In Poland’s Crooked Forest, a Mystery With No Straight Answer

Apr 3, 2017

by Joanna Klein

In Poland’s Krzywy Las, or Crooked Forest, the pine trees look like potbellied stick figures. On some 400 trees, the trunks buckle out 90 degrees, creating bark-covered bellies that drag just above the earth, oddly, all pointing in the same direction — north.

No one knows for certain what caused this unusual stand of trees in a protected forest, just outside the town of Gryfino, Poland. The town was mostly destroyed during World War II, and the truth of the forest was lost with it.

Strangely bent trees exist in other parts of the world, but not in such great numbers nor as neatly arranged as in Poland’s Crooked Forest. You can visit this little patch of land in northwest Poland any time, but the cusp of spring is the perfect chance to see the trees in winter’s bare-boned attire, without its bitter temperatures.

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