“Place Oddities: America’s Mystery Spots”

Posted on July 15, 2013

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If you could diverge from the highway to visit Eureka, wouldn’t you? A top-secret research town of super geniuses would certainly make Ripley’s Believe it or Not… and many a roadside Mystery Spot features supposedly warped gravitational forces. No banks floating up into the sky as far as we know, but wacky gravity weirdness nonetheless.

The town of Eureka would be a totally appropriate Mystery Spot attraction with all the unusual phenomena that go on, but since we can’t go there, let’s check out some other classics instead.

Spot #1:The Mystery Spot 
This brand-name original circular anomaly just outside Santa Cruz, CA defies the laws of gravity, physics, and perspective, as perceived by the mind’s eye! The wildly perplexing, uphill-rolling billiard balls and gift shop will blow your mind! No, that special Santa Cruz contact buzz is no explanation for oddities, so what is? Well, as they say at The Mystery Spot, “it’s not the Solved Spot, it’s the Mystery Spot!”

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Spot #2: The Oregon Vortex 
This spherical anomaly just outside Gold Hill, OR defies the laws of gravity, physics, and perspective… perplexing copper pipe and magnet…gift shop…blow your mind… you get the idea. (It is not to be confused by the much ballyhooed new Oregon brew, Fort George Vortex IPA). Note that Idea Lab writer Tiffany once stayed in Cave Junction, Oregon near the Oregon Vortex on a travel writing assignment at a farmhouse… which also! had! its! own! vortex! It was a genuinely weird tree circle that made you dizzy. Of course, Bigfoot had also been sighted there, and a former Hollywood starlet lived nearby with her pet tiger. Weirdness abounds.

Spot #3: Ringing Rocks Park
Not “Spot-worthy,” but mysterious nonetheless. Somehow, a Pennsylvania forest managed to surround about seven acres of an open field, which happens to be covered in only boulders and rocks—and the rocks sing. Yeah, yeah, rock music… do you think we didn’t already think of that? The ringing sound they make is unusual and as yet unexplained.

Spot #4: The Taos Hum 
For years the city of Taos has been subjected to a spontaneously sounding low-frequency hum of an unknown source. Not everyone in Taos can hear the Taos Hum, which makes it that much more mysterious!

With ringing rocks and vortices competing for tourism dollars, what makes a spot Spot-worthy or not? The examples in this article, like countless other mystery sites, promise to fool the mind’s eye of the sightseer with spectacles that question all they know about Scientific Law. They are also amusements—not always exactly scientifically unexplained, but scientifically clever—not unlike the town of Eureka, Syfy’s own Mystery Spot. It will blow your mind!

Kiped from the archives of the SyFy channel’s IdeaLab Blog for the TV show Eureka. Well kinda kiped, since I wrote it to begin with. Edited by Tiffany Lee Brown, without whom I’d be stuck in the land of curly quotes.

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Posted in: science, writing