The new season of Expedition X started this week, and in the first show of the season, Jess and Phil visited a spot that Josh Gates had visited way back in 2009 when he starred in “Destination Truth.”
If you remember back to that episode (Season 3, Episode 1), they decided to perform some isolation sessions in the strange clearing in the middle of the woods. Josh gets some great EVPs, and a light appears over his left shoulder from inside the woods. Then Evan, the cameraman, takes his turn. He first begins to hear female voices from inside the woods; then, suddenly, he is forcibly pushed backward and thrown several yards. The crew rushes out and finds him not only in shock but also with deep, jagged scratches underneath his jacket sleeve.
After the crew’s medic mysteriously becomes ill, Josh decides that enough is enough and heads back to L.A. to review their findings.
Fast forward fifteen years and now Jess and Phil are investigating the same forest with much better equipment, and they get some pretty scary findings. (I am not going to say anything that would spoil the newest episode, but it was really good.)
So, I decided to do a little research on the woods and let you know what I found.
First, on the Hoia-Bacio Project website, we are reintroduced to Alex, the guide who initially brought Phil and Jess into the forest and introduced them to some local witnesses. Alex has a degree in physics, but the woods intrigued him so much that he decided to devote his time to showing others around it.
According to their website, “Hoia-Baciu Forest lies in the North-Western part of Romania, in Transylvania, near Cluj-Napoca. The forest is famous since the late ’60s, when a military technician caught on camera the best pictures of a UFO above Poiana Rotunda (the round clearing where there is no tree growing for a long time). Besides, since the ’50s, a local professor has experienced a bunch of paranormal phenomena in and around the forest. Also, for a long time already, the forest’s visitors have experienced all kinds of feelings…”
So, let’s talk about the military technician. An article in the Independent.co.uk website gives a little credence to the story. This is what they say, “Named after a shepherd who went missing in the forest with a flock of 200 sheep, Hoia Baciu came to international attention in 1968 when Emil Barnea, a military technician, photographed what he claimed was a UFO hovering over The Clearing. What differentiates this story from other UFO claims is that Barnea had nothing to gain from reporting the sighting and everything to lose. The Communist government equated a belief in the paranormal with madness and state sabotage, and Barnea lost his job in a country which had no support for the sacked.”
Hoia Baciu Forest’s website gives us even more details.
“On August 18, 1968, 45-year-old Emil Barnea, his friend Zamfira Mattea (34), and two others who wished to remain anonymous went for a walk in the Hoia Baciu forest. The weather was splendid, and they decided to stay in a clearing near the road leading to the town. They had no idea that they would soon experience an unexplained mystery.
Emil Barnea left the group to search for firewood in the forest. At 13:23, he heard his companion’s voice break the silence. Upon returning to the clearing, he saw something unusual in the sky: a round, metallic object reflecting the sun’s rays, silently rising above Hoia Baciu. Barnea quickly grabbed his camera and managed to take two photographs. He observed the object change its brightness before accelerating and disappearing into the clouds.
The sighting lasted for approximately two minutes, and Barnea only managed to capture two images of the object. People accused Barnea and his companions of being illiterate, drunk, and fabricating the entire event. However, there was no evidence of a weather balloon in the area, and image analysis ruled out the possibility of forgery.”
And according to the same website, Emil wasn’t the only person who encountered strange phenomena in the woods. “Alexandru Sift (1936-1993) was a pioneer in researching the Hoia Baciu forest. He ventured into the woods during the 1950s, searching for strange phenomena that an untrained eye might consider natural occurrences. Sift continued his studies into the 1970s, gradually expanding his research team to include scientists from both Romania and abroad. Those who visited Hoia Baciu reported numerous unusual findings.
Phenomena recorded in the area include low-flying or floating objects resembling points of light (usually white), often accompanied by physical manifestations such as radioactivity, magnetic anomalies, microwave and infrasound emissions, and unusual traces on the ground (in grass or snow). Researchers also noted the impact of Hoia Baciu on animals and humans, manifesting as skin redness, burns, anxiety, headaches, increased thirst, dizziness, and disorientation, leading many people to become lost in the forest.”
And, the research continues, “Research on the Hoia Baciu forest gained momentum in the 1970s when scholars, led by Adrian Patru, a chemist and professor at the University of Cluj-Napoca, sought to unravel the forest’s mysteries. Patru authored several books on Hoia Baciu and believed it to be one of the few places in the world with such intense anomalies, making it a prime location for studying the invisible aspects of our reality.
According to Adrian, the phenomena occurring in Hoia Baciu might have a source in another dimension parallel to our own. Despite years of research, we still cannot definitively determine what is happening within the forest. These raw events may either be products of the human subconscious or independent phenomena capable of impacting humans.”
So, is this a paranormal portal, a magnet for UFOs, a haunted forest, or, as many of the locals believe, a place inhabited by demons? In any case, I don’t think I’ll be packing a picnic lunch and strolling through those woods any time soon.