Polo Magnetico

Magnetic Pole/ Polo Magnetico (or Magnetic Hill)

There was an old man in his 90’s that seems to have all the “facts” about Polo Magnetico, according to him when he was interviewed by Dominican newspaper El Caribe in 2003. This “expert” says things move up this hill because of the two underground mines that are found here. One is a petroleum mine and the second is a sulfur mine. According to him, and the locals, objects here move uphill. A car left out of gear will appear to be rolling uphill. A bottle or ball left on the road here will also mysteriously roll up hill.

This place that is magic is located in the Barahona providence of Dominican Republic along the Cabral-Polo highway. This stretch of road is between the towns of the Auyamas and Polo. It is on a hill called La Cueva/ The Cave. The only thing that marks the place where this natural phenomenon takes place is a sign placed there by the Brugal (rum) Company. There are pale remnants of a painted circle with a yellow dot in the center. This is all that marks the spot, this and people standing around watching the happenings in amazement.

Now you may wonder what causes things to magical roll uphill on their own. In truth, it has nothing to do with magnetic fields, electricity or unknown mysterious forces. The slope of a magnetic or gravity hill is an optical illusion. Gravity has nothing to do with what happens here. The most important thing contributing to this illusion is an obstructed (or mostly blocked) horizon. If there is no horizon it can make judging the slope of a surface very difficult. There is no reference point. Objects that normally seem to be more-or-less perpendicular to the ground (such as trees) may actually be leaning, thus misconstruing your visual reference. Since we do have a sense of balance to determine the slope of the ground, visual clues can override this sense, especially if the incline is slight. So, whatever name we give it, Magnetic Hill, Gravity Hill, Mystery Hill or Electric Brae it is an optical illusion. One of the hundreds of known gravity hill locations around the world.

For me, I prefer to blame it on folklore, the mysteries of nature and the supernatural. It makes life a little more enjoyable and mysterious….

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