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Tulsa, Oklahoma

The Center of the Universe

An acoustic anomaly with a mysterious cause. 

The so-called Center of the Universe in downtown Tulsa is marked by a small concrete circle in the middle of a larger circle of bricks. It’s not much to look at, but looking isn’t really the point.

The “Center of the Universe” is a little-known mysterious acoustic phenomenon. If you stand in the middle of the circle and make a noise, the sound is echoed back several times louder than it was made. It’s your own private amplified echo chamber.

As the legend goes, a foghorn could be going off in the center of the circle and those on the outside wouldn’t hear it. This may be an exaggeration, but your voice does sound extremely distorted when heard from outside the circle. It’s an incredible effect.

Like the Lake George Mystery Spot—another acoustical vortex that seems to defy the laws of physics—the effect is thought to be caused by the sound reflecting off a circular wall, in this case a nearby planter. Still, though many people have studied the cause of the odd anomaly there’s no clear consensus. Whatever the causes of this natural sonic distortion may be, it is truly an amazing place.

Know Before You Go

A brick path leads to the pedestrian bridge that goes over the railroad tracks, accessible from the corner of W. Archer St. and N. Boston Ave. It is located directly northwest of the old Union Train Depot (now the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame), and immediately south of the Williams Center Tower. A stone's throw away from the Center of the Universe another Tulsa landmark, the "Artificial Cloud" statue, stands tall, as if marking this strange spot.

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