Hoia Baciu Forest
A short distance from the modern Romanian city of Cluj Napoca exists what many believe to be the world’s most haunted forest. Known as Hoia Baciu, this dense forest is surrounded by legends and conceals many secrets. Tales of ghosts, UFO’s, inter-dimensional portals and other unnatural phenomena have made Hoia Baciu Forest one of the most infamous places in Romania.
Legends of the Hoia Baciu Forest
The first scary legend of Hoia Baciu is the one which gave the forest its name. Many years ago it is said that a local shepherd entered the forest with around 200 sheep. He never returned nor was heard from again. Though some locals searched for him, they were unsuccessful. The shepherd and his sheep had disappeared without a trace.
This story left many with animosity towards the forest and a fear of entering it. Many more similar stories followed that of the shepherd and solidified fear of the forest within the local community. One of the more famous stories recounts the tale of a young, five-year-old girl. She is said to have wandered off into the forest and disappeared without a trace. Strangely, five years later she wandered out from the forest in a confused daze. She was still dressed in the same clothing she had worn the day she went missing and had no recollection of where she had been or what had happened to her.
The little girl’s story remains a mystery, as do the countless others who have similar stories. Many believe that Hoia Baciu Forest contains some sort of portal to another dimension. Explaining the disappearances of so many and earning it the nickname of The Bermuda Triangle of Romania.
Ghosts of Hoia Baciu Forest
In addition to the many legends surrounding Hoia Baciu, a number of ghost stories exist. Some people claim to have encountered spirits within the haunted forest. Others believe that these ghosts are likely the spirits of murdered Romanian peasants that perished in the surrounding area. These unfortunate souls are said to be trapped within the forest to suffer an eternal fate.
Human-shaped shadow figures are commonly reported within the forest as well as large masses of suddenly forming black mist. Apparitions have also been seen and some have even claimed to capture figures and faces in photographs that weren’t visible to the human eye at the time fo shooting.
In addition to these sightings, there have been many further instances of paranormal activity reported. Malfunctioning of electronic devices and suddenly draining batteries are common. Some believe this could be due to the presence of spirits. There have also been orbs sighted, light anomalies, strange fluctuations in the magnetic field recorded, poltergeist activity and EVP’s recorded including screaming, giggling, growls and voices. During my overnight stay in Hoia Baciu forest, the GPS on both my phone and my husband’s phone would not work making it difficult to navigate.
Suddenly occurring negative physiological effects have also been recorded by visitors. Many people claim to be overcome with anxiety upon entering the forest. This can also manifest in illness including nausea, vomiting, headaches, and rashes. During my visit to Hoia Baciu forest, my husband recalled feeling dizzy and anxious as night fell. Many other people claim to have been attacked within Hoia Baciu Forest by unseen forces. There are reports of being burned, scratched, bitten, pushed and even thrown to come out of the very haunted forest.
More strange and unexplainable phenomena relating to vegetation within the Hoia Baciu Forest exists. The forest is famous for having trees that grow in an unnatural fashion, with no scientific explanation. Here, some trees will grow in bent and spiraled fashions or lean right over on top of themselves.
Another odd phenomenon is located on the outskirts of the forest and is known as the Dead Zone. This is a large clearing in the forest, forming an almost perfect circle. For some unknown reason, trees and other vegetation refuse to grow in this area. Soil samples taken from the area have not been able to establish a reason for this phenomena. Additionally, this is also an area where paranormal activity is said to center. Countless paranormal reports are said to occur in this area as well as UFO sightings. This is where we decided to make camp during our overnight stay at Hoia Baciu.
UFO Sightings at Hoia Baciu Forest
Adding to the many stories of the unexplained to center on the Hoia Baciu Forest are UFO sightings. These are usually reported by those visiting in the vicinity of the Dead Zone and date back to the 1960s. During the following decades, many UFO sightings were made and some photos were captured. These included flying saucer-like objects, with some photos even being snapped by a military technician.
In addition to these UFO sightings are flashing, unexplainable light sightings coming from within the forest. Again, these mostly center around the Dead Zone. They are reported to manifest themselves as moving rapidly through the forest at night and have no apparent explanation. We did witness some lights shining through the trees during our visit to the forest, but were able to debunk these as lights from the nearby city of Cluj Napoca.
Visiting Hoia Baciu Forest
Hoia Baciu is a fascinating place for the many stories told about its mysterious side. Though a place many fear, it also exhibits beauty and intrigue in its own unique way.
Making the journey to the haunted Hoia Baciu Forest is, fortunately, not too difficult. It lies a short 20-minute drive from the city center of Cluj Napoca, where accommodation options are plentiful. I reached the forest via a cheap taxi ride and explored on foot. I then spent the night camping in the dead zone, which I would recommend to anyone equipped for the environment. I returned to the city the following day on foot and caught a local bus.
Tours of the forest do exist and it could be useful to visit with a local who knows the area well.
If you are looking for other haunted places to visit nearby in Romania, I recommend Banffy Castle.
Thanks for reading!