This haunted forest with its eerily coiled trees and whispers of local legends reminds us all that Transylvania is not only haunted by the legend of Dracula and vampires. Take a walk in the Hoia Baciu.

Romania has a rich history of the unexplained and lores and legends that will creep into the bones of those listening. This forest is clouded in mystery and is no exception. Strange orbs  of lights coming from inside the treeline have been spotted, but never explained, a possible  gateway to another dimension draws desperate people to try for themselves. 

The forest has always had a paranormal undertone whispering in the wind, but modern lore of being a hotspot for UFOs, missing time and has started to take hold as well. The mysterious forest of Hoia Baciu has many haunted legends lingering among the trees. 

The Haunted Forest for Ufology

UFO?
UFO: This picture is one of the pitures Emil Barnea took of the sky above the forest, now believed to be of more strange origin.

Even professors at the university in the city claim this particular forest is a place where paranormal activity happens, and in the modern world filled with strange disappearance legends, tales of aliens and UFO’s has started becoming a part of the lore. 

In the late 60’s a biologist named Alexandru Sift came back with pictures that he claimed were flying UFO’s in the sky over the forest. He wandered into the forest to have a closer look at the strange vegetation that can be found in the forest. These pictures were published by his chemist friend side by side with theories about the paranormal stuff happening in the forest right outside the city. And what he found and reported off gave more people the urge to see for themselves what all the strangeness was. 

The same claim came from a military technician named Emil Barnea in 1968 after he took some pictures in the western part of the forest while he was camping. Both these cases helped to give the forest a sense of notoriety more than a local place filled with local legends. But when first starting to look into the local lore of the place, strange occurrences had been reported long before the 60’s. 

The Bermuda Triangle of Romania

Located near the Cluj-Napoca city, an old forest still stands only half an hour away from the city by car. It is free from the Dracula tales of Bran Castle and the tourist attractions one might find in a lot of towns capitalizing on the vampiric lore of the country. But there is a certain eeriness to the trees bending in twisted ways with skeleton-like branches reaching out for the hikers. 

We are away from the bustling modern everyday life from the city and here, the only thing to hear is the falling leaves, whispering as they reach the ground, and the sounds of deers, walking among the trees. 

Yep... Nothing to see here. Photo / hoiabaciuforest.com
Strange Lights: Another one of the pictures taken by Barnea in the 60’s showcasing strange lights that has been told legends about throughout the years.

When saying the forest is an old one, it truly is. As in 55 000 year old. And with such old places, there comes old stories. Farmers in the valley claim the forest is haunted, and especially stories about strange disappearances are there plenty of. That is also why the Hoia Baciu forest is also sometimes referred to as: “The Bermuda Triangle of Romania.”

The Disappearing People

One of these disappearance stories tells of a shepherd that vanished with more than 200 of his sheep without a trace, never to return. Odd considering the forest is not that big compared to other places. And in some sources it is after him that the forest is named. The locals are at times afraid to enter the forest because of tales like this that have been handed down for generations. They have also complained about feeling nauseous, itching as well as getting migraines when they are brave enough to enter. 

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Perhaps the most famous tale from this forest is of the 5 year old girl that wandered into the forest and got lost, at least for the rest of the world. Years passed and after five years of being missing, supposedly in the same clothes she wore on the day of her disappearance, not looking a day older. When asked where she had been, she had no answers. She reappeared in the forest with no memories of where she had been and what happened to her. 

Many accounts claim there are many, perhaps as many as thousands of people that have disappeared in the forest over the years. But of course, no hard evidence is found of these occurrences. BEcause they never happened, or merely because they happened so long ago that evidence of this is long gone?

The Poiana Rotunda

File:Poiana Rotunda (The Round Meadow), most haunted place in Hoia Baciu.jpg
The Poiana Rotunda: The clearing in the forest were most of the strange happenings is taking place.
Photo: Lajsikonik

Other paranormal legends tells of the ghosts of Romanian peasants that were murdered in the forest is believed to still be trapped in the forest, unable to move on. They are sometimes seen wandering among the trees, observing the people entering their final resting place. 

Most of the paranormal reporting has now started centering around a supposed dead zone in the vegetation. Called Poiana Rotunda, west in the forest. A circle on the ground where no trees grow from the soil without an explanation. In other words, something strange happened to this place, or it could be more of a normal meadow caused by natural causes or illegal deforestation the forest is suffering from. 

No matter what really lies inside the forest, it certainly pulls the strangest and darkest things out from people visiting. It is a perfect setting to put on a tv-show, sell books claiming all sorts of stuff. 

Maple groves, gatherings of beech, ash and elm wrap around themselves, contorting to strange shapes that perhaps help the feeling of uneasiness and gives the forest an overall creep factor.  Blocking out the sun, leaving us in a sort of eternal shadow below the trees, anything seems possible.

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References

Frights and sights in Transylvania: exploring haunted Hoia Baciu | Romania holidays | The Guardian

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