By: Anahi Ventura
There are many scary places around the world, but none of them compared to the frights of the Aokigahara Forest.” You've probably heard of eerie places like the “Winchester Mystery House,” located in San Jose. The house is built as a maze where there are many dead ends and stairs that go up to the ceiling. Another one you've probably heard of is the Perron home, located in Harrisville, Rhode Island, which had a series of paranormal activities that inspired “The Conjuring.” However, these mere haunted places are nothing in comparison to the frights of the Aokigahara Forest, also known as the “Suicide Forest.”
Located at the base of Mount Fuji, is the Aokigahara forest. This is perhaps the most infamous forest in Japan. It is best known as the Sea of Trees, Suicide forest, or Japan’s Demon Forest. The Aokigahara forest has been home to over 500 suicides since the 1950’s. Alexa Garcia, a freshman, says, “It's really sad that this many people have died, but why would they even do that in the first place?”
Many people don't know the exact reason why these suicides started to happen, or why in this particular place. But there are many theories on why this occurred. Most of the legends seem pretty reasonable, but two of them make the more sense than the others.
One of the legends claims that this all started after Seicho Matsumoto published a novel with the name of Kuroi Kaiju, which translates as the “Black Sea of Trees.” At the end of the story, the two lovers end up committing suicide in the forest. The other legend also comes from a novel in which people receive commentary on how to commit the perfect suicide in the forest. Wataru Tsurumuis book, The Complete Suicidal Manual,provides various ways on how to commit suicide, and it even goes as far as saying the Aokigahara forest is the perfect place to die. Funny thing is that this book is a common find when police are looking for bodies or related issues.
Besides the fact that this place is a sanctuary for all the dead souls, there are many other abnormal things that have occurred here. One of the major reported events that was believed to have happened, was that compasses and GPSs mysteriously stop working once you enter the forest. Leaving people alone in the vastness of the forest without knowing when or how they're going to get out. Most people who go inside the forest have the mindset of killing themselves, however not many people succeed at doing this. Hideo Watanabe claims that he has seen many people exiting the forest after failing to kill themselves. Hideo Watanabe, owner of the shop near the forest, says to BUSTLE, “She had tried to hang herself,but failed,” he also added, “ She had part of the rope around her neck and her eyes were almost popping out of their sockets. I took her inside, made her some tea, and called an ambulance.”
Hoping to put an end to these suicides, the Japanese government has established a number of new features. They have increased patrol, security cameras at each entrance, and have place many thoughtful or uplifting signs throughout the forest. Some signs say stuff like, “Your life is a precious gifts from your parents,” and “ Please consult the police before you decide to die!”
Locals say they spot many visitors around the area: those tourist interested in a scenic view of Mount Fuji, the curious who want a glimpse of the macabre, or the ones that plan on never coming out. The effect that these suicides have on the locals are very strong. In fact, a local men said to Atlas Obscura, “ It bugs the hell out of me that the areas famous for being a suicide spot.” While a local police officer said, “I've seen plenty of bodies that have been really badly decomposed, or been picked at by wild animals… There's nothing beautiful about dying there.”
Editor Board, 2017-2018
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