If you're a fan of horror movies, you've probably heard the stories of the infamous Suicide Forest in Japan. A film known as The Forest came out in 2016 and shocked viewers. It was based on the well known area, and while it's true that the film's story is supposed to take place in the Suicide Forest, the true stories which have surfaced over the years are much more terrifying than you could ever imagine. As it was famously said, truth is much stranger than fiction.
Just northwest of the mesmerizing Mount Fuji in Japan, you will find 13.5 miles of trees and wildlife, but don't let the hiking trails fool you. This massive forest is known as Aokigahara. The greenery within is so thick that it is known to some as the Sea of Trees. It's a beautiful stretch of foliage. However, they might neglect to tell you a bit about its morbid history in the brochures. Aokigahara is infamously known for being the place where many people have chosen to end their lives. That's not a reference to settling down. People literally go there to commit suicide. If that's not creepy enough, take into account the major hauntings of the forest, and try to remember that nothing is ever really what it seems. Take a trip down these few facts about the strange and exciting forest. Be sure not to stray from the path, because like the forest, you may find yourself lost in the bizarre and terrifying world of Aokigahara.
15 Suicide Plays A Prominent Role In Japan's History
In the United States, suicide is something that has always been deemed as terrible. It's not a method that is smiled upon on by many, but Japan has somewhat of a history with suicide. For example, long ago in the Feudal era of Japan, samurais, which were Japanese warriors, performed a ritual at dire times known as Seppeku. This ritual would require one to kill himself if the need should arise. It was considered highly honorable to perform such an action. Fortunately, the practice that was once passed down from generation to generation is now frowned upon. However, the effects of the events have certainly left their mark on all of Japan, especially on those ridden with suicidal thoughts and tendencies. Some people in Japan even view it as something they must do. It's hard to imagine such an event taking place, but it is a sad truth.
14 Japan's Suicide Prevention
Some people might be wondering why there have been no measures put in place to stop something like this from happening. Since the park is open for entry, anyone can walk around and do as they please so long as they follow the rules. There's no way to tell for sure if someone is going to commit suicide. The forest is simply too big and the actions of others are almost impossible to determine. Still, those who monitor the area do try their best to prevent suicide at any cost. Throughout parts of the entrance and trails, posts have been put in place that urge people to think very carefully about their family and friends. They display things that would try and help someone change their mind about their decision. Patrols of the area have increased as well. Japan's government hopes to reduce the suicide rates significantly in many different ways.
13 The Forest Is Creepy In Itself
While the forest is certainly beautiful in its own way, the beauty isn't capable of taking away the fact that the forest is just plain creepy. One stroll through its close-knit tree trunks and you will understand. This is certainly not a place to plan a family vacation. The trees within naturally twist and contort into shapes that seem unusually frightening. Also, due to its location at the base of a mountain, the terrain is fairly unusual. Rocky and jutted areas make the place feel like a mountainous trek. Caves which are scattered all around add to the terrain being so rocky. It's safe to say that the area certainly isn't flat. Additionally, what seems creepiest about the forest, apart from the suicides, is the eerie silence that seems to surround you. This effect is due to the wind being unable to move quickly through the forest on account of the trees being so close together. Many people have said that it creates a sense of solitude they never wish to feel again.
12 The Most Popular Suicide Method
This is something that isn't frequently discussed in conversation circles, but it's a topic that needs to be talked about and delivered to the public. As with any piece of important information, the truth of suicide needs to be heard, even in the form of unknown facts. It's been determined that the most popular suicide method in the forest is hanging. Those who have chosen to end their life often walk deep into the forest until they find a certain place they feel is right. Then, they hang up the rope, usually around a tree of some sort, and do the deed. The second most popular method of suicide within the forest is drug overdose, and it does make sense. Quite a few people around the world have chosen to go out this way owing to the fact that some drugs send you away with no pain. Despite that, it should be stated that not all drug overdoses are like this. There are a great deal of drugs that, if taken in excess, will lead to a very painful death. Of course, suicide is never the right answer, regardless of method.
11 Aokigahara Is Among The Most Popular Suicide Destinations In The World
It's sad that such an intriguing place has become so popular due to a morbid fact. Suicide is certainly no joke, and it's unfortunately extremely common in Aokigahara. It's estimated that at least 100 people each year have gone into the forest never to return, due to suicide. Having said that, it's actually very hard for statistics to be determined on just how many people go into the forest and never come out. Because of the lush vegetation, corpses have been known to remain undiscovered for long periods of time. Some bodies have even been discovered years later, while others are still somewhere in the forest and may never be found. Still, researchers and statistic experts work their hardest to come up with the data we now have today. While 100 may not sound like a high number, it's considered large due to the fact that all the suicides are concentrated in one area.
10 Japan's Suicide Rates Are Some Of The Highest In The World
In 2008, when the entire world was in panic after the great financial crisis, people were in dire straits with their lives. 2,645 suicides were recorded in January 2009. That's an increase of 15% when compared to the year before. According to the suicide prevention hotline in Japan, callers were most concerned with mental health, issues within their family, financial issues, and problems after losing their job. It can be hard to try and keep up with the world after losing your job, and it's not uncommon. We see more people every day that have been laid off from their jobs and struggle to make it afterwards. They fight to make ends meet and sometimes they come up with no money at all. Therefore, it's no surprise that when times get tough, people call a number they feel will help them before they end their life. It's also important to remember that there are suicide lines all over the world. No one should ever feel alone in times of crisis.
9 A Novel Made Suicide At Aokigahara Very Popular
Japanese writer Seicho Matsumoto probably didn't realize that the release of his book Kuroi Jukai would soon influence many people who would commit suicide at Aokigahara. The book was written in 1960 and details the story of a heartbroken woman who was once in love. In the story, she visits the famous Sea of Trees to commit suicide. The influence the story had on Japanese culture was phenomenal and it didn't take away from looking at suicide in a whole new way. It provided a somewhat sinister iteration of the traditional idea of ending your life. People still talk about the story to this day. Among other books that involve suicide, The Complete Suicide Manual was found to be a popular book among those thinking about suicide and those who have already done so. It was also found on the bodies of multiple people throughout Aokigahara and describes the famous Sea of Trees as the perfect place to die.
8 Aokigahara's Myths Are Older Than Most People Know
Japan's history is full of sadistic and terrible acts that were carried out in the name of honor or desperation. That's not to say that the rest of the world doesn't have its fair share of awful moments throughout history, but certain methods used in Japan were darker than others. Ubasute, for example, is a practice that is thankfully no longer conducted, if it ever really was. Nevertheless, it exists as a scar on the history of Japan. Ubasute was enacted under very harsh conditions back in ancient times. In cases of famine, families would try to lower the amount of people that needed to be fed by taking or leading an elderly person in the family up a mountain or to a remote place where the relative would then die from any number of ways, such as starvation, dehydration, or simply exposure. There are those who insist that this method was only used in tales and myths. However, some suggest that Aokigahara was used for such purposes due to the terrain and isolation of the area.
7 The Suicide Forest Is Believed To Be Haunted
With so many suicides and beliefs that the deaths of Ubasute happened in the Sea of Trees, it probably comes as no surprise that many strongly believe this place carries spirits and bad energy. People from all over the world say they have seen, heard, and felt things throughout the forest. Among these spirits are believed to be what the Japanese call yurei. They are spirits of those who have killed themselves and they are described in myths and stories to be vengeful and tormenting. They taunt and follow the living as they walk through the forest, trying their best to make people stray from the path. According to the folklore, they don't go for those who have a great spot in life. The yurei torment those who are struggling with deep sadness or those who have suicidal tendencies. It's these people that the yurei prefer above all else.
6 Searches Have Been Held Every Year Since 1970
The Suicide Forest is known for being vast and dense, making it hard for people to find the bodies of those who have departed from this world. But just because it's hard, it doesn't mean that people don't put in the effort every year. Those who patrol the area do good deeds by trying to ward people away from the idea of suicide. Accompanied by these people are those who perform annual patrols. However, these patrols are not for those who are still living. These good souls go search for the people whose bodies are still missing. The forest can be a confusing and treacherous place, which is why certain people willingly go searching so others will not have to. Once they find the bodies, they bring them back to the city where they can be identified and prepared for the proper burial. This is the best way many feel they can put the spirits at peace.
5 If You're Camping, Expect Some Visitors
Imagine you've decided on Aokigahara as your camping destination. You go deep into the forest and finally find a spot that looks suitable. You set everything up and you're relaxing in your tent when suddenly you hear something outside. When you open your tent, there is a person standing there, watching you. This is something you may come across should you decide to camp in the Suicide Forest. While camping is certainly allowed, it is believed by many that bringing a tent along suggests that you are planning to commit suicide, but are still unsure of what you will do next. Some people who have already committed the act decided to do just that and waited for days until they decided to finally end it all. It's unfortunate and if you decide to go camping inside the deep forest, you might want to anticipate those patrolling about, ready to talk you out of your actions, if need be.
4 People Use Various Lines Of Tape And Thread To Avoid Getting Lost
Those who go searching the forest for bodies and missing people usually try to make sure they don't get lost along the way. Some people use types of tape along certain trees to mark the way as they go. Others use threads of yarn or string that will lead them back out. This is all because it is very easy to get lost within the forest. It's unwise to go in alone, which is why a lot of volunteers decide to go in with multiple people at their side. Even doing a good deed needs to be conducted in a wise manner. It's also a good idea to stay on the paths that have been indicated for obvious reasons. If you were to venture off deep into uncharted parts of the forest, finding you would be a rather difficult task. Because the forest is so dense, it would be very difficult to locate a human in the midst of all the vegetation.
3 If You Get Lost, You Can't Call For Help
This sounds like a scary tactic in order to keep people on the trails and away from the forest's outer reaches. However, this is very true. Due to the magnetic iron in the soil of the forest, your cellphone will not work. If you were thinking about breaking out the GPS, don't bother, because the magnetic pull will interact with that as well. Thought about trying the old handy dandy compass? Think again, because even compasses are affected. This is one of the reasons why people use the tape or thread method. However, if you look into the darker side of the forest's history, you will come across those who believe that more evil powers are at work. Some believe that the reason so many electronics go dead is because of the evil forces living throughout the forest. Maybe the evil energies, spirits, and magnetic soil are all working together to interact with these devices?
2 Not Everyone Goes To Aokigahara To Commit Suicide
If you were to ask the locals about what they think about the forest, you will no doubt get answers that are mixed. However, most know the area for the suicides that occur every year. But it should be known that not everyone who goes into the forest is intending to kill themselves. People from all around the world visit Aokigahara, and it has some amazing and beautiful sights. Many of the trees in the area are hundreds of years old, and whether you are familiar with the area or just looking to visit, you can easily overlook the fact that many people have chosen this as their suicide destination. But truth be told, something like suicide leaves an impression on a place and tends to linger for quite some time. Yet, people continue to visit the forest. Many thrill seekers and ghost enthusiasts flock to the location to capture spirits on film and experience the myths.
1 If You Venture From The Path You Could See Disturbing Things
If you search for photos of the forest online, you'll find a great variety of sorts. Some pictures will be pleasant and full of beauty. However, others will be grotesque and morbid. If you're wondering where people are getting all these disturbing photos, it's certainly not on the trail. It's one of the reasons that officials tell you to stay on the main trails as intended. If you choose to venture off deeper into the woods and stray off the path, you could find yourself among some very disturbing findings, such as bones hidden beneath the green growth, items left behind by those who committed suicide, and even decaying bodies have been found and photographed. So, if you're planning a trip to the forest and would prefer not to see these gruesome things, staying on the main path is of utmost importance. Otherwise, you could come face to face with death itself.