By Allison Reuther
We might be a young nation in comparison to the wrinkle-heavy European countries that enjoy flaunting their thousand-year-old castles, but that doesn’t mean that our history isn’t bursting with crazy folklore and urban legends. All around the “fifty nifty United States” are unexplained natural wonders, mysterious landmarks, and odd happenings that have forever fueled oldwives tales. So if you crave the unknown, the possible alien-formed places, or anything that can’t be explained away by a brief scientific fact, then theses places are for you.
1. The Winchester Mystery House
This sprawling adobe abode is not just some posh California mansion housing some rock star, but a memorial of sorts to the Winchester family. Yes, The Winchester family, as in the Winchester rifle. Legend has it that Sarah Winchester, after suffering through the death of her baby daughter, her father-in-law, and finally, her husband, William, was convinced that she was cursed. She sought out a psychic who told her that the source of her troubles came from the vast number of souls who perished at the end of a Winchester Rifle. The psychic told her that to right the wrong she must move out West and build a house and that would keep the angry souls at bay. Sarah Winchester moved out to California where she bought a five-story house which she then began renovating immediately. The house was built in a very baffling way to confuse the spirits, with over 160 rooms there are stairways that lead to nowhere, windows that look into other rooms, doors that don’t open, and hallways that abruptly end.
2. Serpent Mound
Some see the Serpent Mound as a Pagan mark due to the fact that the serpent’s head aligns with the sunset on the day of the Summer Solstice, and the tail points to the sunrise on the days of the Winter Solstice and the equinoxes. Others swear that the Fort Ancient people, a Native American tribe that flourished in the Ohio area for several years that worshipped a giant serpent with supernatural powers, built it in reverence of the creature. All the same, we know no definite reason behind the 1300-foot-long Serpent Mound and no absolute creator, or creators.
3. The Racetrack’s Sailing Stones
Rocks moving mysteriously on their own? Psh, yeah, right. There just has to be some kind of explanation; a kid pulling juvenile high-jinks, some elaborate magnetic force buried just beneath the surface, or some super-skinny strings that some people miles away tug on every once in a while for a laugh, but no. This dried out lakebed nicknamed the Racetrack in Death Valley, California has ground so soft that the lightest tread will leave a path for years; it is also over 1,000 feet thick, so that rules out a kid and magnets, and I really don’t think that whole string theory is plausible. The rocks gliding along the surface have had scientists scratching their heads for decades; the most logical theory that they have come up with is that when it rains at least a half inch, the surface becomes slick and the rocks can easily move across the slippery surface. The only problem? The Death Valley area averages less than two inches of rainfall each year.
4. The Mothman
A creature that is the stuff of nightmares stalks the Point Pleasant area of West Virginia. A seven-foot creature with blood-red eyes and a ten-foot wingspan has been seen soaring through the heavily forested area since November 1966. This creature has since been dubbed “the Mothman” and nobody quite knows what to make of it. The superstitious locals have paired it with pet disappearances, television static, and bad events altogether. The politicians and scientists in the area are calling it either an Albino Owl or a Sandhill Crane, but nobody has ever gotten close enough to this mysterious creature to be certain. If you’re brave enough, visit The Mothman Museum for tours, info, and memorabilia from The Mothman Prophesies, a movie based on the legend and filmed in the town.
5. Gravity Hill
This stretch of road about ten miles north of Prosser, Washington, seems like your average country road dotted with farms and barns, but it is actually home to one of America’s greatest mysteries. Simply called Gravity Hill, this patch of pavement is unique in the way that it pulls cars uphill. A person pulls their car up to the conveniently marked start line and puts it in neutral and takes their foot off of the brake. Now, most cars would stay in place or simply roll downhill, but here, the cars begin to roll uphill until they reach the end line a little ways down the road. Most people say that this is an optical illusion and that the road merely appears to be sloping uphill while it is actually going downhill, but its elevation has been tested and the results prove that it is indeed an incline. Local lore has it that this mysterious phenomenon is caused by the ghosts of several girls who were murdered in a nearby barn or a schoolbus of children that was hit by a train.
Featured Photo: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mothman.jpeg
Winchester Mystery House: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Winchester_Mystery_House_San_Jose_01.jpg
Serpent Mound: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Serpent_mound_8438.jpg
Sailing Stones: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Racetrack_Playa_(Pirate_Scott).jpg
Mothman Museum: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150535831891380&set=a.433645891379.230387.85484781379&type=1&theater