Amazing Places

5 Remarkable Forests That You May or May Not Want to Get Lost In

Maybe you're one of those people that gets nostalgic over forests. You know, the ones of fairy tales, with enchanted castles and beautiful princesses illuminated by moonlight. Or, maybe you're quite the opposite. To you, forests feel like the settings of nightmares and horror movies — spooky places where once you enter, you never escape. While forests do seem to have a pretty divided reputation, we think it's unfair to judge them all as one. Here's a peek at five remarkable forests around the world that will either thrill you or chill you.

1. Crooked Forest, Poland

One look at this peculiar forest and there's no question as to why it's made our list. In a small corner of western Poland, the Crooked Forest consists of about 400 pine trees, all with a prominent 90-degree curve at their base. No one knows exactly why the trees grew to look like this, but scientists have a few ideas. The most widely accepted theory is that farmers planted the group of trees around 1930 and used some type of man-made tool to produce the naturally curved wood, possibly for boat making. Whatever the reason, it's definitely a sight to see and a forest worth wandering into.

Related Video: These Trees Will Grow Around Anything That Stands in Their Way

2. Aokigahara, Japan

Located on the northwestern side of Japan's Mt. Fuji, the Aokigahara Forest is memorable for its nicknames alone. Known as "Suicide Forest," and "the perfect place to die," the Aokigahara is one of those spooky forests that once you enter, you sometimes don't escape. In this case, however, it's with intention. Despite locals' attempts to stop them, such as erecting signs that say things like "Your life is a precious gift from your parents," and "Please don't suffer alone, and first reach out," more than 100 people committed suicide in the forest between 2013 and 2015. Aokigahara is considered the second most popular spot in the world to take one's life. (If you're struggling with thoughts of suicide, please reach out for confidential help from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.)

3. The Hallerbos Forest, Belgium

This is one of those enchanting forests we've been talking about. The Hallerbos, or "Blue Forest," as it's often called, is carpeted from April to May with millions of bluebell flowers amid groves of slender, delicate beech trees. Not far from Brussels, this dreamlike forest stretches for 2.25 square miles (5.8 square kilometers) and is covered with winding pathways and wild rabbits and deer that add to the otherworldly atmosphere. This is a forest fit for a fairy tale — or whoever just wants to get lost in one.

4. Hoia-Baciu Forest, Transylvania, Romania

Known as the "Bermuda Triangle of Transylvania," the Hoia-Baciu is cloaked in mystery. For starters, the trees in the forest are misshapen, growing in zigzag patterns or spiraling in a clockwise direction. In the middle of the forest is an oval-shaped area of land called Poiana Rotunda — or simply, "the clearing" — where it's said that nothing grows, with no reported scientific explanation. (Google Maps shows that it's actually a lush and grassy meadow, but trees do seem to avoid the area). If all of that isn't weird enough, Hoia Baciu's claim to fame first came in 1968 when a military technician photographed what he claimed to be a UFO hovering over the clearing. We think this forest is best placed in the nightmares category.

5. Tsingy Forest, Madagascar

Translating to "where one cannot walk," the fittingly named Tsingy Forest of Madagascar is an unusual landscape of 300-foot, spiked, and jagged limestone rocks, formed by years of erosion from tropical rain. At first glance, this stone forest appears quite inhospitable, however, it is actually home to 11 subspecies of lemur, 100 types of bird, 45 different kinds of reptile, and various other wildlife and greenery. Don't get lost in this forest — we doubt you'll want to climb these "trees" to find a way out.

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Read a bone-chilling fictional account of one group's journey into Japan's Aokigahara Juka in "Suicide Forest" by Jeremy Bates. We handpick reading recommendations we think you may like. If you choose to make a purchase through that link, Curiosity will get a share of the sale.

Written by Ashley Gabriel April 20, 2018

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