The Story Of Aokigahara, Japan’s ‘Suicide Forest’ Is Touched By Death
There are some places on earth that are intriguing because of their stained history.
Aokigahara, the ‘Sea of Trees’ at the foot of Mt. Fiji, Japan, is one of them. Its designation as a tourist spot stems mainly from its macabre reputation.
The forest has a reputation for being eerie and is rumoured to have a paranormal presence. Getting lost here is not ideal.
There’s a reason why Aokigahara is also one of the most revered spots for suicide.
The forest has an ethereal vibe and its history is controversial. The average number of suicides here is 50-100 each year. What is shocking is that Japan considers suicide to be an honourable practice that dates back centuries. The Samurais and soldiers who committed suicide during the war were considered brave and responsible.
The Folklore and the Mythos
The forest is known as the place of abandonment. It is said families left their elderly ailing relatives here so they had fewer mouths to feed. They eventually died of starvation. While there is no proof of this, its a story that’s popular in the region.
Everything Seems Creepy Here
Many who have visited the dense forest claim they sensed something eerie and uncomfortable there. The uneven terrain is hard to walk through. There is no breeze or wind to give you company. In fact, everything here screams of isolation, and is disturbingly still.
With the grim events that have taken place here, it would not be surprising to know that the forest could possibly be haunted. Skeletons and human remains have been found there. Some even say that the forest is home to malevolent spirits who have a preference for morose people who visit the forest.
Help Does Not Come Easy
The dense foliage is easy to get lost in. People are known to bring tapes to help them find their way back.
What makes it even more dangerous is that compasses, cell phones, GPS services and other navigation systems don’t work here since the soil is rich in magnetic iron that messes up the navigation.
Rescue and Patrol team
Every year, the police and volunteers go into the forest to bring back bodies and/or survivors. They find approximately about 70-100 bodies each year. The Japanese government has refused to disclose the actual numbers.
In Popular Culture
Thanks to films and books about the subject, the Aokigahara has become a worldwide fascination.
The anime series Tokyo Ghoul uses the Sea of Trees as a central part of its theme. 47 Ronin, a film starring Keanu Reeves, also uses the place as part of its origin stories. The Forest (2016) starring Game Of Thrones star Natalie Dormer is about finding her lost sister in Aokigahara, and the paranormal take makes for an interesting subject.
It is easy to see why people are so intrigued by this horrific place. Nature, the mythos of haunting spirits and a generous splash of macabre works well in the favour of making the Sea Of Trees a place that horror lovers want to visit.
Would you go for a trek in this forest? I suggest you go at your own peril.
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