The UFOs, Ghosts, And Portals Of Transylvania’s Hoia-Baciu Forest

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
November 8, 2018
Last Updated
September 28, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
8 min read
Posted in
Conspiracy Theory Analysis, Unsolved & Unexplained

Regarded, and named, by some as the “World’s Most Haunted Forest”, even referred to on occasion as “Romania’s Bermuda Triangle”, the Hoia-Baciu Forest in Cluj County in Transylvania, Romania is without a doubt one of the strangest and most bone-chilling stretches of land on the planet. The bizarre, twisted appearance of the trees’ branches, the blood-curdling sounds from the vastness that surrounds it, and the many legends of strange sightings and encounters all contribute to the reputation of this destination. UFO and paranormal researchers, as well as mainstream scientists from around the world, have all ventured here in an attempt to solve the many mysteries of Hoia-Baciu. And while many have captured intriguing pictures and even video footage of strange activity, no solid and accepted explanations have emerged.

The "bent" trees of Hoia-Baciu Forest in Cluj County in Transylvania

The “bent” trees of Hoia-Baciu Forest in Cluj County in Transylvania

Furthermore, there is definite evidence of an ancient settlement in the area. These settlements go back to at least over 8,000 years to around 6,500 BC, the earliest known civilization in the area. How advanced that settlement might have been is perhaps still to be revealed. Perhaps the strange activity experienced there today is somehow connected to this settlement? Maybe some strange and esoteric technology from their time is still leaking into the contemporary era? Whatever the reason, all who come here agree, it is a place of dark intrigue. Where constant feelings of being watched and measured by something unseen and not human descends upon entering and remains until you leave this most menacing location.

Before we look at some of the stranger tales of strange phenomena, we will look at some of the UFO encounters to take place here. One of which is also one of the most famous encounters of this strange and ancient woodland.

The 1968 Hoia-Baciu UFO Sightings

In the early summer’s afternoon of 18th August 1968, Emil Barnea and his girlfriend, Miss Matea, despite repeated warnings from concerned locals, were enjoying a weekend in the Hoia-Baciu Forest [1] along with another couple. Barnea was at the time collecting firewood in anticipation of the drop in temperature at nightfall. Suddenly, a shout from one of the other members of the group caught his attention. They could, according to the cries, “see something”.

He rushed back to the others at the camp base and immediately saw the metallic disc-shaped craft shining brilliantly in the bright sunshine, hovering just above tree level. The shining, futuristic object then began to move, changing direction at sudden turns. As it moved, it would glow brighter and then fade back to a metallic appearance again. Then, without warning, it shot off into the distance seemingly vanishing in a flash of breakneck speed. None of the witnesses had ever seen anything like it previously.

Remembering he had his camera around his neck, Barnea managed to snap four photographs of the strange craft before it disappeared. One of them, as you can see below, would turn out extremely clear. It should also be noted that around the same time as Barnea’s sighing, biologist, Alexandru Sift, was also conducting research on the many strange incidents in the mysterious forest. He would also witness a disc-like craft and would also manage to capture several photographs. There appears, now, to be discrepancy as to whether the shot below is Barnea’s or Sift’s. Either way, however, it would appear that sightings of strange craft in the Hoia-Baciu Forest in the summer of 1968 were, at the very least, accurate.

Picture of the UFO witnessed by Emil Barnea in 1968

Picture of the UFO witnessed by Emil Barnea in 1968

UFO Sightings Continue Today!

UFO sightings and activity would continue throughout the 1970s, with many UFO researchers conducting on-site research in the woodlands. And while they are perhaps more sporadic now, they still continue today. In 2002, for example, a couple would manage to film almost thirty seconds of video footage from their top-floor apartments in the city of Cluj that neighbors the infamous forest. According to the reports, the object was a distinct “cigar-shape” and glowed brightly as it moved along the tops of the trees. It moved calmly above them, making no apparent sound while it did so, before disappearing into “thick clouds” in the night sky.

In 2007, another sighting would unfold in the area, this time, in the middle of the afternoon. An unnamed amateur photographer was taking photographs of snow on the rooftops of the city. When he returned home later that evening to go through the shots, he noticed on one of them, a strange “dark shape”. He couldn’t recall the object at the time. And of nearly thirty pictures he took, only one had the strange object on. From the times between frames, the object was either invisible to the naked eye, or it was visible for a second, if that, and the witness simply missed it. Whatever it was, remains unexplained. Similar UFO sightings in this region continue.

Perhaps, then, the presence of UFOs might share a connection to the vast numbers of people who have gone missing in the Hoia-Baciu Forest. Might they be victims of alien abduction? There are, after all, many strange disappearances to choose from. Several of which, though, stand out a little more than the others.

Many Strange Disappearances

Although the figures are not exact, they are still accurate when they claim that over a thousand people have seemingly vanished into thin air in the Hoia-Baciu Forest over the course of recorded history (most of which is contemporary – numerous more likely vanished here unrecorded). Perhaps the most famous is the local legend of a sheep herder (Baci, in Romanian – hence the name) who set out to guide his herd of sheep – totaling nearly 200 – through the woods of Hoia-Baciu. However, not only did he not arrive at his destination, he, along with his sheep, seemingly vanished into thin air. How much truth resides in this account is perhaps up for debate.

We have examined several cases of strange reappearances before, and Hoia-Baciu also boasts several such accounts. One of which is particularly strange. It concerns the disappearance of a five-year-old girl in the forest, who five years later suddenly reappeared in the same location she had vanished from. What is even stranger, the young girl was adamant she hadn’t been anywhere. To her, no time at all had passed. This was perhaps backed up by the fact the girl was dressed in the exact same clothes as when she had disappeared.

Just what happened to this young girl remains a mystery. Did she step into some kind of rip in space-time that somehow transported her forward five years without her even realizing anything untoward? Or might she have been the victim of an alien abduction? Perhaps one using some kind of “time-suspension” technology which would leave her unaware and unaged?

Or might the answer be more supernatural? After all, as well as UFO sightings and suspected alien abductions, there is a plethora of ghostly goings-on in the Hoia-Baciu Forest. Strange occurrences that are more than just mere sightings.

A dark forest with mist covering the sky

Dark forest

A Hot-Bed Of Paranormal Activity

The activity in the Hoia-Baciu Forest certainly isn’t all extraterrestrial related. In fact, far from it. Numerous accounts of a paranormal nature [2] surface regularly. Many people, for example, report seeing “shadow people” or strange, dark forms out of the corners of their eyes. By the time they turn to look at these strange apparitions, there is nothing there. Some people have even reported being forcibly pushed to the ground. Even more unnerving, are the accounts of people who suddenly experience a physical scratch across the face or arm, as if by an invisible claw-like hand. Perhaps most chilling are the sudden sounds of laughter and giggles of young girls. Again, these sounds come out of nowhere as if belonging to an invisible presence. And just to add to these already bizarre experiences, all manner of electrical equipment will likely malfunction there after so long.

Perhaps one of the most bizarre claims of such poltergeist-type activity – the physical manifestation of a ghost or spirit – took place when the television show ‘Destination Truth’ decided to venture into the mysterious woodland. One of the crew, Evan, was suddenly attacked as he sat in a clearing. Following the appearance of a “sudden flash of light”, Evan suddenly flew from one side of the clearing to the other. He would also find wounds along his arms. This, despite them being completely covered by long sleeves. The most frightening aspect of the encounter, though, were the claims by Evan that just prior to the sudden force that moved him, “strange female voices” came from behind him.

We will come back to this “clearing” shortly. You can check out that particular incident on ‘Destination Truth’, though, on the short video below. Make of it, as always, what you will.

The Forest “Knows” And Reacts To Each Individual?

Many reports speak of orbs or “dancing lights” that flicker in and out of the trees. These lights usually come out of nowhere and then disappear just as quickly. As if they are arriving here out of thin air from another world. We will come back to this shortly.

One of the truly strangest aspects of the paranormal activity in Hoia-Baciu is that experiences tend to be unique from one person to another. And while that makes some sense on the surface, the deeper assertion is that the forest itself “is alive”. According to some, the forest “knows” of the intentions and fears of individuals and so any activity experienced is tailored just for them. An interesting notion, no doubt. And perhaps not one that is as outlandish as it first sounds. After all, most paranormal activity is one form of energy or another. And so would interact differently depending on the energy of the individual concerned.

Furthermore, as well as strange sightings and even the physical injuries from unseen entities one might sustain, many people also report suddenly feeling bizarrely unwell while walking through this strange woodland. Sudden confusion, dizziness, intense headaches, as well as sudden sharp “stabbing” pains all over the body. As if someone were sticking pins in a Voodoo doll. Even stranger are the reports of sudden emotional changes and surges of memories. As if the mind was under the control of some outside force.

Many locals even believe some gateway or portal exists within the forest. This allows spirits, ghosts, and even UFOs access to our world. And while the entire forest is awash with stories, perhaps the strangest part of this truly strange place, and where such a portal might exist is an area known as, rather ominously as, “The Circle”.

A view of the Hoia Circle from the air

The Circle – where “nothing grows”

The Circle – A Place Where Nothing Grows!

The clearing that we mentioned earlier is known by most as “The Circle”. [3] And it is, according to all that have been there, a bizarrely ominous patch of land. This, in an already menacing place. What is particularly strange about this circle is it is a “dead zone”. All vegetation and trees simply don’t grow. Even stranger, soil samples state that this simply shouldn’t be the case. There is nothing different in the soil from this area to that of the surrounding woodland. Yet, for reasons nobody can explain, nothing will grow inside this circular patch of land.

It is within this almost perfect circle that locals and researchers alike believe the epicenter of the strange activity resides. Does a portal of some kind form or open over or on this patch of land? Might it have once been a type of ritualistic area for the conjuring of such energies? Might it be the remains of some advanced and (now) unstable technology from a potentially lost civilization? Or might it have once hosted a UFO? A disc-shaped craft from another world that touched down in this exact spot?

Interestingly, pictures exist from those brave enough to venture onto this patch of land. They often show bizarre “human forms”, strange orbs, and strange “hovering forms”. Furthermore, many EVP experiments have picked up on strange, menacing voices. Often using language and dialect unknown.

Whatever is responsible for the abundance of strange activity in the region, it would certainly appear the hub is here. Residing within this dark and potentially deadly circle. Only further study and investigation will reveal what might be the cause of such bizarre phenomena. It might be an answer many of us don’t wish to hear.

The video below looks further at Hoia-Baciu Forest.


1 Supernatural Or Natural: Hoia Baciu Forest, Horror Fuel, January 15th, 2018
2 The Cursed Forest of Transylvania, Brent Swancer, Mysterious Universe, December 23rd, 2014
3 The most haunted forest in the world and how to get there, New Zealand Herald, November 1st, 2019

Marcus Lowth

Marcus Lowth is a writer with a love for UFOs, aliens, and the Ancient Astronaut Theory, to the paranormal, general conspiracies, and unsolved mysteries. He has been writing and researching with over 20 years of experience.

Marcus has been Editor-in-Chief for several years due to his excellent knowledge in these fields. Marcus also regularly appears as an expert on radio talk shows including Troubled Minds and Unexplained Radio discussing these topics.

Read Marcus' full bio.

You can contact Marcus via email.

Fact Checking/Disclaimer

Fact Checking

The stories, accounts, and discussions in this article may go against currently accepted science and common beliefs. The details included in the article are based on the reports, accounts and documentation available as provided by witnesses and publications - sources/references are published above.

We do not aim to prove nor disprove any of the theories, cases, or reports.  You should read this article with an open mind and come to a conclusion yourself.  Our motto always is, "you make up your own mind".  Read more about how we fact-check content here.

Copyright & Republishing Policy

The entire article and the contents within are published by, wholly-owned and copyright of UFO Insight.  The author does not own the rights to this content. 

You may republish short quotes from this article with a reference back to the original UFO Insight article here as the source. You may not republish the article in its entirety.

Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to our free newsletter and join our subscribers. Receive the latest articles directly in your inbox weekly.

If you don't like what you read, you can unsubscribe at any time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *