It’s a Mystery to Me

April 23, 2009 — by Amalie MacGowan
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Junior Amalie MacGowan

Go into a parking lot, any parking lot in northern California, and I’m sure you can find at least one vehicle with a banana yellow bumper sticker on the rear of their car. Almost everyone recognizes it, and almost every local has visited this famous destination at least once.

I don’t know if it was simply because it was a sunny, summery Saturday afternoon, or if it had to do with the crowd of people swarming the destination, but while waiting for 30 minutes to receive a parking space, the anticipation was building for me. I really expected this Mystery Spot to be an experience I would remember for the rest of my life.

I walked with my family into what looked like a theme park entrance, and we purchased tickets from an old wooden booth. We were told to wait three hours for our tour and thought about leaving, but we were determined to finally see the mystery this spot offered. I figured it was probably going to be bogus, but we had come all this way, so we were going to see it, and like it.

After talking, texting, eating gift shop junk food and practically twiddling our thumbs for two hours and 45 minutes, our tour was called at last. We climbed the steep incline, while the tour guide unenthusiastically repeated the speech she had probably said at least 10 times that day. It was just my luck that the group happened to have a large family who was obviously visiting the U.S. from abroad. They constantly took pictures, thwarted my views and interrupted the speaker with an unrecognizable language.

With all the misfortunes that had occurred already, the extra speed bump was more humorous than frustrating. I listened to the tour guide tell us the multiple theories on why the Mystery Spot is such a mystery including theories of aliens once burying unearthly metals in the ground, and the presence of magma underneath the crust circulating in a different direction and causing a “special gravitational pull”. My thoughts, this is a cabin built on a hill.

After watching a ball mysteriously roll uphill and watching the tour group marvel as they walked down an obviously slanted room, we left the site. As we did, one of my long-time questions was finally answered when they pushed two bright yellow bumper stickers into my hands. “Free?” I asked to myself quietly while having an epiphany. Of course, everyone gets a free bumper sticker at the end, and why not put it on your bumper? Sure, it’s not the most attractive sticker, but it somehow says “I’m a northern Californian, and I’m proud of it.”

After doing my research, I found that the spot really is a visual illusion. There are places just like it all over the continental U.S., and all over the world as well. In all, it may not be Disneyland, but everyone in this area has to see it once, and once you do, it will be an experience you’ll never forget. Plus—you get a free bumper sticker.

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