Category Archives: POLAND

Poland’s Mysterious “Crooked Forest” Populated with 400 Bent Pine Trees

Poland’s Mysterious “Crooked Forest” Populated with 400 Bent Pine Trees

A veil of mystery surrounds a piece of protected pine forest not very far from the Polish town of Gryfino, in the northwest of the country and very close to the German border.

From Berlin, it takes just a few hours to reach this forest, where the spectator can be dazzled by the sight of some 400 mysterious pines, surreal in their shape and all directed toward the north.

The Crooked Forest

In the Crooked Forest (known locally as Krzywy Las), about 400 pine trees do indeed grow crookedly with full 90-degree curves at their bases that bend towards the north.

Just up from their bases, the trees curve into a “C” shape, bending from three all the way up to nine feet sideways before curving back to grow straight up from there.  They grow to be about 50 feet tall and are generally healthy despite the unnatural curves at their bases.

While plenty of other anomalous trees around the world have been known to develop curves or other strange shapes, the trees in the Crooked Forest are different.

They are smooth, not gnarled like other trees that are curved because they have suffered from a genetic mutation. Furthermore, of course, the Crooked Forest is unique because so many trees grow so strangely and in such a uniform way.

The Mystery Of Krzywy Las

The eerie-looking trees of Krzywy Las have sparked many different theories as to how they came to be this way.

One of the more outlandish theories is that there is some kind of unique gravitational pull in this particular area that caused the trees to grow outward towards the North instead of straight up.

But that theory doesn’t hold up to basic scientific scrutiny, given that gravity pulls things downward and not at a curve.

Furthermore, there are other groups of pine trees and assorted vegetation in the area of the Crooked Forest that do not curve, and one would expect a unique gravitational pull to exert the same type of force on all of the plants in the area and not just a specific group of pine trees.

Another theory about Krzywy Las is that heavy snowfall weighed down the trees as they were sprouting, causing them to grow crookedly.

But once again, this theory does not explain why other trees in the area were not affected or how so many trees were affected and in a way that is so uniform.

The Most Likely Explanation

Ultimately, scientists aren’t sure why the trees in the Crooked Forest are crooked. But what seems to be the most likely explanation is that the trees were intentionally altered by farmers from the nearby town.

The trees were likely planted around 1930 and it was not uncommon for farmers of the time to manipulate their young trees into shapes that would make it easier for them to be used for construction materials, namely shipbuilding wherein it would make sense to use curved timber because it would complement the shape of the ship being built.

Farmers most likely bent the trees as they were growing, which would explain why so many trees were so uniformly shaped, but not every single tree in the area was affected.

However, once World War II began and Germany conquered Poland, the local farmers’ tree-bending activities were likely disrupted. Soon after Germany invaded Poland in 1939, the town of Gryfino was destroyed and the farmers would not have been able to tend to the trees and ultimately cut them down for use, instead of abandoning them and leaving them to grow for the next several decades in their altered, crooked state.

Today, the most common explanation for trees that grow in bizarre shapes is that they have been intentionally manipulated by humans for one purpose or another.

Gilroy Gardens, a theme park in California, boasts Circus Trees that architects have deliberately fashioned into unique figures using different grafting and shaping techniques.

In this case, we obviously know for a fact that humans deliberately altered those trees using elaborate methods. But in the case of the Crooked Forest of Krzywy Las, we just don’t know for sure.

The town of Gryfino was largely abandoned between the early stages of World War II until the 1970s, so the people who were there before the war and had the answer to the mystery of the Crooked Forest are now likely gone forever.

Four Families Detected in Late Neolithic Burial in Poland whose Bodies Were Buried with Care

Four Families Detected in Late Neolithic Burial in Poland whose Bodies Were Buried with Care

Archaeologists found the remains of 15 people who were murdered about 5,000 years ago during the late Neolithic. Here’s what they may have looked like at the time of burial.

When 15 of them were brutally murdered — killed by vicious blows to the head— in what is now Poland about 5,000 years ago, an extended family met a grim end. But although these victims were violently killed, a new study shows that anyone who buried them did so carefully, placing mothers side by side with children and siblings.

In other words, it was far from random to place bodies in this burial. The burial shows “children next to parents, brothers next to each other[ and] the oldest person near the center,” said study co-lead researcher Niels Nørkjær Johannsen, a professor at Aarhus University’s Department of Archeology and Heritage Studies in Denmark.

Archaeologists learned about the late Neolithic burial during the construction of a sewage system in 2011, near the town of Koszyce in southern Poland.

The grave in Koszyce, southern Poland, holds the remains of 15 people and the grave goods that were buried with them.
The grave in Koszyce, southern Poland, holds the remains of 15 people and the grave goods that were buried with them.

This is far from the first large grave filled with ruthlessly murdered victims from the Neolithic; the remains of 9 brutally murdered people dating to 7,000 years ago are buried in Halberstadt, Germany, and 26 murdered individuals are buried in a 7,000-year-old “death pit” at Schöneck-Kilianstädten, Germany.

But the newly described burial is unique because the individuals were related to one another and weren’t buried haphazardly, according to a genetic analysis on the remains.”We are dealing with what you might call an extended family.

“We were able to show that there are four nuclear families present and emphasized in the burial, but these individuals are also related to one another across these nuclear families — for example, being cousins.”

The genetic analysis also revealed that the group, which was part of the Globular Amphora culture (named for their globular-shaped pots), had one male lineage and six female lineages, “indicating that the women were marrying from neighboring groups into this community where the males were closely related,” Johannsen noted.

It’s impossible to know who buried the victims, but whoever did wasn’t a stranger. “It is clear that lots of effort has gone into this [burial] and the people who buried them knew the deceased very well,” Johannsen said.

This graphic shows how the Neolithic victims were buried and how they are related to one another, according to a genetic analysis.

Even so, it’s interesting that these 15 people were buried together, rather than separately.”Perhaps the people who buried them were in a hurry?” Johannsen said. “But they nonetheless took care to bury individuals next to their closest family and also equipped the dead with funerary gifts, such as ceramic amphorae [jugs], flint tools, amber and bone ornaments.”

The burial doesn’t hold the remains of any of the family’s fathers, so maybe the victims were massacred when the fathers were away, Johannsen said. “[Perhaps] they returned later, found their families brutally killed and subsequently buried their families in a respectful way.”The massacre is tragic, but unsurprising given the time period.

During the late Neolithic, European cultures were being heavily transformed by groups migrating from the steppes, to the east. “We do not know who was responsible for this massacre, but it is easy to imagine that the demographic and cultural turmoil of this period somehow precipitated violent territorial clashes,” Johannsen said.

The finding is remarkably similar to 4,600-year-old burials from the Corded Ware culture (named for their corded pottery designs) found near Eulau, Germany. At that site, “violently killed people were also carefully buried according to their familial relationships,” said Christian Meyer, a researcher at OsteoARC, Germany, who was not involved in the study but who has worked on several other sites of Neolithic mass violence.

If anything, the Koszyce burial “is further evidence that lethal mass-violence events occurred at times throughout the Neolithic of Europe,” Meyer said. “These events could be catastrophic for the targeted communities, which were apparently built upon overlapping social and biological kinship ties.

“However, while the researchers of the new study call the Koszyce finding a “mass grave,” Meyer said he sees it differently. “The people were buried very carefully, received grave goods and were positioned according to their immediate kinship ties,” he said. “We should maybe call this a large ‘multiple burials’ rather than a ‘mass grave,'” in which bodies are typically buried in a disorganized heap.