What does come to your mind, when you hear the word “forest”? Well, for obvious reasons, you would think about lush green space, a ton of trees, breezy and cool, and a very peaceful place. A forest that isn’t known for its peaceful atmosphere, but rather a disturbing truth, is a weird thing, right? There is a forest in Japan that has the reputation and recognition for having the second-highest number of suicides happening there. It gets even more spooky when the locals over there claim the forest to be possessed by the spirits of the suicide victims.
This is the story of a forest in Japan, named Aokigahara Forest, located northwest of Mount Fuji. The entrance of the forest warns its visitors, to “Think carefully about your children, your family. Your life is a precious gift from your parents. Quietly think once more about your parents, siblings or children. Please don’t suffer alone, and first, reach out.” These are the words that are adorned at the entrance of Aokigahara Forest. This forest is globally known as the Suicide Forest. It is the second most famous place for suicides, the first being the Golden Gate Bridge. The forest is spread across a huge area of 35 sq km, giving it the name “Sea of Trees”. It is believed that getting lost in the forest is a very common thing here, and the way out of it is an impossible mission.
With a story so dark, it is pretty common to have a reputation for it being possessed. According to Japanese mythology, the forest is said to be home to Yurei- which means ghosts of the dead. As per the official statements, around 105 bodies were discovered in the forest, in the year 2003. Most of the bodies were severely decomposed and/or eaten by wild animals. Due to its story, many Japanese spiritualists believe that the suicides have permeated the trees, which results in paranormal activities in the forest. People often lose their way inside the forest, as the technologies and devices such as compasses and mobile phones fail here. It is due to the deposits of magnetic iron created by the volcanic salt in this region. The devices start behaving weirdly and show wrong directions. Now, this is the reason, it's an impossible mission to find your way out of this forest.
People also believe that the bodies of suicide victims should not be left alone in the forest. They believe that it is bad luck for the victims and often their spirits cry and scream for help, and also move their bodies. Now, we don’t know how true it is, but the belief of some people cannot be ignored just because it isn’t proven. Keeping this in the mind, the forest workers bring them back and keep them in a special room at the local forest police station.
Many experts have researched why people choose to die in this forest. Almost three decades ago, a Japanese psychiatrist interviewed some Aokigahara suicide survivors and wrote that a key reason for their selection was that “they believed that they would be able to die successfully without being noticed.” Another psychiatrist, Dr Yoshitomo Takahashi, believed that movies and media reports have played a role in influencing people. He also said that they might have wanted to “share the same place with others and belong to the same group”.
The nation has been taking steps to curb suicides, over the years. Security cameras are being set at the entrances, hoping to track those who walk inside, according to Imasa Watanabe of the Yamanashi prefectural government. The local government has also opted for suicide prevention methods, such as raising the bridge rails' height, having volunteered to talk to and convince suicidal visitors, increasing police patrolling and discouraging movies and TV shows to not promote the forest as a suicide forest. With a reputation so dark, Aokigahara Forest has failed to be peaceful and beautiful, as a forest should be. We need to know that, suicide doesn’t end your problem but rather removes you and replaces your family & loved ones, in your problem.
There is a forest in Japan that has the reputation and recognition for having the second-highest number of suicides happening there. It gets even more spooky when the locals over there claim the forest to be possessed by the spirits of the suicide victims.