Creepy Knocking in the Woods at Night Followed Me in Escambia County, Alabama

Creepy knocking sound in the woods. Walked the dog along the edge of the woods for her potty walk, at night, in the dark. Just as we’ve done all week in this campground. But tonight there was a sound. It sounded like hooves clopping. But it couldn’t have been, not in the woods. No rustling underbrush, no leaves crinkling underfoot, just this knocking noise like hooves clopping. Couldn’t have been a deer, not in the dirt and leaves it wouldn’t have made that sound. So what then?

It followed us along the edge of the woods, this inexplicable knocking sound, and I kept flashing the flashlight into the woods to scare it off, or to see its shape, or to see its eyes glow. But all I could see were the trees. And yet the thing kept pace with us.

I didn’t dare turn my back on it for more than a few seconds as we walked briskly away from the woods toward the RV, all the while hearing that weird, creepy noise. Like a knocking or clopping or clicking. I’d walk briskly a few paces, spin around and flash the light at it, and then hightail it again, scared to death waiting for something to come popping out of the woods at us.

But what? That’s what made it so scary, the not knowing what sort of creature was following us. I’d never heard that sound before and I couldn’t fathom how a creature or entity could move through those woods so quietly except for that knocking or clopping or clicking. Even the smallest animals such as squirrels make noise in the leaves or rustling through the underbrush.

This was the “lonely place” campground with just a few campers distanced far apart, surrounded by woods. None of the RVs sported flashy lights and at night you couldn’t even see most of them. All I could see at night besides our RV and the single close neighbor was the nearly invisible treeline where treetops met the sky, barely perceptible in the dim moonlight. Ground level was a haze of darkness like black fog.

It was as if we were the only people in this place, just as it was for our pioneer ancestors hundreds of years ago, traipsing into a valley where no humans had left their mark. You realize how alone you are out there in the woods, at night, when you hear creepy noises that you’ve never heard before.

I was familiar with many woodland sounds. Insects can make knocking and clicking noises, but they will not follow you along the edge of the woods. Ditto for woodpeckers and frogs. But whatever made that inexplicable noise followed us.

I was reminded of the M. Night Shyamalan movie Signs starring Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Rory Culkin, and Abigail Breslin, where extraterrestrials communicated with clicking noises. But I was pretty sure this wasn’t extraterrestrial. I get the heebie jeebies when extraterrestrials are nearby.

A few days earlier while walking the dog, we came across a perfect circle of bird feathers in the grass near the woods. No bones, no carcass, no internal organs. Just a perfect circle of feathers. A bit of internet sleuthing identified the feather culprit as a hawk or some other bird of prey. They pluck the feathers off their prey before eating it, and the circle of feathers is known as a “fairy ring.” But that wouldn’t explain the knocking in the woods.

I watched videos of deer stomping the ground to make knocking noises, and of wild hogs clacking their teeth, both of which could have been in this Escambia County wildlife preserve. Escambia County features a Wild Hog Rodeo where hunters track down feral hogs, so feral hogs or pigs or boars are a distinct possibility. But not the only possibility.

Folks in the RV group teased about Bigfoot or Sasquatch, which I totally discounted even though I do believe in Bigfoot. Having researched an ancient race of giants on Earth in the Bronze Age and before, I know that humans are not the only humanoid species to have lived on Earth, and remnants of those others might still be in the wild places. But I thought those wild places would all be in the northwest — Oregon, Washington, Canada, Alaska, and thereabouts.

I was stunned to come upon a Bigfoot legend in the Evergreen area of Conecuh County, Alabama. They call it Bigfoot, Sasquatch, the Red-Eyed Devil, and Yeti, and there’ve been so many sightings that Evergreen voted itself to become the unofficial Bigfoot Capital of Alabama. The city of Evergreen was only 45 miles from where we were camping. Trouble is, I’ve also read that Bigfoot smells really really bad, and there was no smell.

Wild boar soundclips are seriously creepy and if I’d heard that in the woods at night, I’d be running as fast as my feet would go. I finally found a video of a wild hog popping its jaws or clicking or snapping its teeth, and video of a black bear popping its jaw, and of a possum’s clicking sounds. Also that of a javelina aka peccary aka skunk pig. The javelina didn’t match my knocking and it lives in the southwestern USA, nowhere near Alabama.

The wild hog video was the best match I found. The sounds it made clacking its teeth or popping its jaws, whatever it was doing, those sounds matched what I heard in woods that night. And according to wild hog lore, when you hear a hog popping its jaws and clacking its teeth, the hog is sharpening its knives for battle — sharpening its long, pointed cutters on the blunt upper whetters. Then when his saliva foams up, he means trouble and you’d better get out of his way!

A wiley boar will stay undercover until a person or dog is almost on top of him in the hopes that you’ll never spy him. But get too close and he’ll come barreling out of his hidey hole like a freight train.

Moral of the story: Wild things do live in our woodlands, creatures of nature that we share the planet with. Mankind is not their friend, because the more we spread out across the land, the more we encroach on their territory. Wild things are often dangerous, perceiving us humans as a threat. Or maybe we’re their next meal — after all, hogs are known to eat dead bodies, and even live ones if the opportunity arises. And according to several articles, there are millions of wild hogs spread across the United States.

The southern tier from coast to coast has the most wild hogs, but these prolific spreaders have made their way northward, penetrating almost every state in the union. They’ve even gained ground in Alaska and Hawaii. You’d be amazed by what denizens of the wild live in your own back yard!

The next day I looked for clues at the edge of the woods and discovered that the woods in that place were only a few feet deep. Beyond was a creek. He must have been traveling down the creek bed that night, where he wouldn’t make rustling sounds in the underbrush and leaves. So there was an earthly explanation for this creature, this time. But there isn’t always…

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