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The Unsolved Mystery of The Crooked Forest

Located near the town of Gryfino, West Pomerania, Poland, the trees there grow abnormally with bent trunks known as the Crooked Forest. Each pine tree bends sharply to the north, just above ground level, then curves back upright after a sideways excursion of three to nine feet. Some say it happens naturally, some say that the bending of the tree is due to manipulation, but the method was never determined and remains a mystery to this day.

The Crooked Forest (Image Credit: IFL Science)

This grove of 400 pines was planted in the village of Nowe Czarnowo thought to have been planted in the early 1930s when its location was still within the German province of Pomerania, and that they were around 7-10 years old when they experienced whatever force/damage that resulted in trunk curvature.

Bend at the trunks, and some extend outward around three to nine feet before zipping back up into the air. From the base, the pine trees grow with a 90-degree sharp bend northward, but then curve back to grow straight up into the sky. Despite the unnatural curves bending three to nine feet sideways at their bases, these trees are generally healthy and grow up to 50 feet tall.

(Image Credit: Discovery)


There are many theories on the mystery, although there is little to no evidence to support any of them. Some believe that fluctuations in gravitational forces or a unique gravitational pull in the area could be responsible, but there is basically zero evidence to support this bizarre theory. The force of gravity pulls objects down, not sideways.

While others guess that the heavy snowfall in the area weighed down the trees as they were sprouting, causing them to grow crookedly at the base, but this theory does not explain why other groups of pine trees and assorted vegetation in the same area were not affected.

(Image Credit: Wikipedia)

William Remphrey, a retired plant scientist from the University of Manitoba said that this phenomenon is not so easy to explained.

If the cause for Poland’s crooked forest were genetic, he said, he would expect the curves to continue beyond the base, as they do in the aspens he studied. But given their smoothness, something environmental most likely caused these sweeping curves.

The most widespread and most likely explanation is that local farmers planted and manipulated the trees when they planted them in 1930, but it is estimated that the trees were seven to ten years old when they experienced the force that resulted in trunk curvature.

There’s no explanation for why the trees point north either, but Dr. Remphrey speculates it’s coincidental.

Were the trees intentionally altered local farmers? Did the trees naturally bend northwards? Many people have been trying to find an answer to this mystery, but since the town of Gryfino was largely abandoned between the early stages of World War II until the 1970s, the people who were there before the war and probably had the answer to the mystery of the Crooked Forest are now likely gone forever.

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