My answer: “I travel.”
Sounds simple enough. However, since I write supernatural suspense, this often means braving the world’s most haunted places. Sometimes the ghosts won’t come to you—you have to go to them.
While planning a trip to Romania for the Transylvania Horror Writer’s (sic) Retreat, I discovered the world’s most haunted forest, Hoia Baciu, was located in Cluj-Napoca. The very same city my flight would arrive and depart from.
It was clearly meant to be.
One of the creepiest stories about the forest involves the disappearance of a five-year-old girl. Legend has it that she reappeared several years later, wearing the same clothes she’d worn on the day she vanished. She had no memory of what had happened to her during the years she was missing.
When it comes to haunted locations and spirit sightings, I keep an open mind. Even if they exist, ghosts are hardly going to arrive on command. Hoia Baciu could be the most haunted place in the world, but that didn’t mean I was going to experience anything. Right?
The first strange thing I noticed upon arriving at Hoia Baciu seemed pretty harmless. It was a large, circular clearing filled with nothing but grass and tiny purple wildflowers. If I had to guess at its size, I’d say it was probably the size of a football field—perhaps two football fields. What was a clearing doing in the middle of a forest? Why did no trees grow here? And why was it a near-perfect circle? I wondered if this was how the UFO rumors started. My guide told me the soil had been tested many times, but no abnormalities had been found.
The reputation the forest has for being disorienting is true, my guide attested, admitting that even he occasionally gets lost. As we explored, I didn’t feel like anyone was watching me, but I did feel something else—sick. It started off as terrible stomach cramps, and worsened when a sheering pain shot through my forehead, the most sudden onset of a migraine I’d ever experienced. Embarrassed by my body’s reaction, I couldn’t tell my guide what I was feeling. I just gritted my teeth and hoped I’d survive the tour.
Finally, it was over, and I can’t remember ever being happier to leave a place in my life. As soon as I escaped the tree cover, my migraine vanished. My stomach took a bit longer to recover, but thankfully, I was back to normal in time for my overseas flight home.
Is Hoia Baciu really haunted? Based on my experience, I couldn’t say for sure, but I can tell you this—I certainly wouldn’t recommend it for a Sunday stroll.
But as his fellow writers begin disappearing or losing their minds, he realizes he needs Kate’s help.
When Jackson loses his own memory, Kate’s love is the only thing that can bring him back. But she’s falling for the man responsible for the evil in Romania. A man who claims to be her soul mate. Will this master of wraiths forever break Kate’s bond with Jackson?
About the Author
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