The Crooked Forest – Poland’s Mysterious Grove

The Crooked Forest in Nowe Czarnow, Poland

photography by: Rzuwig/ Wikimedia Commons

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There are myriads of forest types throughout the world, each of which is unique by its own right. However, a cluster of hundreds of deformed trees in Poland seems to lack any sense of logic. With weirdly-bent trunks, the Crooked Forest’s trees leave visitors perplexed as they wonder about the source of their nature-defying shape.

In an era dominated by scientific breakthroughs, rare are the cases where a mystery remains unsolved, and yet, one small patch of woodland near the Polish town of Gryfino has baffled gawkers and scientists for decades on end. The aptly named Crooked Forest comprises roughly 400 pine trees, whose trunk features a sharp northward curve for 2-3 meters, followed by an upright posture.


It is believed that the trees were planted during the late 1920’s and early 1930’s while the area was still part of Germany’s province of Pomerania. Curiously, in spite of their rather abnormal growth, the trees seem to be doing just fine, rising 15 meters or so (50 feet) above the forest floor. There are several theories as to how these trees acquired their unusual shape, yet none of which have ever been conclusively proven.


The leading explanation behind the phenomenon is that the trees were intentionally manipulated by foresters during their early years, shaping them into their distinctive curvy form. Their bent trunks would then be supposedly used as a raw material by the local timber industry to create all sorts of furniture. Another speculation is that the wooded land sits in the middle of an area where Earth’s gravitational pull is significantly stronger. Others suggest that the culprit behind the tree’s odd shape is the heavy snow, whose weight bent the trees during their years as saplings.


While we may never know how this spooky forest came into being, wandering between its arboreal sculptures offers a surreal encounter with one of nature’s most bizarre mysteries.