Burkittsville, Maryland: Spook HillDefying the laws of gravity and common sense, vehicles appear to roll backwards up a hill.
Visitor Tips and News About Spook Hill
I lived in Burkittsville most of my life and every Sunday we would go to my grandparents in Boonsboro MD, so we had to cross over South Mountain. I used to beg my parents to stop on Spook Hill and put the car in neutral so the car would roll up the hill. The history behind this is it's the ghosts of the battle in Burkittsville of the Civil War and they are pushing your car up the hill and they think it's their cannon their pushing...if you do this at midnight supposedly you can hear their footsteps pushing you up the hill. I investigated this further when i was older I took a 4 foot level and checked to see if the grade of the road was going up hill.....and it is! People think its an optical illusion. You be the judge. And there's no Blair Witch in Burkittsville. I used to camp in the woods all the time and never had a problem.[Earle G., 09/03/2009]
Ghosts -- they're just so confused.
There have been skeptical remarks made that cars only appear to roll uphill. I am not a surveyor, but was told by a surveyor that all one need do is take a small stool or chair and arrange a carpenter's "level" on the chair (so that it is level) and place it far enough away from the bottom of the "alleged" hill that the instrument itself is not affected by the strange gravity. Use your eye to sight along the top edge of the level and anything that appears to be below that imaginary line is down and whatever appears above is "up."
Of course, the gravity vortex may also affect the level.[Bill Heinrich, 02/28/2007]
And at the same time, it may be exerting uneven pressure on your eyes....and your brain.
Spook Hill is located just outside of Burkittsville, Maryland. Drive to the bottom of the hill and put your car in neutral. At the square in Burkittsville, turn left and drive about 1/2 mile and you will see a red barn on the left. We turned around and faced the barn at the bottom of the hill. After putting the car in neutral we moved UP the hill. We stopped the car just past the 25 mile an hour sign to begin the ascent![Larry Brozowski, 07/18/2006]
I lived in Harpers Ferry WV for many years and took all my visitors for the thrill of Spook Hill (which you call Gravity Hill). Go through town to a hill which starts at a big barn. Go down the hill until you count off 6 telephone poles. You are at the bottom. Put your car in neutral, even remove the keys if you wish. The car will go backwards up the hill, and there is no question about it going from the bottom of the hill to the top. It is not imagination. Cars come over the hill from town, so I always had one person standing at the top of the hill to warn cars of vehicles coming backwards up the hill. We would pick up our traffic guide at the top, put another guide out there and go back down to the bottom again. You DO NOT APPEAR to be moving uphill. You are actually moving uphill. How else could we pick up a guide and go back down the hill? I loved taking guests at midnight on Halloween. Scared the wits out of them![Ms J., 06/14/2005]
I grew up in Burkittsville, MD, yes the alleged site of "The Blair Witch Project" (it could have taken place in any small town, why mine? -- kinda spoiled the movie for me). Anyway there is a road (Gapland Rd I believe) that leads out of town to a small hill where, if you put your car in neutral, you will appear to move uphill. I'm sure any surveyor could explain why it looks like you are moving uphill. The story behind it as I was told is that the ghosts of dead Union soldiers from the civil war still pushing cannons up the mountain.[Leaf Joker, 08/03/1999]
- Gapland Rd, Burkittsville, MD
- From the downtown square in Burkittsville, drive northwest on W. Main St./Gapland Rd. You'll head uphill and see a large red barn on the left. Drive past the barn, over the crest of the hill, and almost to the bottom of the hill on the other side. Stop, put your car in neutral, and coast backward uphill. Watch out for cars coming over the hill behind you!
- Public road. Hazard flashers recommended. Use at your own risk.