There are some very interesting articles on Wikipedia nowadays, and as long as you are willing to remember that they are written and maintained by ‘amateurs’ who sometimes can inject a touch of bias, then it can easy to while away a few hours learning something new or refreshing your knowledge on a topic there. One such area which caught my attention recently was the section on unusual articles. You could easily spend days and days trawling through the hundreds of articles there, marvelling at topics such as Mike the Headless Chicken who survived 18 months after his head was cut off, or chess boxing, a new craze combining the traits of brain and brawn.
One such article which caught my eye was one which provided a list of places with fewer than 10 residents. Having an interest in such geographical and sociological information, I jumped in, expecting to find a listing of Canadian wilderness villages combined with places affected by historical events such as being near Chernobyl (the city of Pripyat). However, I was intrigued to find a town in Poland called Polana in the Gmina of Czersk in Pomerania. According to official records, one person is registered as living there. “How cool”, I thought “he must be living in some tiny villages with 3 houses and two of them are empty”.
With my interest piqued, I moved farther down the Wikipedia list to places with two residents. I thought that would be the end of the story, as there was no little Polish flag there. Before giving up, I moved to places with three registered residents, and success! There was Czerska Struga, also found in the Gmina of Czersk. Going further, I found the section for places with four people living there. Next up were Jeziorko and Płecno – also within the Gmina of Czersk. Hmmm, a strange pattern was emerging. The group of places with five locals had the two Polish villages of Listewka and Konewki, both in the same gmina as the previous ones. Uboga has six people. Gartki and Uroża have seven. All in the locality of Czersk… To finish off the grouping, there was Klonowice with nine people. And finally – there was a change, a combo-breaker, so to speak, as the Tatra mountain village of Danielki rounded out the list of Polish places with less than ten residents. But… a caveat exists with Danielki as there is an expectation that the actual population of Danielki is now higher due to visitors. Thus we are left with the 10 Polish villages in the Gmina of Czersk in Pomerania.
What had begun as a mildly interesting search imagining one guy living in the village (like a Polish middle aged version of Kevin sam w domu) was now moprhing into something more. How can 10 Polish villages within about 10 square kilometres of each other all feature on such a list. with 51 inhabitants between the 10 locations, you would expect them to be almost too insignificant to be worthy of notice. However, like finding a sequence in the Matrix, they now pop out like an anomaly. And this is where the questions arise.
- Is it a conspiracy?
- Was it all planned by the local authorities in the town of Czersk, or were they just drunk when compiling the GUS records (found here) detailing census records for the area?
- Was it a plan to get entered into the Guinness Book of Records, for most places with the least people?
- Do the 10 villages combine to form a giant ‘X’ shape – pointing to where the missing treasure has been hiding?
- Is Czersk so boring that people are moving out and creating their own villages – thus explaining some of the naming such as Uboga and Konewki?
Personally, I have no idea what the reasoning behind this mystery is – thus explaining the above random thoughts. I’ve given a call to Scully and Mulder to reopen the X-files. Meanwhile, as they make their way to Poland, perhaps our Polandian readers can provide some insight. Feel free to drop some suggestions below.