Yes, I know--the title of this article isn't very politically correct. But that's what you'll have to Google if you want to search the internet for more information on these natural curiosities. You might also try "thong trees" or "marker trees."
In her definitive book on the subject, Elaine Jordan of Ellijay, Georgia, advances the theory of many--that these trees were bent by Native Americans centuries ago as living road signs. Indian Trail Trees is rich with sketches and photos as well as references from around the country.
Others are skeptical. They argue that the trees are casualties of nature and therefore are of no historical or cultural importance.
Mountain Stewards has launched a web site aimed at documenting Trail Trees. Complete with a blog, database of trees and a reference section, it is a rich vein of information for researchers to tap.
If you have any interest in Native American history, you owe it to yourself to learn more. There might just be a living relic in your back yard.
And look for trail trees to play a role in my next novel.