There’s something eerie about walking through any forest. The inexplicable fog, lack of noise, no one in sight, it all leads to chills running down your spine. Yet, many hiking trails require a walk in the woods around the world.
You’ve seen the slasher movies and “documentaries” filmed in the middle of the woods, all leading to the impending death of an innocent individual. While these films are far-stretched, there are a number of forests around the world where a sprinkle of truth can be found in these tales. From silent whispers to actual paranormal sightings, these 10 most haunted forests in the world should never be hiked.
Wychwood Forest | England
Wychwood Forest is just about as witchy as it gets. England’s creepiest forest boasts tales of visitors feeling hands on their shoulders and hearing invisible horses gallop by. The most popular tale of Wychwood is that of the ghost of Amy Robsart, who confronted her husband in the woods while he was hunting and told him he would die within 10 days. He died 10 days later, confirming her premonition.
Wychwood Forest was once part of the royal hunting grounds in Oxfordshire, England. Now, it’s a place where few dare to visit with the tales of ghost sightings and paranormal hot spots.
Devil’s Tramping Ground, North Carolina
One would be near crazy to enter a forest where many claim the Devil tramples at night. If you travel deep enough into the woods near Harper’s Crossroads, you’ll find a 40-foot ring, devoid of any growth. Supposedly, this is where the Devil stakes his claim, walking in circles at night. The North Carolina State Department of Agriculture has investigated this hot spot to find out why nothing seems to grow here and are equally as stumped. Which begs the question, is it supernatural or science?
Isla de las Munecas, Mexico
A haven of trees with dolls hanging from branches should be enough to scare off even the bravest. Yet people depart from the Emarcadero Cuemanco ferry terminal every day to see the Isla de las Munecas for themselves. This small island near Mexico City is littered with dolls, most in bad condition. The only was home to one inhabitant, Don Julian Santana, who drowned in a canal in 2001. Before his death, he found the body of a girl in the same canal and began hanging dolls in her memory. Many believe these dolls are pure evil, others think they protect the island. Will you venture there for yourself to find out?
A walk in Aokigahara (青木ヶ原) may be enough to drive someone to death. This haunted forest is located on the northwestern flank of Japan’s Mount Fiji and is the second most popular place to take one’s life. Death is so common here that police have placed signs that read “Your life is a precious gift from your parents” on the trees in hopes of preventing suicide. Due to the alarming number of deaths that take place in these woods, it comes as no surprise that an alarming amount of paranormal activity can be found here. Whether it’s the lush forest that draws people to make Aokigahara their final resting place or some demonic force, one can argue that this forest is one that shouldn’t be visited.
Eflin Forest, San Diego
My very own town is home to one of the most haunted forests in the world. Elfin Forest is a popular destination for hikers, yet the surrounding woods are plagued with ghost stories. The most-told story is that of the white witch, her husband and son brutally murdered long ago. She used to wander the woods in search of them, however, locals say she has since found the light and hasn’t been seen in years. Others claim the native Northern Diegueno Indians still haunt the woods. Others tell tales of seeing apparitions roaming freely, felt an invisible hand touch them, or felt negative energy. I can say after visiting Elfin Forest this isn’t a place I care to frequent alone, or too often.
Hoia-Baciu Woods, Romania
Hoia-Baciu Woods is touted as the most haunted forest in the entire world. It is so haunted, that many believe leads to the gateway to another terrifying dimension, one where people never return. The forest first established its frightening reputation after a shepherd and over two hundred sheep vanished into thin air. Local villagers declared the forest to be cursed. Since, those brave enough to enter the forest have reported feeling anxiety, nauseous, and felt as though they were being watched. Even the trees have twisted into unnatural shapes, perhaps as a warning that anything is possible here.
Freetown Fall River State Forest, Massachusetts
Freetown Fall River State Forest is actually a popular hiking destination—for those who aren’t afraid of its dark reputation. Not only have supernatural sightings happened here, but actual crimes have also taken place in depths of these woods. The body of an abducted 15-year-old girl was found tied to a tree in the woods in 1978. Locals also have claimed to have witnessed Satanic cult activity in the woods, which was later somewhat proven by the carcasses of cattle found in the woods. Three other murders took place in the woods in subsequent years. Beautiful as it may be, a walk in these woods may not be the safest.
Dark Entry Forest, Connecticut
Ask locals of Dudleytown, Connecticut and you’ll hear a vast array of stories about Dark Entry Forest. The forest sees minimal light, covered by the shade of a mountain which helps explain its name. While the name might scream “come here to get your fill of haunts”, the Dark Entry Forest Inc. tries to keep visitors out with “No trespassing signs” and requires a permit just to enter these woods. Dudleytown may be hard to find on a map, but that hasn’t stopped visitors from checking out this “cursed”, “damned” and “demonically possessed” town and its nearby woods. Those who have taken their chances and entered the woods, claim to feel overwhelming anxiety and terror. Dudleytown should probably stay off the map for good.
Black Forest, Colorado
When the Lees moved into their dream home in Black Forest, they weren’t deterred by the horror stories they’d heard. The former owner claimed the house was haunted, but this didn’t stop them from moving in. Within weeks the family experienced the terror themselves. They recorded strange shadows, apparitions, and strange lights over the years. Numerous psychics and film crews have in turn documented the paranormal activity here and can attest to its strangeness. Only 14,000 residents live in this forest-town, yet many are deathly afraid of it, for good reason.
Screaming Woods, Britain
There’s a good reason why many paranormal investigators flock to Pluckley. A small village of just over 1,000 people, Pluckley is also supposedly home to an additional 15 ghosts. The village’s nearby Screaming Woods is a paranormal hotspot, where screams of long dead men and women can be heard. Others claim to have seen misty figures of ghosts in person. The town has capitalized on this fear and even offers visitors a chance to stay overnight in Screaming Woods to see these ghostly spirits for yourself. The question is, would you dare take a walk in these woods?