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Crooked Forest in Poland: Is There an Answer to the Mystery?

Crooked forest Poland
seawhisper /Depositphotos.com

The Earth is full of wonders and mysteries. There is the Bermuda Triangle, the Blood Falls in Antarctica, the Devil’s Bridge in Germany, the Pyramid of Giza, the Crooked Forest in Poland, and hundreds of other natural or man-made wonders. 

In this article, you will learn some of the most interesting facts about the Crooked Forest in Poland and discover if there is an answer to this intriguing mystery.

Crooked Forest Or The Krzywy Las In Western Poland

When it comes to the Crooked Forest, we can say that it truly lives up to its name. It is a forest of around 400 pine trees with a peculiar shape. It is located in a small corner of Western Poland, near the town of Gryfino.

The trees were planted in the 1930s but what is interesting about them is that they inexplicably grew with an almost 90-degree bend in their base, making them look like the letter J. 

Curiously enough, these crooked trees are surrounded by a more massive forest of straight trees. There are strongly bent trees in different parts of the world such as the Drunken Trees in the subarctic taiga; the Drunken Forest in Siberia, or the Hoia Baciu forest in Romania. 

However, none has such great numbers of trees that are as neatly arranged as in the Polish crooked forest.

Hence, the mystery arises and the curious human mind requires explanations.

It has been estimated that the 400 pine trees were around seven to 10 years old when a sudden curvature occurred in their base. This ecological abnormality is explained with many theories, but most of them don’t make much sense [1].

Gravitational Pull

According to one theory, a unique gravitational pull in this particular area caused the trees to grow curved northwards, but there is basically zero evidence to support this bizarre theory.

The Gryfino Town Farmers

One explanation suggests that the trees were manipulated by the farmers who planted them in 1925-1928. Allegedly, their intention was to make furniture from these trees and bent them when they were only 10 years old.

They didn’t allow the trees to grow upwards and severely stunted their growth. With the start of World War II in 1939, the farmers abandoned their efforts leaving a crooked forest behind them.

Even though this theory doesn’t tell what happened to the surrounding area, it is the most probable one due to its simplicity in providing the explanation for the curved growth. 

Heavy Snowfall

Another suggestion is that a heavy snowfall caused the trees to grow crooked in their base. This, combined with a long spring melt, probably crooked the trees. But that doesn’t explain how other pine trees in the surrounding area have grown straight.

Enemy Tanks

There is also an explanation that during World War II, when the country was invaded, enemy tanks plowed through the young forest, flattening the trees to such an extent that they grew back crooked.

However, even if there is some logic in this explanation, it doesn’t explain how other trees in the area weren’t crooked. It also seems very unlikely that being run over by ridiculously heavy tanks would result in this odd yet uniform curvature. 

Another problem is the question of whether the young trees would survive that impact at all.

Genetic Mutation

There has been a suggestion that the trees in the crooked forest are the result of a unique genetic mutation.

However, according to William Remphrey, a retired plant scientist from the University of Manitoba, it is not as easy to explain the Polish crooked forest.

Earlier, Remphrey discovered a genetic mutation causing a group of aspen trees in Canada to curve and droop consistently over time. In the case of the crooked forest, he is not that sure what really happened.

If there was a genetic mutation, then, it would have continued beyond their base. He believed that most likely, something environmental caused these sweeping curves [2].

Science and Mysteries

Besides any logical thinking or study about how the curved trees grow, people enjoy the mysteries beyond anything else. They like to believe in illogical theories regardless of how bizarre they might be.

And since there is no scientific theory about the trees in a Polish forest that grow curved, everyone has the freedom to believe in whatever they find most logical, interesting, or mysterious.

Crooked or not, this forest is a natural wonder and it’s worth visiting.

References:

  1. https://www.discovery.com/exploration/the-mystery-of-the-crooked-forest
  2. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/31/science/crooked-forest-poland-theories.html

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Meet the Slavs

Posts by the Meet the Slavs Team.

Meet the Slavs is your most comprehensive online resource about Slavic people, their cuisine, culture, history, mythology, and more.

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