I want to start off by saying, I didn’t plan on coming here. My gambling tendencies got the best of me. Before I get ahead of myself, let me elaborate. On New Year’s Eve me and a buddy got really drunk and he started telling me about Aokigahara, or more well known as, the Suicide Forest in Japan. He went on to tell me the horror stories of all the deaths, and hangings and I just figured he was full of shit. When I told him so, he didn’t seem to pleased and bet me $600 that I couldn’t last a month in the forest. Against my better judgment, I agreed and took the next flight to Japan. I was also told that I have to keep a journal with me at all times. He made it very clear that he wants an entry for everyday his exact words being, “write your heart out! But don’t loose your head!”. I hate to tell him that if nothing interesting happens, he’s not getting an entry. Besides, the deal was that I last a month. Anyway, along with this journal I packed a month’s worth of bottled water and canned food for my trip as well as all the other camping essentials. It’s going to be a heavy load, especially considering this forest is almost 14 miles long, but I suppose I put myself in this position. I will update as I venture on and once more before I head to bed.
There are signs everywhere throughout the forest (some in Japanese as one would expect and others are in English). Each says something different I’m sure but I’m running across those that say, “Think about your family.” It left an eerie feeling in the pit of my stomach but I just kept walking past it and tried to ignore it. There are a surprising amount of people here. For this to be such a depressing place it’s quite the tourist attraction. I’ve only hiked in about a mile so I’m going to head in about two more before the sunlight fades. I’d like to have a tent set up by then.
Last entry before bed. I managed to get my tent set up just as the sun left the horizon. Once I was settled and ate a can of beans a man came up to my tent. I had no idea who he was but he seemed very worried about me. He knew a tad bit of English and tried his best to explain more about the forest but eventually gave up. All he could really say that wasn’t total nonsense and jibber-jabber was, “forest is bad. You come in but never out.” Yeah; that’s exactly what I wanted to hear.
I slept pretty well last night. This forest is strangely quiet once the stars are out. There were no birds flying around, no crickets were chirping; just pure silence. The only sound was that faint ringing that you can here when there is no noise. Apparently it’s your brain making up for the silence or some shit like that. After sitting outside my tent for a while I began to see why people find this place so creepy. It has a strange vibe to it. It’s hard to explain and I don’t have time to explain. I will update if anything interesting happens.
After I finished my breakfast I packed everything up and headed out for another hike. Only about half a mile from my original camp site I met a local who happened to speak English and we exchanged names and began talking. We started with small talk and I eventually asked him how spoke English so well. He told me that he studied abroad in America for 6 years before returning to Japan to catch up with his family. Our conversation got more in depth and he told me that he had grown up just about three miles from Aokigahara and had quite a bit of history to share. He told me since about 1988 an average of 100 suicides occurred each year. With that he said that he had to head back home. Before he ran off I asked why he was in the forest in the first place and his answer chilled me to the bone. His voice went monotone and he said, “To pay my respects, of course. When I said I came back to visit my family I meant they were here in this forest.” I stared blankly for a second trying to think of what to say. Before I could muster any speech he was halfway up the path headed to the entrance. I felt bad for the guy. I mean this forest took his family away. Wait; what am I saying? All the horror stories I’ve heard of this place are starting to get to me…
Okay, so I slacked off for a few days but what does it really matter? It’s not like my buddy’s going to read this shit anyway. I doubt anyone will. It has been a couple of days since I met that local I wrote about it in day two and I’m really wishing he would come back. It sucks being out here alone with no one to talk to. The only people who are here either don’t speak my language or don’t speak at all. (I think you know what I mean by that.) Call me morbid, but aside from this place being mind-numbingly boring, it’s pretty relaxing.
It’s really hard to write and hold back vomit at the same time but I’ll try my best because no one will ever believe this if I don’t write it down. The guy I spoke to the other day, the one who said he was “paying his respects”, popped up in the forest again. That’s not the unbelievable part though. Let me explain. I had all my things on my back and was heading a bit deeper into the forest and had turned to look at a nearby creek when I felt something brush against my cheek. I quickly turned on my heels and swatted at it thinking maybe it was some spider I’d never seen but when I saw what I was swatting at I wished it had been a spider. Suspended in mid air, still on his feet, were tennis shoes; his tennis shoes. I vomited and cried. I don’t know why I cried. I only talked to the guy for twenty minutes at the most. I didn’t have any emotional connection if any. Still, though, my bodies reaction was to sob as if I’d lost my mother. I’ve done what I can with getting the burn of vomit from the back of throat but it seems to be a lost cause. I’ve decided to move on and try to make it to Mt. Fuji. I’ve heard it’s worth the hike. Then again, once I get there I don’t know what I will do for the rest of my stay. I may just stay there for the rest of my time here so I don’t have to walk back and see this sight again.
I was given the fortune of meeting the guy who has to inspect the forest once or twice a week. Well he doesn’t have to. He just chooses to. He came up to my tent, maybe around 7 p.m., and peeked in. Lucky for him I wasn’t getting dressed or anything. I was a bit startled, however. He was very old and his face seemed to wrinkle more as he spoke. “Glad to see someone hasn’t given in.” His English was great and I was taken aback by it. He began to leave but I stopped him before he went off. “Sir?” I called out, “Sir, come back.” I heard his footsteps approach my tent once more.
“Yes, young man?” His voice was soft and had a slight whistle to it.
“What did you mean by, given in? I asked unsure if I even wanted an answer.
He frowned slightly and looked to the ground. “This forest here, boy, has seen just as much death as a battlefield. I search here day in and day out trying to tally up the bodies. I try to save some too.”
His words fell heavy like bricks and tugged on my heart. “Have you ever saved anyone before?” Again there was an uneasiness in my voice. My mind screamed out no but my morbid curiosity pushed away the objection.
He made his way into my tent now and met me with a stern gaze, “When a man begins to tally up dead bodies of innocent people, some of which he passed on the street a week ago, he begins to think differently. When a body becomes nothing more than a statistic it’s hard to stay hopeful. I’d like to say that the people I speak to rethink their decision but at the same time I can’t lie to myself or call myself a hero. I’ve spoken to people until I was red in the face, certain that they had saw the meaning of life, only to find them hanging here in this dammed forest the next day. So I suppose the best answer I can give you is this: I don’t have that power. I can’t change how people feel when they’re in that state. Only they can.”
With those words spinning around in my head he exited the tent and began venturing back to the entrance. I was obvious how much this forest had changed him and I’m not sure if I can deal with that kind of change; that kind of hopelessness. I’m beginning to think this trip was a mistake.
Again, I apologize for skipping out on this so many days but this trip, aside from what I’ve written, has been uneventful. I’ve decided to stay in my tent today. I don’t really feel the need to hike any closer to the entrance or Mt. Fiji. I’m in a comfortable spot that has great shade and is quite secluded from the rest of the forest. There’s that silence again. I’ve learned to welcome it, considering it happens so often. Why does this forest seem so damn peaceful?
My plan to stay in my tent all day, or even for the rest of my trip, has been ruined. I awoke around nine this morning and went to go take a piss in the woods somewhere. Being that I wanted at least a small sense of privacy, I went back pretty far. I would say just until no one was in earshot. Once I was done, I walked to my tent and was greeted with a gruesome site. A man had tried to hang himself…over my tent. From what I could make out he had tied the rope to a branch and then jumped from a stump about a foot away. The rope mast have not have been strong enough to hold his weight because it snapped and caused him to fall onto my tent. If that wasn’t bad enough, is some freakish way, he was impaled by one of the steel rods that holds up the tent. I decided to pack up what I could get, I had my backpack with me just in case some looters came by, so I had all my cash and things. And this journal. Since I have it, I guess I still have to write in it. I’ve decided to stay at a local extended stay hotel for the remainder of my trip. I just hope it’s over soon.
You stUpid MOther Fucker!! Stay OUt of the Fucking FOResst!
I’m really beginning to freak out now. I didn’t write that last night… Or at least I don’t think I did. I don’t have any recollection of anything now that I think about it. Hell, the last thing I remember is checking into the hotel. I’m going to go hang out around town. Maybe taking in the culture will help me clear my head…
Wow, Japan is one weird place. I never thought I would like scorpion but it really wasn’t half bad. Kind of tasted like chicken. I was only able to stay out for around two or three hours before a rainstorm came through. It can be nearly impossible to get around here sometimes. It’s five o’ clock now so I’m just going to watch some television and take a shower. Hopefully, no more weird shit happens.
Son of a bitch! My fucking room is trashed! I was in the shower when I heard a huge crash from the other room. I turned off the water and jumped out wrapping myself in a towel. I rushed into the room where the loud bang came from only to find it was empty. Like, I said, though, my room was trashed. The blankets and sheets were strewn all over the room and the television, which is what I’m assuming made a big bang, had fallen off the stand and laid screen down on the floor. Lucky for me nothing was broken or stolen. I thought it was pretty weird that no one else on the hall I was, was trying to figure out what the hell was going on so I put on some pants and went over to the hotel room beside mine. I knocked a couple times and finally someone opened the door. It was a petite Japanese girl who hid halfway behind the door as if scared or nervous. I asked her about hearing anything strange or seeing and one in my room but from what I could make out of her broken English she was clueless. I didn’t bother with anyone else assuming they wouldn’t understand me either and just went back into my room and sat on the bed. That’s when I noticed. There was a small note sandwiched between the mattress and box spring about an inch or two. I reached down and opened it up. It felt wet and was stained with what looked to be muddy fingerprints all over. The writing was barley legible but from what I could make out it said, “forest…calls…you..die” It was very cryptic and I tried to play it off as some stupid prank a local had played on me. My trip might have to end sooner than I expected… This is getting out of hand and freaky as hell.
Again…I didn’t write that. I’m so fucking tired of this…I’m done. I don’t want to write in this stupid fucking journal anymore. I just want to know who is… I want to go home..
I’ve decided to set up my camera to record me as I sleep. I’m going to figure out who the Hell is doing this and when I see who, I’ll show the police and we can track them down and figure this shit out. I have also put the journal under my mattress that way whoever tried to take it wont know where it is and if they found out, I’ll wake up before they can get it. I’m going to bed now. The camera is rolling and the journal is about to be in place. It’s time to figure this shit out once and for all.
I woke up this morning and my bed was covered in mud. I was fully clothed and I even had my hiking boots on.. They were also covered in mud. I shot up from the bed and looked over at the camera knowing it had the answers. The sheets, that were once pearly white, are now stained with dark, brown mud. I hope like hell they don’t charge me for that. I’m going to look at the footage on the camera and update afterwards.
I wouldn’t believe if I didn’t see it. I had went to bed around 10 last night and the footage was pretty normal for the first couple of hours until midnight rolled around. From the right side of the frame a dark blob, for lack of a better word, crept into my room. It seemed to float and didn’t really have any features. It just kind of floated and undulated as it did so. It stood maybe six feet tall with it’s, what you could call a head, touching the top of the frame. What it did next made my heart stop. It made it’s way over to my bed as I slept and began to morph into something smaller. The bottom part of it seemed to lift it self up and merge with the middle. The top followed with a similar motion. After it had shrunken itself to the size of a basketball it shot at me only to disappear when it made contact. I thought that was it but then I saw myself sit up in the bed. My eyes were still shut and my movements were clumsy. I pulled myself out of bed, put on my clothes and hiking books then left the room. I didn’t return until eight the next morning. I woke up and hour later. I never saw that thing leave my body. I have no recollection of this and the only way I know it happened is by looking at this footage. The journal was untouched and I haven’t found any more messages or strange notes. I’m going to take a shower to clean off and then speak to someone at the front desk about the sheets. I haven’t decided if I should show him the footage or if I should just say I fell asleep like that. The answer seems obvious but I don’t want to be charged for the sheets and I don’t want to look like a crazy person. I guess I’ll decide while I’m in the shower.
My shower was cut short by someone knocking at the door to my hotel room. I was really confused considering no one knew me here but I decided to answer it anyway. It turned out to be that older guy who was in the forest a while back. I remember writing about my encounter with him. I asked what he needed and with worry in his voice he said, “You.” Having no idea what he meant I invited him in so we could talk things over and maybe reach an understanding. When he walked in and saw the sheets he began to mumble to himself. Our conversation was quite long so I will only touch on the important parts. According to what he told me, I had to leave this place as soon as I could. He told me I couldn’t simply go to a different hotel I would have to leave the country all together and head back home. He went on to tell me about a close friend of his who woke up to muddy sheets one night. The next night he was found hanging in the forest. He left a note by his body and this man kept it all these years. The only words written on the note were, “the forest called me. I am home.” “Last night,” the man said, “when that thing came into you, it showed you where you were going to hang yourself. Your subconscious knows and the only way to stop it from happening is to leave this place.” As you might imagine I was totally freaked at this point. After he left I drove up the airport and bought a ticket to fly back home. The only problem is my flight leaves in three days; he said I had one night.
I’m so cold… I can’t see anything so to anyone who finds this, I apologize if it is illegible. I don’t know where I am.. I think I’m in the forest.. Somewhere deep into the forest. It has never been this dark before. The last thing I remember is speaking to that man and then laying down to go to sleep. Was it last night? How long was I asleep? The only thing I know at this point is that whatever wanted me in the forest has gotten me.. It’s so cold.. I can barley move my fingers to write this but I have to warn everyone. This place is not safe. If you’re going to visit here don’t stay over night.. Don’t even come.. Just stay home. It’s safe there. I think I’m going to try and make my way out of here. My eyes have adjusted to the darkness and I think I can make my way around if I walk slowly. I need to get out of here before it is too late.
I should have stayed where I was and waiting for sunrise. Although I can make out my surroundings, it just makes it worse. One would think that regaining a sense of sight that you once lost would put one at ease. I’ll admit that it did at first but as I continued walking all I could see were the bodies.. they were hanging from the trees and some just laid on the ground with a noose still attached but broken. The trees themselves even seemed to morph into mutilated bodies of those less fortunate. The bodies lay eviscerated leaving me with no hope and vomit in my throat. I’m beginning to think that fate may be better than the one I am suffering…
I’m not sure when I collapsed or how long I was out. The last thing I remember seeing were those bodies and then… nothing; it all goes blank. The sun still hasn’t risen but I do believe another day has started. Something about it feels…different. After I pulled myself to my feet I made it over to a tree trying to steady myself as I was still woozy. I have been standing here for what feels like hours. My legs are shaky and sore but I have to press on. I have to make it out.
The sun finally rose. It was such a beautiful sight. As it rose in the distance I just stared in awe. The warmth of its rays warmed my pale goose bump ridden skin. I couldn’t help but let a smile spread across my face. Pushing aside the thrashing pain in my legs I pushed on. I pushed myself to the exit of that forest and finally made it out to the entrance where I fell to the ground one more time. This time, however, wasn’t out of weakness but out of solace. I was free; I escaped. The man that had spoken to me within the first few days of my arrival met me at my hotel room that afternoon after I cleaned up. He spoke with a low tone but made it clear as to what I had accomplished. I’m on a plane back home now and I could care less about the money or the stupid forest.
I Skyped with my buddy whom I made the bet with once I reached LAX. The look on his face when answered was priceless. I will write the conversation out instead of briefing it.
“Hey, man! I can’ believe it!” He seemed extremely excited to see me.
I responded with a disappointed tone, “Yeah I know. I knew I wouldn’t make it.”
His jaw dropped, “What the hell are you talking about? You went the entire month! I never thought you would make it but you proved me wrong. Listen, come over by my place and I’ll hold up my end of the deal.” He disconnected after that. I couldn’t believe it. Did I really make it that long? If so, then that means I must have been out in the forest for over a week. My head began to hurt as I tried to make sense of the situation. I figure that I should just be grateful I had made it out and left it at that. Even though it is over, I have an urge to continue writing in this journal. Maybe one day someone will read over it or maybe if I want to go back to that ‘vacation’ I can read over it. Until that day come I think I’ll put this journal to rest and just open up a new one. Also, no more adventures for me. Not for a long, long time.