The strangest place to visit in Cluj-Napoca – The haunted forest Hoia-Baciu
If you’re in Romania or considering coming to Romania, you’ve surely been dazed by the air of mysticism around Transylvania. This involves Dracula, blood sucking vampires and haunted castles. Add to that, in the heart of Transylvania, in our back yard in Cluj-Napoca, there is the most mystical and strange forest in the area. It is believed to be a gate towards the paranormal, another Bermuda triangle. Should it be Superstition? The facts are unsettling either way.
The locals knew about the strange things happening in the Baciu Forest for a long time. Legends and myths have been passed down from generation to generation. They think that once entered, the forest awakes man’s deepest, subconscious fears. The villagers that entered the forest testified that as soon as they reached it, they experienced inexplicable states of nausea, anxiety, headaches and even burn marks on their skin.
The name of the forest means the Shepherd’s forest. It is inspired by one of these legends. It is said that one day the shepherd of the nearby village entered with his flock into the forest and disappeared with all of the sheep and was seen again. From that moment on it was named after him.
What truly sets the doubt on this not being just another Dracula story is that besides these physical and mental alterations, the forest also pushes the boundaries of science by showing signs of magnetic anomalies, fluctuations of the electromagnetic field and infra-sound emissions.
There are also biological effects that alter the plants and vegetation. In certain parts, they show signs of dehydration, burns and stem and leaf necrosis. Little is still known about the cause of all this.
The person that started a true scientific investigation regarding the strange forest, was biologist Alexandru Sift. Attracted by the amazing stories he would hear from the locals he decided to see first-hand what all the fuss was about. In the ’50’s he made several trips to the forest, taking numerous pictures.
He claimed that on these incursions inside the forest he would see strange shadows among the trees, following him. Nonetheless, he did not abandon his project, and, when he took out his photos, his mind stuttered – shapes that were not supposed to be there, shadows, and even the fact that the pictures on the camera were not in the same order as he had taken them in the forest was strange. His research was a landmark for all future explorers.
The forest took its rise to fame in 1968 with a documented UFO appearance.
A military technician named Emil Barnea, while camping in the wood with some friends, experienced an encounter of the strangest degree. While picking up wood, he heard his friends calling his name and when he went to see what’s up, he allegedly saw what seemed to be a UFO flying very close to the ground. In the forest, there is actually a perfect circle, where no trees and little vegetation grow, that is thought to have been made by a UFO landing. Years later, international ufologists classified this photograph as “one of the clearest photos of a UFO ever taken in Romania and, without doubt, one of the best images of its kind, in the entire world“. These photos became a case study for ufology worldwide.
The area soon became popular among specialists in the paranormal and esoteric, drawing whole teams of renowned researchers from Germany, the US and Hungary.
You think it’s just another ghost story? I dare you to go inside.