This is a story about climbing a mountain path in the Redwood Forest north of Santa Cruz and close to San Francisco.
Friends took me on a sight-seeing tour to a place called "Mystery Spot," elaborating, “This is a must-see!" Thus, on a sunny October day, we began an excursion to the Mystery Spot in the Redwoods.
An immense wooden gate towers over the parking lot at the entrance. The area we came to explore covers approximately 150 sq. ft. The cost is $5.00 per person, and a guide shepherds small groups to the spot—about six people at a time.
Americans could probably follow our guide’s rapid explanatory monologue, but for me—a German visitor—only a few points were discernible. What I saw and sensed, however, left me astonished.
Ascending a hill that looked deceptively easy to climb became ever more difficult with each step. Using all my strength, I attempted to approach the weathered, slanted wooden house clinging to the hillside. I found myself grasping the safety rail while my head did a few extra revolutions. It felt like vertigo.
An unknown force—an energy I don’t dare to call gravity any longer—overcame me. There was an immense pressure that one had to overcome in order to ascend this seemingly small hill. The mumbling guide had warned us, but we had, of course, dismissed his warning. How could this tame-looking hill compare to Alpine hiking? With great effort, I pulled myself along the rail, completing the last few steps.
Birds and Animals Stay Away
Something otherworldly seemed to be at play here. Birds didn’t fly into this segment of the woods—their twitter was absent. Other animals also stayed away.
And then there were the redwood trees. Typically, redwood trees sport slender branches that circle the whole trunk and grow outward, but here, the trees facing this mysterious place grow no limbs! One had to wonder what natural laws were governing this place?
If the experience of losing my sense of gravity was a puzzle, there would be more bizarre experiences ahead. In the wooden house, a pendulum swings twice as far to one side as to the other. Another wall on narrow wooden slats turns out to be an easy climb. Were such surprises tricks or secrets?
At the conclusion of the tour, there is a horizontal slab of concrete for two people to stand at opposite ends. By exchanging positions, one experiences feeling taller or shorter—both to oneself and to onlookers. We laughed, cameras clicked, and suddenly the vertigo was gone.
Numerous scientists and hobby researchers have approached this area with all manner of measuring devices, yet they have been unable to provide a convincing explanation regarding the forces at play here. A few visitors merely laugh and declare all this to be an illusion. Others return again and again, and many leave as if nothing has happened, save some enjoyable entertainment.
Is all of this reality or science fiction? A mere illusion or a glimpse into another dimension? If nothing else, the Mystery Spot challenges our perceptions and urges us to reexamine our conventional thinking.