Nothing cleanses the true-crime pallet like a lighthearted spooky episode. And that’s exactly what we’ve got in store for this week.
For those taking a trip to the Hoia Baciu Forest, locals will be quick to tell you not to stray too far from the beaten path. But in this episode, Brianna takes Dyson on a fearless exploration of one of the most haunted places in the world aka the most haunted forest in the world aka the Bermuda Triangle of Romania aka the Hoia Baciu Forest. Join us as we talk all things paranormal.
In this episode
Hello. Welcome back to the dark side. I’m your host Brianna. Today, we are traveling overseas to the far away and mysterious lands of Transylvania to the “most haunted forest in the world”.
This haunted place gives Dracula a run for his money, with interest growing worldwide because of the consistent reports of paranormal happenings and unexplained phenomena.
The Hoia Baciu Forest is a 55,000-year-old forest in Transylvania that spans approximately 617 acres/3 square kilometers and is considered one of the most haunted places on Earth.
Hoia Baciu is known locally by many, but the most well-known name is “Romania’s Bermuda Triangle”. It’s said to be inhabited by ghosts and aliens, and is home to many spooky incidents, from disappearances to physical symptoms suffered by those who enter.
Of course, there are skeptics, who say the ghost stories and urban legends are all for entertainment’s sake to keep the forest a popular attraction. The Hoia Forest is so popular with people interested in the paranormal, that it’s been featured on TV shows like Ghost Adventures and Destination Truth. While some of the stories about this legendary location may be exaggerated, it is hard to ignore the fact that something is going on in the forest that we do not completely understand.
But you can be the judge of how haunted Hoia Baciu really is.
Beware those who enter because many people who walk in, even briefly for a quick scare, will walk out with unexplainable burns, bruises, rashes, scratches, headaches, high fevers, or a combination of symptoms. Some even suffer from severe anxiety and paranoia, claiming somebody is watching them.
There’s an eerie silence that fills the air, interrupted by footsteps of unseen figures, voices, giggles of women, or screams of young girls.
People even hear the sounds of deer or horse hooves, when there are none to be seen. Some see orbs floating near the trees, or you’ll take photos, later to see faces in the photo that were not seen in person. Occasionally, mysterious faces will appear right in of you, or you’ll see glowing green eyes staring at you from a distance. There are even unexplainable bright orbs collectively gathered deep within the woods, and thermal detectors have shown they’re producing no heat signatures.
There are these trees in the forest that are 200 years old but still appear young. Most of them are twisted at the trunk and shaped weird, almost as if they’re contorting themselves to reach out and touch you, and all the trees turn in a clockwise direction. People believe spirits lurk among them and their shape was influenced by mysterious energies.
Scientists have examined the tree growth patterns but have been unable to figure out why the trees grow in such a spooky fashion.
Poiana Rotunda is a part of the forest where nothing grows – it’s completely free of vegetation – and a lot of the paranormal activity seems to be concentrated in this space, which is a near-perfect circle. It’s often referred to as “the dead zone”. When you step into the dead zone, you are surrounded by forest, and you feel eerily removed from the rest of Transylvania and feel eyes on you from the edge of the clearing.
Locals consider this circular plateau deep in the forest to be the “home” of the ghosts that haunt the forest. Photos taken here have revealed hovering shapes and outlines of human forms.
The soil of this area has been tested and no anomalies have been found that would prevent the growth of any plant life.
There are a few local legends surrounding Hoia Baciu. One tells of a shepherd and his flock of 200 sheep that vanished into thin air. When locals went to search for the man, they all returned with eerie stories that didn’t add and they had strange rashes. No remains of him or his sheep were ever found.
Another is of a 5-year-old girl who went missing. She wandered into the forest alone and people extensively searched for her, but the girl was never found. 5 years later, she wandered back out as if nothing happened – she was wearing the same clothes as the day she went missing, she hadn’t aged at all, and she couldn’t remember anything about where she’d been or what she’d been doing.
Finally, there’s the story of a woman who disappeared with a 15th-century coin in her pocket and then years later, a different, unknown woman emerged from the forest with a 15th-century coin in her pocket.
It’s estimated that roughly 1,000 people have disappeared in the woods in total. It’s speculated that Hoia Baciu is home to a mysterious portal that allows people to unintentionally time travel or travel to other universes, and the 2 stories I just told you could support this activity.
But, if it isn’t home to a mysterious portal, then perhaps the land is being visited by other life forms, making it a place of extraterrestrial origin.
Interestingly enough, the forest first became famous in 1968 when military technician Emil Barnea was out in the forest with his girlfriend and a few friends. It was a sunny August afternoon, and his girlfriend told him that she saw something weird. He walked over to where she was standing, and he saw it too – a shiny, silver disk hovering in the sky. Luckily, he had his camera with him, and before the object flew away, he was able to capture some photos.
The group only saw the UFO for a couple of minutes, but Barnea later developed the film and saw he truly captured the UFO. His photos were published in local papers, and, naturally, many people were very skeptical. Some said it was probably weather balloons shot in odd circumstances and lighting. Investigators looked into weather balloons, blimps, or anything else that might have been in the sky in that area on that day, but nothing could be found to explain the photos. The photo negatives were also examined to see if Barnea had altered the images, but no evidence of tampering could be found.
Since Barnea’s experience in Hoia Baciu, hundreds of UFO sightings have been reported.
There are a few theories out there as to why Hoia Baciu is such a hotspot for paranormal activity.
Starting in the 1960s, mysterious tombs and houses were discovered to the north of Valea Lungă. Archaeologists were brought in to dig, and between 1960 and 1994 they uncovered the oldest Neolithic settlement in Romania, believed to have been established around 6500 BC and belonging to the Starčevo–Kőrös–Criș culture
The site provided evidence of religion and rituals practiced among these early settlers. The evidence includes a cemetery and a shrine or sanctuary. In the center of the sanctuary area, a vessel was found that indicated ritual significance. It was very unique, and it’s the first known pottery of its kind ever found. Analysis of it revealed evidence of the world’s oldest paint. They found a mask, which archaeologists think to be one of the oldest in Europe and it showed similarities with examples found in Anatolia, displaying the same ‘coffee bean eyes.’ They recovered a pot with two mouths, the oldest ever recovered. Polished stone tools and the fine clay used for pottery provide further evidence that this was a ‘hi-tech’ stone age society.
The site is four meters underground, and another unique feature is the absence of later settlements on top of the Neolithic site. According to the archeologists, the site was abandoned during the Neolithic era, probably because of a conflict, and has remained undisturbed for the last 8,000 years.
Some people believe that the forest is haunted by peasants who lived in this ancient society who were murdered, and the unease that many people feel when hiking through the forest is from these tormented spirits who are trapped within the wooded confines of Hoia Baciu. Terrified visitors claim to observe heavy black fog and then have visions of these tormented spirits.
“It depends, there are nights when nothing happens and you can go there and camp, but sometimes strange things happen. 4 friends had a pretty creepy situation happening there in the spring of 2018 during nighttime. What sounded like an old man coming at their tent in the middle of the night asking them nicely for about 10-20 minutes something like “can I come in? Hello, can I come in?”. They said they were staying motionless, and nobody had the guts to move a finger. Crazy hobo or prankster? Paranormal? I couldn’t tell you, and neither could them. When it suddenly stopped, they went out and ran all the way to a road outside of the forest and went for the tents the next day.”
About the clearing: “According to Douglas James Cottrell’s channeling on the matter, there was a navigation and charging pylon there for aircraft in antediluvian times, which was powered by a large, crystalline piezoelectric generator that is still functioning in a random, unfocused way underneath the circular clearing, creating a gravity disturbance, along with all kinds of odd inter-dimensional phenomena, as a result.”
As mentioned at the beginning, there are obviously many skeptics when it comes to the hauntings of Hoia Baciu, since there’s no evidence. But many argue there is evidence, and its unexplained phenomena and poltergeist activity is well-documented. Just ask Zak Bagans.
Season 8 of Ghost Adventures featured a very special 2-hour Halloween special called “Transylvania”. Since the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead is thinnest during this spooky season, the Ghost Adventures crew seize this opportunity when spirits roam free by spending Halloween in Transylvania. This 2-hour special features the team’s journey to Dracula’s home turd, searching Targovishte Castle, Hoia Baciu Forest, and Hunedoara Castle on a quest to contact Dracula and the spirits associated with him.
For obvious reasons, we’ll be focusing on their “well-documented” experiences in Hoia Baciu – their mission is to get to the heart of the activity – the near-perfect circle.
Noises: Drum music/chanting sound, Subsonic sound
Physical Contact: Zak and Billy feel the energy come and go as they make their way into the center of the forest.
Equipment Malfunction: The thermal imaging camera starts to go haywire while shooting into the forest.
Sightings: Zak and Billy notice a ball of light that moves deep in the forest. They also notice that the orb changes from orange, to red, to yellow and starts to enlarge.
Physical Contact/EMF Fluctuation/Possession: As Zak makes his way from the center to the edge of the forest’s circle, Zak starts to feel some sort of energy take over him. At this time, the EMF Detector starts spiking. Seconds after, Zak has so much anxiety he’s starting to freak out and he’s holding onto Billy’s arm really hard as if he’s holding on for dear life. According to Zak, this is the most terrifying experience he’s ever had.
The crew arrives in Cluj, and gets in the very small and uncleaned car that Josh rented online, which Josh is sure to comment on, but they pile in and head over to meet a dude named Adrian to learn about the forest. They interview a few residents near the forest but one of them suggested that they shouldn’t go because if they go, they’ll remain there.
To get a better orientation of the forest, the crew decides to fly over the forest to get a better view. The only plane available in town is an old plane so Josh has no other choice but to board the “antique”. While in the air the plane operates normally until its roof goes flying off and they have to make an emergency landing.
Wrecking the only plane in town, the crew grabs some ATVs instead, and using the Adrian gave them, they plan to head to the dreaded circle. Once nightfall hits, they’ve set up base camp. Before the investigation, they set up 4, night vision cameras and another 4 wireless infrared cameras installed with GPS locators around the base camp.
Their first objective is to find the circle, so Jael and Gabe investigate to the north while Josh, Rex, and Evan head south. While on the way, Josh sees a light cloaked in the trees. Thinking it’s a headlamp from one of the team, Josh asks them to turn it off. The light doesn’t vanish, so Josh plans to get closer by chasing it down but Rex trips and falls to the ground. Now the light is gone, so they ditch that plan and continue searching for the circle. While walking, Jael and Gabe find a cold spot and Gabe sees a white figure. Jael takes photos randomly on her digital camera and sees specks of light in the photo, but when she takes another shot, the specks of light are gone.
Josh, Rex, and Mike find the circle and the EMF detector detects a huge electromagnetic force, Josh takes soil samples and photos. Mike sees a fast-moving light, so Josh runs towards it, but it disappears and his thermal imager stops functioning. Josh decides to record a solo EVP session in the middle of the circle for half an hour. Sharra sees a white light behind Josh’s left shoulder, but it vanishes, and time is up. Evan takes the second EVP session, during his isolation session Evan is seated on the ground and without any warning, he’s knocked backward and dragged away from his position. Josh, at base camp, rushed to find him and found him disoriented, but alive. He has scratches on his arm then Rex suddenly falls ill. Josh makes an executive decision to end the investigation.
Back in the States, the agricultural expert can find no reason why the soil doesn’t support life in the circle, as the dirt appears to be “normal”. Josh next heads to see Jason and Grant from ‘Ghost Hunters’ to go over some evidence. Some of the EVP sessions yield some unnerving results such as moaning and a giggle, but they said it could be an animal. Some of the photos have unusual characteristics but they quickly debunk the specks of light found in Jael’s pictures as being common orbs or dust. Josh now shows the footage where Evan is tossed in the air, and they described it as unexplainable. And this occurrence alone is enough for Josh to rule that there is indeed something sinister living within the Hoia Baciu Forest.
Paranormal investigators aren’t the only people intrigued by Hoia Baciu. Prestigious publications such as Travel & Leisure magazine or BBC have included the forest among the most interesting, haunted areas on the planet. And even Nick Cage went to Cluj specifically to visit Hoia Baciu.
Specialists from around the world are fascinated by the forest. Researchers from Germany, France, the US, and Hungary have all spent time studying its mysteries. Some have managed to capture bizarre manifestations on film, including faces and apparitions, and studies have revealed higher than usual radioactivity, produced by natural uranium present in the subsoil. So, past studies conducted of the soil have shown no anomalies, but maybe they were taking surface-level soil and haven’t dug deep enough.
All of the reported paranormal activity and numerous photographic testimonies of extraterrestrial lights and spheres have contributed to making the Hoia Baciu Forest one of the best-documented paranormal sites in the world. Science is not yet able to explain the source of this strange phenomenon, but speculation continues as to whether this forest is a portal to another world or to a parallel, unknown universe.
Don’t let these spooky happenings stop you from visiting the beautiful forest, though. Those creepy, winding trees are plentiful, and Hoia Baciu is the only place in the world to trees like them. There are bike paths winding through them and even several springs with potable water at the north edge of the forest.
There are local companies that offer guided daytime and nighttime tours of the forest where they talk about history, folklore, and mystery.
No matter what your beliefs are regarding UFOs and the paranormal, the forest does provide an incredible sightseeing experience in a land shrouded in mystery and beauty.
And that is the spooky story of the Hoia Baciu Forest aka the Bermuda Triangle of Romania.
Thank you everyone for tuning in this week. Rate, follow, and share the show, follow us on Instagram @darkadaptationpodcast, and visit our website darkadaptationpodcast.ca. Thank you for tuning in. We’ll catch your spooky booties on the dark side.