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Watch your car roll UP-HILL!!! On a SAFETY note please be careful when stopping in the road to test this cache, and don't forget cars travel both ways. Have Fun! To get the effect, bring your car up to the hill facing east and on the correct side of the road. Put it in natural and watch it roll up the hill.
I would also like to clean up this area, there is some trash on the sides of the roads. If you can grab a piece and throw it out thanks, if everyone takes a little then it will be cleaned up before you know it. Gravity Hill,GREENFIELD -- You may not find your thrill on Gravity Hill, but you will discover that what some folks say about a certain stretch of Shelburne Road is true: PARK YOUR CAR ON THE SLIGHT INCLINE JUST EAST OF THE ROUTE 2 OVERPASS, shift into neutral, and coast uphill. At least that's what appears to happen. Just ask anybody who's motored up the winding road two miles west of downtown in response to the longtime if low-key local buzz.Mark and Linda Shea see them often. Sitting in the dining room of their 138-year-old former farmhouse just below Gravity Hill, they watch through their windows as the cars stop and start. Many of the curious arrive after dark. "I think that's because they don't want to look foolish," Mark Shea, a local firefighter, surmises. The Sheas themselves have tested the phenomenon more than once, even experimenting to see if Gravity Hill was up to the task of handling the family's 9,000-pound Ford pickup truck. It was.Greenfield's Gravity Hill is certainly not the world's only Gravity Hill, although some of the others are referred to as Spook Hill, Magnetic Hill, Mystery Hill, and so on. In the United States, they're found from Cotati, Calif., to Franklin Lakes, N.J. Greenfield's Gravity Hill claims no such fame, but it does feature a ghost story: Once upon a time, a school bus plunged off the Route 2 overpass at the foot of the hill -- a fictitious event according to several local sources -- and the students who were killed return to push cars up the incline. (The Sheas were not told this tale when they bought their home 10 years ago, although they were told about a ghost that allegedly haunts their house.) But the slope isn't mentioned in any of the histories of this Western Massachusetts community (population: 18,000), several of which are kept in the Greenfield Room of the town library. Despite its lack of formal history, Gravity Hill was apparently a local item as far back as the 1930s. That's when 90-year-old James Whitsett, who has lived in Greenfield much of his life, remembers first hearing about it. Whitsett and his wife, Myrtle, have taken dozens of friends and visitors up Shelburne Road in a variety of vehicles. "I even took a bicycle up there once," James Whitsett reports. Unlike such attractions as Old Greenfield Village, or the Bridge of Flowers in nearby Shelburne Falls, there are no pointers to Gravity Hill from Interstate 91, which is about a half mile away. Instead, word travels by mouth, from believer to skeptic. Nekke Ragoza, who owns Liberty Driving School not far from the hill, was initially told about it by some of her teenage pupils. Now it's a regular LDS destination. Says Ragoza: "I take them up Shelburne Road, have them practice their three-point turns, and then we stop and do Gravity Hill."Teenagers, in fact, are among Gravity Hill's foremost drum-beaters. "Anyone who has a car, or has a friend who has a car, goes up and tries it," says Caleb Dean, a 16-year-old junior at Greenfield High School. Lower classmen learn from upperclassmen, younger siblings from older siblings. "Most kids try it by the time they graduate," says Sean Killeen, another 16-year-old junior.So what, exactly, is happening here on Gravity Hill? "It's an optical illusion, I think. . . . Isn't it?" asks David McCarthy, a lifelong Greenfield resident and chief of police for the past 22 years. In 2002, three Italian scientists concluded that "gravity hills" -- which the trio more correctly referred to as "anti-gravity hills" -- are illusions caused by "a misrepresentation of the eye level relative to gravity caused by the presence of contextual inclines or of a false horizon line." In other words, they can happen where horizons are uncertain or obscured, trees and walls are all leaning slightly, and nearby slopes run counter to a road itself.Indeed, get out of your car at the top of Gravity Hill here and look back "down" the slope you've just coasted "up." Alas, doesn't it now appear that you've actually been traveling slightly downhill after all? Such myth busting is unlikely to stop folks from cruising slowly past the Sheas' white house, turning around, and convincing themselves -- for a few seconds and a few feet -- that what goes up is actually going down. You may not find your thrill on Gravity Hill, but it's a phenomenon that no scientific explanation can kill. "Take neutral approach to Greenfield's Gravity Hill"By Nathan Cobb, Globe Correspondent, 1/31/2004© Copyright 2004 Globe Newspaper Company Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
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