America's Most Mysterious Places
- World's Most Unusual Hotels
- World's Strangest Liquors
- 20 Life-Changing Trips
© Adam C. George
The Mystery: People have long scratched their heads over the “Sailing Stones,” which mysteriously move across the sandy playa’s surface on their own, leaving visible tracks in their wake.
Fact: Given that these rocks chart a new course once every three years, it’s no wonder no one has ever seen them in motion. Some theorize that, in winter, wet clay and strong winds—which can reach speeds of up to 90 mph—are to blame, but no one is 100 percent certain what causes this curious natural (or unnatural?) phenomena.
The Mystery: This stunning snow-capped peak in the Cascade Mountain range, 60 miles south of the Oregon border, has long been considered one of the planet’s great “cosmic power spots,” luring everyone from Native Americans to Buddhist monks and hippies. Its sacred slopes are home to a potpourri of mysteries: spontaneous altered states; UFO sightings; crystal caves; encounters with Ascended Masters; underground military bases; even the rumored home to Lemurians, surviving members of a sensitive super-race some believe existed 12,000 years ago during the time of Atlantis.
Fact: A chance encounter with a strange group of warm, seemingly enlightened people in Shasta Valley inspired James Hilton to author the classic 1933 novel Lost Horizon, a tale about the idyllic community of Shangri-La. Others claim similar real-life experiences, but the mountain’s sheer natural beauty is inspiration enough for most.
Uintah Basin, Utah
The Mystery: Its name may be a tongue-in-cheek twist on filmmaker George Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch, but this 480-acre compound in northeastern Utah is the site of many unexplained — and harrowing — incidents: roaring underground noises, the appearance of menacing blue orbs, attacks by shape-shifting beasts, and evidence of animal mutilations.
Fact: Purchased in 1994 by a couple looking to raise cattle and quickly put on the market two years later, the area—according to local Native American folklore—is legendary for its dark energies. The ranch is now managed by the National Institute for Discovery Sciences, a paranormal research organization.
Gold Hill, Ore.
The Mystery: Measuring 165 feet in diameter and known for producing intense feelings of vertigo, this curious site in southern Oregon has attracted visitors since the 1930s. Here, balls roll uphill, brooms stand on end, and people appear to grow and shrink inside its centerpiece, a former gold mining outpost called the House of Mystery.
Fact: Whether caused by gravity anomalies, a concentration in the Earth’s magnetic fields, or paranormal presence, the Vortex’s strange phenomena is well documented, and animals still refuse to enter its sphere. Native Americans referred to it as Forbidden Ground.
The Paulding Light
The Mystery: For more than a century, on clear nights, unidentified spheres of light appear like clockwork on the horizon of this four corners town. To date, there’s no logical explanation for the luminescent red, white, and green balls that dance on the edge of the forest, but they are rumored to be the ghost of a railroad brakeman who met his fate on the tracks.