The Crooked Forest

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A place named the Crooked Forest would sound as a perfect setting for a fairytale, or for shooting a fantasy, or even a horror movie. If you are a fan of the animation movie series Despicable Me, you might connect such a place to the legendary fluffy unicorn creatures, and might even dream to go there and catch one like little Agnes. However, the Crooked Forest is in fact a non-fictional place located near Gryfino in western Poland. Although it is not a home for unicorns, it still houses a mysterious collection of curved trees.

The Crooked Forest comprises about 400 pine trees with a 90-degree bend at their base, mostly northwards, then curving back to grow straight up. These curved trees are enveloped by a larger forest of straight growing pine trees; no one knows for sure what caused them to grow in this weird form. These trees were planted around the 1930s by the inhabitants of the nearby Gryfino town. Yet, the town was abandoned when World War II started; it was completely destroyed during the War and only rebuilt in the 1970s. As a result, the people who might have had the answer are likely gone forever.

Different scenarios have been proposed to unfold the mystery of the Crooked Forest. Please let me skip the aliens’ theory, which continuously pops-up as an explanation for all mysterious phenomena. An equally bizarre assumption is that the forest is haunted, and that evil spirits are responsible for the trees creepy form. A third strange theory that lacks scientific evidence proposes that a unique gravitational pull in the area could be responsible. Science says a definite “NO” to the three assumptions; now, let us move to the more serious ones.

One popular scenario links the crooked trees to the invasion of Poland during WWII, proposing that the enemy military tanks plowed through the young forest, flattening the trees to such an extent they grew back crooked. Another scenario proposes that they underwent heavy snowfall that weighed them down as they were sprouting, causing them to grow crookedly. However, these two hypotheses do not explain why other trees in the area were not affected, and how hundreds of trees grew almost identical in form.

The most accepted explanation, however, suggests that the trees were purposefully manipulated by the local foresters. It is proposed that they hoped to make furniture from the bent shapes and intervened when the trees were still young. Maybe these foresters had to abandon their efforts as the War started. However, they left behind an interesting quiz for humanity, a unique ecological mark, and a destination that attracts visitors from all over the world.

Checkout this video about the Crooked Forest.

References
allthatsinteresting.com
atlasobscura.com
iflscience.com
nytimes.com

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