(ORDO NEWS) — Scattered around the world are several “mysterious places” that defy gravity – places where cars seem to roll uphill and cyclists struggle to get downhill.
These bizarre natural phenomena, also known as gravity hills, can be found in places like Confusion Hill in California and Magnetic Hill in Canada. Although they have spawned rumors of witchcraft and giant magnets buried underground, there is a real scientific explanation.
There are reportedly dozens of gravity hills around the world, in the US, UK, Australia, Brazil and Italy, and they all have one thing in common – if you drive up to the bottom of a hill and put it in neutral, it will continue to roll up slope.
Take a look at this car on Gravity Hill in Arishir, Scotland:
So what’s really going on here? It turns out that these strange natural phenomena are just an optical illusion – an illusion so good that it is impossible not to believe in it without the proper equipment.
But if you have surveying equipment or GPS markers to actually measure the difference between the “top” of the slope and the “bottom”, you will realize that the opposite is actually true.
“You are really walking downhill, although your brain gives the impression that you are walking uphill.”
But if the hill is physically a one-sided slope – so great that cars actually pick up speed when they start rolling “up” – how can our eyes fool us so much each time?
According to psychologists, it’s all about the horizon – either it’s hidden in areas with gravitational hills, so we don’t have a proper reference point, or there is a horizon, but it hides the slope of the hill in relation to the rest of the landscape.
The latter explanation seems to work in Arishir, Scotland.
“We’re on a slope,” psychologist Rob McIntosh of the University of Edinburgh tells the Science Channel in the video below.
“The whole terrain is tilted this way, and the road tilts in the same direction, but less so, so the relative slope seems to be going in [the opposite] direction.”
So that’s it; thank you brains. It just shows how tough the human mind is, perspective is everything.
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