Thursday, June 8, 2023


Have you found bent trees in the forest? Here’s what they mean!

By Cheri Sicard
According to the producers at Watch Jojo, if you stumble across a bent tree in the forest, you might have also stumbled upon an ancient secret.

Trees have one thing in common, they grow straight up and down. The trees addressed in the video sport distinct right angles and have crooked trunks.

The video features Dennis Downes, a man who grew up exploring the forests of Michigan near the Wisconsin and Illinois borders.

Legend has it that Native Americans had created the strange trees in order to help navigate their way through the woods. But in his early 20s, Downes started to look for actual evidence that would back up the legend.

In his research, Downes came across records made by geologist Raymond Jansen, who had also been intrigued by the strange trees. Jansen studied them across 13 states.

Downes was determined to literally follow in Jansen’s footsteps and go everywhere the geologist had. He would follow the geologist’s work for the next four decades.

These two men almost obsessively studied, analyzed, and cataloged every tree deformity. Starting by separating those that were created by man versus those created by Mother Nature.

Downes did determine that ancient Native Americans did in fact uses these trees as trail markers and milestones. Be sure to watch the video for the fascinating footage it shares, and to learn about how Downes reached his conclusion. And about the Trail Tree Project that is doing further research into this fascinating phenomenon that, just like the mysterious bent trees, won’t be here forever.



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2 months ago

We as a People used trees, rocks, and other features for trail markers for thousands of years here. And as a child I still followed them when hunting, etc! A bent over tree shows a trail, travel direction, etc., as a rule. In fact I still mark trails this way!

Chris C
2 months ago

I bought a few acres in the forest in N. CA with a lot of bent trees. I discovered bent trees mean that it snows, a lot.

Jim Bob
2 months ago

You realize the only “Michigan” that is next to the Illinois Wisconsin border is called a lake. Pretty darn sure there isn’t a forest there

Mary D
2 months ago

Excuse me but Michigan does not share a border with Illinois. Indiana gets in the way. The UP of Michigan does share a border with Wisconsin and Wisconsin shares a border with Illinois. You could just say “the upper Midwest”.

2 months ago

I understand being skeptical of the origins of the trees, but we are looking at this from our current perspective. If one remembers that Native Americans roamed this country for many decades, even centuries, and keep in mind that they seemed to approach their life as temporary, but their “Peoples'” lives as long-term, it is not out of the question to figure they started marking trails or areas where they traveled through on annual circuits. They knew this was a good path, and their People would continue to travel the route for a long time, so they marked trails in such a manner that the marker would last much longer than they (person) would live. So, I view the explanation in the article as plausible.

2 months ago
Reply to  Duane

many decades? even centuries? you are off by a factor of 10 000 years. smh

2 months ago

As much as I enjoyed this article and video, it’s a real stretch to think that native Americans created these as markers for travel. Maybe, maybe not. I’m thinking putting a notch in a tree with a tomahawk may have been a little more efficient than waiting 20 years for crooked tree to grow. Thanks for sharing this Cheri. I did enjoy it.

Cheri Sicard
2 months ago

No, you are just wrong. That is NOT what was said, and this is NOT Johnny Robot. Always such a ray of sunshine you are Bob.

2 months ago

I think Bigfoot or Mothman or the Ozark Howler created them. 😉

I wonder how many of those bent trees are 200+ years old????

Tom Hosack
2 months ago

Listen to it again. It says “Dennis grew up close to Lake Michigan on the border of Illinois and Wisconsin”

Seann Fox
2 months ago

I would like to see them explain The Crooked Forest in Saskatchewan Canada.

Neal Davis
2 months ago

Thank you, Cheri!

Tommy Molnar
2 months ago

In my opinion, there would have to be a LOT more bent trees in order for them to be considered markers for trails or river crossings. In Boy Scouts we learned to stack rocks in particular formations to mark trails. Bending trees would take years to grow into markers, even when first bent and tied. But, as they say, “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story”.

Last edited 2 months ago by Tommy Molnar
Bob p
2 months ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

I’m with you, never was a scout but I think it would take many years to mark a trail by bending a sapling and waiting for it to grow into a trail marker. Johnny Robot was really reaching far out on this article. Lol

Dan Kruger
2 months ago
Reply to  Bob p

I’ve seen these same style of trees in Or. and Wa. when hunting….shall we study trees that have holes in the center of them to see if they line up in a certain direction to mark a trail….probably got some money from someone to be out in the woods ….

Chuck Woodbury
2 months ago
Reply to  Bob p

Bob P., Johnny Robot had nothing to do with this article. Johnny Robot, who is a name we made up to spoof articles written using artificial intelligence, is never used on unless we are trying to make a point about creating content with A.I., and we identify any article accordingly.

Bill Byerly
2 months ago
Reply to  Chuck Woodbury

Thank you for all the work you guys do

2 months ago
Reply to  Bob p

I would think a bent sapling could be a trail marker.

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