When you put a ball on a log of wood, it slides down the slope from a position of height to the bottom. Right? Of course it has to be. That’s what your pretty Physics teacher has taught you.
But hey, what does she know. It’s a big wide world and there are places where the ball ‘slides up’ from the bottom to the top! Yes, you read that right. Ask the school principal to arrange for a science trip to Santa Cruz, California (USA) – to a place called Mystery Spot.
Mystery Spot is a tourist attraction located in Santa Cruz, California, about 80 miles south of San Francisco. The operators of the small site (which is about 150 feet in diameter) claim that it is a place where the laws of physics and gravity do not apply and provide a number of interesting demonstrations in support of these claims.
“Within the Mystery Spot you will be stunned as your perceptions of the laws of physics and gravity are questioned. But don’t take our word for it, come and decide for yourself” – say the operators of the ‘circular area of effect’ in their advertisements. For $5 each for yourself and your car, you can experience the seemingly antithesis of science.
According to records, the Mystery Spot was discovered in 1939 by a group of surveyors and opened to the public in 1940. The Mystery Spot has amazed and perplexed hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world, and many return time and time again to experience these puzzling variations of gravity, perspective, and height.
Several of the phenomena demonstrated by the tour guides (and by visitors using levels) could be construed as rather difficult to explain. For example, sample these:
Two people standing on opposite sides of a level surface appear to change height
A ball will roll to one direction on the same surface.
In fact most happenings at the spot would suggest that gravity does not work there. One more example of that is:
A carpenter’s level is laid across two concrete blocks, to demonstrate that the two blocks are of the same height. But, when two people stand on either blocks, it would appear as if one is standing at a level above the other one!
The spot is said to exhibit numerous other variations of gravity, perspective, compass, velocity and height at the mystery spot that appear to challenge conventional wisdom or knowledge on all of the aforementioned subjects.
Some tour guides joke that extraterrestrials had once crashed at the site or buried unearthly metals beneath the Spot, which fight off the effect of gravity. Other theories include carbon dioxide permeating from the earth, a hole in the ozone layer, a magma vortex, the highest dielectric bio-cosmic radiation known anywhere in the world, and radiesthesia. Whatever may be the cause and the explanations for it by true-blue scientists, the fact of the matter is that people do keep coming over and over again, from all across the globe – to find themselves standing at unbelievable angles, hang by the pull-up bars like Olympic gymnasts (almost effortlessly), watch height differences when there are none and see no action on compass when you would expect it to be. And more.
So, how about asking your mates in US to check the place out, if not going there yourself? By the way, you can take as many gadgets that you can – compass, cameras, carpenter levels etc – to check out all the theories that you come up at the place to explain the amazing happenings. The Mystery Spot people allow and encourage you to crack the mystery. Maybe they know that even if you – or anyone for that matter – solves that mystery around you, it still would be one memorable experience.
Hope you’ve liked this little fun with science. Watch this space next month for the culmination of the story.