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Spring is just around the corner! Seems like a fine time to dust off some of the camping gear and get prepped for when the nukes start raining down on us again. As a well-prepared conspiracy theorist, it’s essential to have a bug-out bag packed at all times in order to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. After testing it out in the forests of Washington State, I decided to up the difficulty, and test it out in an even more dangerous place, just to ensure I was all set to go in the event of a disaster…
THE HOIA BACIU FOREST
Location: Near Cluj-Napoca, northwestern Romania
Date: 1968 – present
The Story: The 265-hectare Hoia Baciu forest initially came to prominence in 1968 when a military technician, Emil Barnea, started documenting very unusual events, including a photograph of a disc-shaped UFO in the sky that caused a lot of uproar in the paranormal activity community. Since then, Hoia Baciu has become known as the “Romanian Bermuda Triangle” and “the most haunted forest in the world”. Visitors have experienced a whole host of inexplicable maladies while travelling through the forest or immediately afterwards, including nausea, anxiety, fear, paranoia, migraines, scratches, burns, and itchy & painful rashes; electronic devices also fail regularly without cause all the time in the forest. Some visitors have also noted that they’re missing hours from their memory after emerging from the forest, having completely missing chunks of time from their experience in the forest.
What’s Weird: There’s a whole host of stories about strange events that have happened in the forest. Some of these have more basis in reality than others, but one of the most striking features about this forest is that even locals who have lived in the area their whole lives are terrified of entering the forest and most refuse to do so. Here’s just a smattering of strange things that have been noted or spoken:
- There is an almost perfect circle, about half a hectare in size, in the southwestern corner of the forest, where no trees grow; researchers have tested the soil of this area but haven’t been able to find any specific anomalies that would explain the lack of vegetation in this area. A few ideas abound on this:
- Some paranormal investigators believe that the meadow is full of radiation, which is improbable due to the health of the trees surrounding the area.
- Others claim this was the landing site of a UFO – and while there have been many who have claimed to have photo or video proof of this, it’s difficult to scientifically verify their claims.
- A number of myths, of varying credibility, abound about the stories of happenings in the woods:
- The forest is apparently named after a shepherd who entered the woods with his 200 sheep, and never returned.
- Vlad “Dracula” Tepes, or Vlad the Impaler, the namesake for the famous vampire created by Bram Stoker and the longtime ruler of Transylvania, is said to have murdered thousands of soldiers – including possibly his own men – in these woods, and buried them in mass graves.
- One of the most popular myths of the forest is that of a five-year-old girl who wandered into the woods and went missing, despite years of people searching for her; many years later, she’s said to have emerged from the woods, exactly the same age, still wearing the same clean clothes, and with zero memory of the incident having ever taken place. Sometimes re-tellings have her as a much darker, scarier person in general.
- Another popular myth is that of a married couple who were separated in the woods, forever looking for each other, but cursed to never find one another; apparently some people have seen apparitions of a woman in a bridal gown moving slowly through the woods, as though she was looking for something.
- A professor of chemistry by the name of Adrian Pătruţ has written a lot about the forest and the concept of “bioplasma”, which is a similar concept to ectoplasm that may be left behind by the physical manifestations of spirits, apparations and ghosts. Others have sworn they’ve seen these apparitions with their own eyes as well, appearing in many forms, but typically in something resembling the human body.
- Others have claimed the forest is a hotbed for unusual magnetic activity – while the failure of electronic devices is certainly somewhat unsual, there’s no scientific support to substantiate this belief, currently.
What might have happened?
Many believe that a lot of the goings-on in the forest are merely psychosomatic – all in a person’s mind – but that still hasn’t been able to quell the research and desire to learn more about the actual nature of the woods. At any rate, TV crews from all over the world, including from the Discovery Channel, have visited the forest in the quest to find its true nature. While a lot of the myths seem very far-fetched at this point, they’re also so entwined with local culture and beliefs that it may ultimately prove impossible to fully separate the stories of the Hoia Baciu Forest from popular belief.
Coach Carroll’s Hypothesis: Damn gypsies all over Romania, probably just trying to stake their claim on some sweet stuff they stashed in the middle of the woods they didn’t want anyone else to find. Including my wallet. Fuckers trained a monkey to nick it from me when I was in a back alley shop in Bucharest, looking for turkey wishbone water detectors. Goddamn assholes!
Banner image courtesy of Low Commander of the Super Soldiers.