Informant: “The story goes that there’s one guard post nobody wants to guard in because it got blown up a couple years before. And the guy that was blown up in it supposedly…they never found his legs. And to this day you can still hear him tip toeing about in the darkness.”
After telling me this legend, my informant followed up with this personal anecdote:
“Listen. I’m not a superstitious guy. I don’t believe…I didn’t…didn’t buy it when I first heard the story. I thought they were just trying to scare me, ya know? And yet when I was up there and I was sitting—standing there, I was staring out at the fog. It was dark. I heard footsteps and I opened up the door and no one was there. And it fuckin’ freaked me out!”
My informant is a 25-year old man who spent four years in the Israeli army. This story was passed around between Israeli soldiers stationed in Lebanon. It was often recounted by someone visiting the guard post to the guard on duty. He gave this background to describe what he imagined to be the reason for the legend’s existence:
“We were up in Lebanon. There was this guard post that nobody liked to guard in. Now, first of all, Lebanon is a very spooky place. It’s not what you think of when you think of the Middle East. It’s not sandy and desert. It’s a forest. And it’s foresty and covered in fog, high up in the mountains, there’s snow there. And so, there’s this fog, almost every day, this thick fog. And there’s enemies just a couple kilometers away that want to kill you. It’s a spooky place to be guarding anyway. I think that’s probably where the superstition came from.”
My informant is a screenwriter and is currently working on a screenplay based around this legend. I believe he enjoys this particular piece of folklore because it is so cinematically spooky, but also because it collided with his reality in such a memorable way. The army demands soldiers to maintain self-composure, but as they are human beings, cannot help but fear being hurt by the enemy. I imagine it was a popular story in the army as it was a way for soldiers to express their fear of death and mutilation without talking about it directly.