By Doyle Irvin, American Forests
Are you feeling the spirit of Halloween, yet? We at American Forests are sharing with you the spookiest forests from around the world. These are places where you will definitely spend half your time looking over your shoulder — that is, if the aliens, sasquatches and mysterious illnesses don’t get you first!
We’ll start you off easy…
6. Screaming Woods, Britain
The Screaming Woods, sometimes conventionally known as the Dering Woods, haunt the outskirts of Pluckley, known to be Britain’s most haunted village. We’re beginning our list with these woods because, at worst, you may just go mad if you choose to visit them. Maybe, just maybe, you might get lost in the fog and never return, becoming one of the screaming drifters that give this place its name.
Credit: Richard Gunn via Flickr.
5. Epping Forest, Britain
Coming in at No. 5 on our list, Epping Forest is an infamous burial ground for the murderers and victims alike of London. The notorious highwayman Dick Turpin used to operate out of this forest, robbing passers-by, and his spirit is frequently encountered in the deepest, darkest gnolls of this chilling thicket. That being said, the place could hardly be called dangerous, compared to what’s next on the list — really, Epping Forest earned its spot here because some say it breaks the laws of physics: park your car in neutral at the base of Hangman’s Hill, and it will be pulled upwards by the long-dead executioner’s spectral rope.
Credit: (c) Nick Watts via Flickr.
4. Freetown State Forest, United States
The locus of the notorious Bridgewater Triangle, Freetown State Forest owns the fourth spot on our list as the only representative from the United States. Located in southern Massachusetts, the local Wampanoag Tribe cursed the forest when greedy chiefs sold the land in a shady deal without approval from the rest of his tribe. Now said to be home to mysterious creatures, UFOs, Sasquatches and Satanic cultists, the Freetown State Forest is not a place many want to be alone at night.
Credit: Frank C. Grace via Flickr.
3. The Black Forest, Germany
Ask a friendly German what they think about the Black Forest, and they will tell you that it’s a lovely place to go for an afternoon hike. But, don’t let them fool you: this place has said to have been haunted for centuries, since long before the Brothers Grimm wrote down all of its happenings. Wizards, sorcerers, dwarves, nymphs and even Freischützen — marksmen aided by the devil — wander about the Black Forest, steadfastly maintaining it as a sanctuary for the abnormal.
Credit: David Blackwell via Flickr.
2. Aokigahara Forest, Japan
We have two possibilities here, folks. Either these woods drive people into madness … or the mad are inexplicably drawn to these woods. Known as yurei, the disturbed spirits of the dead resonate here with a possessive force: they don’t want you to leave. For centuries, legend has it they have been luring souls to this forest; the sick, the agitated, the restless, the infirm and the disturbed have been coming here to end their lives early. Watch out for the skeletons.
Credit: Jeordy Meow via Wikimedia commons.
1. Hoia-Baciu Forest, Romania
Known to be the most haunted place on our planet, the Hoia-Baciu Forest easily claims the top spot on our list. Don’t go here, if you are one to believe in haunted legends! Many say just walking through these woods will inflict you with nausea, headaches and anxiety — and that’s only if they decide to leave you alone! Studies have shown that the Hoia-Baciu Forest is an entryway to other dimensions, and that visitors from the spirit realm frequently use it to enter our world. These outside influences have shaped the local vegetation: many of the trees grow in crazy, warped patterns, and there is a large circle in the middle of the woods where absolutely no life can grow at all.