Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Hauntings: Aokigahara Forest


Aokigahara Forest (Japan)

Aokigahara Forest, at the foot of Mount Fuji in Japan, is the site of up to 100 suicides a year.  It’s also known as the "Suicide Forest" and is the world’s second most popular place to commit suicide (the Golden Gate Bridge being number one).  Some people blame its popularity on Seicho Matsumoto’s 1960 novel, Kuroi Kaiju (Black Sea of Trees).  At the end of the book, two lovers commit suicide in the forest, and since its release, suicides in the park have increased every year.  However, legend has it that well before then, hundreds of Japanese people hung themselves from the trees of Aokigahara forest over the years.

The trees in Aokigahara are so plentiful and full of vines that sunlight rarely reaches the forest floor.  Wildlife and birds avoid the forest, leaving it eerily silent.  Because of a high concentration of iron in the soil’s volcanic rock, compasses are useless, so it’s very easy to become lost in the dense, dark woodland.

Many Japanese believe the souls of the dead have been absorbed by the trees, and stories abound of unnatural sounds, strange lights, and travelers being unable to escape the forest’s clutches.




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63 comments:

Steven said...

This is on my bucket list! There are also ice caves nearby.

Andrew Leon said...

That sounds like kind of a freaky place.
It's too bad they can't put suicide prevention measures in place like they do at the bridge.

Little Gothic Horrors said...

I wish I'd known about this place when I visited Japan. Very sad and eerie!

mooderino said...

I feel creeped out just reading about it.

Lynda R Young said...

oo, scary yet intriguing!

Inge H. Borg said...

Just shows you the power of suggestion; eerie place indeed. Interesting, though.

JeffO said...

Sounds neat. When my daughter goes to Japan next year, I'm not sure if I should tell her to check it out, or stay away!

Sean McLachlan said...

Vice did a documentary about this place a while back. Creepy.

Cathy Keaton said...

Never heard of this forest, but it sounds epically creepy and amazing! Probably one of the creepier forests in the world. So cool!

Medeia Sharif said...

Very eerie. I'd still visit out of curiosity.

Rhonda Albom said...

I never heard of Aokigahara Forest before today. Really interesting place, quite eerie.

Ms Misantropia said...

I've read about this place before, and I think Japanese suicide culture is an interesting phenomena.

Magaly Guerrero said...

Such fertile soil for stories...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'd read about that forest before. Yes, would be a great setting for a story.

SA Larsenッ said...

'K, no A-whatchamacallit forest for this girl!

Sheri at Writer's Alley

Home of Rebel Writer CREED 2014
Mighty Minion Bureau Team #atozchallenge

Teresa Delgado said...

hmm not sure I want to go there...haunted or possessed or whatever this forest is does not sound like such a safe place. still very very cool to read. It would for sure make for a great setting for a story or horror movie. Teresa From the following sitesFangirl Next Door

Stormy's Sidekick

Quackin Over Disney Geek On!

Robin said...

It is difficult to imagine a forest without all of the "forest sounds" made by small animals, birds, etc. That would be freaky. And then to get lost because your compass doesn't work. Makes you wonder if some of those initial suicides were people who panicked or who had been lost for so long that it seemed better than starving to death. Of course, I am sure the book helped out anyone who was actively looking for a place to end it. That place sounds depressing enough that it could push someone straight over the edge. Yikes. It is has been added to my "don't want to go" places.

Are you reading Steven Symes blog? If not, you will enjoy his A to Z. It is on the paranormal. You two are walking different sides of the same street!

Al Diaz said...

It looks very creepy to me. I don't doubt plenty of strange stuff happens there with so many suicides. Now an story there would be interesting.

Nicole said...

Oooh, creepy forests are always good inspiration! Stopping by from the A to Z. :)

Bish Denham said...

I remember seeing a documentary on that forest. Sometime last year. Very spooky.

Stephen Hayes said...

I've never heard of this place. Interesting, but I doubt I'll book it for my next vacation.

Lara Lacombe said...

Looks kind of creepy--perfect setting for a ghost story!

Amrit Rukhaiyaar said...

I have a fascination for these strange places of the world... glad to be here Lexa :)

Amritt

vishalbheeroo said...

It's both scary and thrilling. U made it feel so real..love creepy stuffs:)

cleemckenzie said...

Now there's a setting for a novel. Just looking at it gives me chills, but the story behind those woods is gripping.

messymimi said...

Scary and sad. It makes me feel sorry for the lives lost there, and that the trees have had to live surrounded by so much despair.

fortyandfantastique said...

So sad about the suicides. It does sound terrifying, but also just lonely and beautiful in its sadness.

jetgirlcos visiting via Forty, c'est Fantastique

Elsie Amata said...

Golden Gate is number one? Sad.

So tragic that people are to ending their lives.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Muchly appreciated!

Elsie
AJ's wHooligan in the A-Z Challenge

Marie A. Abanga said...

Wow,

I never knew of that forest and its 'unfame'. What a creepy pity?
Marie #AtoZer next street: http://myeverydaypersonal.blogspot.be/

Kate Larkindale said...

I've never heard of this place, but it sounds very eerie. I wonder if it actually feels odd when you're there, or if it just feels like a regular forest. If you didn't know its history, of course...

Alyssa said...

That's really scary and sad! I had never heard about that place, sounds VERY creepy!

Feather Stone said...

What an interesting place - and post. Thank you.
Romance Under Fire: http://www.featherstoneauthor.blogspot.com

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Imagine the novels that can be written from the legends. A forest without birds and animals is very strange. Thanks for the information.

Julie Flanders said...

Totally creeped out by these trees. Love the idea that they absorb the souls of the dead. Can you imagine being in this forest at night? Yikes!
Great start, Lexa!

Ava Quinn said...

Aw man, what a wonderfully creepy post! Does it make me weird that I loved the fact that compasses are useless here? You'd tell me, right? lol! Great post! Can't wait for more!

Anne Young said...

Very sad. I enjoy the Midsomer Murders television show and they often use forests as creepy settings. I don't really find our Australian forests creepy in that way but more as places to get lost in. For example I live quite close to Daylesford where three small children were lost and frequently drive past their memorial http://www.communityheritage.net.au/lost-children-daylesford
Regards
Anne from Ballarat
An A to Z fellow blogger at ayfamilyhistory@blogspot.com.au

Lady Lilith said...

Sounds like a really good book.

Mary Purpari said...

Wow! Despite the eeriness of the woods it sounds like an interesting place to go. It doesn't surprise me, though, that a place in Japan would be in second position on the suicide list...I think the Brooklyn Bride probably fits in there too, somewhere. Thank you for an interesting article.

DMS said...

How fascinating that those woods are such a popular spot for suicides. Although the woods look eerily beautiful, I think I would be worried about stumbling upon someone who had taken their life. I can imagine the book made the woods a more popular spot for suicides. I learned something new today! Thanks. :)
~Jess

Stephanie Faris said...

WHOA. I wasn't expecting this post to go there when I read the title of this blog! The word suicide actually made my eyes widen! Can't wait to read the rest. Spooooooooooooooky!

goldmourn said...

Thank you for stopping by my blog! Also, yes, this forest is very creepy and sad. A horror flick was made about it recently, or inspired by it. I happened upon the middle to end of the film while channel surfing not too long ago. To think that's actually a real place - that makes it much scarier!

Kim Graff said...

Lexa!! This is SO INTERESTING! I had no idea about this suicide forest. How awesome. I mean, it's horrible that people kill themselves there, but it's really interesting. Awesome setting for a horror story...

Ayden said...

Oh, how sad and beautiful at the same time.

Kimberly said...

Wow, I've never heard about this forest before. A sad story behind it.

Lynda Dietz said...

What a fascinating, eerie place. I'd want to see it, even if it would be too scary-looking for me to actually go in!

Beloo Mehra said...

Quite a fascinating forest!

MAJK said...

This sounds like a wonderful setting for a horror anime. Great place to play off of since it already has a reputation and its setting is naturally eerie.

~MAJK~
A-to-Z Challenge 2014
Mighty Minion of Co-Host Nicole Ayers
@Safireblade on Twitter
http://www.safireblade.com/

Arti said...

I have heard about this one!! Sounds very scary!

travisthetrout said...

Looks very beautiful (and haunting) :)

Winter Moon said...

Very creepy, and heartbreaking.

Alex Hurst said...

There are a lot of places like this in Japan. Mt. Hiei, a couple of miles from my house, is another site of suicides, except these were committed by monks who failed an ultimate test of faith. (look up Marathon Monks, if you're curious).

Alex Hurst, fantasy author in Japan. "B is for Books" is my current post.

Donna B. McNicol said...

Creepy for sure...very interesting though!

D.B. McNicol
A to Z: Romance & Mystery...writing my life

thewordtrance said...

Eerie. Eerie. Eerie.

parichitasingh said...

I love your theme! :)

So many avenues for the stories.

Jeff Chapman said...

Wow. That sounds straight out of a fantasy/horror story.

The Wicked Writer said...

wow, you described that very well. Interesting legend.

Linda :) said...

I love your theme for the A-Z challenge!! Thanks for stopping by my blog and signing up to follow... :)

Jak Cryton said...

Never heard of this place. Talk about creepy! I may have to look up more info on this forest.

Love when people highlight supernatural/paranormal events :p

Jak at The Cryton Chronicles & Dreams in the Shade of Ink

J.L. Campbell said...

I imagine that with all the suicides that have taken place there, there would be some sort of unnatural influence at work in the forest.

Suzanne McClendon said...

I have just gone through and read all of your haunting posts so far. What an interesting series! I look forward to the rest of your haunting posts!

Have a great week!

Zoe Byrd said...

I have heard so much about this place what a nightmare. This was a great theme ..... I just worked my way back from F... thanks I will be back!

Millie Burns said...

Oh freaky deaky! That place looks so awesome!

Millie Burns said...

And, yes, I do love ghost stories.

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