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Monday, June 4, 2018

Southern California Vol. 25 - Santa Cruz Mystery Spot

Okay, so in the past two weeks, we’ve covered your penny arcade interests at Fisherman’s Wharf (Musée Mécanique) and explored California’s Bigfoot history (Bigfoot Discovery Museum).  You’re still up in Santa Cruz and you’ve done your Lost Boys excursion to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.  You’ve got time for one more thing and you want it to be fun, weird and historical all at the same time.  Where do you go?

You visit The Mystery Spot.

After WWII, Americans experienced a prosperity they hadn’t seen in years.  Suddenly, everyone had an automobile and road trip excursions were the usual way to take a vacation.  A handful of entrepreneurs realized the potential of all those travelers stopping for a rest break and possibly dropping a few dollars if the attraction was interesting enough.  One such man was George Prather. 

Prather built a house that seems to defy gravity and the laws of physics.  It’s located on three acres of land that he purchased in 1940.  The story he liked to tell was that he was walking on the property when he suddenly felt dizzy and his compass began going crazy.   He realized immediately that this place must be an anomaly in Earth’s gravitational field and built the house so that people could experience it first hand.  Of course, the fact is that the house is built on the hill in such a way that everything you’re experiencing is a visual illusion. 

Balls aren’t really rolling uphill, but they certainly look like it.  That man isn’t standing out on a tiny ledge on the wall or is he?  What about that lady in the chair that seems to be floating?
The Mystery Spot has been open since 1941 and is now a California Historical Landmark.   It’s also a lot of fun, so why not round out your excursion to this neck of the woods by making yourself extremely dizzy.

Fair warning for those of you who've been following these California posts for the last six months.  We're going to take a break from the Golden State and spend some time focusing on a different country altogether.  

The truth is that as this posts, I’ve just returned from two weeks in Tokyo, Japan.  Some of you may remember that I went there last year with my family.  This time though, we went back to focus on some of the things that people don’t normally know about or do on a visit to Tokyo.  We visited the infamous Suicide Forest, sought out Godzilla locations, had drinks and food at a Kaiju bar, searched for the inspirations behind our favorite Ghibli Studios films and generally sought out the odd.  For instance, how would you like to visit a parasite museum? 

You know you would, so be sure to swing by here over the coming weeks as we check out the weird and wonderful around Tokyo.  I promise we'll eventually come back to California because there's a lot more weirdness out here to cover.

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