Saturday, May 24, 2014

After Watsonville

Watsonville was near enough to Santa Cruz to allow us easy access to the bookstores there.  After visiting our potential customers, we went to the Santa Cruz Mystery Spot. 

The Mystery Spot is one of several "gravitational anomalies" along the Pacific Coast (two more in California, and one highly reputable one in Gold Hill, Oregon).  Many people have seen these places featured on TV shows about the unsolved or the paranormal.

So you can see a visit to the Mystery Spot was in order.

We did witness some anomalies, although the construction of the house created a great deal of optical illusion to enhance the actual effect.  The tour guide used levels to show us places that were level, but appeared to be decidedly un-level.  Some of these spots were tilted one direction (according to the level), but things would roll uphill! 

The entrance road to the Santa Cruz Mystery Spot.
At the beginning of our tour, we were introduced to the edge of the circle in which the mysteries occur.  The cement markers we stand on mark that boundary.  One is inside the circle, one is out.  A carpenter's level demonstrates that the area is indeed level.

The tour guide asked for volunteers who were the same height and asked us to stand on the two spots.  Then we switched places.

The perception while participating was that the other person actually got taller.  However after examining the pictures below, I realized that once I was inside the circle, I was leaning decidedly backwards, creating the illusion that she had gotten taller.

We start off the same height.

Now she's taller--or is she?
From this demonstration, we climbed the very steep hill to the mystery house.  The story was that originally a small shack had been built there, but quickly collapsed into odd angles.  Over the years, the Mystery Spot has rebuilt the original, allegedly in the original configuration.  Personally, I think they have exaggerated the structure to enhance the optical illusion.  By the way, there is no sense of the paranormal here, although one does tend to lean when inside the circle.  My guess is it is some kind of anomaly having to do with whatever stone/mineral/metal lies beneath the location that creates a minor magnet effect of some kind.  I suspect there are many of these places, but I did not get the sense that it was spiritual or paranormal in any way.

The steep hill to the house.
You can see that the house is deliberately constructed to be twisted and tilted, enhancing the optical illusion and the gravitational anomaly.  We did experience a kind of light-headedness inside the house--very disorienting.

A level testified to the perfect position of this board, but...

The billiard ball, when placed on one side of the board, rolled back "uphill" to the other.
The interior of the house is definitely disorienting--deliberately, I believe.  However, I noticed that in the second room of the house, hardly any of my photos came out.  They were all blurry, or overexposed and I am a good photographer,  I rarely have trouble getting good pictures.

The only clear shot I got in this room.  I tried very hard to stay upright for the photo.  You can see how everyone leans to keep their balance.
Walking inside the house was a struggle, as well as on the outside of the house, on the hillside.  Everyone was stumbling, walking as though we were at sea.

Since the circle is very small, the tour is necessarily short.  But it was definitely interesting! 

Another "who is taller" spot was behind the cabin.  These two photos show the illusion that one person has gained in height, while the other has shortened.

The tour guide took our picture, but as you can see, he deliberately tilted the camera to enhance the illusion.  The crooked fence, the fact that we are leaning against the gravitational pull, and the steep hillside all add to the exeperience.

Good-bye to the Mystery Spot.
From Santa Cruz, it was time to head up the coast toward San Francisco.  Although it was expensive we did find a very nice spot at the San Franscisco RV Resort in Pacifica, just outside of SF. Beautiful spot, and I finally got my camping on (well, near) the beach.

Parked at Pacifica.
It was a lovely place, full of salt air and a magnificent view of the sunset. 

Visible erosion.  The little ledge sticking out is the asphalt that used to be a parking area. I was told the cliff used to extend at least another 100 feet further out, but the sea is persistent.

Our next stop was going to be San Franscisco, and Oakland.  Next blog post.


  1. I've enjoyed catching up on your journey! Have to ask though -- who's level was used in the mystery spot?

    1. The guide had a level, but others brought theirs as well and we were welcomed to fetch our own.

  2. Since our visit there, we have both had doctor visits where we were weighed and measured. Rick is now 5''10 (down from 6'), and apparently I am now 5' 3" (never been a centimeter over 5' 2"!). Now what do you make of that?