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The World’s Most Haunted Forest: Aokigahara, Suicide Forest in Japan

Most Haunted Forest

You visit the Enfield Haunting site because you have an interest in the paranormal. Within these pages we strive to provide you with the most up to date information and accurate research regarding the Enfield haunting. But every now and then, we’ll take a break from the norm.

After all, there’s so much more to the paranormal than just the story of one little girl who lived in Enfield, England.

Let’s take a look, just for fun, at the world’s most haunted forest. This forest isn’t located near Enfield. In fact, it isn’t even in Europe. The world’s most haunted forest actually lies in Japan, and it’s called Aokigahara.

Aokigahara: The World’s Most Haunted Forest

Aokigahara is located at the base of Mt. Fuji in Japan, and is the most infamous forest in the country. It’s also the second most popular place for suicide in the world.

According to legend, in ancient Japan during times of famine, families would abandon family members in the forest. These people, usually the elderly, would die slow and excruciating deaths in Aokigahara, and it’s said that their souls still wander amongst the trees.

Japanese tradition holds that if a person dies in anger, sorrow or sadness, their soul, or yurei, remains trapped on the earth. The soul continues to wander until the conflict is resolved – in the case of those abandoned in the Aokigahara, these souls never find rest.

Japanese spiritualists believe that the negative energy of these yurei are absorbed into the trees. Visiting the forest, you may agree. The forest canopy is so dense that even when the sun is high, it can be difficult to see. Many have been lost in the forest, and their remains are found amongst the gnarled roots of the trees, against the rocky landscape of the forest floor.

The world’s most haunted forest claims victims for another reason. The forest floor is dense with magnetic, volcanic soil. A hiker’s compass may fail to work, technology is interfered, and modern cell phones will lose signal. These lose hikers are soon added to the number of lost souls within Aokigahara.

Aokigahara: Suicide Forest

Aokigahara

Not all who wander are lost, however. Aokigahara has several nicknames. It’s called the Suicide Forest, the Sea of Trees, and Japan’s Demon Forest. It’s unfortunate but true: those who wish to end their lives often enter Aokigahara and do not return.

Since the 1950’s, over 500 suicides have been confirmed within Aokigahara. The forest is so dense and at times unnavigable however that there are very likely many more remains which have never been recovered.

Once each year, a search team enters the forest for the sole purpose to finding those who perished in Aokigahara. Most commonly, the deceased are found hanging from trees. Often, though, they have overdosed on drugs or poisons.

In 1993, Wataru Tsurumui published a book titled The Complete Suicide Manual, which describes Aokigahara as the “perfect place to die.” And every year, at least 70 do just that.

In 2002, 78 bodies were discovered, and that number climbed to 108 in 2004. Many more attempts at suicide were recorded, and it’s almost certain that the number of suicides was much higher than those bodies which were found.

Signs are posted throughout the forest. Vain attempts to discourage would-be victims of suicide, the government warns hikers:

Meditate on your parents, siblings and your children once more. Do not be troubled alone

Your life is something precious that was given to you by your parents

Unfortunately, not all visitors to Aokigahara heed the warnings, and they, too, become a part of the forest.

The Aokigahara Locals

World's Most Haunted Forest

Those living nearby to the world’s most haunted forest have been asked how they feel about Aokigahara. Most have said that when they see a camper headed into the forest, they know that that hiker is one who will never exit.

Camping is prohibited within Aokigahara, as it’s true: those who spend the night under the thick foliage very rarely return. The reason for this is not clear. Are those hikers entering the forest to end their own lives? Or are they innocent campers, drawn by some evil energy to do so once they’re there?

Japanese local to Aokigahara report hearing screams at night. Japanese spiritualists believe that yurei, when left alone, will rise at night and scream, restless and in search of company.

This is such a deeply held belief that when search parties are formed, those who find the bodies play a game. Janken is Japanese for Rock Paper Scissors; the loser of the game is charged with spending the night in the room where the corpses are kept until their bodies can be identified.

While it must be deeply disturbing to have the world’s most haunted forest just miles away, most locals have grown accustomed to it. Most claim that they can identify visitors to the forest as either hikers, those who are curious about the legends, or those who never plan to exit.

Visiting the World’s Most Haunted Forest

Brave living souls who wish to visit Aokigahara may do so, but camping is prohibited within the haunted forest. The Japanese government has created paths for hikers to follow, and hikers are warned that straying from those paths may result in fatal disorientation.

Even those who do follow the trails choose to string ribbon along behind them, so as not to lose their way. Even on the brightest of days, it can appear as dark as night.

The forest is thickly vegetated, but there are very few animals. Visitors to Aokigahara have described the silence as making their breath sound as loud as thunder. The silence adds to the eerie ambience of the forest.

Strange items litter the ground of Aokigahara. Children’s shoes, random photographs, and dolls nailed upside down to trees have been found. Don’t stray from the trails, either, as one visitor’s tape was cut while she was hiking Aokigahara.

Aokigahara is without a doubt the world’s most haunted forest. Locals and those who have visited insist that demons and spirits live amongst the trees. Visitors to Aokigahara should take extreme caution, as many who visit do not return. It makes the Enfield Poltergeist and anything Ed Warren has done look tame by comparison.