Have you ever heard of a place that is perfect to die? Aokigahara Forest in Japan is the one. Sound strange but it is true that Aokigahara is a popular place for suicides. Statistics show that every year around 100 people commit suicide there. In 2010 about 247 attempted suicides, 54 out of them succeeded. Aokigahara is the second most popular place in the world for suicide.
Aokigahara is located at the North West base of the iconic Mount Fuji in Japan. It is also called the ‘Sea Of Trees’ because of the dense vegetation there. This beautiful landscape has sign boards on the trees everywhere that say
“Your life is a precious gift from your parents”
“Think about your children, about your family”
“Please consult the police before you decide to die!”
The signboards have not been successful to stop determined people. The most common means of suicide are hanging or drug overdose. The forest is very dense and thick inside and so sounds from inside cannot be heard. It is said that there are huge underground deposits of iron in the forest that interferes with the direction compass and the travelers get lost.
Locals say that the place has been associated with death since the nineteenth century. Ubasute was a custom in Japan in the past. According to the custom, an elderly relative was carries to a remote place like a mountain or a forest and was left there to die. People believe that the forest is haunted by the Yurei, the angry spirits of those who were left there to die. Spiritualists say that the trees there are also filled with evil energy that has been accumulated from all the suicides of the past.
Some say that frustrated or depressed people who want to die are mysteriously drawn to Aokigahara forest by a supernatural force. The force signals them to come. Some of them who were saved have reported that they had a vague feeling of being pulled towards the forest; someone was compelling them to come and end their journey there.
Some say that the trend started after Seicho Matsumoto published his novel Kuroi Kaiju (Black Sea of Trees) in 1960. In the novel two of his characters commit suicide there.
The unfortunate bodies are cleared from the forest by the forest workers there. The bodies are taken to the station and kept in a spare room. Here the bodies are not left alone. Some workers sleep on a bed next to them. It is said that if the corpse is left alone the unsatisfied and angry Yurei screams all night and the dead body moves on its own.
Many other ghosts and demon stories are heard about the forest. It is said that visitors sometimes see spirits in white slipping in between the trees.