Officially known as Aokigahara Forest, one of the most mysterious places on earth is better known as Suicide Forest. As the name suggests, this is due to the sheer number of people who have committed suicide there. In the truest sense of the word, hundreds of people commit suicide every year in this coolest part of the forest.
Perhaps the forest attracts people who want to take their own lives because of their own dark suicide story – almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Or maybe there is really something really bad that is twisting people’s thoughts and thoughts. Or could we find that magnetic anomalies have such a macabre effect? Here are ten reasons the suicide forest is a really unsettling place.
10 The place is littered with ribbons
If you venture into the suicide forest, the first thing you’ll notice is ribbons. And while that doesn’t sound very daunting in itself, the backstory is for them. Each essentially represents someone who has at least gone into the woods to kill themselves. However, many people would take a long piece of colored ribbon with them. You would tie it to a tree when entering the forest. The reason was because the person changed their mind and then could find their way out again.
However, if you follow these tapes, you will often find a corpse at the end. Very often hang on one of the trees. It really is a grim reminder for all the other visual beauties of the area that many people come here and never leave.
9 Personal items are scattered everywhere
Another harrowing discovery to expect in the Suicide Forest is lots of personal items. Things like cell phones, notebooks, and even clothes. Sometimes these items are discovered in small piles. Almost as if several people had stopped at these points at different times to reconsider their thoughts. Maybe one last time.
You can also spot empty beverage bottles next to boxes and packages of prescription drugs. Most of the people who kill themselves here get caught. However, some of the people who step in choose to overdose on such drugs.
Again, what makes all of these items all the more creepy is the realization that everyone is connected to a once-living person. A person who was so desperate that they took their own life here. And just to bring that point further home, they most likely did so near where the items are.
8th The spirits of the dead “encourage” suicide
As we can imagine, there are numerous stories of ghosts and spirits in the forest. However, some legends say that these spirits even encourage people to commit suicide while roaming the trees.
It is a common belief in Japanese folklore that a person who suffers a sudden or violent death becomes a yurei. These ghostly spirits are said to transmit their anger and wrath to those who wonder about their path. For example, many people often talk about suddenly feeling anxious for no reason. Or how waves of fear or panic overcome them without warning. So imagine having these feelings while you are already dealing with real suicidal thoughts.
We might also notice that there are several other places on earth where people speak of suddenly experiencing intense negative emotions. As we’ll explore further in our final post, the reason for this could one day turn out to be geological rather than paranormal.
7th Warning signs discourage suicide everywhere
If any of the above doesn’t hammer home the sheer number of people who have committed suicide in the suicide forest, then perhaps the numerous warning signs revolving around people specifically NOT to commit suicide will. And these signs can be found all over the forest.
Not only do these signs contain the warnings to convince people to change their minds against suicide, but they also advertise multiple phone numbers of organizations trying to help people in such a dark mood.
Whether or not these signs make a difference to those who enter the forest with suicidal thoughts is perhaps open to debate. However, the fact that authorities have taken these measures may show how seriously they take the problem. And when we look at our next point, it’s easy to see why they would do this.
6th There are around 100 bodies in the forest every year
It is believed that around 100 bodies are removed from the macabre forest every year. And there are many more that stay there for years before they are discovered.
Special groups venture into the forest. If they find bodies, notify the police immediately. One member of the group – usually an elderly member – usually stays at the crime scene to make sure nothing is disturbed. If by chance they discover someone who is alive and may still be thinking of killing themselves, they will bring that person back to “safe houses” near the forest. Once there, they are urged to accept the help they need to get back from the dark place they are in. It is not difficult to imagine why those who perform these grim duties are tired of “tourists” visiting the forest and viewing it as a spectacle.
However, as we will examine in our next point, we cannot be absolutely certain of these numbers as the Japanese authorities no longer publish them.
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5 Official numbers are no longer given
In order to stop the sheer number of people arriving in the suicide forest to kill themselves, authorities would make the decision to stop publishing official numbers. And besides those who manage to take their own life, there are hundreds of other attempts that, for various reasons, maybe they have been stopped or just given better thought to their planned actions that are not successful.
Not only did the numbers seem to grab the attention of the Japanese people, filmmakers also staged their stories there, usually centering around the protagonist who either commits suicide or has entertaining thoughts about it. Perhaps one of the best examples would be the Gus Van Sant 2015 film Sea of Trees.
This is perhaps another great demonstration of how serious the suicides problem really is. It remains to be seen whether this action has led to a decrease in suicides in the forest.
4th Camping overnight is frowned upon and discouraged
If you are planning to pitch a tent and camp in the suicide forest, it is strongly discouraged. And even then, you really have to stick to the official channels. Ultimately, such ambitions are viewed as disrespectful by many Japanese. Perhaps that is why those in search of grim adventure often take themselves deep into the forest, off the trails, and watch their eyes. This often leads to people getting lost and disoriented.
In addition, temperatures often drop to freezing at night, which can create further problems for those looking to stay in the forest overnight.
However, the main reason for this is to discourage people from staying in the forest for long periods of time. Especially when they are suicidal. And as we move on to our next point, it is more than easy to see why.
3 Many believe that there is an “evil energy” in the forest
Much like the ghostly apparition legends, many legends revolve around the idea that the suicide forest is simply a place of pure evil. Whether it is because of ghosts or just some evil energy, some people agree that bad things are happening there because of some supernatural force.
If we believe that the evil is manifesting from past events, the fact that so many people took their lives in this place would certainly help. But even before the suicides in the late 20th century, the forest had a grim past. A good example of this would be the practice in the 19th century, when many families took their elderly people into the forest and left them behind so they could “die with dignity” in the forest.
It is certainly a fascinating, if somber, thought. For our next point, however, we will turn to the history of the forest and how it was formed. And ultimately, why it could have such a dark spiritual nature.
2 Mount Fuji eruption
The formation of the forest was due to an eruption of Mount Fuji in 864. The result was that 12 square miles of lava was spread over what is now the area of the forest. As soon as the lava hardened nature recaptured the region, trees and hemlocks grew in abundance. In the centuries that followed, the Japanese worshiped Mount Fuji as a god. In addition, a great spiritual bond was formed between the population and the region.
This eruption also led to the formation of strange cave systems and caverns in the forest. Many of them are unexplored and often linked to myths and legends. This itself gives the mysterious forest more intrigue.
Whether this beginning of the forest has any connection with its dark nature is speculative and open to debate. For our final point, however, we will turn to the science and recent discoveries that may shed light on how the Aokigahara Forest evokes, or at least amplifies, what appears to be dark thoughts.
1 Could magnetic anomalies be causing the suicides?
In recent years, some researchers have suggested that geomagnetic anomalies could provoke such dark thoughts in humans. Especially those who are already committing suicide. Some researchers believe that these geomagnetic anomalies occur underground where the forest resides. And given that these disruptions are constantly changing, it could show why the suicide rate has seemingly skyrocketed in the macabre forest over the past few decades.
The team that conducted the research also examined other records of geomagnetic activity in other countries over the years. You would find that this often led to an increase in suicides. And these in turn decreased when such geomagnetic anomalies ceased.
Perhaps a particularly interesting conclusion from the study was that these geomagnetic perturbations appeared to affect men much more than women. While this theory requires more research and study, it is certainly fascinating.
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