Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Suicide Forest

(Above: A scene from “Destination Truth” doing research in the Suicide Forest. I think this was one of my top 5 favorite episodes.)

Aokigahara or “Sea of Trees” is a forest that lies at the foothills of Mt. Fuji in Japan. Popular culture has associated this forest as a “popular” place for young people to commit suicide. Because of the dense forest and the lack of wildlife within, it is eerily quiet and still. This volcanic land and thick woods are marked by plastic tape where volunteers search for more bodies.

It is the second most popular suicide spot with the Golden Gate Bridge being number one. It averages about 30 per year. However, in 2003, the rate rose to 100 and the government quit giving the statistics, hoping to play down this popular spot as a destination for those determined to kill themselves.

This location is believed to be haunted. Personally, I am not a person who disbelieves haunted land. In fact, living in a mining state, I do believe land can certainly be haunted. Given that Mt. Fuji is a volcano and the land is littered with volcanic rock and geological changes, it seems nearly certain that with that much anguish and death, it would be an ideal haunted spot. Many of these young people come and camp before killing themselves, performing a kind of life review and bonding with nature that makes this seem like an almost peaceful place to pass on. Often times, they choose this spot far away from home and get rid of their ID, hoping that shame will not be put upon their loved ones.

The concept of walking into these woods that are so thick that people regularly get lost, and finding a quiet spot to end one’s life is a tragic and intriguing concept. Intriguing because, as a pagan, the concept of being one with nature is bonding. You are part of all the living things around you. What if you shed your blood there and affect the forest? It’s definitely something chilling to consider…


  1. This episode was also one of my favorites although it's quite sad so many people choose this forest as their suicide location.

  2. Andrea;
    I agree. I think the blend of geology, nature, and the fact that suicide involves contemplation before doing it makes it different than the hauntings in a prison where someone might be killed quickly and without warning. It just permeates everything around it. Sort of soaks into everything around it, leaving a residual emotion. That episode was one of the very best, right up there with Yeti and the one in the Romanian forest when the dude got thrown...

  3. For things like this, I wish I had cable. Darn. Thanks for the advice over on my blog. You described the ritual of smoking..."I was thinking...mmmmm." Then I thought, "Autumn!!". lmao! You'll be happy to know I. did. not. smoke. lol. I'm just teasing.
    Seriously, thank you for reminding me to be gentle with myself. :)

  4. I wonder what it could be about certain locations that make them more 'popular' for people with suicidal tendencies?

  5. interesting. I have always thought that if I were going to kill myself, this would be the way to do it...walk deep into the woods, and eventually my physical body would meld with the environment, none of that creepy human funeral stuff. I don't believe in all that "we are one with the universe" and doing something so negative in the forest could affect it in a bad way. Nature is indifferent to our little problems, we are just a tiny teeny part of the big picture. The native americans, one could argue that THEY were one with the universe way back when, but today, with all of our technology, we are so far removed from nature it is pathetic. And if you think about it, nature is full of murder and hostility and chaos anyway - we excuse it in the name of survival, but does any animal willingly lay down it's life for another? No, they all run like hell with a desire to live. Death is a constant thing in nature. A few human suicides probably doesn't have much impact.

    As for this forest, yes, it may be a spooky place at night, but aren't ALL wooded areas creepy at night? The sounds of owls and other critters, being so far from the comfort of other humans and electric light... I don't like to be alone in any woods at night.

    And let's consider the Golden Gate Bridge, which has how many suicides a year? I forget, but it's a lot..doesn't seem like a particularly spooky place though, does it? Well...maybe when the fog rolls in...but still, it is the woods at night that are inherently creepy, not that fact that people kill themselves there.

  6. Kim;
    You'd be able to see that episode on YouTube. Just type in "suicide forest Destination Truth" and they have all the parts of the episodes. SyFy channel also has lots of episodes online too. I've been catching National Geographic shows that way too cause I don't get it on my cable.

    Jeff; They did mention that folks chose the forest as a way to hide away from the family in the city and not bring shame to anyone.

    Jennifer; In the concept of residual hauntings, the emotional content would be most critical for imprinting a scene, a sound, an image into a place. Human emotion particularly would be something that we would feel in residual. We often feel the residual of strong emotion at places like the Vietnam Memorial or the Lincoln Memorial. It seems to retain a collective of emotion. I have walked the Golden Gate and it is rather eerie by the simple fact that there are phones every few feet and constant signs about picking up the phone and talking to someone if you're suicidal. I really don't like heights, so I was uncomfortable up there for that simple fact, but you get a metal structure, water running under it and all the energy produced by that, seems like it would be an ideal retainer of emotion. Admittedly, every now and then on the bridge, I stopped and had a sudden image of someone and a lot of information flooding my mind at once like a life review. I can't verify if any of them were the people who had jumped but they very precise and clear "memories." I wondered about why people choose places like the bridge to stop living, but I suppose the appeal is the feeling of flying before dying--sort of a liberation in a symbolic way and then they're washed away and sort of symbolically forgotten without a trace.

  7. Thanks. :) I didn't know they show episodes on the syfy web sight of anything.

  8. Hey Kim;
    Ya. Just go to and they have a tab at the top for "full episodes." They usually keep like 5 of them in the queue, but you can also sometimes find them in parts on YouTube. Enjoy! I just adore Josh Gates and "Destination Truth."

  9. i totally loved that episode, very cool stuff. i just love that show; can't wait for more.
    i agree with jennifer, forests are just creepy places and no doubt there can be paranormal happenings within them.

  10. Hey Sandra;
    Yeah, that show is the greatest. Today, I'm HOPEFULLY finishing a LAUGH series post that's a Destination Truth spoof... Fingers crossed. Later today, I'll probably post a warning that it's going up tomorrow. I was having a hard time writing it because Josh steals the show, but then I decided he might take a guest ghost hunter with him and then...well, it started to write itself.

  11. Machete found in the woods ,and compass spinning out of control .
    Time to leave the site !
    Only thing though.... the voice analysis...why was the speech in English (GET OUT !).
    Hmmmm ??

  12. DS;
    Yeah, I do get a crack up at ghosts speaking the language of the speaker, but then I suppose folks would say that a soul has infinite wisdom. If I were that wise, I personally wouldn't be stuck in a forest for eternity...