When the woods look haunted
"If you go down in the woods today, you're sure of a big surprise." —Lyric from the song "Teddy Bears' Picnic"
It goes without saying that there's nothing at all menacing about trees — big, beautiful, air-filtering, life-giving trees. We at Mother Nature Network, obviously, couldn't be bigger fans. Woods and forests are even better. Large tracts of land dominated by towering woody perennials? Bring it on.
However, forests, already brooding, mysterious and frequently disorienting by design, are viewed in an altogether different light when you add freaky folklore, whispers of the paranormal and recent viewings of certain films into the mix. It's funny how the same woods that we have no issue with traipsing through during the day can automatically transform into places of paranoia-tinged terror — "What's that noise?" "Did you hear that?" — at night. After all, there's no worse place to have your mind play tricks on you — or worse yet, be completely and utterly lost — then deep in a darkened wood.
Then there are some forests with reputations so sinister that many folks (superstitious locals, in particular) go out of their way to avoid them altogether, daytime or nighttime. And yet it's these same woods, especially those rumored to be straight-up haunted, that attract thrill-seekers, ghost-hunters and those looking to find out for themselves if the things that they read on the internet — or heard one time from their best friend's cousin — are indeed true.
We've rounded up seven forests and woodlands known for being more than just a wee bit eerie. In most cases, these forests — most, but not all, function as protected nature preserves — come equipped with long and often macabre histories that have been embellished and inflated over the years for dramatic effect. After all, woods just aren't woods without a good ghost story attached.