Deep, Dark and Disturbed Forests
These are all places that have terrifying histories, and visitors sometimes hear high-pitched screams from those that are no longer alive, and have not found peace in the afterlife.
Would you be one of those that would visit these dense, dark forests and confront the feelings of dread? You could chalk it up to your imagination or admit that there is someone, or something looking at you intently from the shadows.
Epping Forest, Essex, England
Due to its density this forest became a favorite hideaway for highwaymen, including Dick Turpin (1705-1739) who hid there with gang of thugs. He used a cave in the High Beach area of Epping as a hideout for many years.
Located close to London, it's known also as place to dispose of murder victims. Those suspected of using the forest as a dumping ground are the Krays, identical twin brothers, who were the foremost perpetrators of organized crime in the East End of London from the 1950s to 1967. Since 1960s, more than a dozen victims have been discovered there.
The forest is haunted by those who were left to rot in a secret grave and even Turpin himself makes an appearance. Or it could be ghosts of those who died in battles dating back to Roman times. Hangman's Hill is stalked by a shadowy man and screams are heard.
Aokigahara Forest (aka Suicide Forest), Japan
Appearances are deceiving especially when it comes to Aokigahara Forest. Sitting a the foot of Mount Fuji, the serene sway of the trees belie the tormented past of what has become known as Suicide Forest. It is second to the Golden Gate Bridge as a place to commit suicide.
In 2010 alone, 247 people attempted to take their own lives here, and 54 of them were successful. In recent years the authorities have decided not to post the amount of successful suicide attempts in order to stop the allure of the forest.
Some think that the novel Nami No To (Tower of Waves) popularized the area as place to end one's life, however the morbid history of the Suicide Forest predates this since the area has long be associated with death.
Ubasute is believed to have been practiced there. This is when an infirm or elderly relative is carried to a desolate place and left there to die.
The forest is said to be haunted by ghosts of those left to die and those who chose the path of self destruction.
Pine Barrens, New Jersey
Spanning over one million acres the Pine Barrens covers seven counties in New Jersey.
It thrived since colonial times, spawning sawmills, papers mills and other industries, however the discovery of coal in Pennsylvania left many of the villages as ghost towns.
The most popular resident of the forest is the Jersey Devil. According to legend, the creature was born in 1735 to Deborah Leeds—her thirteenth child—with leathery wings, a goat's head, and hooves. It flew up the Leeds' chimney and into the Barrens, and it has been killing livestock and creeping out South Jersey residents ever since.
Hoia-Baciu Forest, Romania
In 1968, a military technician photographed a UFO hovering over the forest. Since then it's developed a reputation as the "Bermuda Triangle of Transylvania."
Reports of portals, disappearing people and weird physical afflictions are brought on by visiting the forest. A story is told of a young girl who disappeared only to reappear in the forest five years later without any memory of what had happened to her. Another disappearance involved a shepherd and his sheep, however he was never found.
The Black Forest, Germany
The dense fir trees create pools of darkness even in daylight. The Romans who arrived here called it Silva Nigra or Black Forest. The Brothers Grimm used it as a setting for their stories.
The tales range from the fantastical to the paranormal; a headless horseman who rides on a white stallion, a king who lives in an underwater lair with nymphs but he occasionally kidnaps human women, werewolves, witches, dwarves and the devil are just a few of the strange characters running around in the Black Forest.
Another strange one is der Grossmann, a multiple-armed man with bulging eyes. Naughty children who go into the forest are made to confess their sins to him. The worse offenders are never heard from again.
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Stranger Than Fiction Stories by M.P. Pellicer