The Hoia-Baciu Forest is located in Cluj County, Transylvania, which is in the north-western part of Romania. Many people travel to Transylvania for Dracula tourism, thinking they might be able to visit the spookiest sites just through following this vampire. Although there are plenty of cool places to visit when chasing Dracula (namely, Bran Castle and Poenari Castle), the real fright in Transylvania can be found in this forest.
The forest covers over 250 hectares and is known as Romania’s Bermuda Triangle and as the “World’s Most Haunted Forest” because of all the freaky and unexplainable events that have happened in the forest. Aside from strange events, this forest has very odd vegetation. The trees look straight from a sci-fi movie or some kind of dystopian parallel universe.
The trees do not grow straight up, but bend and spiral, almost as if they were twisting their limbs to reach out and touch you. Even weirder is that all the trees turn in a clockwise direction. Scientists have been out to the forest to examine the tree growth patterns, but have been unable to figure out why the trees grow in such an erratic fashion.
Besides the spiraling trees, the other weird thing about the vegetation of the forest is what is known as the “dead zone.” One section of the forest, almost a perfect circle, is an area where no vegetation can grow. The soil has been sampled, and it is unknown why nothing grows in this area. Moreover, this dead zone is where quite a bit of paranormal activity has been spotted.
When you step into the dead zone, you are surrounded by forest, and you feel eerily removed from the rest of Transylvania.
The Legends of Hoia-Baciu Forest
One of the legends surrounding the forest is that a young girl entered the forest and was lost for many years. Then, supposedly, she reemerged from the forest five years later, appearing unaged and unable to remember where she been.
Another story that the locals tell is of a shepherd and his flock of 200 sheep. He entered the forest with his flock, never to be seen again – his sheep and their remains were never found either.
There are also stories of alien sightings in the Hoia-Baciu forest. Actually, the forest first became famous in 1968 when military technician Emil Barnea was out in the forest with his girlfriend and a few friends.
It was a sunny August afternoon, and his girlfriend told him that she saw something weird. He walked over to where she was standing, and he saw it too: a shining silver disk in the sky. Luckily, he had his camera with him, and before the object bolted away, he was able to capture four photos.
The four of them only saw the UFO for about two minutes, but Barnea then developed his film and his pictures live on.
Barnea’s photos were published in local papers, and many people were very skeptical. Some said it was probably a couple weather balloons shot in odd circumstances or odd lighting.
Investigators looked into weather balloons, blimps, or anything else that might have been in the sky in that area on that day, but nothing could be found to explain the photos. The photo negatives were also examined to see if Barnea had altered the images, but no evidence of tampering could be found.
Still other strange events have occurred in this forest. Many people who walk in just for a quick scare walk out with unexplainable symptoms. People claim that as soon as they walk in, they suffer from severe anxiety and feel like there is somebody watching them. Others walk out with scratches or bruises, having no idea where they came from.
Some people believe that the forest is haunted by peasants who were murdered there a long time ago. The forest holds a lot of history, as there is evidence of a settlement there, dating all the way back to the Neolithic period. Evidence suggests that people originally settled there in 6500 BC, making it the oldest settlement in all of Romania. Who knows how many people have lived and died in the area that is now the Hoia-Baciu Forest!
Ghosts and other sightings of paranormal activity have been spotted here too. Sometimes people hear voices in the forest, giggles of women or screams of young girls.
People have also heard the sounds of deer or horse hooves, even when there were none to be seen. Some see orbs floating near the trees, or they will take photos and when they look at the photos, faces or orbs that were not seen in person are seen in the photos.
Occasionally, people see faces right in front of them, with their naked eye. Sometimes people see glowing green eyes, staring at them from a distance. If you visit the forest, you will have to let us know what you see out there!
Now you have learned all about the unpleasantness of this forest, but it is actually quite a beautiful place to visit. Again, those winding trees are plentiful in the forest, and this is the only place in the world where you can see such trees. Cluj-Napoca is the big city that is right next to the forest, so the forest offers refuge from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Also, because the forest is near a big city, it is easy to find accommodation. It is just a 20-minute drive from the center of Cluj-Napoca, so it is also easy to get a taxi ride there. There are also guided tours that you can go on to visit the forest and hear tales from the locals.
The forest also has plenty of bike and hiking paths, making it easy to explore on your own. Just avoid the nighttime in the forest if you don’t want a fright!