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.

Just Posted

Firefighters extinguish brush fire near Port Alberni residential area

Fire was discovered in bush off Kitsuksis Creek Trail

BCHL: Battle for Bulldogs’ roster spots heats up as main camp begins

Alberni Valley’s new head coach will get his first look at revamped Jr. A hockey team

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs add experience to blueline

Jimmy Rayhill commits to Bulldogs as main training camp set to start Aug. 19

Port Alberni cadet learns outdoor skills at Vernon camp

Outdoor skills some of leadership learning activities at annual summer camp

70 years of lifting: Canadian man, 85, could cinch weightlifting championship

The senior gym junkie is on track to win the World Masters Weightlifting championship

U16 B.C. fastpitch team named national champs

Girls went undefeated at national tournament in Calgary

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

B.C. VIEWS: Log exports and my other errors so far in 2019

Plastic bags, legislature overspending turn out differently

Most Read