• Pagan

Aokigahara | The Haunted Suicide Forest

By: Brittany "Pagan" Adkins

One of the most fascinating locations for me is the haunted suicide forest of Japan, Aokigahara. This forest known as the “sea of trees” sits at the base of Mount Fuji. There are many theories as to why many of its visitors enter the forest but choose never to leave. I will discuss a few of those theories as well as some terrible facts about this terrifying location.

Aokigahara’s dense woods envelop its visitors in an eerie and ominous feeling and for some, it seems to send out a call to take their own life. The trees twist and turn creating a haunting scene all on its own without any paranormal history. The denseness of these trees makes the forest feel isolating and claustrophobic and creates an unusually quiet scene. The trees are too closely knit for winds or the sounds of wildlife to echo far. One visitor apparently claimed the forest was like a “chasm of emptiness.” If the organic visual of the forest is not haunting enough another eerie aspect is the number of suicide prevention signs along the trails throughout the forest. Many of these signs include messages such as, “Think carefully about your children, your family,” and “Your life is a precious gift from your parents.”

Did the forest always have this appeal of death? Perhaps. Many believe the forest got its dark start in the 1960s after a novel by Seichō Matsumoto was released about a tragic tale of a heartbroken lover who goes to the forest to take her own life and another book known as The Complete Suicide Manuel, called Aokigahara as “the perfect place to die” seemed to add fuel to that fire. However, in truth, its dark legend seemed to start long before that. According to Japanese legends, families who were suffering from hardships would often lead their elderly to the forest to abandon them. While incredibly sad, these families believed this was for the greater good of the family as a whole. One less person that had to be cared for and who would no longer need provisions.

There are many people who have visited this forest trying to determine if it is indeed haunted or just to see the dead. Those who have gone trying to determine if it is haunted include Josh Gates while he was filming for his show Destination Truth they did seem to indeed catch a figure in the forest that materialized out of the ground. Others however have gone to see the dead and often were not respectful of the dead. Two of those individuals were YouTubers, Logan Paul and Qorygore.

Many believe the forest is haunted by mournful and vengeful spirits of the suicidal and the abandoned. According to lore, these spirits torment the living and often will cry out for help leading some off the path, while others will lure the sad and lost off the path and urge them to take their life. Some believe there is a demon that controls the woods feeding on the sad and lost souls who take their life in the woods. Others believe that those who hang themselves in the woods are often told to do so by those who were abandoned so their deaths may be quick rather than slowly dying of exposure as they had many years before. Many of those who go to take their life often choose hanging, the second most popular choice is poisoning or drug overdose.

I believe this forest is truly haunted, but much like any haunted place, I believe it deserves respect. Especially this place. Why does it have such an appeal for those who long no longer wish to be among the living? Does a demon control the woods and call out to people?

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