Every year, countless travelers flock to the Romanian region of Transylvania to visit stately Bran Castle, after which Irish horror master Bram Stoker modeled Count Dracula’s imposing lair. Many visitors are unaware that a forest known as Hoia-Baciu is the spookiest place in all of Transylvania. Hoia-Baciu is home to twisted trees, dense blankets of disorienting fog, and one of Romania’s most infamous UFO sightings.
Hoia-Baciu is often referred to as the “Bermuda Triangle of Romania” because the forest has allegedly been the site of some very strange happenings. Local lore includes several tales of mysterious disappearances, such as a little girl who vanished in the forest and reappeared five years later without aging a single day. The girl had no recollection of where she had disappeared to. There is even a story about a shepherd with 200 sheep in tow who entered Hoia-Baciu and permanently vanished into thin air. Locals have historically blamed restless spirits for Hoia-Baciu’s strange happenings.
Hoia-Baciu’s twisted trees, with gnarled roots that grow in a clockwise pattern, and a large circular dead zone that is completely devoid of trees or plant life, have puzzled scientists for decades. In the 1960s, a biologist named Alexandru Sift photographed a compelling UFO that many paranormal enthusiasts claim may explain why Hoia-Baciu is such a hotbed of oddities.
Brave travelers can book a guided ghost tour that explores Hoia-Baciu’s eerie history. Visitors can also hike or bike on one of Hoia-Baciu’s winding paths. Hoia-Baciu is home to plentiful wildlife, such as bears, eagles, and bats. Visitors have also reported seeing apparitions, aliens, and other uncanny sights. Hoia-Baciu is often blanketed in dense fog that even the most logical, skeptical travelers find deeply unnerving. No trip to Transylvania is complete without a dusk spent scanning the horizon for bats amid the stooped trees of Hoia-Baciu.