Thanks to The Forest, my interest in haunted woods has been peaked once again. Why? Um...look:
Thanks to MP writer Michelle for introducing so many of us to this MTV movie in her article. Here's the trailer to set the mood:
Everybody who grew up in a city knows these words: “See that house there? Do NOT go in there.” Usually, that was followed by some wonky story about a mass murder and the ghosts of the victims who now haunt it, and will never let you leave alive once you go inside. If you do your research on a house, you can usually find out if the story is true or not, and then go see for yourself if it's haunted.
My wife and I are planning a trip to New Orleans soon, so of course, I Googled “Haunted New Orleans” and holy cow. I could plan our whole trip around grave yards and old houses that have some of the bloodiest history you'll ever hear about. Fortunately, the trip will be more about the food, drinks, gators and sweet plantations than ghosts.
But what about mother nature? Usually, houses and sometimes graveyards are off limits to the general public. Don't go breaking any laws just for the off chance you might see a ghost. Forests and other public grounds, though, are open to explore, if you have the guts.
Obviously, no natural place can be haunted without the help of man. We have to go there and die before we can freak out the tourists that come after, right? So some of these entries are borderline between nature- and man-made.
So you've heard enough about haunted houses and churches; let's take a walk through some of the most haunted natural places on the planet.
10. The Island of the Dolls, Mexico
From the moment I read J.C. Martin's short ebook, The Doll, I had decided that Mexico would never get a glimpse of my white butt. Feet or face either, for that matter. There are these artificial islands, or chinampas, among a system of canals in Mexico City, and one in particular has been one of the creepiest places known to man since the dawn of man. The story goes like this: one of the islands used to belong to a guy by the name of Don Julian Santana Barrera. He found a dead girl's body in a canal close by, so he began to collected old, discarded dolls and pieces of dolls. Believing he was being haunted by the girl's spirit, he hung these from the trees on the island in an attempt to ward off evil spirits. They remain today, years after Julian passed on, and it has made the place one creepy, freaky tourist destination. Dolls are creepy enough as it is, but limbless, dirty, decapitated dolls hanging from trees, their little eyeless heads following you, watching you as you walk in the trees on a moonlit night? Not completely nature-made, I know, but nature is involved in a pretty big way!
9. Aokigahara Jukai forest, Japan
Otherwise known as Suicide Forest, this is the final resting place of literally 1,000's of lost souls, who, for the last half decade or so, thought that suicide was their only way out. It stands only 2nd on the list of the most popular suicide locations, after the Golden Gate Bridge in San Fran. The total number varies from source to source, but if you average about 50 a year for 50 years, that definitely puts the final number in the thousands. And now with the new movie coming out, The Forest, more light will definitely be shed on this depressing place. It's so bad there, that annual body hunts and sweeps is taken by officials and volunteers. But each time a year passes, the body count rises and takes the place of the previous year's toll. 50 alone succeeded, and 200 failed the attempt in 2010...pretty bad. On top of that, the Japanese and Asian population are particularly sensitive to paranormal activity, more so than their neighbors across the sea.
8. Paris Catacombs, France
This is one place I had to think a few times about writing about. Men made the tunnels below the city, of course, but hey, nature (aka God) made man, so in a way, I think it's worthy of a mention. I can't imagine getting lost in haunted woods full of dismembered dolls or disembodied pissed off spirits, let alone in an enormous underground maze, where the walls were made of skulls and bones of 6 million dead people. And, of course, with the release of As Above, So Below, interest of the place peaked again in 2014 with the release of the movie. I can imagine a forest or tunnel that houses the bodies of the dead, especially millions of them, has a pretty good chance of being haunted.\
7. Culloden Moor, Scotland
On April 16,1746, the last, and bloodiest, battle of the Jacobite Uprisings, fought on British soil. It was pretty one-sided, with the Jacobites getting wiped out. But fast forward to now, and it appears to be a pretty peaceful countryside, with rocks, trees, and bunnies. But it's the ghostly soldiers that supposedly appear every April 16 that sort of kill the serenity of the site. Hearing cries and screams of the troops getting slaughtered would definitely put a damper on a Sunday afternoon drive...or maybe a Sunday midnight drive? There's some pretty rich history involved here, if you like that sort of stuff. You might want to brush up on the battle, in case you run across the ghost of a soldier or two, and don't want the conversation to get awkward when you have to ask him his name.
6. Pripyat, Ukraine (Chernobyl)
A spot that was originally man-made, but is now almost entirely at the mercy of nature, Chernobyl and it's surrounding forests and abandoned, well, everything, make for a very depressing, creepy, and most possibly haunted site. Pripyat, in particular, has one of the creepiest things that exist; an abandoned a-a-am-am-amusement park. Almost as bad as hanging dolls! And hell with the death toll from the Chernobyl disaster at almost a million souls, one can only imagine what wanders those forests at night. Either the souls of the dead, or some really mutated living things.
5. The North Yungas Road, Bolivia
I really tried to find places that were as untouched by man as I could, honest. But this road, obviously, was man-made in the 30s. The surroundings, however, are all nature, and all creepy. The road is so treacherous, that thousands have died trying to navigate it. At roughly 100 per year average as of late, that's a rough estimate. The road has been improved in recent years, but the damage has been done. Covering over 40 miles, the road gives travelers plenty of chances to either die or cheat death. The crosses and roadside memorials littering the road lead into the dense jungle beyond, which has become the final resting place of cars and people alike, with the drop off at some points being 2000 feet of nonstop tumbling and crunching, before the end comes. The jungle beyond must be on par with the forest in Japan with the number of souls wandering around.
4. Sedlec Ossuary, Czech Republic
Yet another example of man using nature to show his twisted, macabre side, this place is just downright creepy sounding. Chandelier made of human bones? Garlands of skulls? Artsy fartsy things that look like tables fashioned from femurs and spines? Thanks, but no, I'll go hang out with the hanging dolls.
3. Stull Cemetery, Stull Kansas
Yep, I know, cemetery. Quit cheating, article writer guy. Hang on, though, it's not the cemetery I want to write about. It's the surrounding area, which has two interesting tales. One, there's a tree that was rumored to be the hanging site of a witch a long, long time ago. Haunted tree? Sweet! And two, somewhere nearby, there's also supposed to be a gateway to hell, right there in the ground. Most haunted cemeteries are pretty much like, yeah yeah, yawn, ghosts wandering among the tombstones, pulling you into the grave if you walk over their plot. This is what makes Stull so different, and more nature-ish, the surrounding area around the graveyard and now-crumbled church. So if you're out at the cemetery, stay the heck in the cemetery! If you go near the church, you run the risk of falling in a gateway to hell, accidentally left open by the last guy that took a shortcut to hell.
2. Pendle Hill, Lancashire
It's said that in 1612, something happened that seemed to happen a lot back then. A group of folks got all riled up about another groups of folks, and accused them of witchcraft. Chaos ensued, and the other group was either hanged or burned at the stake, or both. Jump ahead to present day, and you have quite the haunted locale. Because dead regular people are haunty enough, but dead witches? That ups the suspense quite a bit!
1. Hoia-Baciu Forest, Transylvania, Romania
Let's end this sucker on a right note. Haunted forest? Check. Freaking Dracula's homeland? Double check! These woods are the epitome of haunted and natural. No explanation (a good one, anyway) has been given to say why it's so haunted, but it's considered by many to be the most haunted place on the planet! Ghosts, demons, UFOs, alternate dimensions, people losing time when they enter...this place pretty much has it all. Except dolls, thank goodness.
Did I miss any haunted woods? Let me know!