Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Mystery Spot, Santa Cruz, 1967

I'll bet it's been 15 years since I visited the world-famous Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz, CA - but I remember it like it was yesterday! 

The Mystery Spot opened in 1941, and it is a classic example of what is known as a "gravity hill" - optical illusions enhanced by the tilted construction. Like the Haunted Shack at Knott's Berry Farm! 

I love this first photo, showing a man with his pride and joy - I think it's a 1957 Ford Fairlane - was I even close, Nanook? Even though it was 10 years old at this point, the owner clearly babied that thing. It looks brand new! Next to the car is that great little billboard guiding curious tourists down a woodsy road.

The next three were taken inside the crazy house built on the Mystery Spot. When I was there, the guide told us of the amazing "gravitational anomalies", and boy-howdy, he wasn't kidding. Look, that ball is rolling UPHILL! The kid's expression says it all.

I don't get what the big deal is, I stand at that angle all the time. While it's blocked off by that plank, I believe that the gentleman is standing on a very small board nailed to the wall. He can only be standing like that because of the anomalies! 

I think you'll agree that this photo is amazing because it demonstrates the guy's questionable taste in footwear. Normally you see people demonstrating the extreme tilt of the house with something cheap like a broom, but this fellow is willing to risk his pricey movie camera. Wouldn't you love to see his footage?

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to The Mystery Spot!


K. Martinez said...

I live about a 5 minute drive from the Mystery Spot and drive by this entrance all the time. It's on my way to my friend's ranch. Funny thing is, I haven't gone to the attraction in over thirty years. It's just so odd seeing this pic on your blog when I see it practically every day. Very strange.

Thanks for posting, Major

Nanook said...


I do believe you are correct: That's a 1957 Ford Fairlane Sunliner Convertible. Now, unless that man loves his Ford soooo much he still has the original license plates attached, the black on yellow license plates were superseded in 1963 with yellow on black. So I'm doubting the 1967 date attributed to these images. And although it wouldn't be all that odd to still be touting the thrills of being "viewed on Art Baker's T-V You Asked For It" eight years beyond that show's last broadcast in 1959, it does again question the date.

(That could help explain the neck tie on the young gentleman with the surprised expression, and that "unique" patterned sock/sandal combo being worn by that trusting gentleman).

And I believe the very trusting gentleman has a 16mm Bolex camera. And speaking of cameras - the color of these images is pretty wonderful.

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

These are fun pics! They make me miss the Haunted Shack at Knott's even more!

dennis said...

His outfit matches his car.

Major Pepperidge said...

Ken, I know you are close to the Mystery Spot. It’s a fun thing to do, probably mostly with visitors, but I don’t know if I would go do it on a regular basis.

Nanook, maybe I read the date wrong, though I usually try to be fairly careful - I’m away from home today so I can’t double check. Couldn’t a person keep their old license plates if they wanted? Or did they actually replace the entire plate every year?

TokyoMagic!, I know!

dennis, all civilized people dress to match their cars. I am wearing an orange metal flake shirt today.

top_cat_james said...

We would be remiss not to include this 1959 Dennis the Menace comic book story here:

Nanook said...

I don't know what the 'rules' are today, but back then in California new license plates were issued in 1956 (along with the rest of America and the provinces of Canada), conforming the plate dimensions to a North American standard: 6" x 12". The California plates were again changed (color scheme) in 1963. In the intervening years, as done currently, tags were issued to maintain active registration. In Washington state, new plates are issued every seven years.

Sunday Night said...

Interesting that guy was lugging around a 16 mm camera and tripod. What a pro!

walterworld said...

I went to The Mystery Spot in 2012 after a 30 year absence... Have to say I ended up a bit dis-oriented lol. I think there really must be something to it! I saw the ball roll uphill, etc.

I went to a sister-attraction (although in a much drier clime) at Calico Ghost Town back in 2004. The host there really made the difference as my daughter and I were the only audience. We had all the time in the world to check out the different props and chairs mounted at odd angles etc. Even without anyone else there it still felt odd!

OK, I better sit down with a glass of water.

Thanks Major

Anonymous said...

@Walterworld, I visited the Calico Ghost Town version a long time back, water flowing uphill etc.

Never been to the Santa Cruz location, maybe it's time.

Thank you, Major. Also "crocs and socks, baby!"