DISCLAIMER: This is NOTan article about the act of suicide. This is a post about a strange and mysterious place in the world that seems to draw people who want to take their own lives. Proceed.

My mate was watching videos on Youtube the other night and came across one that completely grabbed hold of my imagination with both hands. Apparently, in Japan, there is a 14 square mile patch of forest at the foot of Mt. Fuji called Aokigahara or “Sea of Trees”. However, it is also a notorious place known as the Suicide Forest and is apparently the second most popular place to commit suicide in the world. (The Golden Gate Bridge is the first.)

It is often referred to as “the perfect place to die” and is allegedly a very popular place for suicidal individuals in Japan to make their final destination. Weird? Check. Creepy? Check. Fodder for a really good horror movie? Check!

Since the 1950’s people have wandered into this forest and at least 500 people have not come back out. This trend has increased at a rate of about 10 to 30 people per year. 2003 was a record breaking year for the Suicide Forest with 108 people taking their own lives in this forest in that year alone.

Spiritualists theorize that the atmosphere has been changed by the suicides committed there, that the very trees have absorbed the energy which has generated supernatural phenomena. Throughout the forest signs can be found, hung by Japanese police officials. These signs say things like “Your life is a precious gift from your parents” and “Please consult the police before you decide to die”. These signs, of course, do not deter people from coming here. Every year at least 70 people are recovered by volunteers cleaning the forest, but many more are lost forever in the dense woods. The exact number of suicides committed here every year is not published by Japanese authorities in an effort to not make the area even more popular.

It is more likely that they do not even know the exact numbers, considering some people are never heard from or seen again, dead or alive. The forest is ripe with caves, crevices and hidden, remote areas that would make it easy to disappear once inside. The only thing known for sure is that the number of people travelling to this forest every year with the intention of ending their lives within is growing.

What makes people come here to kill themselves? Are they really committing suicide or is it a paranormal phenomena that compels someone, once they enter the forest, to end their life?

If any place in the world is haunted, I would think that Aokigahara is it.