The woods are already intimidating to the human subconscious. Now throw in some unhappy spirits, curses and even supernatural creatures and you have got yourself in an underworld of leaves and bark.
Either by demons, spirits or monsters, or all of them, these forests are haunted. You will find the unexplained in these woods. If it may leave you alive, it may not leave you fully sane.
Enjoy these 20 most haunted woods from around the world that will give you goosebumps.
1 Pine Barrens Woods, New Jersey
The New Jersey Pinelands, also known as the Pinelands or the Pines, is the largest remaining coastal pine barrens ecosystem in New Jersey. The more than 7 counties stretch across the Pine Barrens’ range.
In 1700, sawmills and grist mills opened in the Pinelands, leading to European settlements. Between the colonial era and 1740 charcoal operations were established. In 1765, an iron operation was established in the Pine Barrens.
But with its vast expanses of dense forest, Pine Barrens Woods is known to be one of the most haunted woods in New Jersey. This natural area is said to be home to many spirits that remain angry and vengeful because of what happened to them in life.
The Pine Barrens, New Jersey’s dark woodlands area with more than one million acres and seven counties, once thrived when it was populated by saw mills, paper mills and other industrial businesses. People abandoned the surrounding towns when coal was discovered in Pennsylvania, leaving behind ghost towns. The most popular Pine Barrens resident is without a doubt the Jersey Devil. According to legend, Deborah Leeds gave birth to her thirteenth child in 1735. This offspring had over-sized leathery wings, a goat’s head and hooves. It flew up the Leeds’ chimney and into the Pine Barrens where it has been terrorizing people ever since.
2 Elfin Woods, California
Elfin Woods, California is known for its spooky forests and abandoned mining towns now it’s also known as the most haunted woods in the U.S. According to witnesses, the woods are home to a range of creepy spirits, including ghosts of miners and lumberjacks who died in accidents or pneumonitic diseases. The forest, which is said to contain over 9 miles of hiking trails, is also home to several infamous ghosts and spooks.
The community of Elfin Forest sounds like a world that belongs in the novels of Tolkien, even though it is located just southwest of Escondido, just south of San Diego County. How fitting then that it is home to tall tales, myths, ghost stories, and stories of goblins.
There’s a legend that Romani people occupied the forest in the early 19th century, until nearby townsfolk drove them out. They exacted revenge by cursing the forest and its surrounding lands. Today, people have claimed to see all kinds of weird phenomena- like floating women dressed in white or shadowy cloaked apparitions riding black stallions.
3 The Black Forest, Germany
The Black Forest is a forest situated in the municipality of Durlach, in the Baden-Württemberg region of Germany. The woods are said to be haunted by ghosts and other supernatural beings. The forest is said to be the most haunted place in Germany.
The dense woodland covers an area of about 6,009 km² and it’s believed that the evil spirits have taken up residence there because of its isolating location, darkness, and demonic history.
If you’re brave enough to venture into these dark woods, make sure you keep an eye out for spooks like the Lady in White, the Brown Lady, and the Phantom. The woods are home to several brave souls who swear by their psychic powers to keep dangerous spirits at bay.
These myth-inspired woods are where there is little sunlight and the trees are dense, with tales of a headless horseman riding a white horse, a king who kidnaps women to his underwater lair to take them to be in close contact with nymphs and many others. There are also friendly dwarves and werewolves.
4 Griffith Park, Los Angeles, California
Although it’s best known for its memorable views and Emma Stone Ryan Gosling dance breaks, Lo’s griffith park has a few ghost stories hidden behind its popularity. According to legend, as reported by the Washington Post, the park was once owned by a wealthy bachelor named Don Antonio Feliz, who lived there with his niece Petronela in the mid 1800s. When Don died of smallpox in 1863, he left the entire ranch to a local politician and nothing for his niece.
Petronilia, unpleased with the lack of inheritance, cursed the entire park, declaring, the wrath of heaven and the vengeance of hell shall fall upon this place over the next few decades. Horrible facts like mysterious deaths, crop fires, etc. Befell every subsequent owner of the property. Add to that some modern day murders and satanic cult rituals taking place within the park’s dense woods, and you have yourself one enigmatic tourist destination.
5 Freetown Fall-River state forest, Massachusetts
This forest covers more than 5000 acres or 2000 ha with most of its location in the town of Free Town, it has become linked to numerous crimes and incidents, including murders, hazardous waste dumping and ritual activities. Maybe it has to do with the location.
The forest is part of a 200 square mile area or 520 km² known as the Bridgewater Triangle, which has been the site of numerous alleged paranormal phenomenon that includes ghosts, UFOs, balls of fire, giant snakes, thunderbirds and even bigfoot.
Some locals think the activity can be traced to colonial times when settlers purchased land from the Native American tribes. The transaction was supposedly cursed because the sacred burial ground was included in the deal.
6 Highgate Cemetery, London, United Kingdom
This lush and leafy north London garden, fictionalized in Brahmstoker’s Dracula as Kingstead churchyard, has a pleasantly eccentric roll call of notable graves, including those of Karl Marx and Douglas Adams. And while it remains one of London’s least visited landmarks, those who do enter its gates come seeking ghostly encounters as much as celebrity headstones. It is said that there are over 170,000 people buried in around 53,000 graves at highgate cemetery.
The site was established in May, became neglected and unattended by the end of world war II. The overgrown vegetation and crumbling monuments only upped the fear factor then, in the 1970s, after appearing as a filming location in several horror movies, highgate reached a surge in popularity, namely among self proclaimed vampire hunters.
Many visitors claimed to see a creature hovering over the graves, presumably a vampire, and stories of grave robbing began appearing in the news. The so-called vampire hunters would open tombs to drive wooden stakes in the corpse’s chests or steal the corpses and relocate them to random places, including the car of one of the cemetery’s neighbors to this day, Highgate remains a go to spot for enthusiasts of all things fangled and occult.
7 The island of the Dolls, Mexico
Despite its status as a World Heritage Site along with Mexico City, it’s a well preserved example of Aztec life. So Jamilkin has reached a certain amount of Internet fame for its Isla de las minacars, or the island of the Dolls. Hidden among the area’s many canals, the site is famous for the hundreds of dolls and doll parts hanging from trees and scattered among the grass.
The chinampa, akin to an artificial island, used to be the residence of a now deceased man named Julian Santa Barrera. After finding a dead girl’s body in a nearby canal, vareira collected and displayed the toys in the hopes of warding off evil spirits, reports National Geographic.
It’s said that he died in the exact location where he found the child’s body 50 years earlier. Today, the island is believed to be haunted by the ghost of the drowned girl, and local legend even states that the dolls have been heard whispering to each other, moving their heads and arms and opening their eyes.
8 Wychwood Forest, Oxfordshire, England
Wychwood Forest is a beautiful forest located in Oxfordshire, England. It has been known to be haunted by many ghosts and specters that have made the forest their home.
This forest, located in southeast England, totalled a much larger area. It was once a royal hunting ground. Experts say it’s probably been settled since at least 3000 BCE. Visitors have reported seeing strange apparitions, crying children riding in a horse drawn carriage, along with being touched by unseen hands.
The most disturbing phenomenon is likely the ghost of Amy Roser, who was the wife of the Earl of Leicester. She died under suspicious circumstances in 1560 after falling down a flight of stairs. According to legend, her ghost appeared to her husband while the Earl was out hunting. She told him he would be dead within ten days. He soon fell ill and died within that time.
9 Aokigahara Forest Suicide Forest, Japan
The Aokigahara Forest Suicide Forest is a large, dark forest located in Japan. It’s also known as the “Suicide Forest” because it’s frequented by people who want to commit suicide.
The seemingly serene forest at the foot of Mount Fuji has a tormented past colloquially known as Suicide Forest. Aokigahara is the world’s second most popular site for suicides after the Golden Gate Bridge. In 2010, 247 people attempted to take their own lives here, and 54 of them were successful. Some blame this trend on the forest’s association with demons in Japanese mythology.
Others point towards the density of the trees, which muffles sound and makes it easy to get lost. In fact, many hikers will mark their path with tape or string to make it easier to find their way back out again. The sprinkling of clothing and letters left throughout the labyrinth woods gives Aokigahara that extra touch that will leave you in a cold sweat.
10 Cameron Park, Waco, Texas
The Cameron Park forest, located in the city of Waco, Texas, is said to be the most haunted forest in the United States. Cameron Park is known for being haunted by some very strange and scary things.
Waco’s Cameron park has several spots that are reported to be paranormal hot zones, including Jacob’s Ladder, a treacherous set of stairs haunted by a grabbing ghost who grabs onto climber’s clothes to pull them down but perhaps the most well known sight is the Witch’s Castle, a name given to crumbling ruins found deep in the park.
According to one story surrounding the castle, and there are many, the ruins are the former house of a woman suspected of witchcraft in the late 1800s. Waco residents blamed the woman after people began disappearing in the surrounding woods, so they formed a mob and burned down her house while she was still inside.
Some people claimed to see the witches’ figure wandering through Cameron Park today, even chasing down some unlucky visitors.
11 Belanglo State Forest
Belanglo State Forest is known for its eerie, haunted forest. The forest has a long history of being a place where people have reported strange and unexplainable things happening. It’s located in New South Wales and has an estimated area of 9400 acres, or 3800 ha.
It’s a popular destination for campers and trail bike riders and is open to the public but this forest has a dark side, too. It has been the site of many killings, including the infamous backpacker murders of the early 1990s.
The serial killer was later caught and imprisoned for life in 1996, but seven victims had died. In 2010, a schoolboy was killed by three teenagers, one of whom was related to the convicted serial killer. Also in 2010, a skeleton was unearthed that was initially linked to the backpacker murders, but DNA evidence later proved the victim was a 22 year old female who was murdered in a separate incident during 2009. She and her infant daughter were positively idied, and the killer was later caught and convicted in 2018.
12 Long Trail State Forest, Vermont
The name refers to a hiking trail that easily lives up to its name. Long Trail State Forest covers 9,529 acres around the Long Trail, 271 mi hiking trail in Vermont and it’s the oldest long distance trail found in the US. While most people visit for hiking or snowshoeing activities, some are attracted by the trail’s reputation.
A section east of Bennington is claimed to contain a weird, haunting energy that is linked to some unsolved mysteries during the 1940s, and series of unexplained disappearances occurred here.
The best known case involves a college student named Paula Jean Weldon, who set out for a solo hike one day in 1946 and was never seen again. A total of six people vanished in the same area, and extensive searches were conducted for all of them. One body was recovered, but the events and disappearances remain a mystery to this day.
13 Whistlers Wood Forest, England
Whistlers Wood Forest is a haunted forest located in the town of Brampton, England. It is said to be one of the most haunted forests in the United Kingdom. It is alleged to be the home of Britain’s most haunted house and it is said that many strange and spine-tingling events have taken place there over the years.
At more than 4000 meters, or 1312ft, this is one of the highest altitude woodlands found in Britain. This remote location is so densely packed with trees that the sky is almost hidden by tangled branches. It’s thought to be a leftover section of an ancient forest that once covered the region until humans cleared it around 5000 BCE, in that time, it has become strongly connected to many myths and legends involving druids, elves, ghosts, hellhounds and countless other supernatural phenomena. Considering all the spooky locations found in the country, that’s really saying something.
14 Pokaini Woods, Latvia
Pokaini Woods, located in Latvia near a small town named Dabao. This forest has been shrouded in legends and mysteries for many years. People are supposedly intrigued by the forest and the various stories of bizarre and unexplainable occurrences taking place there. They witnessed many strange things in the forest, such as rocks emitting electromagnetic energy. Visitors also found evidence of strange phenomena such as rising temperatures and strange rocks.
Strange rocks with powers are the most haunted part of pokini forest. The most prominent oddity about Pokaini forest is that there are large and very heavy boulders that are uniformly assembled across the forest, but nobody knows how they got there. Many locals are against moving the rocks away from the forest, as it is considered bad luck. The rocks are considered to have divided powers of sorts, as in some are able to heal people and some cause harm. People claim that the healing rocks have healed many illnesses, while some rocks are said to cause illness and death, like in the case of the researcher Arviva.
There are even cases of tourists taking rocks away from the forest and then being inflicted with mysterious diseases, although this may still just be a coincidence. Other than all this, these rocks are said to emit radiation and some sort of palpable energy.
15 Blairadam Forest, Scotland
In Victorian times, this forest was home to coal mines and a surrounding mining town. The land has since reclaimed those efforts, but evidence of their existence can still be found. Some evidence of paranormal activity can be detected in the woods as well.
Visitors have noticed an agitated energy that seems to be present, and pets suddenly become spooked. A well documented case happened in 2008 when the Wilson family went to Blair Dam for a picnic and hike. After returning home, the father made an unsettling discovery. As he was editing some photos taken earlier in a picture with his children, there was a sinister looking figure lurking in the trees behind them.
On closer inspection, the figure had Victorian era clothing not unlike a coal miner would have worn. No theory for the mysterious image has ever been proven.
16 Epping Forest, England
The Epping Forest is a dense woodland area located in the London Borough of Epping, England, and part of the North-East London Forest. It is said that In Anglo-Saxon times, Epping Forest was the most important royal forest in England and Henry VIII used the forest to store wood for his wars against France.
Stretching some 5900 acres, or 2400 ha, size and density of this English forest made it popular among 18th century highwaymen for use as a hideout. The ancient woodlands located in Essex continued to serve that purpose for miscreants in the 20th century. Along with functioning as a hideout, the forest is also known as a dumping ground for murder victims.
At least a dozen bodies have been unearthed there, with the most recent one turning up in 2019. Maybe it’s no surprise that there have been many stories of apparitions haunting the forest, in addition to unsettling drum noises made by soldiers.
17 Paimpont Forest, France
Paimpont Forest is a forest located in the town of Paimpont, near Besançon, in the Doubs département in eastern France. The forest is part of the Doubs Natural Park, and covers an area of about 9000 hectares.
This section of Brittany has long been linked to the enchanted forest that appears in the legend of King Arthur. Those stories date to the 12th century and describe the forest as a place where Arthur and several Knights of the Round Table once inhabited. The northern area of the forest contains a Neolithic structure identified as the Tomb of Merlin. The wizard was allegedly imprisoned here by the lady of the Lake.
The best known part of the forest is probably the Valley of no Return. The French version of the legend claims that Arthur’s half-sister Morgan Laffet, imprisoned unfaithful knights within the valley. In 1990, a terrible fire ravaged the forest and hit the valley particularly hard. A golden tree placed at the valley’s entrance memorializes the event.
18 The Devil’s Tramping ground in the woods of North Carolina
The Devil’s Tramping ground is a dark and twisted place that is said to be the stomping grounds of the devil himself. This eerie location is located in the woods of North Carolina, and it is definitely something that you don’t want to visit at night.
There’s a strange circle of land where no plant will grow and all animals will avoid it. And if any object is placed within the circle, it will disappear. The barren ring of land measures 40ft or 12 meters and is alleged that nothing has grown within it for at least 100 years. According to local legend, the devil comes to earth to tramp the ground in a circle, while he conjures up more mystery for the world. Strange, shadowy creatures are said to watch campers, and a soothing voice and melody can sometimes be heard when the voice lulls people to sleep, they’ll later wake up several miles away from the tramping ground.
19 The Screaming Wood, In Kent, England
The Dering Woods popularly called “Screaming Wood” is a haunted forest located in Kent, England. It is said that the Screaming Wood is home to demons and ghosts who haunt the forest and its inhabitants.
You’ll find Pluckley, a place that Guinness Book Of Records once deemed to be the most haunted village in Britain while that category no longer exists. The haunted reputation of Pluckley’s Dering woods remains very much alive. It’s also known as the Screaming Forest. Thanks to the ghost of a high women who was killed there in the 18th century.
The Apparition is said to emit blood curdling screams in the dead of night. Up to 15 different ghosts are reported to inhabit the woods that includes the Red Lady, who died in the 12th century and still wanders the area. Other paranormal activity includes phantom footsteps, whispering and strange lights in the forest that have also been reported.
20 Hoia-Baciu Woods, Romania
The Hoia-Baciu Woods are considered to be the most haunted forest in Romania. The woods cover an area of 295 hectares and have been known to be inhabited by several paranormal creatures, including ghosts, witches, and vampires. Legends reportedly say that the woods are cursed and are home to a horde of evil spirits that want to take advantage of the inhabitants.
The forest is unrecognizable, Deformed trees littered in the forest, their skeleton-like shapes reaching out to touch the visitor. The eerie silence is interrupted by a sound of something walking unseen and making your heart skip when you hear gurgling coughs coming from somewhere deep within the forest.
Hoia-Baciu gained notoriety around the world when one military technician broadcasted a photograph of a UFO in 1968. The area is often called the “Bermuda Triangle of Transylvania,” as some people believe it to be a portal that causes visitors to disappear. Other people who have entered this forest (without being attacked by monsters) reported rashes, nausea, and feelings of anxiety. Curved trees in the area further contribute to its spooky vibe.
Other people who have passed through the forest without being sapped into another realm. That is reported rashes, nausea and feelings of anxiety. The curved trees in some parts of the area further lend to the off putting aura.