The Secret of Spook Hill, Lake Wales, Florida

by Greg May
(Orlando, Florida)

Spook Hill Lake Wales Florida Vintage Postcard

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.


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Florida Backroads Travel Page On Spook Hill

Comments for The Secret of Spook Hill, Lake Wales, Florida

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Jan 25, 2017
And Before the Giant Gator...
by: Roger Agness

TRUE STORY:

Back in the 1960s, Spook Hill was the gravesite of "Old Black Joe" who pushed your vehicle off his chest. :(

Then in the 1970s and 1980s it became the gravesite of a dead pirate.

Now it is a giant gator. :)

FLORIDA BACKROADS TRAVEL SAYS

Roger, do you to care to expand on this story? I'm not sure what you mean. Are you talking about local legends?

Aug 29, 2016
Spook Hill
by: Anonymous

There is also a spook hill located in Middlesex, NY!

Aug 12, 2016
Neat
by: ALT

The first time there I could not believe, so neat. Really worth the drive, talked about it often since then.

Aug 11, 2015
Thrill Hill
by: Anonymous

There is also a hill in north Jersey called Thrill Hill...same idea, put the car in neutral and be amazed as your car is pulled up the hill! I wasn't aware it was an optical illusion however, I was told there was magnetized metals in the hill above and I believed it...duh!

Oct 31, 2014
springer, OK
by: Kim

there's another place NW of Springer, OK called gravity hill where this phenomenon exists also. Google it to find the exact location.

Oct 18, 2014
love it.
by: Anonymous

we went here and i thought it was great.

Aug 31, 2014
Gravity Hill, Pennsylvania
by: Anonymous

The same phenomenon exists in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. Many fun times going there and watching our car roll uphill! If you google Gravity Hill you'll get info on the exact location and how to find it.

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