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The Creeps, Heebie-Jeebies, call ‘em what you will...

The real question is this: does a person ever get over having the creeps during their lifetime? And the answer: I don't think that age causes an immunity to the creeps, AKA the Heebie-Jeebies. And I think that we all wish that it did.

Some months ago, it was my privilege to accompany my brother and three nephews on an elk hunt. Now our hunt was not successful, at least not successful in terms of obtaining prey. One of the other hunting parties was rewarded with a late evening butchering session in the dark, followed up by a trip to the emergency room. This to repair a half-severed thumb, obtained while sharpening a knife. Fortunately for Tom, his focus was more on trying to control the flow of his own blood, rather than on the creeps hovering just at the edge of the clearing. They were waiting to obtain their share of the kill, the entrails being their favorite part.

During one fruitless scouting session, it began to rain as night fell. My nephews and I had decided to try another area from that where Tom and his party made their kill. The road seemed to be outlined by stars, as the trees at the edge of the road rose toward the night sky. The truck's high beams cut a swath on the darkening road ahead, as our eyes struggled to see in the dim, hoping that, perhaps, an elk (or better yet a herd) might choose this road for their route tonight. The last few minutes of light for hunting were fading fast, as we realized that, once again, the elk were safe and although perhaps not snug in their beds, were far from being stressed out by our hunting party.

As we started back to the cabin, eager to put the 15 miles worth of rough road behind us, I think all three of us became aware of the utter blackness of the night. The lingering rain clouds ensured that the feeble output of the waning moon did nothing to light our way. Driving through the deep ruts and pools of water, heading back to the main road, we took comfort that we were dry and inside the warm truck; our shield against the dark and cold night. A shield that was reinforced by human companionship.

At last, turning onto the main road, we were able to finally manage a speed more than 10 miles per hour. Even so, the deep washboards in the main road were able to cause the truck to dance back and forth in imitation of a Scottish clog dance. Going up a steep hill, and rounding a bend, a loud thumping noise was heard by all. We ignored it, for perhaps a half-mile or so, but then Michael noticed that one of the camper mirrors had fallen off, shaken loose by the merciless pounding of the road.

As the road was narrow, and I felt that the mirror could not be too far back, I told Ryan to wait for me and that I would walk back to pick up the mirror. Ryan pulled to the side of the road and killed the engine. Shutting the truck door behind me, I sealed my fate at the same time, as I walked back to get the mirror; with only a small flashlight as a weapon against the blackness. As I walked up the hill, the truck became only dimly visible, finally vanishing as I crested the hill and went down the other side. I found nothing on the other side of the hill, as I walked down it.

Certainly, I knew I was on the same road that we lost the mirror on. There was no other road: we had continued on the main road for some miles. I seemed to walk forever, even knowing that, lacking legs and therefor its own ambulatory power, the mirror must be waiting for me somewhere ahead in the darkness. I felt, perhaps, that I had walked into some sort of time warp, and that I might walk forever, in search of the mirror.

I began to rationalize that, well, I probably could get another mirror; that after it had fallen from the truck it had broken, etc. I was almost to the point of convincing myself that I would not find it and the only logical thing was to turn back. Yes, it had flown off the road, never to be found again, at least by me. But then, I spotted my prize: off to the side of the road, scratched but unbroken. To my now animated imagination, the mirror first appeared as a small dead animal, in the light of the moribund flashlight, whose weak beam reminded me that it was nearing its own death throes.

Mirror finally in hand, I began the happy task of walking back to the truck, secure in the knowledge that my long-enough legs would soon have me back in the company of my two nephews. I had let Ryan drive on the way home, knowing that his eyes were far superior to mine, since I had forgotten my regular glasses and had only sunglasses to wear. As I trudged toward the truck, I began experimenting with my glasses to amuse myself, checking if I could see better with or without them. As my flashlight became more and more feeble, I finally relinquished my glasses to the care of my shirt pocket.

At this point, I began to wonder when I would see the truck again. Even though my nephews are both trustworthy, I wondered if either might be inclined to have a good laugh at uncle Dart's expense. In my mind, I imagined Ryan telling Michael, "Now you know what would be funny; what about pulling off the road, and letting Dart walk past us. He might think we ditched him!" I further imagined Michael being in full agreement with this humorous (to them!) plan.

Great. It was cold and we had gotten no elk. It was black as pitch tonight and I could not see too good. On top of everything I was starting to get a major case of the creeps and could feel them marching up and down my spine. Mind you, I had been walking for perhaps ten minutes or so, but it seemed hours.

As the creeps began to take a firm hold on me, I relished the thought of pounding on both my nephews, as a partial down payment for their imagined amusement. I thought that, perhaps, since I had been gone for an hour, they might have had enough courtesy to turn around and come get me. I envied both of them then, safe and snug in the truck, while a battle raged in my mind as to what might be approaching from the rear, as I made my way toward salvation. I knew it was back there, just pacing me now, and I could hear the occasional noise it made.

Finally, I could not resist, and turned around. I saw nothing, but that was meaningless to me, as my flashlight was all but useless now. I was sure it was there, a black nothingness, waiting for me to turn around again. It stayed just out of reach of my flashlight's dying beam, which was now only sufficient to light my watch up. Between the weak beam and my dim eyes, it enjoyed total invisibility! I was only slightly convinced, for the moment, that it was not ready to pounce. I was reluctantly forced to turn my flashlight off, in an effort to maintain an emergency ration of battery power. Now, in near utter darkness, I sensed its glee in the absence of any light to ward it off, as it began its slow, but relentless advance on my position. For my part, I walked faster, determined not to give in to some phantom of my now, quite vivid imagination.

Just as I was sure that it had closed most of the gap between us, and that it was about to lay its putrid claws on my shoulder, I came over the crest of the hill. Thank GOD! There it was! The white truck shone like a beacon to me, even in the faint bit of moonlight. At that moment, the creeps were all too ready to lay hold of me, and devour me at their leisure. This, of course, only after dragging my still twitching body into the tar pits of the woods. They went back into the darkness, to bide their time and lay in wait for another dark night.

As I thankfully climbed into the truck and again, headed back for the cabin, I related my story of woe (perhaps less embellished) to my nephews. Both were sympathetic about my encounter with the creeps. Many is the time, that, at 3 o'clock in the morning, miles from anywhere or anyone, that the creeps paid me a visit. Some call them the heebie-jeebies, but I think that far too flip a name for them. Yes, the creeps have often called on me over the years. So far, they have allowed me to live. One day, I must have a better flashlight.
 

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On the other hand there may still be a few of Geronimos band still out there in the dark waiting for a straggler....confused02or maybe just one of us half-breeds w/ a twisted sense of humor tweaking your chain :D
 

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I have had those creeps in the dark and the daylight and my experience is there is something there.it may just be a elk staring at you or a cougar following you but your subconcious can pick up sounds and smells your concious mind doesnt and kind of knocks on the door saying hey something aint right.I have learned to trust that feeling and investigate right away.I have looked right at a elk 15 yards away in heavy brush doing trhe stand still I am invisible act and did not see him as my eys scanned past him but my subconcious said hey look back and do a double take and seen what i had just missed.
When i am deep in the woods I always build a fire before i go to sleep and scoot as close to it as i can and the magnum close to my face along with a flash light.I never go deep into wilderness alone any more and always go with a experienced friend.We sleep on opposite sides of the fire unless we find a cliff face to get next to.I have woke in the night many times to cracking sticks or thumps on the ground. Animals move around at night and your going to hear them sometimes. But it is unwise to not take a moment to make sure it is passing on by and not skulking in the timber or brush.
 

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Or, it was real and there was a threat that some inner sense detected and reacted to. It's the fight or flight early warning system kicking in.
 

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I think I told the story here in another thread about the night when I was camped out alone & a red squirrel scared twenty years off my life when it landed on my chest in the dark. Just before I dozed off I'd heard a wildcat scream and... kubvcabo
 

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GREAT story, Dart.....you have a fine command of "The King's English".:D

At my age, "the Creeps" don't bother me too much, but I still have that "hair on the back of the neck" feeling from time to time, when I'd go walking to my Deer Stand at 4 AM (about 3 miles, through heavily-wooded timber, PITCH black, except for the red L.E.D. Cap Light.......I always carry a high-lumen SureFire light with extra batteries, but whatever COULD get it's claws/talons/fangs into me, if it survives a full cylinder of 240-grain hot-loaded SJHP's, a full magazine of 230-grain Hardball, and the full-stroke stabbing of the Ka-Bar or Gerber I'm always carrying, then it's EARNED it's dinner. :D

Like onenut58 and NWDave have stated, TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS.....they're MUCH keener than we give them credit for; the subconscious mind and our senses sometimes pick things up that are not readily discernable in our conscious state.

Worst case of "the Creeps" I ever got, was the 2004 Deer Season. I took the aforementioned 3 mile walk to my deer stand. Quietly set my pack down, along with the Remington 870 3" Mag 12 Gauge I was hunting with. After about 10 minutes, the woods started to "come alive" again, after my presence was no longer a concern. I heard large animals (probably deer) cracking sticks and a few dried leaves about 30 to 50 yards behind me; what sounded like a coon scurrying up a tree, about 75 to 100 yards away. After 30 minutes or so, I got a VERY disconcerting feeling, that I was BEING WATCHED.....I shook it off, as just the cold breeze in the woods that morning.....but I still felt it, getting stronger, after another 15 minutes or so.

The clouds gave way to some moonlight, and I could discern a FEW features in the near-total darkness, tree limbs over the skyline, the stiff breeze blowing them back and forth, etc. The "watched" feeling was getting REALLY bad, so I put my hand on my SureFire light in my left jacket pocket, and was straining my eyes in the direction of where my senses were telling me there was danger.....AND THEN I SAW IT.....

About 20 yards away, about 25 feet up in a tree, something FAIRLY LARGE was moving, and getting ever-closer to me.....my instincts kicked in, I quietly unsnapped the strap on my 6" Model 29, and gently slid it out of it's holster with my right hand, thumbing the hammer back, as my left hand slid the SureFire light out of my jacket pocket. The shadow in the tree was inching closer by the second; I was starting to sweat a little. I was sitting on the ground, between two large, fallen Oak trees, on a ridge overlooking a gully wash about 40 yards below, and I strained to make out the shadowy figure that was just now getting almost overhead of me in a tree, as I raised the Model 29 in it's direction, and crossed the SureFire light under my right wrist.

As I pressed the thumbswitch on the SureFire light, I almost had my heart jump into my throat, as the beam illuminated (and STARTLED BADLY!) a HUGE GREAT HORNED OWL, that was perched on a branch maybe 15 feet above my head! It jumped back a branch, and I'll bet it's wingspan when it flapped it's wings backward was better than 4-5 feet wide, it's dialated eyes SLAMMED shut, and it's talons showed as it released the branch, and re-clamped on a branch behind it. My finger was pressing on the trigger, and I ALMOST touched off that 240-grain SJHP from being startled; glad I didn't! He must have arrived after I sat down at my stand (I didn't hear a THING!), and I guess he couldn't quite make out if I was a potential "dinner" or not, so he moved in closer to investigate, walking sideways down the branches, and hopping to ever-lower branches (that's the movement I discerned in the dark!). I watched him in the beam of that flashlight for 3 or 4 minutes, then flicked off the light, but kept him silhouetted against the moonlit skyline. He kept watching me, bobbing his head up and down occasionally. After another few minutes, he swooped off with a LOUD screech, in search of easier (or at least smaller, and probably tastier) prey......

I lowered the hammer on the Model 29, slid it back into the holster, and snapped the strap back on. Pulled a Thermos of Hot Coffee out of my pack, poured a steaming cup of Joe, lit up a Marlboro, leaned back against the fallen Oak tree, and tried to settle my nerves before the sun came up, and the Deer started moving back into the woods from feeding in the fields.

I guess "Mr. Great Horned Owl" brought me good luck that morning, though:




20 yard shot.....This Doe walked up to my left, I still had a cup of coffee in my hand, NEVER heard her come in. I snatched up the 870, shouldered it, and squeezed one off.....I thought I missed her, as she kept walking after the shot, but then took three steps, and fell over, just as I racked another slug in the chamber.

I'll ALWAYS remember that hunt, NOT for the Doe, but for the Owl in the darkness!

Again, a GREAT Story, Dart! :D

DocZeus
AKA
David
 

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I get 'em virtually every single work day from May through September. I work up in the mountains on gated DNRC roads and often go an entire week without seeing a solitary soul. I've been charged by moose, stalked by cats, scared by bears and have had probably 7 heart attacks now caused by grouse. ;)

To this day, I get the heebie jeebies every single time I get out there. Often enough I have no cell signal, no radio, and no CB. I do, however, have my trusty 44 loaded up with 300gr hardcast. ;)

Every year, I think it'll get easier - it hasn't yet.
 

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Great story Dart, thank you for sharing.
I know all about the "Creeps" I too have had them from time to time and learn to trust them. If it feels wrong then there is something wrong.
 

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Uh, in my neck of the woods (well, the entire west coast from Northern California to farthest reaches of British Columbia are the home range of our Sasquatch. Why, just down the road about 5 miles on Chuckanut Mountain, there's a family of Sasquatch (what's the plural form of Sasquatch?) or so I hear. But on a more realistic note, there are regions of the Cascades that are so inaccessible, you have no idea of who or what's lurking back in the woods. :3953tsw: Even the bad guys like to take a trip up the mountain sometimes. Unfortunately, just a few weeks ago, a Law Enforcement Ranger was killed by a piece of scum who got his just desserts. She was doing a Safety Tire Chain inspection and enforcement check and he drove thru the checkpoint. 2 legged critters are more unpredictable than 4 legged critters.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
size 15

With my bigfeet, size fifteen, I was likely the only bigfoot!

Tonight, a real scary story. The Western pocket gopher. Forget Caddyshack. They are Hell on earth.
 

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I don't get the creeps or the heebie jeebies anymore...wait, I heard a noise, Better go look..........It was just my over active imagination conjureing up the image of michelle Obama...could even be Opra... even worse Hitlery Klinton....OMG!!! run!!!!!
 

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I got the creeps once when my wife & I were hiking in the Mountains just west of Hamilton Mt. We were following a rather large creek or small river up into the hills when the hair on my neck and arms went straight up. Goose bumps and a quick shudder. I told my wife to make sure her revolver was at the ready. My pistol was already loaded to go. My gut says we were being stalked by a Cougar. Corlinda never got the felling of being watched that day, but she's had it happen a few other times when she's been out hiking. We never go into the woods without a loaded side arm and extra ammo at the ready. Out here there are just too many dangers from 4 and 2 legged animals that need to be heeded and ready to defend against.

Regards, Gregory
 

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I got the creeps once when my wife & I were hiking in the Mountains just west of Hamilton Mt. We were following a rather large creek or small river up into the hills when the hair on my neck and arms went straight up. Goose bumps and a quick shudder. I told my wife to make sure her revolver was at the ready. My pistol was already loaded to go. My gut says we were being stalked by a Cougar. Corlinda never got the felling of being watched that day, but she's had it happen a few other times when she's been out hiking. We never go into the woods without a loaded side arm and extra ammo at the ready. Out here there are just too many dangers from 4 and 2 legged animals that need to be heeded and ready to defend against.

Regards, Gregory
I get your meaning...here in AZ the two legged ones give me the most concern...
 

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I got the creeps once when my wife & I were hiking in the Mountains just west of Hamilton Mt.
That's where I grew up Gregory! Was it Blodgett Canyon by any chance? I used to spend the night up there many a time when I was a youngster. Someone found human remains up there some 15 odd years ago or so. Might not have been a cat lurking out there in the woods! :eek:
 
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