Vernon Morning Star reporter Roger Knox visits the iconic Vernon oddity magnetic hill. (Parker Crook - Morning Star)

VIDEO: Can you believe it? This B.C. hill pulls cars backwards up a slope

Sir Isaac Newton had clearly never been to this Vernon anomaly when he discovered gravity

You’re on a rural Vernon road in the BX. Your vehicle is pointing north, appearing to be on a downhill portion of the road. You stop your vehicle at a certain point on the road. You put the car, pointing downhill, in neutral.

Physics suggests you should then roll downhill, no?

No.

You will be pulled uphill. For a fair distance. Reaching speeds of 20 kilometres/hour.

Welcome to Vernon’s Magnetic Hill.

Found on Dixon Dam Road, the anomaly has been a hit with locals for decades.

“One of the first things I did when I got my driver’s licence was trying Magnetic Hill,” said Roger Knox, reporter with The Morning Star, 55. “Over the years, I’ve taken friends from out of town to it, showed them how it works, and watched their amazement-like reactions. I’ve taken my son there and some of his friends.

“I’ve often thought of starting a Magnetic Hill tour side business.”

READ MORE: Trail to go through Magnetic Hill area

A 2016 post on waymarking.com confirmed Vernon’s Magnetic Hill works.

“We had just arrived on Dixon Dam Road contemplating the complexities of this gravity hill. We exited the car when along came a red pickup truck and he stopped and put his truck into neutral and started coasting up/down the hill. He then turned around a little down the road and returned again doing the same thing.

“When he reached us, with a big grin he said, ‘Hey guys, it works.’ He has lived in the area for quite a while and always heard about this gravity hill and thought he would try it out. Inspired we gave it a try, and though slow we did coast along the road.”

According to Wikipedia and Youtube, there are three such magnetic or gravity hills in B.C.: Vernon’s Magnetic Hill, one in Abbotsford at McKee Road just before Ledgeview Golf Course, and one in Maple Ridge at 100th Avenue and 256th Street, right beside an old elementary school.

Wikipedia lists nine other such hills across Canada.

A gravity or magnetic hill is a place where a slight downhill slope appears to be an uphill slope due to the layout of the surrounding land, creating the optical illusion that water flows uphill or a car left out of gear will roll uphill, among others.

Business Insider championed the optical illusion in a 2016 report on magnetic or gravity hills.

“All of these sites have one thing in common (other than their apparent disregard for gravity): the horizon is either curved or obstructed from view. This is key,” said the report. “Horizons provide us with a very useful reference point when we’re trying to judge the slope of a surface. A study published in Psychological Science in 2003 found that false horizon lines can be deceiving to observers perceiving landscapes.

“Without a true horizon in sight, objects such as trees and walls — which your eyes use as visual clues to determine perpendicularilty — can play tricks on you. If these objects are leaning slightly, they might make you think you’re looking at a downward slope, when in actuality you may simply be looking at a flat (or even uphill!) surface.

“As a result, anything you rest upon the surface — whether it’s a rubber ball, a stream of water, or a 4,000-pound car — will appear to fight the flow of gravity and travel uphill. And while the thought of ghosts or supernatural forces carrying these objects is tempting, the most likely explanation is that your eyes are just playing tricks on you.”

READ MORE: Shatzko leads RDNO voting

In the end, it looks like Sir Isaac Newton had it right all along.


@VernonNews
newstips@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fisheries and Oceans Canada lifts at-sea observer requirements due to COVID-19

Fisheries Management Order went into effect April 2 and will remain for 45 days

Kitimat looking at ways to reduce proposed 3 per cent tax increase

Council’s next review of the proposed budget is on April 14

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Northern Health says it’s ready for possibility of COVID-19 surge

Health authority confident with inventory of ventilators

As 240K apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

Wearing non-medical masks can stop spread of COVID-19 before symptoms start: Tam

Health officials had previously not recommended wearing them

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

Easter Bunny not a COVID-19 carrier, allowed to do drop offs

World Health Organization grants permission to Bunny as he cannot transfer the virus

COVID-19 world update: 1,000 cases hit U.S. military; Good news in Spain, Portugal

Comprehensive collection of coronavirus news from around the world

Most Read