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MYSTERY SPOTS AND GRAVITY HILLS

Cryptid Hunters Guide

The Weiser Field Guide to Cryptozoology includes information, interviews, and stories about forty different cryptids seen in various places all over the world by credible eyewitnesses like policemen, rangers, and doctors. Readers will learn where and how to find flying humanoids, hairy humanoids, giants of all kinds including rabbits, bats and spiders, goblins, vampires, werewolves, demons, aliens and ghosts. In the third book of our Weiser Field Guides, Bella online paranormal editor, Deena West Budd, surveys the still-emerging field of cryptozoology—a term coined in the 1950s by a French zoologist named Bernard Heuvelmans—the study of "hidden" or "unknown" animals not recognized in standard zoology. From traditional cryptids like Big Foot, the Abonimable Snowman and Nessie, to mythical cryptids like unicorns, vampires, dragons, and werewolves, to lesser-known cryptids like bunyips (waterhorses), Encantado (Dolphin Men of Brazil), thunderbirds, mothmen, and chupacabra, these creatures are very much alive, says Budd, if beyond the realm of normal perception.The Weiser Field Guide to Cryptozoology includes a brief history of the field of cryptozoology and surveys all the creatures for which any credible amount of research exists. Budd gives readers tips on how to spot these creatures, as well as cautionary advice on how to interact with them.

The Weiser Field Guide to Cryptozoology

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UFOs, Area 51, and Government Informants: A Report on Government Involvement in UFO Crash Retrievals
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Mystery Spots and Gravity Hills

Cars and balls seem to roll uphill, people appear able to stand at impossible angles – all in contradiction to the laws of gravity and physics. What’s really happening at these curious locations?

More of this Feature
Part 2: What’s the explanation? 
Join the Discussion about other weird places
“The Orkney Islands are creepy. My father used to tell tales of a race of little people that lived on the islands and fed off raw flesh. Whenever anyone would come near them they would run into the trees and hide until dark, when they would come out and cause mischief. If you’ve ever been to the islands, the trees there have strange markings and patterns in the wood that look like doors or holes. And it just feels CREEPY there. For one thing, it’s unnaturally silent there. It makes you feel very heavy if you stand near the trees – almost like being hypnotized.”

 
Related Resources
Spooklights: Where to Find Them
Haunted Lighthouses
The Haunted Railroad Crossing
 
From Other Guides
Travel Talk: Healing Places to Visit 
Elsewhere on the Web
Gravitational Mystery Spots
Roadside America
 

There are dozens of mystery spots to be found around the U.S., and many more gravity hills – places where gravity itself seems to be warped. Our perceptions of up, down, straight and crooked are confused by what some say are powerful gravitational anomalies and dizzying magnetic vortexes. Is that the case, or are our senses being fooled by clever man-made and natural optical illusions?

Here are just some of the more well-known locations:

The Mystery Spot – Santa Cruz, Ca.
Discovered in the 1940s, this site on Branciforte Drive in Santa Cruz just might be the most well-known “mystery spot” in the U.S. Tour guides walk visitors through the “Mystery Shack” that stands on this spot and demonstrate the many weird effects that seem to take place there. Balls roll uphill, brooms stand on end at odd angles, people’s heights seem to change as they walk about, among other weird effects of perspective and gravity. Even the trees in the area do not stand straight. Some visitors actually feel faint within the shack. MORE INFORMATION

Spook Hill – Lake Wales, Fl.
Located between Orlando and Tampa, this stretch of road off Hwy. 27 is said to have gravity-defying effects on cars. The phenomenon on the sloping road is so well known that there is a sign on the roadside explaining its legend:

“Many years ago, an Indian village on Lake Wales was plagued by raids of a huge gator. The chief, a great warrior, killed the gator in a battle… The chief war buried on the north side. Pioneer mail riders first discovered their horses laboring down hill, thus naming it ‘Spook Hill.’ When the road was paved, cars coasted uphill. Is this the gator seeking revenge, or the chief still trying to protect his land.”

The story is local folklore, obviously, but drivers do attest that when they stop their cars at a certain spot and shift their transmissions into neutral, the cars do seem to roll up the incline of the road.

The Mystery Spot – St. Ignace, Mi.
Like the Santa Cruz Mystery Spot, this one in Michigan’s upper peninsula also features an old shack situated on a sharply sloped landscape. Balls and water appear to defy gravity by moving uphill. People seem to be able to stand at impossible angles. MORE INFORMATION

Mystery Hill – Marblehead, Ohio
“See Mystery Hill defy the laws of nature and gravity…” declares the promotional material for this anomaly-plagued site in Ohio. Visitors to this place say that you can feel perfectly okay standing in one spot, then just a few inches away feel totally strange. Here, too, water seemingly flows uphill, a pendulum swings only to the south and people appear to change height right before your eyes.

The Oregon Vortex – Gold Hill, Or.
Some kind of magnetic vortex – a spherical field of force, half above the ground and half below – is said to be responsible for the peculiar effects experienced at this site’s House of Mystery. Those who visit the spot, it is claimed, cannot stand erect anywhere within the vortex, but are always inclined toward magnetic north. Distortions in perceived perspective are also affected, giving the impression, in some spots, that as a person approaches you he or she becomes shorter. There are other weird effects as well. MORE INFORMATION

Gravity Hill – Bedford County, Pa.
It’s a place where gravity goes haywire, says one article about this hill near New Paris, Pa. A “GH” spray-painted on the road tells you when you’ve found the spot where you can stop your car, shift it into neutral, then sit in amazement as it seems to slowly begin to roll uphill. If you’re still in doubt, you can do as other experimenters have done and pour water on the road – and watch as it flows uphill.

Gravity Hill – Franklin Lakes, N.J.
This gravity hill on the Ewing Avenue exit of Rt. 208 South has one of those “ghost child” stories attached to it. The reason cars appear to roll uphill in defiance of gravity is because the ghost of a little girl pushes them that way. The little girl, the story goes, was killed by a passing car when she dashed into the road to fetch a ball. It’s either that or some kind of anomalous magnetic field, they say, which also causes balls to roll up the hill instead of down. MORE INFORMATION

Mystery Hill – Blowing Rock, N.C.
The Mystery House in this N.C. attraction is said to have a stronger-than-normal gravitational pull to the north. A person can apparently stand at a 45-degree angle, they say, and balls can be shown to roll up an incline. The site also features some other optical illusions and puzzles.

Cosmos Mystery Area – Rapid City, S.D.
Situated just six miles from the Mount Rushmore National Monument, the Cosmos Mystery Area on Hwy. 16 features a house where no one appears to be able stand up straight. A ball placed on a plank will appear to roll up it. “You can even stand on the wall!” says the promotional literature. MORE INFORMATION

Gravity Hill – Salt Lake City, Utah
This gravity hill is located a few blocks northwest of the Capitol building in Salt Lake City. On a road that leads down into a canyon, supposedly, gravity works against known physics. If you stop at the bottom of the hill here, they say, and put your car in neutral, the car will coast back uphill out of the canyon. There’s a legend behind this one, too. Someone named Elmo is buried in the area, so the story goes, and his gravestone glows blue at midnight. It’s the force of this ghostly presence that warps gravity.

What’s the Explanation?

Is something paranormal taking place at all these mystery spots and gravity hills? Are there strange magnetic vortexes and bizarre gravity anomalies to account for the apparent phenomena reported by hundreds and hundreds of visitors? Or are these simply optical illusions?

Although it is well known that gravity is not uniform everywhere on Earth, there are no known areas where it has been scientifically proven that gravity does not act the way it is supposed to act. Of course this does not prove that such areas can exist or do exist, but the mystery spot attractions around the country and the hundreds of “gravity hills” are probably not among them.

As fun, entertaining, even baffling as these spots can be, it’s unlikely that the cause is paranormal in any way – no vortexes, gravity anomalies or even ghost children.

As made clear at “Mystery Spots Explained,” they are “cleverly engineered tourist attractions” designed to create convincing optical illusions. The “mystery houses,” always constructed on steep inclines, take advantage of the fact that the human eye and brain can be easily fooled by deliberate distortions in perspective and odd angles. In this way, people can appear to always be standing at impossible angles, even on walls; balls and water only seem to move uphill; and pendulums just look as though they don’t work quite right.

Similar illusions are at work on the so-called “gravity hills.” Cars and tennis balls that look as though they are rolling uphill are actually being pulled downhill by gravity. Optical illusions created by the lay of the land and surrounding landscape fool the eye into thinking that the laws of physics are being defied. (If you want to check out these places for yourself, roadsideamerica.com offers a “Mystery Spot Test Kit.”)

Despite these scientific explanations, mystery spots and gravity hills can be a source of wonder, curiosity and fun. Just don’t expect anything paranormal to occur.

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