Paranormal Pilgrimage To The Hoia-Baciu Haunted Forest
Those who are intrigued by the strange things that occur during the night can’t help but take notice of Romania’s most folkloric region. The very word Transylvania conjures up spooky gothic castles and blood-sucking vampires, but there’s a lesser-known local attraction to add to your favorite transylvanian spooky places list.
The Hoia-Baciu Forest (HBF) is located just a few kilometres outside of the city of Cluj Napoca, and it is considered to be a real hot bed of unexplained supernatural activity.
Dubbed the “Bermuda Triangle of Transylvania”, the forest first gained international attention in 1968, when the biologist Alexandru Sift captured a photo of what was thought to be a disc-shaped UFO. Since then, UFOs, apparitions, abnormalities on photos, nocturnal lights and other unusual things have been regularly reported in the area.
Ghost hunters, paranormal investigators, parapsychologists — and more recently, tourists — have all taken an interest in this subject. Dr. Adrian Patrut, a chemistry professor at the local university, claims that although there are many places around the world with unexplained phenomena, the “Hoia-Baciu Forest is one of the best, due to the intensity, variety and complexity of its manifestations.”
Patrut is president of the Romanian Society of Parapsychology and since the early ’70s he has been studying occurrences in the forest such as unexplained areas of light and luminescent orbs hovering in the sky. He says that when you spend too much time in the HBF, you can even experience physical symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia, excessive thirst, nausea, vomiting and headaches.
With that kind of build-up, I had to check out the forest for myself.
A 20-minute drive outside of the city finds us on the fringes of the forest. Patrut and I climb up a steep grassy plain to get to the tree line. Once there, we get out our ghost hunting tools: A compass, a still camera, a video camera with infra-red sensors and a Geiger counter to measure sudden rises in radiation. Then, we head out into the forest in the hopes of seeing something strange.
The scene looks like something out of a Brothers Grimm fairy tale. Spiky branches reach out like bony fingers; the trees are gnarled and spooky. Patrut claims that these trees were normal a few years ago. Now they are warped and twisted, what he claims is, “A clear sign of an apparition.” Supernatural or not, there’s something truly creepy about prowling an abandoned forest at night. A few hours of hunting left us with a bunch of mosquito bites but, sadly, no orbs or UFO sightings.