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Dare To Enter The Creepiest Place in Romania: The World's Most Haunted Forest

adventure born

I woke up restless throughout the night at Ermeline’s flat, a bit disturbed from a trilogy of nightmares I had.

It’s always the same. A man wearing a void white mask (he creeps me out so much that I don’t even want to mention his name on here) chases me around where ever my brain decides the hellish dream will take place: a restaurant, at school, my house, your house, McDonald’s—it doesn’t matter, he’s always there stalking me and chasing me around. Three nightmares in a row though?! I read that a sudden abundance of nightmares, among other oddities, are an omen to those who dare to enter Hoia-Baciu Forest. It just so happened that I felt adventurous enough to brave that forest the next day and it also just so happened that I had a weird assortment of murderous nightmares the night prior. However, I believed it was just a mere coincidence because anything can trigger a nightmare for me personally. I have them fairly often, actually.

I’ve never heard of Hoia-Baciu Forest, let alone know how to pronounce it correctly. Ermeline casually mentioned it to me a couple of days ago, when I asked her what there was to do in her city of Cluj. I knew this was something that I needed to explore. Fortunately, I wouldn’t be going alone. Clay was on board to check out the forest as well. Would I have done it by myself? If I’m being honest, probably not. I’m no fool.

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We could have gone there during the early daylight hours, but I thought it would add to the experience, if we explored the forest a couple of hours just before the sun began to set. That way, to instill somewhat of a time limit or else we’d be lost in the darkness FOREVER! In reality, I was doubting this place was going to be even remotely spooky. It’s just a forest, after all.

Hours prior to our endeavor, I came across some interesting tidbits on the internet, rather superstitious reports of people who claimed to witness the strange and the unnatural while inside Hoia-Baciu Forest and from those who claim to know about the forest all too well. They say that the forest is sometimes referred to as the Bermuda Triangle of Romania. Those who enter too deep, especially during the darkness of the night, become lost for days upon days. The forest is known for severe paranormal activity. Cellular reception stops working and navigational equipment (GPS, compasses, etc) begin to malfunction and go haywire. Some people say they beckon intense feelings as if they were being watched the entire time in the forest. Some say they heard unsettling shrieks of female voices and giggling. Some even call it a portal to another dimension.

Strange paranormal phenomena has been recorded for more than 50 years in Hoia-Baciu Forest. Everything from leering green eyes that gaze at trespassers through the bush, figments of ghostly figures, poltergeists, and heavy black fog have been observed. People have said they would gradually feel feverish, find unexplainable rashes, scratches, burns, and develop nausea.

Of course, I don’t believe any of it.

Oddly enough though, I wanted to. I wanted my iPhone to go berserk in the forest. I wanted to feel as though someone was watching me. I wanted to see the green eyes and hear the voices. I wanted to experience all of it (minus the lost forever in the darkness part). I doubted any of this would happen but in the least I wanted SOMETHING strange to occur. Otherwise this would make for a pretty boring blog post.

Clay, Ermeline, and I spent most of the early day sight-seeing Cluj. Ermeline took us to a botanical garden near the university before we tried our fix with some local restaurants somewhere off. From there, Clay and I discussed what would be the best way to get into Hoia-Baciu Forest. The forest itself is situated just outside of Cluj and covers an area of over 250 hectares. We decided the cheapest and most direct option would be to summon an Uber. We told Ermeline we would meet her back in her flat by dusk, while Clay and I hopped into our Uber that drove us the distance.

I’m not sure how I was feeling. Anxious but incorruptible; I kept my hopes low. What a story it would be if we actually found or experienced something on the supernatural side of things! Our Uber driver never questioned our destination or why on Earth we would be going to this forest outside of Cluj. The road up the hill became less of a road and more of an obstacle course. He couldn’t drop us off at our destination pinpoint, because that pinpoint wasn’t very ideal for driving, so we stepped out once we were close enough and happily walked on foot the rest of the way. We didn’t have an Uber or any other sort of transportation for the ride back. Neither of us have any service in Romania. We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

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I readied my camera and found that before we entered the forest, we had to cross an empty field of grass, which looked to be stretch about 300 yards or so before we even came to a tree.

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The weather, by the way, was calm and emotionless. Not hot nor cold. Faint wind and barely a hint of sunshine. Just a mute, gray-scale sky. The perfect setting for something like this, if you ask me.

And so we entered.

I guess my biggest concern (besides not seeing anything in the realm of abnormality) would be getting lost. According to my Google map, this forest was fairly large. And if by chance, our electronics did malfunction, we needed to keep our wits about our direction and pay attention to standout landmarks that we passed. If that didn’t work, then just go straight. We’d be bound to hit something, but then it’d be dark.

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The forest itself was lifeless. No birds or small animals in sight. There were many scrawny trees scattered about, all bent irregularly at their base. Some say it was some form of dark energy that bent those trees. Science, please explain them to me. Why are they bent like this?

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As we walked deeper into the woods, Clay and I came to a small, wooden…I don’t know what it was. A shack? A shrine? There was hay collected at the bottom of it. Maybe it’s a framework built for horses or mules to eat hay? Whatever it was, it was isolated in the middle of nothingness, inside the gloomy glint of the “world’s most haunted” forest that surrounded it.

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We checked our phones. Yup, they still work. And no, I didn’t feel like I was being watched. We’re not deep enough. We pressed on and on. We split up but kept each other in visible view.

I looked up, down, and all around for anything strange and peculiar. Really ANYTHING that seemed out of the ordinary. No rashes, bruises, or scratches on my body. The only thing that achieved even the slightest thought was this tree or large branch, that was missing its bottom half. I didn’t mind it much.

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I felt like I needed to explore fully and intently until I found SOMETHING that would keep me satisfied, but I was mindful of Clay. I’m sure he didn’t want to be walking around in this monotonous forest for too long, especially since he had a late train to catch back to his Peace Corp obligations in neighboring Moldova in just a few late hours.

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I wish I could report something interesting for you readers or stretch this story on a bit, but there was NOTHING about that forest that seemed haunted besides the oddly shaped trees, which I’m sure Mother Nature has an explanation for. Perhaps I didn’t go deep enough? Maybe it’s after sunset when the weirdness begins. That has to be it. The forest was so large in fact, we barely scratched the surface of it. The World’s Most Boring Forest, would be more appropriate.

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We did get a little misplaced on the way back but nothing to cause a fluster over. We eventually emerged back onto the plain, empty field. There were two random vehicles on opposite ends, that had no business being there. Like a splotch of blood in the middle of a snowfield. Possibly a fling of secret romances among the wheels? Or maybe people who were as curious as I was about Hoia-Baciu Forest. Hopefully they find more than I did.

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Since Clay and I didn’t have any service, we decided just to walk back to Ermeline’s. It took an hour and then some, but we really had no choice. When we met up with her, she asked if we saw anything. Clay and I pretended that we would rather not talk about it, to chalk it up a bit. She’s so gullible. We kept it going for a bit until we came clean. We saw absolutely nothing.

I should mention, on the way through and out of the forest, I randomly snapped dozens and dozens of photos of everything nearby: the trees, the ground, more trees, without ever looking through the viewfinder. My hopes are to one day revisit those random photos and look at each individual one intently with the hopes of spotting something strange. A shadowy figure lurking between the trees? A creepy child that appeared out of nowhere that I wasn’t aware of before? A huff of black smoke shaped like a ghost? Anything unexplainable.

I have yet to look through them and I will wait a while until I do so.

Because if I did see anything chilling in the slightest, then I would have to go back to that forest immediately to find out more.

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Dare To Enter The Creepiest Place in Romania: The World’s Most Haunted Forest

adventure born

I woke up restless throughout the night at Ermeline’s flat, a bit disturbed from a trilogy of nightmares I had.

It’s always the same. A man wearing a void white mask (he creeps me out so much that I don’t even want to mention his name on here) chases me around where ever my brain decides the hellish dream will take place: a restaurant, at school, my house, your house, McDonald’s—it doesn’t matter, he’s always there stalking me and chasing me around. Three nightmares in a row though?! I read that a sudden abundance of nightmares, among other oddities, are an omen to those who dare to enter Hoia-Baciu Forest. It just so happened that I felt adventurous enough to brave that forest the next day and it also just so happened that I had a weird assortment of murderous nightmares the night prior. However, I believed it was just a mere coincidence because anything can trigger a nightmare for me personally. I have them fairly often, actually.

I’ve never heard of Hoia-Baciu Forest, let alone know how to pronounce it correctly. Ermeline casually mentioned it to me a couple of days ago, when I asked her what there was to do in her city of Cluj. I knew this was something that I needed to explore. Fortunately, I wouldn’t be going alone. Clay was on board to check out the forest as well. Would I have done it by myself? If I’m being honest, probably not. I’m no fool.

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We could have gone there during the early daylight hours, but I thought it would add to the experience, if we explored the forest a couple of hours just before the sun began to set. That way, to instill somewhat of a time limit or else we’d be lost in the darkness FOREVER! In reality, I was doubting this place was going to be even remotely spooky. It’s just a forest, after all.

Hours prior to our endeavor, I came across some interesting tidbits on the internet, rather superstitious reports of people who claimed to witness the strange and the unnatural while inside Hoia-Baciu Forest and from those who claim to know about the forest all too well. They say that the forest is sometimes referred to as the Bermuda Triangle of Romania. Those who enter too deep, especially during the darkness of the night, become lost for days upon days. The forest is known for severe paranormal activity. Cellular reception stops working and navigational equipment (GPS, compasses, etc) begin to malfunction and go haywire. Some people say they beckon intense feelings as if they were being watched the entire time in the forest. Some say they heard unsettling shrieks of female voices and giggling. Some even call it a portal to another dimension.

Strange paranormal phenomena has been recorded for more than 50 years in Hoia-Baciu Forest. Everything from leering green eyes that gaze at trespassers through the bush, figments of ghostly figures, poltergeists, and heavy black fog have been observed. People have said they would gradually feel feverish, find unexplainable rashes, scratches, burns, and develop nausea.

Of course, I don’t believe any of it.

Oddly enough though, I wanted to. I wanted my iPhone to go berserk in the forest. I wanted to feel as though someone was watching me. I wanted to see the green eyes and hear the voices. I wanted to experience all of it (minus the lost forever in the darkness part). I doubted any of this would happen but in the least I wanted SOMETHING strange to occur. Otherwise this would make for a pretty boring blog post.

Clay, Ermeline, and I spent most of the early day sight-seeing Cluj. Ermeline took us to a botanical garden near the university before we tried our fix with some local restaurants somewhere off. From there, Clay and I discussed what would be the best way to get into Hoia-Baciu Forest. The forest itself is situated just outside of Cluj and covers an area of over 250 hectares. We decided the cheapest and most direct option would be to summon an Uber. We told Ermeline we would meet her back in her flat by dusk, while Clay and I hopped into our Uber that drove us the distance.

I’m not sure how I was feeling. Anxious but incorruptible; I kept my hopes low. What a story it would be if we actually found or experienced something on the supernatural side of things! Our Uber driver never questioned our destination or why on Earth we would be going to this forest outside of Cluj. The road up the hill became less of a road and more of an obstacle course. He couldn’t drop us off at our destination pinpoint, because that pinpoint wasn’t very ideal for driving, so we stepped out once we were close enough and happily walked on foot the rest of the way. We didn’t have an Uber or any other sort of transportation for the ride back. Neither of us have any service in Romania. We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

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I readied my camera and found that before we entered the forest, we had to cross an empty field of grass, which looked to be stretch about 300 yards or so before we even came to a tree.

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The weather, by the way, was calm and emotionless. Not hot nor cold. Faint wind and barely a hint of sunshine. Just a mute, gray-scale sky. The perfect setting for something like this, if you ask me.

And so we entered.

I guess my biggest concern (besides not seeing anything in the realm of abnormality) would be getting lost. According to my Google map, this forest was fairly large. And if by chance, our electronics did malfunction, we needed to keep our wits about our direction and pay attention to standout landmarks that we passed. If that didn’t work, then just go straight. We’d be bound to hit something, but then it’d be dark.

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The forest itself was lifeless. No birds or small animals in sight. There were many scrawny trees scattered about, all bent irregularly at their base. Some say it was some form of dark energy that bent those trees. Science, please explain them to me. Why are they bent like this?

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As we walked deeper into the woods, Clay and I came to a small, wooden…I don’t know what it was. A shack? A shrine? There was hay collected at the bottom of it. Maybe it’s a framework built for horses or mules to eat hay? Whatever it was, it was isolated in the middle of nothingness, inside the gloomy glint of the “world’s most haunted” forest that surrounded it.

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We checked our phones. Yup, they still work. And no, I didn’t feel like I was being watched. We’re not deep enough. We pressed on and on. We split up but kept each other in visible view.

I looked up, down, and all around for anything strange and peculiar. Really ANYTHING that seemed out of the ordinary. No rashes, bruises, or scratches on my body. The only thing that achieved even the slightest thought was this tree or large branch, that was missing its bottom half. I didn’t mind it much.

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I felt like I needed to explore fully and intently until I found SOMETHING that would keep me satisfied, but I was mindful of Clay. I’m sure he didn’t want to be walking around in this monotonous forest for too long, especially since he had a late train to catch back to his Peace Corp obligations in neighboring Moldova in just a few late hours.

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I wish I could report something interesting for you readers or stretch this story on a bit, but there was NOTHING about that forest that seemed haunted besides the oddly shaped trees, which I’m sure Mother Nature has an explanation for. Perhaps I didn’t go deep enough? Maybe it’s after sunset when the weirdness begins. That has to be it. The forest was so large in fact, we barely scratched the surface of it. The World’s Most Boring Forest, would be more appropriate.

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We did get a little misplaced on the way back but nothing to cause a fluster over. We eventually emerged back onto the plain, empty field. There were two random vehicles on opposite ends, that had no business being there. Like a splotch of blood in the middle of a snowfield. Possibly a fling of secret romances among the wheels? Or maybe people who were as curious as I was about Hoia-Baciu Forest. Hopefully they find more than I did.

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Since Clay and I didn’t have any service, we decided just to walk back to Ermeline’s. It took an hour and then some, but we really had no choice. When we met up with her, she asked if we saw anything. Clay and I pretended that we would rather not talk about it, to chalk it up a bit. She’s so gullible. We kept it going for a bit until we came clean. We saw absolutely nothing.

I should mention, on the way through and out of the forest, I randomly snapped dozens and dozens of photos of everything nearby: the trees, the ground, more trees, without ever looking through the viewfinder. My hopes are to one day revisit those random photos and look at each individual one intently with the hopes of spotting something strange. A shadowy figure lurking between the trees? A creepy child that appeared out of nowhere that I wasn’t aware of before? A huff of black smoke shaped like a ghost? Anything unexplainable.

I have yet to look through them and I will wait a while until I do so.

Because if I did see anything chilling in the slightest, then I would have to go back to that forest immediately to find out more.

Dare To Enter The Creepiest Place In Bali: The Abandoned Theme Park

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How does the idea of going to a completely abandoned theme park where the Balinese wouldn’t dare to ever visit because of the crumbling buildings, pitfalls, wandering spirits, and man-eating crocodiles that are rumored to hide in the park?

Sounds pretty creepy. Let’s go there!

Just north of the city of Sanur, is an abandoned theme park called Taman Festival, a multi-million dollar project that came to a sudden halt during construction due to a number of economic issues that arose. Now, the park is taken over by the unforgiving Mother Nature and totally vacated. Totally perfect for exploration and spirit hunting. Also maybe crocodile hunting? By the way, if you’re keen, you can still find this place on GoogleMaps. 

We asked our reliable taxi guy Archyar if he could take us to the Taman Festival. Not exactly sure where it was since locals don’t ever go there, Sam guided Archyar to the destination which was not too far away. Once we approached, we saw an unpleasant ticket booth out near the street.

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This must be the place.

Archyar said he would wait on us for about an hour. It would get dark soon, so an hour was fitting, though I felt more time would be needed to explore the majority of the park.

Once Sam and I approached the grounds, a stubby local man came out of nowhere and ran up to us.

“20,000 rupiahs to enter,” he said in his broken English as he held out his greedy hand.

Sam and I looked at each other, both knowing that we didn’t have to pay a fee to enter Taman, but we also knew that 20,000 rupiahs converted to less than $2 USD. So instead of causing a fuss about this guy trying to extort us, we simply handed him 20,000 rupiahs.

There is no point in arguing over two measly dollars.

The stubby man disappeared and we entered Taman, the abandoned theme park.

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My world instantly shifted from an engaging busy, bustling Bali city full of people into a desolate alternate dimension, dark and void of any life and filled with an unquestionable eeriness.

The beginnings of the park seemed to sprawl into multiple paths. Which path shall we take? Where the crocs at?

We took a left towards a myriad of decaying buildings. It looks to have been the accommodation area. Maybe?

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The floor was damp and covered in algae and mold. Broken shards of glass and building debris crunched upon each step we took. Bats hung high above us in what was left of the ceiling. I didn’t feel comfortable there.

What is this place?

Our path led us to a series of staircases that took us into separate rooms, each filled with strange graffiti messages…

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…and bizarre caricatures that seemed to stare right at you, straight through your soul. Even if I were homeless, I would not want to live here.

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We slowly scoped the area, creeped out yet fascinated at the same time. There used to be a story to this place. It was meant for something fun and magical but instead ended up being one of the most disturbing places in Bali.

We entered a spacious corridor, where things began to get real dark.

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As I footed along in the silent black like a dummy, Sam decided to jump scare me from behind which startled me and caused me to stop and thank goodness for that because we almost stepped right into this random hole in the ground.

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That would have been real bad!

From then on, we used the guidance of our phone lights to prevent anymore missteps. The lights from our phone revealed more strange things to us.

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Who or what sat in this chair? Did I really want to know?

Yes.

But there was no way to find out. We were completely alone. No guide books, no map, no knowledgable guide, no nothing. We searched for clues that could be left around; the walls, the ground, in the holes, but everything was decayed, weathered, or overtaken by nature’s wrath. The sounds of bats flying above our heads was our only source of information that told us to get the hell out of this building! The bats were flying around really close to us and more than likely carried rabies.

The interior of the building expanded deep into a black void that we weren’t prepared for.

Nope!

Rather, we didn’t have enough time and still wanted to explore more of the park. We exited the building the way we came and took a different path to another area of Taman.

Thunder? Thunder what?

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Who’s Earl and what happened to him?

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Although there were probably haunted spirits roaming around, and man-eating crocs somewhere, besides the rabid bats, our biggest enemy here were the mosquitos. They were relentless!

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They bothered us through most of the exploring, especially upon our discovery of what appeared to be ruins covered in jungle bush.

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We brushed through the thick, wet green into an open field, almost more of a swamp.

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Whatever that building was over on the other side, had “explore me” written all over it. Not literally, but you catch my drift. Look at how sinister and ominous it looks. Something was in there…I wanted to find out but at the same time…not find out. It looked like a gateway to somewhere murderous.

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The land leading to the ruins were thick in elevated water. Insects swarmed near our feet. There was no comfortable way to reach it. We even tried going on the outer bounds, which were as wet as the center of the field. No luck.

And so, we backtracked and continued on deeper into the park.

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We then came across an old movie theater, called Turbo Theater.

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We def have to see what’s in there!

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We went around to the back and up the stairs into the room behind the theater seating area where the film strips are rolling. I’m not sure of the proper term for this.

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We found film strips scattered across the ground.

What movie was this? Perhaps a horror film? When they abandoned this park, the really did abandon everything.

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This is the inside of the theater. Bats ruled this place.

We ventured on further to what I think may have been the crocodile pit.

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Except now it was coated in green algae. No crocs lived here. This pool has been ‘dead’ for years.

Our hour was almost up. It was best time to track back to the beginning and meet up with Archyar before he left without us. There was still much to explore and Sam insisted that I come back on my own while he was teaching during the week.

I told him, “Hell no am I coming back here by myself!”

That ruin in the jungle though…that is one place I would like to attempt to get to again during a dryer day.

As far as the spirits that the locals were afraid of, well I’m not into that mumbo jumbo, but during the night would be a completely different story for me. The night makes everything freakin’ scary. (I am a grown man by the way).

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As spooky as this abandoned theme park was, I was still dreading something I presumed to be far worse than any haunted attraction in the world,

and that my dear readers is a place called India.

Here goes nothing.


To My Fellow Eager Adventurists:

*The Taman Festival is easily located on GoogleMaps. It’s free to enter the premise, but there will probably be a sneaky local nearby to make you pay. It’s not worth the hassle to argue, so pay the man no more than 20,000 rupiahs (less than $2 USD) and get to exploring! If you don’t want to pay, we did discover a back entrance. Just head north on the beach from the main street where you found the main entrance. Keep going until you come across a pillar where you have to jump across a small moat to get across. Go earlier in the day during a dryer season, and bring some mosquito spray and a torch of some sort! Also do not go alone, as there are potential hazards everywhere.*

Happy Adventuring!