morality to us, which almost all of us had learned in Sonday school anyway.
    the last few generations are lost and only the Holy Spirit has the miraculous ability to give them brains.
    the Devil is wily and sly indeed. he has waited centuries and he can wait longer.
    we must pray . only God can really clean up the mess.
    for those my age and older ,we can clearly seen how the ethos has been manipulated and twisted, but try to tell someone inculcated in the deception and he cannot see it. he also thinks we are old fashioned and ignorant.

    1. I'd like to see some tranquil times for my old age, but it doesn't look like it's going to be that way. I thought when President Trump was elected, that things would settle down but in fact, the leftards are swarming like bees around a disturbed hive. It's not more tranquil.

      I always had more trouble with the administrators than I did other teachers. Most of the teachers were ladies who were working to bring in extra income for the household. They pretty much did what they had to do but their hearts weren't in it. Don't know what it's like now. But I'm glad I am not in the classroom.

  11. If you ever break down out in the middle of nowhere and some friendly guy stops and offers to give your wife a ride to town while you wait for the tow truck...

    I don't even have to reach the end of the sentence to know my answer would be no.

    - Charlie

    1. Yeah, it happens in the first 5 minutes of the movie, and when the hero's wife hops in the truck and rides off with the guy in the middle of the desert, I thought to myself "you have got to be s****ing me."

      The reason the Kurt Russell character gave in the movie was he had just bought their new car and didn't want to leave it. Right.........

      It was a pretty creepy movie. These guys moved around the country kidnapping people, making the husband go draw out all their money from the bank to ransom the wife, then killing them both. In the last scene there was an old barn and a big stack of license plates the gang had taken off the cars of their victims. Just really creepy all around. I was glad when it was over. Happily, all the bad guys were killed by Kurt Russell, who turned from being a metrosexual to getting his act together as the movie progressed.

  12. I don't get very terrified over things. There was once a time where our ice maker in our fridge was stuck. It started to melt, and ice was hitting the floor in the kitchen. I didn't know what it was. Because I didn't know I was freaked out.

    My younger sister and I used to watch Unsolved Mysteries right before bed. Robert Stack's voice alone was enough to freak anyone out. Add the murders at large. Ha! I had dreams with his voice in them.

    My kids do not have the love for freaky like I do. Mica sees things at night. Travis made a Kachina doll, and Mica swore it was coming off the wall to get him. Once I was outside, and Mica was told to get ready for bed. I knocked at the window when I saw him dancing. He jumped. I did it one more time, then couldn't control my laughter.

    1. Kids have vivid imaginations. I read this comic book when I was about 10, and it had vampires in it. After that, I slept under the blanket , even if it was sweltering hot (before most houses had air conditioning) with just a little hole scrunched up to breath through. I flat out knew the vampires were coming. My dad wouldn't let me have a light on, or leave the door cracked, he said I was too old to be acting like a baby. I guess, but it sure wasn't fun.

      I went to school (UNM) for four years in New Mexico. There were some Navajo going to school there too,and they were really weird about Kachina dolls. It really aggravated them that they were sold to tourists and such. They said the dolls had power but the fake ones from china that the tourists got were an insult to the dolls. Must have been all that sacred mushroom stuff, Peoti?

      Good thing Mica didn't whip out his Luger and put a few rounds through the window! ;-)

  13. Hey Harry,


    If I owned property out in the woods and I saw strange lights from spirits, sprites or glow in the dark spit. Not a tree would be left standing after I was left holding my red hot M1A with a stack of 20 round mags at my feet. 'Hell my property would look like the 'Western Front' in France in 1918 or look like 'Veitnam Era' Daisy Cutter was lit off overhead to make an instant 'LZ'

    When things go 'bump in the night' I'm the one that 'bumps back:)

    1. I blasted them the first time I saw them. I didn't know what it was , or if anybody was out there, but I wasn't taking chances. The guy at the filling station I talked to the next morning explained to me I shouldn't do that, as they were spirits and I might make them angry.

      I had a lot to learn when I first came here. It took me about five years of living up in these mountains to scratch the surface.

  14. I've been searching this morning for information about anomalies in the woods & came across your testimony.
    I'm house/pet sitting for friends at a home on a mountain side in East Ellijay Georgia. I didn't sleep last night because I spent most of it watching something that I can't explain.
    Something woke me @1:30am: the guest rm is on the ground floor w/a window facing S (looking out to the driveway), & a glass door facing SW, looking out onto a deck/porch.
    Outside the window, in the treetops to the SW, but right in the yard at the edge of the woods, @30 feet from the corner of the house, I saw something. Plasma-type aurora borealis but not...moving slowly, randomly, methodically. It was not a normal light source, not man-made. The "lights" would get brighter & dimmer, & morph, getting bigger, dropping down, expanding, changing shape...& I could just make out forms of trees through & behind the anomaly. I stayed up most of the night watching, mesmerized, terrified, curious, trying desperately to determine a rational explanation for what I was seeing.
    Because of my location in the house, being so exposed on the ground floor, corner bedroom w/window & door, no window coverings, I did not want to move & draw attention to myself. I did not want to turn on a light as this would also draw attention, & I would my lose night vision.
    It had rained earlier in the day, the temperatures were in the high 80's-low 90's. It was incredibly still and humid. We have a waning full moon, & are under a complete cloud cover: there was no moonlight.
    There is a military establishment some miles away on the mountain. Perhaps it was a reconnaissance...or a helicopter or a drone; yet there was no sound. It was eerie. St. Elmo's Fire?...ruled out because it was not lightning-like plasma you see from a Tesla coil. Foxfire? Possibly, though it was up in the tree canopy, moving 15-30 feet off the ground.
    The anomaly would getting bigger, as in covering a larger area, expanding then contracting, coming forward then retreating. Sometimes a part would extend down and separate, and end in what was similar to a spark, a big, very bright [brighter than the rest of the mass] point that would suddenly extinguish & disappear.
    Sometimes I would see color, particularly or lime-green. Sometimes blue, sometimes fuscia. Mostly
    transparent. Like plasma...always moving.

    Earlier in the evening I heard Molly, the elder dog in my care, yelp in the something startled her, & the sound of her own voice startled her more. She would not come into the guest bedroom to sleep when I retired.

    In the morning I walked out on the deck to get a better look at the area. There is a large white Natural gas tank just in the woods off the driveway on that side of the house, off the steps up to the deck. There is no odor to indicate the tank is leaking, as a possible explanation.
    The neighbors that live in the area are quite a ways away. The "lights" were not from a porch, or a vehicle, or a flashlight or lantern. It was not a warm red-yellow light as from a fire.
    The skies above today are clearly being affected by HAARP and emf's...perhaps that is an explanation.
    If what I saw were spirits, they did me no harm other than to raise my anxiety level, blood pressure & heart rate, & rob me of a good night's sleep.

    We can only see a small spectrum of light; we can only hear a small portion of the range of sound. I have no doubt there are aspects of this world that are invisible to us: unseen & unheard. Whatever it was that you saw on your camping trip, or that I saw last night, was real for us, & because our perception creates our reality...well...

    1. Sprites, or spirit lights, have been a part of Appalachian lore since before the Scotch Irish got here in the mid 1700's. The Cherokee had tales about Ushinka, spirits that manifested themselves at night.

      I've seen spirit lights , almost always after a rain storm, or long periods of rain, and usually in the forest itself, though I've seen them in plowed fields as well. My thought is that they are methane gas, being forced out of the ground by the excessive water due to heavy rains. The methane, I am told, can pick up a charge from electromagnetic pulses in the atmosphere generated by heat lightning, and glow.

      So, from a scientific point of view, that is a viable explanation. I know though, from the time back in the late 1980's and through the 1990's, when I was trying to gather information on how people had lived in these mountains, that the old timers believed the lights were actual spirits. Some said it was "Old Nick" , the devil himself, and others that it was lost souls. Having talked to people who "speak in tongues" and "take up serpents" back then, all I can say is that they were fervent in their beliefs. Lots of strange things have happened up in these mountains. Amazon has a wide selection of books on bizarre and inexplicable events in the North Georgia/ Western Carolina region.

      I think you were fortunate to see what you did. With so much building going on up in Ellijay, and so much deforestation, it's become a rare event indeed. Thanks for telling me, I found your experience to be very interesting.