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A dark walk on South Als

Photo: Reinhardi - Pixabay

Take a break from artificial light, television and computer
- experience the darkest darkness!

Nature guide Helle Tychsen Bojsen wants to inspire people to leave areas with artificial light and experience the night black nature during a dark walk at Sydals in the Sønderborg area.

Darkness - good for body and soul
If you need a slightly different experience, here is a good tip for another of the free joys our fantastic nature can offer. You can plan a dark walk, where you pack a backpack with warm blackcurrant juice and some midnight snack, wake the kids after dark and take them to Sydals, where you will find the darkest areas in Sønderborg Municipality.

The natural darkness, without artificial light from cities, street lighting, LED lamps and computer screens is both healthy for the body and good for the soul. Man has always been fascinated by the darkness of the night and the sight of the starry sky often makes us feel part of a larger context. At the same time, when darkness falls, we secrete the important hormone melatonin, which is of great importance for both our physical and mental health.

A good starting point for your trip could be the car park on the edge of the forest at Blomeskobbel. Take a quiet walk through the darkness of the night, hand in hand, and notice what you experience when you can not see much other than the outline of each other. If it's autumn or winter, it's really cool to put on warm clothes - preferably a thermal boiler suit, if you should be lucky enough to own one. It is warm, can withstand dirt and simply suits any body. If you are comfortable and dressed warmly, you can try to sit a little apart in the group, or close together, depending on the family's temperament and courage, and enjoy half an hour of sitting still in the dark. Here you can listen to the sounds of the night and open your senses to the life and mood of the night.

Helle Tychsen Bojsen
Photo: Bo Bach
On a trip with Helle Tychsen Bojsen.
Walking in darkness
Photo: Harmony Lawrence - Pixabay
Darkness falls, and the forest transforms.

Ghosts, will-o´-wisps and spirits
If you like good stories in your family (and do not mind that your youngest kids will probably sleep close to the adults tonight), your trip out into the dark can appropriately be made extra atmospheric with a ghost story. Maybe around a campfire, which you light on one of the municipality's many public campfire sites, where you can also enjoy your supplies from the backpack. But know that close to some of the bog areas found on Als, there are often will-o´-wisps trying to lure you out into the dark and swampy areas. Will-o´-wisps are lights that can divide and become more and more, so that the attraction to the bog becomes greater. Simply remember, that you can protect yourself from will-o´-wisps and other spirits at any time by turning your hat or sweater inside out when you are walking in the dark.

However, there are also other ghosts that are known to haunt at several places on Sydals. Among other things, close to Asserballeskov, where there is a hill called Hokenholt. Here it is said to spoke quite terribly, the reason why is unknown. It begins out in the evening and culminates at midnight. It puzzles around the night walker everywhere, voices speak, darkness resounds with loud shouts, laughter, sighs and moans. Sometimes it is only the sounds, but when the ghosts are really in the mood, they also appear in the form of the most horrible monsters: You see the outlines of giant figures, some of them are seen as human bodies with animal heads and they twist and turn as in a crazy dance.

Sydals' residents know very well that you have to walk far around Hokenholt in the evenings and nights when the ghost carnival takes place. Therefore, they always stand for a while and listen before venturing past the mound. The feasts of the spirits do not go by quietly and strange sounds can be heard from a long distance. However, if you are so unlucky enough to get into the wild tumble, you just have to pass by without in any way letting yourself be influenced by what you may hear or see. Because if you react to the ghosts' movements, you risk getting into their power and it is said to have cost night walkers their mind. So enjoy the darkness and take care of each other oouuuut there.

Have a really good night trip!

Helle Tychsen Bojsen
Nature guide Sønderborg Municipality


Source: The ghost story from Hokenholt is read in ”Spøgelser og Sagn – fra Dansk Natur”, Syd og Sønderjylland samt Øerne – bind 2. Af Gorm Benzon

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Just as eerie as the forests can be at night, they can be just as cosy in daylight. The nature guides in Sønderborg municipality recommend several natural areas and activities.

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