My Encounter with the Wild Hunt

When I was a young adult living in Connecticut (US), I had an experience that shook me. I was in a park that overlooked the Housatonic River in late November. When the sun was setting, I walked back to my car. Suddenly the wind picked up, and the clouds boiled over in swirling blacks and reds. Loud barking and blasts from hunting horns assaulted my ears. As the hair on my arms stood up, I felt the temperature drop.

I fell to the ground, and just laid there cowering with my hands over my head. As blackness enveloped the park, the air grew heavy. The din became deafening as shadows flew over and around me. I continue to lay there, shaking uncontrollably.

Then complete silence. Softly the moon emerged in the clearing sky. In a daze, I got up, dashed to my car, and sped home. Arriving, I went immediately to bed and stayed there for two days. My family was worried for me but I could not say what had happened to me. Later, I had a nervous breakdown.

I had encountered the Wild Hunt, which of course I had no knowledge of at the time. A part of European folklore, the Wild Hunt has been sighted in North America. Here it is called “Ghost Riders in the Sky.” My French-Canadian relatives referred to it as “Chasse-galerie.” This “motif” entails a mythological figure leading a supernatural group of hunters and dead souls. The leader of the Hunt ranges from Odin to Herne the Hunter to King Arthur. Black hounds and horses with fiery eyes accompany the horde. Some believe that the Hunt collects souls, while others claim that the Hounds of Hell are chasing sinners. Whatever, it is considered a bad omen, foretelling doom.

People who encountered the Hunt are either taken, warned, punished, or rewarded. Staying in the middle of a road will keep the person safe. A person could cooperate with the leader’s requests and hope the Hunt will pass them by. I was saved by my nearby car and half-eaten sandwich in my jacket pocket. Bread and steel protect an individual from being taken, since the Hunt will avoid both elements. My adult life has been divided into before and after seeing the Hunt. What I experienced long ago still frightens me.

14 thoughts on “My Encounter with the Wild Hunt

  1. I actually read a paper the other day about monstrous forms in the Sir Orfeo poem (a Breton lai in Middle English that frames the story of Orpheus as a fairie romance). In the poem, Orfeo and Heurodis (this version’s Orpheus and Eurydice) become monstrous in form from the physical aspects of the madness brought upon them by their interactions with the faeries. As you are probably already aware, the faerie cavalcade overlaps with the Wild Hunt so a part of me wonders if your experience is an example of someone being changed by the fae. My apologies if this comes across as insensitive posturing on a traumatic experience of yours

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    • No problem. I have been trying for years to figure it all out. That is something to consider. I have avoided anything to do with the fae for years. Such as reading about them, etc. So there is something there. hmm.

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  2. Scary stuff. Have you read or watched any of Dave Paulides’s Missing 411 materials (YouTube under CanAM Missing Project)? He is a squared away guy who looks at cases much like this from a law enforcement/SAR perspective–just-the-facts kind of stuff. Many of the cases he describes have things that direct correspond with what you are describing (the weather changes, the sound of a horn or flute, etc.)

    All the best.

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    • Well, I was raised by atheists and was trained to think of things in terms of troubled minds or metaphors. Unfortunately I kept getting God bothered. So I made the decision to believe in Gods to restore my sanity. Believing in the reality of what happened as the Wild Hunt is for me helps me to keep sane. It seems counter to trying to explain it in natural terms or metaphoric terms to keep my sanity. However, it does work for me.

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      • I understand, I completely see what you are saying. At heart I am a total non believer and yet even so I wonder whether we may be missing some wonders at the heart of this and other universes. No gods perhaps, nothing anthropomorphic certainly. But a force of some kind. A universal consciousness.

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      • First, don’t want to reignite another person’s trauma, but I feel compelled to comment.

        Might be useful to take a Neoplatonist stance here. If you subscribe, as I do, to the general classifications of gods, angels, daimons, and mortals, then we can speculate that the Wild Hunt belongs in the “daimonic” category, much like the fae, satyrs and nymphs, sylphs, et al. Researchers like Jacques Vallee and Patrick Harpur have lengthy catalogs of incidents that align with this general thesis, as even modern-day UFO incidents fit into such a pattern. Given the many encounters other people have had over the years (see my previous comment on Dave Paulides’s work), it seems we could reasonably state: there may be some intelligence(s) that can both abrogate physical laws at the local level and also impact a subject’s consciousness. Their true nature and motives, however, are unclear.

        Axé

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      • I never thought of it in that way – missing the wonders of this or other universes. That is something to ponder. It was otherworldly to say the least. Traditional writings on the Wild Hunt cannot pinpoint to exactly what it is other than the general outline.

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      • Fra’ Lupo,
        I have pondered that. The Hunt is something beyond human understanding. The lore is like six blind men describing an elephant. Bits and pieces of a puzzle without the complete outline of the puzzle.

        I guess what I am doing is trying to make peace with what happened with the framework of the Hunt as the lore presents it.

        Welcome to the blog, btw.

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