Free enamel pin when you buy any two Atlas Obscura products. Shop now.

St. Ignace, Michigan

St. Ignace Mystery Spot

Strange physical sensations and optical contradictions keep visitors coming back for more. 

While skeptics are quick to write off the effects seen at mystery spots scattered all over the United States, this doesn’t make them any less fun, and tourists continue to visit. Granted, the heavy advertising outside and hokey feeling that these spots inspire make it a bit easy to dismiss them as tourist traps, (which of course they are) but none of this takes away from the bizarre and delightful feeling of letting ones brain be hijacked by a perceptual con-artist.

The story: According to the St. Ignace Mystery Spot, in the early 1950s a few surveyors were exploring Michigan’s Upper Peninsula one day when they realized that none of their equipment was working properly. The problems, they discovered after some testing, were only apparently in a circle about 300 feet in diameter. Behold: a mystery spot!

Over the years, thousands of visitors have stopped at the Mystery Spot to experience a place where “gravity does strange things” (or more accurately, your brain does strange things as it tries to make sense of contradictory input) and tall people appear to be shorter than they do outside of the spot. These optical contradictions and odd physical sensations keep people coming back for more. It is also said that the Mystery Spot make people feel queasy and light-headed if they stay within the spots boundaries for too long.

Capitalizing on the tourist attraction, the owners of the spot have installed other attractions. Now, visitors to the Mystery Spot can also take a guided tour, play miniature golf, explore a maze built in the woods, or take a ride down a zip line.

The site was voted Michigan’s number one unusual attraction by the readers of Michigan Living magazine.

Know Before You Go

Located 5 miles west of St. Ignace and the Mackinac Bridge on Hwy. US-2.