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Gold Hill, Oregon

Oregon Vortex

A tourist attraction founded around a slumping cabin. 

In the early 20th century, a small office built for a local mining company began sliding down a hill, eventually resting at an odd angle to its foundation. From this simple accident a tourist attraction was born.

The owners, the Cooper family, say the building slid down the hill because of a magnetic force, that forms what the Coopers call a “vortex.” This force, they claim, also causes all sorts of other “paranormal activity” around the hill, where balls appear to roll uphill and broomsticks seem to stand on end. The Cooper family also claims that the Native Americans thought this space was forbidden ground, and their horses would not enter it, though local Native Americans may say otherwise.

Skeptics, and those with a good pair of eyes or sense of orientation, will point out that it is the distorted building that makes the objects and people around it appear at different heights. The perceived distortions are due to a forced perspective which makes shapes appear larger or smaller due to a distorted background. A classic example of this is an Ames room in which people appear to grow in size as they walk across it.

Magnetic vortex: nope. Delightful trick of perception: unquestionably.

Know Before You Go

Coming on I-5 Southbound, from Eugene, Portland, or Washington:Take Exit 43 off of I-5 and turn left at the end of the offramp.At the end of the overpass, turn right onto Highway 99.Follow the road over Rock Point Bridge and continue on Highway 99 to the right.Turn left onto Sardine Creek Road a quarter mile after the billboard.Follow Sardine Creek Road for 3 miles and continue left at the fork, following the creek.Follow Sardine Creek Left Fork Road 1.3 miles to The Oregon Vortex. Coming on I-5 Northbound, from Ashland, Medford, or California:Take Exit 40 off of I-5 and turn right at the end of the offramp.Turn left at Highway 99, towards Gold Hill.Follow Highway 99 for 2 miles through Gold Hill.Turn right at the large billboard onto Sardine Creek Road.Follow Sardine Creek Road for 3 miles and continue left at the fork, following the creek.Follow Sardine Creek Left Fork Road 1.3 miles to The Oregon Vortex.