The Secret of Spook Hill, Lake Wales, Florida
by Greg May
Spook Hill Lake Wales Florida Vintage Postcard
Before Disney, Winter Haven was a major tourist destination as the home of Cypress Gardens. Nearby Lake Wales was also a destination as the home of Masterpiece Gardens and Bok Tower.
But there is another attraction in Lake Wales that is worth a visit. Although Cypress Gardens and Masterpiece Gardens are now remembered as Lost Attractions, Spook Hill has the distinction of being the only tourist attraction that will probably never close.
I still remember the time back in the sixties when my family experienced Spook Hill and how perplexed my dad - who was an engineer - became trying to figure it out. For those of you not-in-the-know, when you put your automobile in neutral at the bottom of the hill it rolls backwards up the hill!
Actually, this is an illusion - a sensory illusion. Our senses have a tendency to assume that trees and other objects (i.e. fence posts, signs) are positioned at right angles to the horizontal. Thousands of years ago a geological shift - most likely an earthquake - gave the surrounding terrain a topsy-turvey appearance so our sense of sight overcomes the balance organs in our inner ear.
So in reality your car is rolling uphill!
The only other location known for this unique optical illusion is the 'Oregon Vortex' near Gold Hill, Oregon.
The next time you feel like taking a Sunday drive head over to Lake Wales and Spook Hill.
It's a lot of fun to take people with you who have never heard of it.
View Larger MapFlorida Backroads Travel Page On Spook Hill