Mysterious Lands The Oregon Vortex and House of Mystery

About the mysterious land The Oregon Vortex also known as the House of Mystery a tourist spot with strange angles and inclines.

The Place: THE OREGON VORTEX

Location: Near Sardine Creek, about 19 mi. from Medford, Ore.

The Enigma: The Oregon Vortex is a spot about 165' in diameter in which gravity appears to play strange tricks. Roughly in its center is an old wooden shed, once an assay office for a gold mining company-now called the House of Mystery. People who enter the building find themselves leaning at an angle of about 10deg toward the center of the 165' circle. A 28-Ib. ball hangs at an angle from a chain hung on a beam in the shack.

Other weird things happen in the vortex. Cigarette smoke makes spirals. If an empty glass jar is placed on a board sloping uphill, toward the center of the circle, the jar will roll uphill. Compasses don't work in the vortex. A light meter will register different readings within and outside it. Birds won't go within its limits. Trees growing inside it have limbs that droop and lean toward magnetic north, and visitors entering the area assume a posture that inclines toward magnetic north. If 2 men of equal height stand a short distance apart, and are viewed by a 3rd observer, one will seem to be taller than the other. According to a guide: "As another person retreats from you toward the south, he becomes taller. This is contrary to the laws of perspective, and must be seen to be believed."

Some Explanations: Some scientists argue that the vortex does not defy the laws of nature. One skeptic, Herbert B. Nichols, former natural science editor of The Christian Science Monitor, took a carpenter's level, a light meter, and a plumb bob with him when he visited the site. Nichols claimed that there were no supernatural forces at work in the vortex and that visitors were mere victims of optical illusion.

However, promoters of the "House of Mystery" continue to dispute the optical-illusion theory. They claim that instruments placed outside the vortex have proved that. The steel ball does hang at an angle.

Today: If you wish, try to solve the phenomenon yourself. The House of Mystery is open to tourists from March 1 to October 15; summer hours are 8 A.M. to 6 P.M. Address: 4303 Sardine Creek Road, Gold Hill, Ore. 97525.

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