Mystery Spot Attracts Global Visitors to Santa Cruz

Gravity is Strange Here

The Mystery Spot is a place in the redwood forested mountains near the city of Santa Cruz, CA where gravity seems to work in strange fashion.  Objects will appear to roll upward, people seem to stand at strange angles, and perspective gets all mixed up

The place is a popular tourist attraction.  Information about hours and tours are available at  Tickets may be purchased online or by calling (831) 423-8897.  In summer, the hours of operation are from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.  On Saturdays and Sundays, the hours are from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m.  The place is located along 465 Mystery Spot Road, Santa Cruz, CA 95065.  Parking can be tight, and it is advised that anyone planning to arrive i n a large RV should call ahead to make sure that space will be made available for them.  Visitors are cautioned not to stop along the narrow mountain road leading to the site.

The season starts for the Mystery Spot on Memorial Day.  Residents in the area report that is when they begin to see people driving around the mountains wondering whether they are heading the right way to the place.  The narrow mountain roads in the region can be as confusing as gravity seems to be once they get their.

The Mystery Spot has been in operation since the forties.  The large numbers of foreign visitors who show up testify to the fact that the place is world renown.  Large numbers of German and Japanese tourists in particular seem attracted to the site.  Many come away utterly convinced that something truly odd is going on at the place.

Something from Space a Possibility

Tour guides begin their spiel about the place by suggesting that a meteor may have once landed here. Other explanations are also offered to suggest that gravity’s pull here does not work in the same manner it does everywhere else.  It could be magma, or plate tectonics, or lines of magnetic force. The explanations are kept deliberately vague to add to the air of mystery.

Past the tour starting point, the group will trudge up a rather steep hill set in a lovely redwood forest.  Inside a fenced area, the horizon vanishes from view which greatly adds to the effects of optical illusion.  It prevents one from seeing that the wooden building that the group goes into is in fact built on an angle.  This allows people to lean forward at extreme angles without toppling.  Short people can appear greater in height than someone who is tall depending on where each stands in a room.  Tours last a bit under half an hour, and at the end, you receive a Mystery Spot bumper sticker.

The Mystery Spot does provide an excellent example of how perception is a matter of visual context.  What we expect to see in large part ends up being what we see.  The background an object is set against will greatly influence the way we see the object.

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