But Aokigahara is not a long-defunct ancient burial ground, but can be considered a tangled memorial of lost souls because it seems that newly discovered bodies are found swing from its twisted boughs daily, while others lie rotting on its volcanic earth. However though, it’s not only the living that visit this national forest’s wandering the trails, but there seems to still be quite a number of countless souls that occupy the forest; for it is said that ‘Yurei,’ Japanese spirits of the dead still cling to their earthly realm, between the white twisted trees, as shifting forms that are occasionally glimpsed by many an unsuspecting visitor. Asuza Hayano, a Japanese writer, criticises those who kill themselves in the area: “Walking through Aokigahara uncharted is dangerous,” he says. “But nature is supposed to be like that. Harsh. Aokigahara is filled with untouched natural beauty. To sully it by committing suicide is a slap in the face of the natural environment.” "We want people to forget Aokigahara for a little while," a local police officer says. "Every time it's mentioned, it starts off a chain reaction and we end up with more suicides," a tourist industry employee says before producing a booklet that details why potential suicides taken into protective custody before they successfully killed themselves headed for Aokigahara. "Look. Nearly every case says they learned about the area from TV, newspapers or books. By ending the searches, we're throwing back the problem into society's face." A man working in a souvenir store voices the frustrations felt by many locals. "It bugs the hell out of me that the area's famous for being a suicide spot," he says. "There's nothing worse than seeing kids who come here go home with that impression." "I've seen plenty of bodies that have been really badly decomposed, or been picked at by wild animals," a local police officer says. "There's nothing beautiful about dying in there." "We have to pay for the bodies to be disposed," says Takatoshi Kobayashi, mayor of Narusawa, one of three villages bearing the brunt of cleaning up the suicides. "Doing so keeps us away from the work we should be doing. (Suicides) ruin the area's name. We're all for an end to the searches." Aokigahara, also known as the Sea of Trees, is a forest that lies at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan. Throughout the forest, rocky caverns can be found everywhere, many of which can still be covered by ice during summer. An old forest, it is purportedly haunted by souls and other legends of monsters, ghosts, and youkai, all adding to its sinister reputation and ambiance of the forest. Dubbed as the  “perfect place to die," in Wataru Tsurumui's best-selling book The Complete Manual of Suicide, even pointing out in the manual that the dense, dark forest bordering of Aokigahara Forest at the base of Mt. Fuji, is the best place to die. Making it the most popular location for those taking their final journey. Every year local volunteers and police search for bodies throughout the forest. This annual event has occured since 1970, and the numbers became startling. Each area of the search is marked out by plastic tape that often gets left behind and therefore adds to the litter in the Aokigahara Forest. It has been suggested that hikers help clean up the mess as they hike into the more inaccessible areas, sometimes even marking their way out with similar tape. In 2002, 78 bodies were found within it, replacing the previous record of 73 in 1998. By May of 2006, at least 16 new suicides had been found, and as mentioned earlier, many carrying a copy of Tsurumui's book. No one knows for sure how many bodies go undiscovered. Signs emblazoned with such messages as "Please reconsider what you’re about to do" and "Please consult the police before you go off to die!" are nailed to trees throughout the forest. However, the woods have such a notoriety and reputation that these minor deterrents do very little to stop the determined. Local residents believe they can always spot a person who is going into the forest for its stunning natural beauty, those who are hunting after a paranormal experience or the macabre, and those who are not planning on returning. Legends abound; for instance, it is thought that the massive underground iron deposits is what causes compasses to go haywire, including GPS devices, and is responsible for trapping innocent souls passing through with those that came to commit suicide.  (Which by the way the magnetic field was recently tested by NASA scientists and found this claim to be unfounded, as their sensitive electronic devices worked flawlessly). Add to that the cenotes (collapsed lava tubes), the hidden caves and the chance of running into an occasional corpse swinging from a creaking bough are ever so present. The fact remains. Aokigahara Forest is considered the Most Haunted location in all of Japan, a purgatory for ‘yurei,’ for unsettled ghosts in Japan. Spiritualists also believe that the trees themselves are filled with a malevolent forces of energy that has accumulated throughout the centuries from all the suicides, no do they encourage you to visit. The content of this website is the copyright of World Nexus Publications © 2008-2011 Known for the eerie and discomforting aura of the forest, its thick twisted branches of trees intertwined as a twisting network of woody vines, and the ankle-breaking unevenness of the forest floor, both conspire to give the place an unwelcoming and disquieting topography. A popular local legend maintains that there is no known wildlife in the forest that makes Aokigahara their home. Ever the more evident when hikers hear no happy birdsong breaking the eerie silence, whose quiet is sometimes replaced by a darting shadow, or the occasional whistle of wind speeding through the dense forest canopy. Coloured tape litters the walkways,  which had been used by hikers marking their way through the dense trees. The deeper one ventures, the more accoutrements and makeshift equipment you will find that was used to facilitate the suicide of intent suicidal individuals and the bouquets, candles, and mementos left behind by grieving mourners dot the forest floor. Although the influence of Ubasute (the act of leaving a dependant to die) has been outdated (not to mention now illegal) it still echoes throughout the countries history and remains within Japan’s cultural consciousness. This alone doesn’t explain the modern resurgence or the new-found popularity for suicide in the Aokigahara Forest among the despondent. However it is often blamed on two books. The 1960 novel, 'Kuroi Jukai', by Seicho Matsumoto, which romanticizes suicide and culminates with the two lovers going to into Aokigahara; and Wataru Tsurumui’s controversial 1993 best-seller, 'The Complete Suicide Manual', a book that not only describes various methods of commiting suicide and even goes on to recommend Aokigahara as “the perfect place to die,” it’s actually been found many times next to a body. While literature may have had an impact on romanticising the forest as a perfect location for suicide, the problem of suicide has been reaching endemic proportions in Japan over the last ten years. A CNN report states, “There were 2,645 suicides recorded in January 2009, a 15% increase from the 2,305 for January 2008, according to the Japanese government. The Japanese government said suicide rates are a priority and pledged to cut the number of suicides by more than 20 percent by 2016. It plans to improve suicide awareness in schools and workplaces. But officials fear the toll will rise with unemployment and bankruptcies, matching suicide spikes in earlier tough economic times.” Although local government declines to publish the exact number of suicides committed in the forest each year in an attempt to circumvent the notion that Aokigahara is a hub for those intent on ending their lives,  the location’s ‘sea of trees’ still remains Japan’s most popular setting for the world-weary soul to take their lives onto the next. This world location is second only to the San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. But has earned a position on the Dimension Zone’s list of Most Haunted locations. Aokigahara forest becomes the method of choice for those seeking to usher themselves into the ‘nether’ life, and oddly enough by hanging. Surrounded by a lofty waterfall within the white cedars, pines and boxwoods that provide the more adventurous soul a means to dive right into the hereafter with finesse. But if your intention is not to commit suicide, one can still lose their way quite easily and come to a sticky end unintentionally. Zack Davisson, a researcher for “Seek Japan,” states what may also be another urban myth: “Even in these haunted woods, regular humans still have a job to do. Forestry workers rotate in and out of shifts at a station building in Aokigahara, and occasionally they will come upon unfortunate bodies in various states of decomposition, usually hanging from trees or partially eaten by animals. The bodies are brought down to the station, where a spare room is kept especially for such occasions. In this room are two beds: one for the corpse and one for someone to sleep next to it. Yup, you read that correctly. It is thought that if the corpse is left alone, the lonely and unsettled ‘Yurei’ will scream the whole night through, and the body will move itself into the regular sleeping quarters.”