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World's strangest: The road where cars roll uphill

'World's Strangest': The Road Where Cars Roll Uphill

It may look normal at first, but something very odd is happening on a scenic road in Ayrshire, Scotland. The Electric Brae is a road on which cyclists pedal hard to ride downhill, then rest while coasting uphill. Even a car in neutral will look like it's starting to roll up the hill.


Conspiracy theories range from magnetic forces to supernatural beings. One thing locals agree on? This road is confusing.

Surveyor Chris English investigated using a theodolite, a sophisticated piece of equipment used for measuring angles in horizontal and vertical planes. In this case, Chris was able to confirm that the apparent top of the hill is actually 292 feet above sea level, while the apparent bottom of the hill is 303 feet above sea level.

The answer? Sorry, conspiracy theorists ... it's all just an optical illusion.

Psychologist Dr. Rob McIntosh explains that the illusion is a product of the surrounding landscape. "If we could get a wide enough perspective on this we'd see that we're standing within a tilted land mass. The whole landscape tilts this way and the road tilts in the same direction but by a smaller amount," McIntosh explains. The "relative slope," he points out, is the illusion.

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tony941 June 02 2014 at 9:08 AM

A 10 dollar level would have given you the same results

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3 replies
ROGER JULIAN MENARD June 02 2014 at 7:09 AM

we have a road here in lake wales florida called spook hill , same as the add above

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1 reply
Dane ROGER JULIAN MENARD June 02 2014 at 10:29 AM

Yes, I've been to Spook HIl. A fun optical illusion. I'm surprised that it took a professional surveyer with a very complicated piece of equipment to determine the slope, though, when a simple carpenter's level would have given the same result.

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Don June 02 2014 at 9:37 AM

Central Pennsylvania has "Gravity Hill". Same effects, same reason.

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1 reply
Mark Don June 02 2014 at 9:54 AM

There is one in NJ with he same name Gravity hill.

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1 reply
meritaten27 Mark June 02 2014 at 11:50 AM

There's also a Gravity Hill in Indiana. Saw the explanation on a "news" show at Halloween many years ago. It's still a fun optical illusion.

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queencelt June 02 2014 at 11:08 AM

My dad used to shut off the engine of his Morris Minor to coast "up" the Brae. I'm so glad that Scotland values its scenery and landmarks so much that the surrounding view has not changed in centuries.

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1 reply
mupzor queencelt June 02 2014 at 4:57 PM

the hillman minx will not coast the same as a morris minor. or even a mg 1100. wierd and spooky.

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1 reply
majorg1000 mupzor June 02 2014 at 9:55 PM

What about a triumph Dolomite?

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Dorothy June 02 2014 at 5:30 AM

"Spook Hill" in central Florida is the same way. Great fun for kids and grownups!

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mupzor June 02 2014 at 4:52 PM

the springs on my old car are sagging on the left side, from driving it alone for decades. the crown in the road creates a situation where the car is mostly level when driving. sometimes when i get out of the car, i forget to put on the parking brake. as the ground and driveway is level, this typically does not create much of an issue. is my post as interesting as the article? glad you read it huh!! :o)

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1 reply
molly2peaches mupzor June 02 2014 at 10:58 PM

Your springs aren't sagging. You have a busted stabilizer (torsion) bar, or possibly a rusted through motor mount. Look underneath, you'll see it.

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LL June 02 2014 at 8:56 PM

Much the same way Americans feel these days about our economy, ....even though it may seem we're moving upward, we're really going down, thanks to our adminstration's sligh of hand presentations !

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TripleXKimberly June 02 2014 at 7:22 AM

Creepy! As long as I would be able to get off the road is all I care about!

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michaelobrien5 June 02 2014 at 1:41 PM

When I was a land surveyor I was always told not to smoke or I might set the theodolite!!!

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bossleo63 June 02 2014 at 2:17 PM

also in Alabama

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