Mystery Spot

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This article is about the Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz. For "mystery spots" in general, see gravity hill. For the Supernatural episode, see Mystery Spot (Supernatural).
Mystery Spot entrance
One of the many optical illusions at the Santa Cruz Mystery Spot.

The Mystery Spot is a visual illusion–based tourist attraction near Santa Cruz, California. It opened in 1941.

The operators of the small site (which is about 150 feet (46 m) in diameter) claim at that location the laws of physics and gravity do not apply and provide a number of demonstrations in support of these claims, where water seems to flow upwards, people seem to be standing in slanted positions, etc.

Illusion explanation[edit]

The Mystery Spot is a gravity hill, a tilt-induced visual illusion. The illusion experienced by visitors results from the oddly tilted environment as well as standing on a tilted floor. Inside the tilted room of the Mystery Spot, misperceptions of the height and orientation of objects occur.

Even when people are standing outside on a level ground, the slant of the building in the background causes misperceptions as humans judge the height of people using the slant of the roof rather than the true horizon.[1]

History[edit]

Around 1943, a lumber company was attempting to sell the land that is currently the Mystery Spot parking lot. When it was sold, however, the lumber company forced the buyer to also buy two hills to the north and south. When a few men working for the buyer traveled up one of the hills, they immediately became exhausted and could hardly pull out a compass. The previous plans to build summer homes and cabins were abandoned and instead, the Mystery Spot attraction was built.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Shimamura, A. P. & Prinzmetal, W. (November 1999). "The Mystery Spot Illusion and its Relation to Other Visual Illusions" (PDF). Psychological Science 10 (6): 501–507. doi:10.1111/1467-9280.00196. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°00′45″N 122°00′06″W / 37.012601°N 122.001795°W / 37.012601; -122.001795