Hoia-Baciu | The World’s Most Haunted Forest Documentary
The Hoia-Baciu forest is a fascinating place. Once you cross its boundaries, you find yourself immersed in a world of magic that truly captivates your mind. Although the forest lays a few kilometers away from the city of Cluj-Napoca, the heart of Transylvania, it still holds a wild, untamed spirit, which reminds us of the importance that nature holds in our lives. Locals nearby are familiar with the strange energies contained inside. The phenomena manifested there, beyond their power of understanding prompted them not to ask reckless questions. Because of fear, the forest remained, for a long period of time, shrouded in mystery. At the north of Valea Lunga, the long valley, in a place called Gura Baciului, the shepherd`s mouth, is the oldest Neolithic settlement in Romania. The area was investigated by archeologists using systematic excavations unconvering various tombs and houses between 1960 and 1994. The place itself is a mythical source of lore and legends. One of these legends mentions a shepherd that disappeared with his flock of sheep, getting lost in the dark depths. It is said that over the years more than one thousand people have vanished. One such case involved the disappearance of a 5-year-old girl who got lost wandering into the woods. After several rescue attempts there were no traces of her. She returned 5 years later, emerging from the wilderness, wearing the exact same clothes, preserved in perfect condition. She She had absolutely no memory of where she had been or what happened to her. Five other people who vanished in similar conditions also turned up later, only in these cases they were found dead. It was determined that all of these recovered bodies had died of suicide. The first sign of unusual activity is made up by the trees, bent towards the ground in a manner difficult to understand, transforming the place in a visual wonder. Many trees bow themselves instead of rising up, while others grow in a twisted or sideways manner, , seized in a strange dance with the unknown. In many places, there are as many as 7 or 8 trunks growing from the same roots. Researchers determined that these deformations and displacements happen suddenly, in very short periods of time, with no logical explanation. In the north-western part you can find the most well-known area, the so called Poiana Rotunda, the round meadow. An almost perfectly circular opening, where vegetation barely grows. It originates from more than 200 years ago. The soil has been analyzed multiple times and there were no reasons why this could be happening. The modern history of Hoia-Baciu began in 1953, when biologist Alexandru Sift discovered a strange phenomenon there. Mesmerized by the urban legends, he began making many trips to the enigmatic forest. Shortly, the man noticed that he was being followed by unearthly shadows which he tried to capture on film. After developing the photos, he made an intriguing discovery. Along with those shadows, strange objects and silhouettes appeared out of nowhere, even though he was convinced that he had never seen them before. The amazing results attracted other scientists which started to suspect that the mystery was somehow connected to light and magnetism phenomena. But international fame was to come a little later. On August the 18th 1968, 45-year-old military technician Emil Barnea was spending his Sunday here, along with his girlfriend and two other friends. Around 1 o`clock in the afternoon, while he was gathering branches for the fire, he heard his friends calling for him to return fast to see something in the sky. Once he arrived in the round meadow, he saw a large, round silver object moving slowly across the sky, without making a single sound. Being amazed, he reached for the camera and took a few shots. The UFO started to flash very brightly and to twist in the air. Eventually it accelerated in a slightly angled direction and vanished. After they passed the communist censorship of the time, the pictures were taken by the national press agency and send abroad, where they gained ground in the paranormal literature. The photos were studied by experts in research institutes from Europe and the United States, all cataloging them as authentic. The high interest was due to their amazing quality, but also because of the precious details captured, which ensured their authenticity. In 1994, Calin Turcu, one of the most important ufologists in Romania, published an interesting letter soon after Emil Barnea`s death, written by a close friend of him who heard that the military technician was being visited by strange individuals who took him to the central committee of the communist party. The man was questioned by the Securitate officers and forced to hand in all the films and original photos that he had, with the promise of them being returned, a thing that never happened. In all this time, Alexandru Sift continued his attempt to solve the mystery and gathered an impressive collection of over 25 000 films capturing the presence of structures invisible to the naked eye. In 1974, Sift met professor Adrian Patrut, who was part of a team interested in paranormal activity. After the biologist passed away in 1993, most of his collection vanished without a trace in very suspicious circumstances. According to Adrian Patrut, some strangers broke into the old house and stole the documents, destroying them shortly after. Even so, enough evidence was left to raise some question marks. The professor continues to claim to this day, that the strange phenomena have a scientific basis which has yet to be understood. The most typical sightings happen in the skies. An important number of witnesses filmed or photographed UFOs in different shapes and sizes, from fire spheres to pyramids. The forest is also famous for the UFOs invisible to the normal spectrum which appear in flight after developing the images. Another classification belongs to bioforms, beings that look a lot like humans and animals. Visible or not to the naked eye, they usually take the shape of an actual living or deceased person, who had a major impact on the witness. On a well-known image we can see the grotesque caption of a face in thin air. On another, the head of a man spawned at the edge of the woods, painting a gruesome landscape. Adrian Patrut said that he witnessed a lot of unusual things. One of them took place in January 1975, when he found some mysterious ruins. He was with a large group of friends and together they made hundreds of pictures. After two weeks, still troubled by the positive sensation he felted there, Patrut returned to search the place, but the ruins were nowhere to be found. After a few years their outlines simply vanished from the pictures. Another time, in winter, alongside other travelers, he saw various footprints in the snow that suddenly stopped, as if their makers were vacuumed into nothingness. Hoia-Baciu is also surrounded by unearthly noises. Witnesses often report loud ambulance sounds that echo through the woods, clock ticks, sounds made by exploding tires and all kinds of quick and strange screams or giggles. And since we’re talking about electronic equipment, very often the batteries discharge all of a sudden, as if the forest is feeding with their energy. The unusual creatures took their part in the local folklore. The team led by Adrian Patrut encountered animals that had nothing to do with the areas of Cluj-Napoca whatsoever. In one such trip, they met a bustard. This particular bird is on the edge of extinction and never lived here. The researchers tried to catch it, but failed and after a short period of time the bird simply dissapeard behind the bushes. The same thing happened with a large cat resembling a leopard. Those who accidentally cross the so called “active areas”, considered by some as being doors to other worlds, end up with burn marks, scratches, excessive thirst, anxiety and even blackouts. On a paranormal visit, an investigator was believed to be thrown to the ground and harmed by an unseen entity. Andrei Dorobanţu, professor and physicist, spoke repeatedly about a trip of some paranormal lovers, who photographed themselves in Hoia-Baciu, only to notice when developing that their faces were severely deformed and each of them seemed to have multiple heads. The physicist also talked about the nightmare lived by a television crew who went through the forest without knowing where they are. At some point, the driver suddenly hit the brakes, being convinced that he killed an old lady who appeared, again, out of nowhere. This small detail seems to be mentioned in a lot of stories. The passengers went out in search for the body, but didn’t found anything, although they looked on a range of one kilometer. Some people ventured into the forest for a short time, only to exit and find search parties looking for them. Another somewhat similar story circulated on the internet in 2009, after it was shared by a group of people who spend three nights in a row, isolated in the woods. On the first day, when they were off to get water from a creek in Cheile Baciului, the travelers met with an old man who was walking slowly, limping amongst the trees. He stared at them in a very creepy manner with his deep, blue eyes. The travelers said hi, thinking he was coming from a nearby sheepfold. The old man stopped and silently asked how to get to Cluj. He had nothing, not a single bag or a backpack. They told him to follow the path made by tires, from which he had no way to get lost. By following this road, he would have had to pass through the round meadow where the rest of the group were staying. The old man thanked them and carried on, limping. When they came back to the camp, they found out that their friends didn’t saw anybody passing by. They looked for him, but it was of no good. The old man never made it to the clearing. Obviously, the story can have a very simple explanation, it may be pure fiction, but I think it’s a great example of how unexplained happenings can manifest in the most unexpected moments. You can see why the BBC labeled this place as the world’s most hunted forest. There is a common idea that Hoia-Baciu is an inter-dimensional gateway, through which other entities can enter the physical world. The spiritualists claim that the forest is a portal between the astral dimension and earthly one, a place where the souls of the dead remain stuck for forty days. With so little actual evidence, skeptics say these are just stories made for entertainment. The investigators came to the following conclusion: the manifestations in the forest are discreet, but continuous in time, uncontested by most. Whatever the answer may be, Hoia-Baciu forest remains a living legend. The intensity with which attracts those who want to solve the mysteries of the universe grows every year. As you have previously seen, the events studied here shatter the thin line between reality and fiction. It is visited by tourists from all over the world, ranging from people coming out of a morbid curiosity or in the hope of seeing something eerie, to those whose beliefs could be considered controversial, like Satan worshipers. It’s also very popular among wiccans, who see it as a place of great power that can expand the effectiveness of their spells. Despite all the opposition, a true explanation has yet to come. But maybe the truth, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. I’m curious what do you think about all of this. Thank you for watching. I’ll see you again next time.