Seen in Silicon Valley – Mystery Spot

More in the things found in Silicon Valley. This isn’t as mundane as a Mercedes with a lawnmower in the trunk. Nope, this is about the Tourist Trap, AKA The Mystery Spot.

kome_packWhy am I bringing it up? Mainly because there are so damn many of their bumper stickers everywhere. I swear every third car has a “Mystery Spot” decal. More than used to have the iconic KOME 98.5 decals back in the day

The attraction is a “house” built in Santa Cruz where it “appears” that the laws of physics has been suspended. Balls roll uphill, you can’t stand perpendicular to the floor, yada yada.

Of course they offer some ridiculous explanations of the phenomenon. From their website, they claim that there is a circular magnetic anomaly, 150 feet in diameter that affects the local gravity. Of course this is malarky. The physicist in me doesn’t need to calculate the mass of such an anomaly to know that it would have to be neutron star density. But it plays well to the rubes.

bumper stiskerReality is that the house is built on a hill, and thus is slanted 20 degrees from normal, while carefully modifying the perspectives so that the brain is confused by the eye. The human mind wants to find horizons and levels, and will use the clues of the structure to build this, even if they are way out of what we would consider normal.

A thorough debunking was done in the 1990’s by a psychologist at UC Berkeley.

Of course, that hasn’t quenched the popularity one iota, and you see shitloads of Mystery Spot decals.

(Side note: It is damn sad that the KOME decals sell for $12 on FleaBay)