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Now here would be the place to go for a bet. Spend a night in the suicide forest to win.
"The perfect place to die." That's how Aokigahara was described in Wataru Tsurumui's bestselling book The Complete Manual of Suicide. A dense, dark forest bordering Mt. Fuji, Aokigahara is infamous throughout Japan as a popular spot for those taking their final journey.
In 2002, 78 bodies were found within it, replacing the previous record of 73 in 1998. By May of 2006, at least 16 new suicides had already been found. More than a few of them were even carrying copies of Tsurumui's book. No one knows how many bodies go undiscovered.
Signs emblazoned with messages such as "Please reconsider" and "Please consult the police before you decide to die!" are nailed to trees throughout the forest. However, the woods have such a reputation that these minor deterrents do little to stop the determined. Local residents say they can always tell who is going into the forest for its stunning natural beauty, who is hunting after the macabre and who is planning never to return.
Part of the appeal is dying at the foot of the sacred Mt. Fuji. Part of it is the foreboding nature of Aokigahara, so dense and thick that from just a few kilometers inside it no sounds can be heard other than those produced by the forest itself. Legends surround the place; for instance, there are said to be massive underground iron deposits that cause compasses to go haywire, trapping innocents along with the purposely suicidal.
Aokigahara is considered the most haunted location in all of Japan, a purgatory for yurei, the unsettled ghosts of Japan who have been torn unnaturally soon from their lives and who howl their suffering on the winds.
However, even in these haunted woods, regular humans still have a job to do. Forestry workers rotate in and out of shifts at a station building in Aokigahara, and occasionally they will come upon unfortunate bodies in various states of decomposition, usually hanging from trees or partially eaten by animals.
The bodies are brought down to the station, where a spare room is kept especially for such occasions. In this room are two beds: one for the corpse and one for someone to sleep next to it. Yup, you read that correctly. It is thought that if the corpse is left alone, the lonely and unsettled yurei will scream the whole night through, and the body will move itself into the regular sleeping quarters.
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. (The first is the Golden Gate Bridge.) Since the 1950s, Japanese businessmen have wandered in, and at least 500 of them haven't wandered out, at an increasing rate of between 10 and 30 suicides per year. Recently these numbers have increased even more, with a record 78 bodies in 2002.
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 left signs reading "Your life is a precious gift from your parents," and "Please consult the police before you decide to die!" mounted on trees throughout.
Contemporary news outlets noted the recent spike in suicides in the forest, blamed more on Japan’s economic downturn than on the romantic ending of Seicho Matsumoto’s novel Kuroi Jukai, which revitalized the so-called Suicide Forest’s popularity among those determined to take their final walk. (The novel culminates in Aokigahara as the characters are driven to joint-suicide.)
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.
What those hoping to take their lives may not consider is the impact the suicides have on the locals and forest workers. In the words of one local man, "It bugs the hell out of me that the area's famous for being a suicide spot." And a local police officer said, "I've seen plenty of bodies that have been really badly decomposed, or been picked at by wild animals... There's nothing beautiful about dying in there."
The forest workers have it even worse then 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 to be very bad luck if the corpse is left alone, for the "yurei" (ghost) of the suicide will scream through the night, and the body will move itself on its own.
This post is very disturbing.
Please skip it if you are nervous or very impressionable.
Aokigahara is a woodland at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan.
Also called the Sea of Trees.
It is the most popular place to commit suicide in the whole Japan.
More than 500 people have taken their own lives in Aokigahara since the 1950s.
For, example 78 bodies were found there in 2002.
The trend has supposedly started after Seicho Matsumoto published his novel Kuroi Kaiju (Black Sea of Trees) where two of his characters commit suicide there.
But already in the 19th century poor farmers went to this forest to commit suicide, because they thought their children would have more food to eat then.
Every week police makes a raid in the forest looking for new bodies.
And you can also read about it on the CNN website.
Are you ready to take a look into the forest?
the forest definitely looks creepy.
i like haunted places but i don't think that is one of them.