Bay Area Day Trips - Mystery Spot, Santa Cruz

Another weekend. Another day trip. And countless more to come.

I am surprised I have not heard of 'Mystery Spot' before. Well, I may have, but nothing awes me like Mother Nature does, so may be it did not register in my nature-wired brain. So, when my friend told me about this tourist trap err..attraction in Santa Cruz, I decided to check it out.  

Coming from India, where many historic monuments are utterly neglected and most mysteries are known only through word of mouth, it always amazed me how every piece of stone, rock and wood is celebrated and marketed in USA as if it should be on the bucket list of every citizen, immigrant, expat and tourist who sets foot on this country. While I am  glad to see how they treasure everything and hang on to every bit of little history and mystery they have, I also learned to be cautious and not get super excited when I am told something should be on my must-see list. And my husband will be quick to remind me how I made him stand in queue for 30 minutes in hot sun for a 2 second silly photograph at the famous 'Four Corners National Monument' which you can read here :)
With that background, we were a bit skeptical about this 'Mystery Spot.' Given that it is located in redwood forest just outside of Santa Cruz worked in its favor (My love for redwood forests is no secret :). The drive from Bay Area to Santa Cruz was beautiful and we reached there at noon on a drizzling Saturday. At the entrance, we were received with the quintessential Californian question, "Do you have reservations (for a tour)?". "No, we simply want to check it out." "Sorry ma'am, you have to buy tickets for a tour." "Of course, we have to!" "The next available tour is at 2 pm." We bought the tickets (only $6 per person) and then went to check out the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, a century-old amusement park by the Beach. We took a stroll along the Boardwalk and down the memory lane as it reminded us of the 'fairs' we used to attend as kids back home in India. Sigh!

It is 2'o clock and we were back at the Mystery Spot waiting for our tour to begin. And it promptly began with a group of about 20 people and a young tour guide. Now, I personally have never been a fan of guided tours and on the occasional instances where I am part of some tour, I find myself not paying much attention to the tour guide, wanting to freely explore the place by myself. But this time was going to be different. For the next 45 minutes, our tour guide engaged everyone in the group from toddlers to 60 year-olds and I have never appreciated a guided tour more than I did then. And I have to admit that I would not have enjoyed the place as much as I did if it was not part of the tour.

The tour guide showed us several tricks, like a magician to an enthralled audience, and made the experience a lot more fun than I anticipated. You may later dismiss the whole thing as an optical illusion and attribute everything to the 20 degree tilt of the cabin which causes spatial distortion, but while you are there, you have to admit that it is exciting and fun to be standing in a slant position, to see the ball rolling uphill, tall people appearing relatively shorter than the short people and several other quirky things that happen inside and out of that tiny tilted cabin. 

Outside the cabin - Our tour guide standing straight :)
Inside the tilted cabin - My husband standing straight!

Walking up the stairs

For me, the most interesting thing was to experience a strong (gravitational?) pull, something like being drawn to a magnet while I was inside the cabin. Or may be it was just my stomach. Or my brain. I don't know and I don't really care. I had fun and if you are visiting me next time while I am in the Bay Area, I will take you to the Mystery Spot :)

P.S: To learn more about why it is called Mystery spot and how it works, click here.


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