Low-temperature deformation of body-centered cubic metals shows a significant amount of plastic slip on planes with low shear stresses, a phenomenon called anomalous slip. Despite progress in atomistic modeling of the consequences of complex stress states on dislocation mobility, the phenomenon of anomalous slip remained elusive. Using in situ Laue microdiffraction and discrete dislocation dynamics in micrometer sized tungsten single crystals, we demonstrate the occurrence of significant anomalous slip. It occurs as a consequence of cross kinks, topological configurations generated by prior dislocation interactions. This clearly identifies anomalous slip as a multidislocation process and not a property of isolated dislocations. The cross-kink mechanism also explains the ambiguous reporting of anomalous slip traces in the past and directs us to ways of including anomalous slip in continuum crystal plasticity formulations.