A tree, when left to its own device, will normally grow straight. But when the tree is young and its trunk is tender, it can be forced to grow into any shape. At many places on Earth you’ll find trees with such signs of distress, but the identity of the perpetuators is often a mystery. One such location is the Curonian Spit.
Dancing Forest, Kaliningrad
The Curonian Spit is a 98 km long, thin, curved sand-dune spit that separates the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea coast. Its southern portion lies within Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia, and it’s here the Dancing Forest is found. The trees in the Dancing Forest are twisted and deformed into loops and spirals. The trees were said to have been planted in 1961 on a dune near a village to strengthen the sands. The exact cause of their deformity is not known, but there are many theories —mostly paranormal— that try to explain it.
The most scientific sounding is the one that puts the blame on the caterpillar of butterfly Rhyacionia buoliana. According to this theory, the caterpillars damage the pine shoots, eating developing apical and to a lesser extent, lateral buds. With the apical bud destroyed, further growth occurs due to the lateral buds only. Consequently, the trunk and the tree gets an unusual shape. The caterpillars attack mostly young pine saplings aged 5-20 years, growing on nutrient-poor soils with lack of ground water. Such conditions are available on the Curonian Spit.
Alternative theories point the finger to forceful winds, or perhaps humans who somehow did this to the pines on purpose.
These strange trees have not failed to capture the imagination of local folks.
One legend relates to a Prussian prince who one day was wandering in the forest when he heard an irresistible melody. The heart-warming music was coming from a beautiful young girl who was playing the lyre, seated in a forest clearing.
credit: credit: park-kosa.ru
The prince fell in love at first sight. He immediately proposed to the mysterious girl but she told him she can only marry someone who shares her Christian faith. The prince was willing to convert and become Christian but asked the girl to first demonstrate the prowess of her God, which is what the girl went on to do.
As she resumed playing the lyre again, the entire forest fell silent and the trees around them began dancing. The prince was persuaded and their story ends with a happy union. There are also some less joyful superstitious explanations of how the strange tree growth happened.
Some people believe that the forest is a place of confrontation between good and evil forces, and their energies are responsible for the contorted pines.
The existence of so many explanations hints at how special this place is.
If you like fresh pine aroma, you will be delighted to this place. Curved tree trunks, birds singing, soft moss underfoot: ideal conditions to start dancing with this forest! These trees, they indeed look like some alien forms or like they are under some magic spell or like they are really dancing around forest’s guests.
Source: amusingplanet.com, thevintagenews.com