At a show many years ago, I had an old woodsman jokingly tell me that my trees were so twisty and crooked that he could barely get a board foot of lumber from them. I can’t imagine what he would do with the trees that make up the Crooked Forest located in a corner of western Poland.
It is a group of about 400 trees all bent at 90 degree angles at the base of their trunks, creating a large timber “C” or “J” depending on how you look at them. They are surrounded by a larger forest of straight trees. They are believed to have been planted around 1930 but how and why they obtained their unique shape remains a mystery, one no doubt lost when the Nazis invaded Poland in the years after their planting. The local village was decimated and not really repopulated until the 1970’s so there wouldn’t be any long lived locals to tell the tales of the trees.
Some theorize that German tanks somehow crushed the young trees but that doesn’t explain the surrounding forest that is undamaged. Plus the idea of a group of trees uniformly surviving such a trauma seems pretty far fetched. Others say it is the result of some strange gravitational anomaly but that sounds kind of iffy at best.
Snow? Again, why just this smaller group of trees of the same age as their neighboring trees?
Aliens? Now, you’re talking.
Okay, maybe not aliens. Actually, the most widely accepted theory is that the trees were deformed to provide curved timber for either furniture or, more likely, boat-building. There is written documentation of trees being grown specifically to be compass timbers, which provide bracing for the inner curve of a boat’s sides.
Whatever the case, they make a unique and eerie sight. The photos here are from photographer Kilian Schönberger. For more of her visually striking views of nature please visit her site by clicking here.