Perhaps Dracula’s stories were not enough to make Transylvania a place full of mysteries and a perfect theater for horror and ghost stories. There is another spectral landmark in the homeland of the vampire prince: this is Hoia Baciu, just outside Cluj-Napoca, Romania’s second city of Transylvania. It has been called the creepiest forest in the world, due to the numerous apparitions and disappearances that take place there. It defies the investigations of soil scientists and attracts Romanian witches, sword-wielding Americans, and people who try to clean the forest from evil with the yoga.
According to some people there were also be some meetings with UFOs, which add to the mystical fame of the place, which is said to be inhabited by the devil himself, as well as numerous ghosts. The forest of Hoia Baciu extends for 250 hectares and is more than two hundred years old, but there is no recorded information of the place before 1960, when some inexplicable facts occurred among its trees. Hoia Baciu came to international attention in 1968 when Emil Barnea, a military technician, photographed what he claimed was a UFO hovering over the zone. What differentiates this story from other UFO claims is that he had nothing to gain from reporting the event. But the Communist government considered a belief in the paranormal like a madness and state-sabotage, and Emil Barnea lost his job in a country which had no support for the unemployment.
Even scholars and biologists have been interested in strange episodes actually happened, such as the disappearance of a shepherd with his flock of 200 sheep, never found, or the five-year-old girl who disappeared into the forest and reappeared after five years, convinced she had been missing for a few hours, and without being aged for only one day, unchanged and in the same clothes. Or a woman who disappeared for some time and then reappeared with a fifteenth-century coin in her pocket, ignoring having been away for a long time.
These and other disappearances convinced someone of the existence of a temporal passage inside the wood. Some surveys have found in some areas a radioactivity higher than that produced by natural uranium in the forest. Often called the “Bermuda Triangle” of Romania, the Hoia-Baciu Forest owes its name to the shepherd who, along with his 200 sheep, was lost inside, without leaving any trace. It is said that the trees, strangely contorted, hosting the spirits of murdered peasants, and many pairs of green eyes and an unnatural mist appear at twilight. A mysterious clearing, where little vegetation grows, seems to be the center of paranormal activity. This is also the place where a biologist claimed to have taken some photos of a UFO in the late 1960s. Since then, the forest has become a hotbed of sightings. Mysterious spheres of light appear in the darkest areas. People that studied the phenomenon, have come to the conclusion that although it is not a paranormal phenomenon, science is not yet able to explain its origin.
I have a friend that he camped overnight in the forest and he tells me that once we’re inside it, he and his friends kept being woken by a very loud hoof noise, like a horse or a very big deer. Every time they would look out from the tent to investigate, the noise would stop. Today, visitors to the forest report strange symptoms like nausea, anxiety, the feeling of being watched and the failure of electronic devices. Ghosts and ectoplasms are routinely seen by people brave enough to enter. But it’s probabilmente that the forest is haunted only if you bring your own ghosts! 😉