History and legends
The 50,000-year-old forest is located west of Cluj-Napoca. A remarkably intact Neolithic settlement thought to have been established in 6,500 BC was discovered in 1960 with many of the ancient houses, tombs and other structures carefully unearthed in the decades that followed.
The Romanian words “Hoia Baciu” are said to more or less translate into “shepherd” and were given as a name to the forest due to an age-old tale. Stefania Silivasi, a resident of Florești, recounts what her grandmother told her when she was a child:
“Long ago, a hard-working shepherd got up early one morning to gather his flock. There had been rumors of bandits in the area around his home, so his wife was worried sick that harm might come to him if he left their cottage. The shepherd told his wife not to worry and kissed her on the cheek. Tears filled her eyes, but she knew he had no choice but to bravely venture out and take care of his 200 sheep, as they were essentially all the couple owned besides their home.”
“After gathering the animals, he set forth to find some grazing plains so they might fill their stomachs. It is said the shepherd happened upon the now infamous Hoia Baciu Forest, where he discovered a lush green field which was perfect for his beloved sheep.”
“Neither the shepherd nor any of his flock returned home and no one knows exactly what kind of fate befell them.”
Website Ghost Hunt UK tells of some grim occurrences that possibly happened around the same time the poor shepherd went missing:
“Murder plays a large part of this forest’s foundations. It is a known fact that hundreds of peasants were taken into the forest and slaughtered during the Middle Ages. This happened a number of times. Whether it was a form of primal population control or a religious sacrifice we will never know, but those dark activities will always leave a stain. Vlad Dracula, or Vlad the Impaler, was also said to have been beheaded here.”
Vlad had a reputation for cruelty, as seen in the drawing below:
“…Hoia Baciu came to international attention in 1968 when Emil Barnea, a military technician, photographed what he claimed was a UFO hovering over the clearing. What differentiates this story from other UFO claims is that Barnea had nothing to gain from reporting the sighting, and everything to lose. The Communist government equated a belief in the paranormal with madness and state-sabotage, and Barnea lost his job in a country which had no support for the sacked.”
Odd experiences in Hoia Baciu Forest
Many people who have visited the forest often report strange feelings of dread, anxiety and unease, as if someone or something is watching them from a distance in the tree line, or even nearby. The appearance of local flora doesn’t help; plants and trees take on bizarre and seemingly unnatural shapes, adding to the forest’s overall creepy vibe.
HoiaBaciuForest.com further describes experiences some have had while traversing Transylvania’s most famous forest:
“People who have entered the forest to this day get inexplicable rashes or they begin to feel very light-headed and ill. Moreover, electronic devices are known to malfunction when introduced into the area. Some paranormal investigators have associated these strange malfunctions with supernatural activity.”
Naysayers believe there’s an obvious scientific explanation to all of this, such as allergic reactions from pollen or rubbing up against prickly shrubs or mist and humidity wreaking havoc on phones and other electronics. Still, a large portion of visitors to the area insist it is nothing of the sort and believe there is something more sinister going on.
Is the forest itself a gateway to another dimension? Fringe experts seem to believe so.
The clearing, or Poiana Rotundă, where the shepherd and his sheep disappeared centuries ago is thought by some to contain a portal to either another dimension, universe or hell itself. Even now, people are known to have gone missing in the area, and those who are lucky enough to make it out say they experienced missing time and memories, as well as other strange anomalies such as hearing the wind whisper in their ears and seeing floating balls of light.
One story tells of a little girl who wandered into the forest late one night. Five years later, she reemerged wearing the same clothes and had no recollection of what happened. The girl reportedly told authorities she thought she was only gone for a few minutes.
The souls of peasants who were murdered long ago in the Hoia Baciu Forest are said to still haunt the grounds to this day:
“It is believed the ghosts are trapped within the wooded confines of the forest and that these entities are enraged by their predicament. Visions of these tormented spirits are sometimes observed by terrified travelers.” (HoiaBaciuForest.com)
Anders Larsen of Stavanger, Norway actually stayed deep inside the forest overnight and said he witnessed something chilling:
“I had arrived to the camp spot just before sundown and proceeded to put down my pack and set up the tent. After all was good, I placed several lanterns around the immediate area because others have told me the forest gets extremely dark at night.”
“Just before midnight, I was reading a favorite book and also looking out into the darkness. I could still see faint silhouettes of trees as the moon was providing a small amount of light. All of a sudden, I saw two glowing green eyes appear not far away probably about two meters off the ground. It was truly frightening because I had never seen anything like that before except in the movies.”
“The eyes eventually faded, but I was still very terrified. The next thing I know, I hear a long guttural scream on the opposite side of where I saw the eyes. It wasn’t human – more like a sort of animal experiencing extreme pain.”
“Scared for my life, I climbed into my tent and zipped it up. After some time, I calmed down a bit and gained the courage to open the tent and peek outside. There was nothing that I could see around the campsite, but I did notice the moon was gone and there appeared to be fog that was slowly rolling overhead. It was very strange, so I zipped the tent up again and eventually fell asleep. Luckily nothing else happened that night.”
Do you know of any other stories related to Hoia Baciu Forest? Leave a comment below.
Main Image Credit: ESKIFY
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