Located on private property, the grove’s owner Rick Simmonds jokes that a lawyer was buried here, hence the crooked bush. Surely it was a politician? The jury is out. Regardless, when local lore of the Crooked Bush began to spread, more and more visitors started showing up. Crooked Bush got featured in the news, written up in a couple of travel books (mine included), and today it’s a genuine oddball landmark amid the flat prairie farmland.
There’s nothing intrinsically spooky about any destination other than the history and stories that are told about them. I toured a legendary haunted house in Savannah, Georgia, the creepy cells of the Old Melbourne Gaol, and a bizarre human bone church in the central Czech Republic. Far more disturbing were sites of human atrocities in Cambodia and Poland. Crooked Bush sits on an entirely different branch of the Spooky Destination tree.
This is not to say the place doesn’t radiate its own particular creepiness. As I strolled along the creaking boardwalks, the area’s energy just didn’t sit right. It was Halloween, after all, and the grove somehow felt preternaturally still in the bone-chilling breeze. Eventually, a yolk of sunset broke beneath the grey horizon, but the golden light seemed to skirt the grove altogether. My wife looked at me, and I looked and her, and we both decided our time would be better spent driving back to Saskatoon before our imaginations – and that overwhelming prairie sky – got too dark.
Crooked Bush is located about a 75-minute drive north from Saskatoon. Here are the official directions: 14.5 km W of Hafford on Hwy 40 (pass Speers to Flint Rd), 16 km N, then 2.5 km E. Watch for signs at Flint Rd and 16 km mark. Latitude: 52.86948° N, Longitude: -107.5336° W.
This explains why you might also find yourself asking a gas station attendant for directions.