Have you ever seen an object roll uphill?
There are places all over the world where this strange manifestation can be observed. The most common are gravity hills, a natural phenomenon where if a car is driven down a hill and then put into neutral gear, it rolls back up the slope. The same can be said of a toy ball – roll it down the slope and it comes back up. Some blame this marvel on magnetic forces while others claim it is witchcraft. In reality, according to journals.sagepub.com, it’s all an optical illusion.
In September of 2003, Paola Bressan, Luigi Garlaschelli, and Monica Barracano all of the Università di Padova in Padova, Italy, published a paper regarding antigravity hills. The three constructed tabletop versions of the different types of gravity spots and allowed test subjects to look through a hole that simulated the effect of really being there. They then changed the height of the horizon view and discovered that the test subjects were fooled by the differences in the horizon.
According to sciencealert.com, the researchers claimed: “We found that perceived slope depends on the height of the visible horizon; that surface slant tends to be underestimated relative to the horizontal plane; and that when preceded, followed, or flanked by a steep downhill slope – a slightly downhill stretch is perceived as uphill. The visual (and psychological!) effects obtained in our experiments were in all respects analogous to those experienced on site. After each observer’s task was concluded we placed a small roll of tape on the misperceived slope and the tape appeared to move against the law of gravity – producing surprise and, on occasion, reverential fear.”
There are four known gravity hills in Australia, including Bowen Mountain Road on Bowen Mountain, New South Wales; and Magnetic Hill in Orroroo, South Australia. Brazil has two, and Canada has a whopping ten sites including Dixon Dam Road in Vernon, British Columbia; and Magnetic Hill in Dacre, Ontario. China has one in Gansu Province, and the Czech Republic has two: one near Zdobnice and the other near the town of MoravskáTřebová.
Indonesia, Greece, Germany, Lebanon, Kenya, Mexico, Romania, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Philippines, South Korea, Scotland, and Sweden each have one, and twenty-seven states in the United States have magnetic hills. California leads the way with four sites, including Mystery Spot Road in Santa Cruz and E. Loma Alta Drive in Altadena. North Carolina has three: Mystery Hill in Boone, Gravity Hill on Richfield Road in Richfield, and Gravity Hill in Scotland County.
Pennsylvania has three with two gravity hills in New Paris – one on Pleasant View Road near Lewisberry, York County; and one in Laurel Caverns. Wisconsin also has three: Judgement Street in Shullsburg, Joe Road in Stockbridge, and one in Weyerhaeuser. Georgia, Arkansas, New Jersey, Texas, Oklahoma, Michigan, and Kentucky each have two, and the states of Minnesota, Florida, Alaska, Utah, Virginia, Ohio, Washington, Wyoming, Oregon, Montana, Mississippi, Indiana, and South Dakota each have one.
The gravity hill in South Dakota is in the Black Hills region near Mount Rushmore called Cosmos Mystery Area, which I visited in 1974. A small, rustic cabin in the woods defies what we consider to be normal. As we acclimated ourselves to the distorted feeling in the shack, we watched as a tennis ball placed on a shelf rolled uphill, people standing as straight as a soldier looked as though they were standing at a precarious tilt, and someone hanging from a beam looked as though he was being blown sideways by the wind.
According to cosmosmysteryarea.com, the cabin was found in 1952 by two young men looking for a place to build a summer cabin. They found an old cabin to renovate, but when strange things that appeared to defy gravity happened the men began to experiment, testing the laws of physics and gravity which did not seem to apply here. In 1953, they opened their cabin to the public. In 2002, they built a replica of the shack and the same phenomenon occurred.
The attraction also includes a Geode Mine where visitors may dig up a geode, crack it open to see the beautiful crystals inside, and take it home as a souvenir. Amethyst, rose quartz, and agate are native to the Black Hills. They have also added a picnic area and an ice cream stand.