Hoia-Baciu Forest

Hoia_Baciu_cropDo the legends of mysterio-mystical places derive from endemic forces or energies or do they accrue from years of human attention and intention, like the patina of skins cells left on a holy relic? Nobody can really say for sure, but the Hoia-Baciu Forest in Romania makes for an excellent test case. Situated just west of Cluj-Napoca, in the Northwest part of Transylvania, the forest features in enough local folklore, ghost stories, UFO sightings, and strange natural phenomena to spawn its own TV series. Within its ancient borders, where human habitation stretches at least as far back as the Neolithic Era, people go missing, trees grow crooked and sinister, scientific instruments go awry, and standards of proof plummet with the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.  Perhaps its most famous claim to fame comes from a series of photos biologist Alexandru Sift snapped in the late 1960s. Do they show an authentic UFO, an energy vortex, incontrovertible proof of the dawning of the Age of Aquarius? The answers, my friend, are blowing in the wind, or at the very least, hiding in the forest.