I just installed a fresh XAMPP on OSX. Apache runs and I can see the splash page.
I open the httpd.conf and I set both places that point to htdocs to someplace else, which results in Apache showing an "Access Forbidden!" message.
I plugged my directory here:
I have set the permissions to 777 for everything including the enclosing directory, but to no avail. I've also set the owner to nobody, just like htdocs.
Strangely, I just did this whole thing with MAMP and had no problems serving that directory, but it was slow.