Wednesday 27 March 2019

Venturing Into The World’s Most Haunted Forest...with J.H. Moncrieff

 I love a great ghost story and J.H. Moncrieff writes them. The latest in her Ghostwriters series has just been published and it's an edge-of-seat feast of surprise. Come with us as we take a trip into the very place that inspired her latest spooky tale - and watch out for the trees, you'll meet them again in Forest of Ghosts...

Romania is a beautiful country, a photographer’s paradise: rolling hills, gingerbread architecture, and some of the prettiest cities I’ve ever seen in my life. Visiting Bran, Brasov, or Sighişoara is like stepping into a fairytale.
Hoia Baciu, however, was another story.
The legends about the world’s most haunted forest are well known. Hoia Baciu was named for a shepherd who vanished in the forest, along with his flock of two hundred sheep. 
Those brave enough to venture within have suffered strange rashes, headaches, burns, scratches, and nausea, among other ailments. People have reportedly experienced a high level of anxiety while in the forest, along with the sensation of being watched. Electronics often malfunction in the area as well.
The day I was to visit Hoia Baciu began in disaster. An argument with the hotel clerk over a billing issue resulted in me being late to meet my guide, and then I couldn’t find my credit cards. Sweating and anxious, I set off for the forest with a driver appropriately named Vlad.
 At first, Hoia Baciu appears quite peaceful, with plenty of birdsong and happy frogs. But soon you begin to notice the strangeness of it.
All the trees are either oddly shaped (one looked exactly like a harp), or are bent and otherwise deformed, with large growths erupting from them. There was a clearing where a clearing had no business being. An eerie, greenish fog lurked around a single tree. As my guide showed me around, he tucked his electromagnetic meter back in his pocket and admitted the ghost stories are used to entertain tourists. But he did add that it was extremely easy to get lost in the forest, even if you’re an experienced guide. It had happened to him not long before we met.
 Out of nowhere, a bolt of pain shot across my forehead. I’m used to migraines, so this wasn’t completely foreign to me, but I’ve never had one come on so quickly, before or since. Between the blistering agony in my brain, and the fact that my stomach was acting up, I was terrified something truly awful was going to happen in Hoia Baciu, and it would have nothing to do with the supernatural.
Maybe it was altitude sickness? No, my guide said, explaining we were only two hundred feet above sea level. Metals in the soil? No, Hoia Baciu had been tested and retested, with nothing abnormal ever found.
Due to our late start, we didn’t get as much time in the forest as I’d been promised. My guide was apologetic. I was relieved. While I never felt I was being watched, the forest had become suffocating, and my health grew increasingly worse.

           As soon as we broke through the trees, my headache vanished. My stomach was slower to recover, but by the time I caught my flight home a couple of hours later, I was back to normal.
Is Hoia Baciu really haunted? I couldn’t say. I didn’t see balls of light or an apparition, as many people have. All I know is that I was desperate to get the hell out of there.
And that’s good enough for me.

J.H. Moncrieff’s new release, Forest of Ghosts, was inspired by her real-life experiences in Romania, including Hoia Baciu, the world’s most haunted forest.

Jackson Stone is sick of ghosts. With his love life in shambles, he heads to Romania for a horror writers’ retreat, hoping it will be a break from the supernatural and breathing space from his relationship with medium Kate Carlsson.

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?

Mysterious Galaxy  Barnes and Noble  Chapters  Amazon

J.H. Moncrieff's City of Ghosts won the 2018 Kindle Book Review Award for best Horror/Suspense.

Reviewers have described her work as early Gillian Flynn with a little Ray Bradbury and Stephen King thrown in for good measure.

She won Harlequin's search for “the next Gillian Flynn” in 2016. Her first published novella, The Bear Who Wouldn’t Leave, was featured in Samhain’s Childhood Fears collection and stayed on its horror bestsellers list for over a year.

When not writing, she loves exploring the world's most haunted places, advocating for animal rights, and summoning her inner ninja in muay thai class.

J.H. loves to hear from readers. 
To get free ebooks and a new spooky story every week, check out her Hidden Library.
Connect with J.H.: Website | Twitter | Facebook


  1. Fascinating post, right down to not being to find your credit cards. As if something was trying to put you off.

    1. My thoughts exactly,, Shey. J.H.'s research has taken her into some of the world's most haunted and scary places. Poviglia off the coast of Venice was another one. She has more guts than I do!

    2. That's a great point, Shehanne. I never thought of it that way.

      I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

  2. I think I would have called the whole thing off when I learned the driver's name was Vlad!

    Great post!

    1. Thanks for joining us, Priscilla!

    2. Thanks so much, Priscilla. I'm glad you liked my crazy stories.

  3. Cat, thank you so much for allowing me to haunt your blog. It's been an honor.