Jan 7, 2013


Called "the perfect place to die," the Aokigahara forest has the unfortunate distinction as the world's second most popular place to take one's life.

Japanese spiritualists believe that the suicides committed in the forest have permeated Aokigahara's trees, generating paranormal activity and preventing many who enter from escaping the forest's depths. Complicating matters further is the common experience of compasses being rendered useless by the rich deposits of magnetic iron in the area's volcanic soil.

Due to the vastness of the forest, desperate visitors are unlikely to encounter anyone once inside the so-called "Sea of Trees," so the police have mounted signs reading "Your life is a precious gift from your parents," and "Please consult the police before you decide to die!" on trees throughout.

Locals say they can easily spot the three types of visitors to the forest: trekkers interested in scenic vistas of Mount Fuji, the curious hoping for a glimpse of the macabre, and those souls who don’t plan on returning.

The forest workers have it even worse than the police. The workers must carry the bodies down from the forest to the local station, where the bodies are put in a special room used specifically to house suicide corpses. The forest workers then play jan-ken-pon — which English-speakers call rock, paper, scissors — to see who has to sleep in the room with the corpse.

It is believed that if the corpse is left alone, it is very bad luck for the yurei (ghost) of the suicide victims. Their spirits are said to scream through the night, and their bodies will move on their own.


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