Family Fun Week: Defy gravity at Mystery Hill


An attraction in Western North Carolina is a place you have to experience in order to believe. Mystery Hill is the only place in our region where balls naturally roll uphill instead of downhill, water flows uphill and it takes more force to move objects in one direction than another.

Located in Blowing Rock, Mystery Hill is the only known natural gravitational anomaly in North Carolina.

Anomaly Caretaker Matthew Underwood explained, “Basically an anomaly is anything that deviates from standard. On 99.9 percent of the Earth gravity always pulls stuff towards the center of the Earth. Things are going to behave a certain way. Isaac Newton told us how things are going to behave. But then you find certain places where those rules don’t apply sometimes and that’s what’s happening here.”

Underwood said people travel across the world to experience the anomaly, including people from as far away as New Zealand.

Sara Yarnell and her family traveled from Raleigh, North Carolina to visit the anomaly. She described what it felt like inside Mystery House. “My body was feeling all out of sorts… The ball rolling uphill, that was pretty crazy.”

Another customer said the anomaly made her feel nauseous. “It was similar to motion sickness,” Amy Rhodes said.

The Hudson family discovered the anomaly in the 1920s when they operated a successful apple orchard. “They had strange things happen,” Underwood said. “The apples fell out of the trees and instead of landing on the path down below the apples they ended on the path above them, which made no sense to them.” Underwood said the family opened the attraction in the 1950s after visiting a similar anomaly in California.

Underwood said there are a lot of theories about why gravity behaves differently on Mystery Hill. “We truly believe somewhere in the ground if you were to dig down you would find this large mass of iron ore or magnetite in the ground and it happens to be large enough and dense enough that you’re experiencing some gravitational pull towards that mass.”

Mystery Hill offers several other attractions including optical illusions, a giant bubble room, gem mining, dinosaur fossils and a Native American artifacts collection featuring 55,000 artifacts.

To find out how you can experience the anomaly, visit the Mystery Hill website.

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