Gravity hills are one of those classic examples of an unexplained phenomena – for some they are an optical illusion, for others a physics anomaly while for others they are connected with the supernatural.  Whatever the case, there are countless examples from around the world of places where things don’t work quite as they should do.

Basics of the phenomena

According to the definition of Wikipedia, a gravity hill is a place where the layout of the land creates an optical illusion, making a slight downhill slope appear to actually go upwards.  This means that a car left out of gear will appear to roll uphill, the opposite of how gravity would react.  The optical illusion is said to happen due to an obstructed horizon – this makes judging the slope difficult as there are no reference objects.  Trees around the road can also appear to be leaning.  The phenomena are also known as a mystery hill, a magnetic hill or a gravity road.

Gravity hills aren’t just a phenomenon that has appeared since the invention of the car either.  There are stories of soldiers in the American Civil War trying to roll cannons into position but unable to do due to the phenomena.  There are also stories connecting these spots with problems with the running of the cars – they shut off or act funny as well as moving in ways they seem as if they shouldn’t.

Spooky residents

The reason that the phenomena features here is that many of these gravity hills or roads have an accompanying story or two connecting them with some kind of haunting.  Spectral children are near the top of the list of phenomena reported around these spots and many of them seems to be friendly or at least simply playful rather than threatening or frightening.

California is one place that has quite a good number of these strange locations.  The hill in Altadena, Pasadena is said to be associated with the death of a group of school children some years back.  The bus was involved in an accident and all the children on board died.  Since then, they try to push cars that are sitting idle, trying to prevent another accident.  Similar stories surround the hill in Antioch as well as connections to the nearby insane asylum as well as an abandoned slaughterhouse.

The stories around the Livermore Hill have a common addition to them – if you have a dusty bumper bar, you will see hand prints in the dust where the spirits of the hill have gripped the vehicle to push it.  Stories here include a school bus as well as a pair of teenagers, killed after their prom on the road.  A third story includes teenagers killed in a prank gone wrong who now seek revenge on drivers to who stop on the hill.

Likewise, the hill in Sonoma also has reports of handprints on dusty bumper bars as well as fingerprints on windshields, as if the spirit kids are letting drivers know they are there.  These children were killed then their bus driver lost control and steered the vehicle over a cliff, killing everyone on board.

Around the world

Orroroo Hill, Australia
Orroroo Hill, Australia

The list of locations associated with the gravity hill phenomena cover all areas of the world.  Bowen Mountain in New South Wales, Australia has a giant magnet marking the spot while many of the locations are actually called Magnetic Hill, Gravity Hill or even Spooky Hill.  Other times they are known as magic roads or hills, such as 300 metres worth of road near the village of Les Noes in France – known locally as ‘route magique’.


Whether gravity hills are an optical illusion, a magnetic anomaly or happen as the result of resident spirits, there is little doubt that something happens in these spots.  Perhaps it is a combination of elements – could these spirits be drawn to the magnetic anomalies of the spot rather than it being the place of their death?  Could the phenomena that makes for the optical illusion also encourage the seeing of spirits or their work?  More study is definitely needed to understand better.