Weird Places Europes Dancing Crooked Forests




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the dancing forest of Kaliningrad is exactly the kind of place where you'd expect to find a werewolf creeping through the mist located in a place called the caronian spit off the Baltic Sea on the border of Russia and Lithuania the strange forest is known to locals by a jollier name the drunken forest because well the stand of pine trees looks more than a little schnockered as they twist and curves stretching upward in contorted loops to find their way to the sky and here's the thing no one knows why these trees look like they're grinding to Marvin Gaye of course theories abound some suggesting unstable soil is the cause or beetle damage or even nuclear radiation local legends say that crawling through one of these tree loops in the right direction will earn you an extra year of life a more popular non-magical theory suggests powerful winds were the original shaping force and there is a precedent for that if you've ever hiked into an Alpine zone forests you've probably seen patches of stunted twisted supercool mini trees called Krumholtz make it so thoroughly clobbered by a harsh cold winds that they end up growing more horizontal than vertical but some people think that the trees in the dancing forest have been trained to grow that way humans have long been manipulating trees for commercial or aesthetic purposes in mr. Miyagi and his bonsais he was all about tree shaping humans can train a young tree to grow in unconventional ways by laying a heavy object on its skinny trunk sometimes for years the tree just like the house plant and your window sill wants to grow toward the Sun really bad and no weight is going to stop it from reaching the light a process called phototropism and whether plants are made to bend intentionally or not the effects of phototropism can change the character of its tissues in trees the wood that forms under the pressure of weight is called reaction wood or in conifers compression wood it's created when the layer of tissue beneath the bark called the cambium thickens below the source of the pressure to support the horizontal weight of the tree in time the funny shape of the bend becomes permanent and it leaves behind a record of oval or oblong instead of more circular rings in the case of the dancing the forests local historians have no recollection of any human manipulation to create this effect but there is another forest in northwest Poland called The Crooked forest made of about 400 pine trees that all have uniform 90-degree bends at the base of their trunks the trees are all the same age and they all bend north because of this uniformity many people believe that this forest was manipulated by humans perhaps to grow uniquely shaped wood for oxen yokes ship hulls or for furniture making that particular theory maintains that the trees were shaped before 1930 but were abandoned before they could be harvested with the outbreak of World War two but ultimately even the cause of the crooked forests odd tree shapes remains a mystery and they could also be attributed to some powerful force like strong winds heavy snow and ice pack were even the result of one of my favorite theories being run over by Nazi tanks as young trees during the war you know this reminds us that while scientific explanations of natural phenomena are usually pretty cool and often necessary sometimes it's maybe a little bit cooler for it just to be a mystery thank you for watching this episode of scishow if you have any questions or comments or ideas for weird places that we should research let us know in the comments below or you can find us on Facebook and Twitter and if you want to keep getting smarter with us here at scishow you go to and subscribe you