Friday, December 9, 2022

Gravity Hills: Optical Illusions? Or Urban Legends?

 Author: Anonymous

Around the world there seem to be these types of hills that you can drive down to the bottom, put your car in neutral, and then your car will slowly seem to move backwards. As Elizabeth Borne said on (“What are Gravity Hills?”) “A gravity hill is a place where gravity seems to be working against itself; where gravity seems to temporarily not work as it should”

There are reported dozens of gravity hills around the world including in the US, UK, Australia, Brazil, Ireland, and Italy (“These Gravity Defying Hills Are One of The Strangest Natural Phenomena We’ve Seen.”) Gravity Hills are optical illusions. These hills are optical illusions, the illusion is that there is no horizon to been seen due the landscape. This illusion confuses the brain to make us think that the slope is going a different way than it is (“These Gravity Defying Hills Are One of The Strangest Natural Phenomena We’ve Seen.”)

Some people believe that these hills could work because of the urban legend that surround them. One of these hills in Lake Wales, Florida there is an urban legend of a huge alligator was harassing a native tribe. The tribe sent out their great warrior chief to kill the alligator. Following the chief’s death in battle, he was buried on the north side of the hill. Years later pioneers noticed while they were hauling goods for the army trail, they noticed the horses strained at the foot of the hill, even though it appeared to be going downhill. (“The Legend of Spook Hill”) 

Another legend that is said about these gravity hills is, a hill located in Arcadia, Michigan. The legend says that it is an old church “pulling sinners in” to explain the way the cars are being pulled uphill towards the buildings. (“Gravity Hills: Spooky Optical Illusions of Roads”) 

There is another legend of these gravity hills. This one is located in Altadena, CA, the legend says that many years ago a bus broke down trying to go up the hill, the bus driver was seeing what was wrong with the bus and the kids inside got bored. The kids started exiting the bus, the started playing outside not realizing what was coming next. The bus driver was distracted, and a car comes speeding up the hill, the car goes through the crowd of children, killing the majority of them on impact. Legend says that the kids bunch together and push cars up the hill because they think they are scary. (“The Ghostly Tragedy of the Altadena Gravity Hill”) 

Gravity hills are an optical illusion. That makes people wonder “did I really just go up a hill backwards?”. Either using ghost stories or the way there is no horizon this make you wonder, Ghost Story? Or Optical Illusion?”

Works Cited:

Borneman, Elizabeth. “What are Gravity Hills?” Geography Realm, 12 March 2016.

Bec, Crew. “These Gravity Defying Hills Are One of The Strangest Natural Phenomena We’ve Seen.” Science Alert, 6 March 2017.

Palo, Peyten. “The Legend of Spook Hill” Visit Central Florida, Accessed 25 October 2022.

Smith, Lauren. “Gravity Hills: A Spooky Optical Illusion of the Roads” Jerry, 27 April 2022.

“The Ghostly Tragedy of the Altadena Gravity Hill” Backpackerverse, Accessed 25 October 2022.

Links for Further Research: 

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