Places I Want to Visit: Haunted Forests of Romania and Japan
I like places. I like nature. I like places of nature. Forests can be pretty dope. They can also be pretty creepy.
Forests don’t necessarily even have to be legit haunted to creep me out. I attribute part of this to my horrible sense of direction. I can get turned around and be completely lost in ten seconds. Even when I’m positive I’m going in the right direction, there’s a 90% chance I’m actually walking at a brisk pace in the wrong and opposite direction.
I could totally see myself getting lost and starving in some woods.
“We found her yesterday. Her stomach was full of tree bark and some poison ivy leaves. Some chipmunks had nested in her hair. She’d been out here for weeks.”
“Um, this is just someone’s backyard. It’s three wooded acres.You can hear the highway right over there.”
“I know. It’s tragic. She was just really bad with directions.”
The chance of death aside, there are a lot of wooded places I’d like to visit. Today I’ll tell you about two of them.
–The Hoia Baciu Forest in Romania–
HoiaBaciuForest.com boasts that this forest covers “over 250 hectares”! Which I’m thinking is, like, probably huge! A conversion app told me this actually comes out to about .96 square miles… or about the size of my city park. Okay, so not huge but still large enough for me to get lost and die in.
The story goes that these woods are haunted by the ghosts of peasants who were taken into these woods and killed. Now these ghosts are angry because for whatever reason they can’t escape the woods. Although this all occurred hundreds and hundreds of years ago (details of when this happened and who these peasants were is unknown), the really weird stuff didn’t start happening here until the late 60s. First a biologist took a picture of what appeared to be a UFO and a military technician snapped several photos of flying discs over the forest. After that, the forest turned into a hotbed of paranormal UFO activity during the 70s.
There is an unexplained clearing in this forest. Soil samples have been taken, but there is nothing about the soil itself that would inhibit growth. The only rational explanation, then, would be that this clearing is where the mother spaceship frequently lands.
The trees in Hoia Baciu grow in strange, mutated shapes. There is no explanation for this, either. Those entering the forest have reported seeing orbs, hearing female voices, feeling dizzy, loss of time, nausea, loss of memory, and a host of other things. One story says that a young girl entered the forest and was lost. Five years later she emerged from the forest in the same clothes, having not aged, and with no memory of what happened.
Frankly, some of the photos of this forest are really beautiful.
–THE AOKIGAHARA FOREST IN JAPAN–
This forest is also known as the Suicide Forest or Sea of Trees. It’s a 14 sq. mile forest at the base of Mt. Fuji. This one is bigger and I would most definitely get lost. It’s estimated that about 100 people go to these woods to successfully die every year. It’s the most popular suicide destination in Japan. The most common methods are by hanging or drug overdose, and it is apparently not uncommon to find bodies hanging from trees when you enter these woods. The label of “Suicide Forest” is so strong that numerous signs (in both Japanese and English) have been posted asking people to rethink their decision.
The trees here are so dense that there is no wind and virtually no wildlife, making this forest incredibly quiet. The floor is made mostly of volcanic rock, helping along the dense and lush foliage. There is a system of unofficial (and barely visible) trails used by volunteers who go on “body hunts” several times a year.
The internet has no shortage of grisly images of the bodies found on these hunts.
This forest doesn’t give me a “creepy” vibe so much as a sad vibe. I don’t want to go to this forest to scare myself, I want to go to this forest to stand in the quiet and give a moment to all of those incredibly sad souls who felt there was no other way. Maybe I could just stand there and mentally send tight hugs to all those who felt unloved and utterly desperate. It’s a lush and beautiful place to house such immense sadness.
There is a good documentary on the Aokigahara Forest here. If you’ve got 20 minutes, give it a watch.
What are some forests worldwide that you want to visit?