This was a recent event. On Wednesday 16th September 2020 I decided to head off for a night of wild camping in the Galloway Forest Park in South West Scotland. It's a beautiful area and one of the few 'dark skies' areas in the country. On clear nights the views above are really quite spectacular, you can actually see the Milky Way on a clear night. Any way I digress. I'd been there a few times before, at Loch Doon so I decided to head there to try out some new camping equipment I've bought this year.
I got down there around 5pm and found a nice spot to set up camp right next to the waters edge at the extreme southern end of the Loch where the Carrick Lane flows into the Loch. I set up the tent and tarp and decided to set a fire in a natural 'pit'. I sat out until sun set and decided to 'hunker down' around 9pm. I quickly fell into a deep sleep. I was awakened abruptly at some point and checked the time on my phone, it was 2247. Hearing rummaging sounds outside I naturally presumed it was perhaps deer or even amphibians (the area around the tent was quite marshy) and I slipped back into a deep sleep.
Sometime later I began coming out my slumber and was aware that my sleeping position was somewhat unorthodox my head had slipped off my inflatable pillow and my head was pointing towards the top of my sleeping pad. Although I didn't fully waken I felt a hand grip my shoulder, not tightly, but just enough that I was aware of it. As I lay there semi awake this hand began shaking me back and forth fairly violently to such an extent that my entire body including my head was rocking, at this point I lifted my head and 're-found' my pillow. I kept my eyes closed throughout but once my head was safely back on the pillow I felt the hand release on my shoulder. I lay there motionless for maybe 15 seconds or so aware of a presence in the tent. Oddly even though I didn't want to open my eyes, I didn't feel it was in anyway sinister or evil. After around 15 to 20 seconds I heard the side of my tent and the tarp around it rustle as though someone had brushed against it. It wasn't wind as it was very much isolated to the area directly behind me where this 'hand' had come from.
I lay, keeping my eyes closed and soon drifted off again into a good sleep. I wakened around 6am, and sat watching the sun rise, packed up and headed off around 7am all the while thinking this experience through the night.
I have to share my gut instinct on this. I felt that perhaps the position in which I was sleeping was possibly blocking my airways. I feel this 'spirit', this 'ghost' or whatever it was prevented me from choking in my sleep. It shook me with the purpose of at least wakening me enough that I'd alter my position, thereby opening my airways up again, allowing me to breathe. It's then stayed long enough to be sure I wasn't going to slip back to an 'unsafe' sleeping position.
Some may say I was sleeping the whole time, but I can assure you, I wasn't. I know what sleep is, I know what awake is and I know what that 'limbo' which lies between asleep and awake is, when you are aware of your surroundings, aware of where you are and aware that you are in that space where fully awakening isn't happening, or sleep. It's not sleep paralysis, I never at any point felt unable to move, or frightened. Indeed I moved freely when I lifted my head onto the pillow. I never felt like someone was applying pressure to me at any point, I was completely relaxed throughout the experience, I simply felt no desire to open my eyes.
I felt I had to share this experience and am wondering if anyone else has experienced something similar to this while camping.
You know who had large hands, with long, boney fingers? E.T. - just sayin'...
If you ever return to Galloway Forest Park for camping, please consider taking a trail camera, or some type of recording device (s) to place inside and outside your tent. Would be cool if you could capture something!