The Oregon Vortex

On a hillside in southwest Oregon, there is a circular area of about 165 feet diameter in which strange phenomena occur. For example, at certain locations within this “vortex,” compasses and light meters behave erratically and people standing in a relaxed position will stand at an angle or sway back and forth at 22 second intervals. The most noticeable effect is that of apparent changes in size of objects and people. In some areas of the vortex, when two people are placed opposite each other on level ground and along a north/south axis, each person will be measurably smaller on the left side than when positioned on the right side. This effect is noticed by the people themselves as well as by any observer. Scientists have studied this area, which Native Americans called “the forbidden ground,” and have given a variety of explanations. One recurring proposition is that the anomalies are related to a dense ore deposit in the ground. Some theorize that the apparent change in size is only an optical illusion (such as the Ponzo effect) or a light effect. Others, however, consider the change to be physical, and note that blind persons can sense the changes in size by touch and hear the other person’s voice coming from an elevated or lowered position. Despite all the measurements and calculations no one has yet succeeded in fully explaining the phenomena in accordance with accepted scientific models.

Andrea Robbins and Max Becher 1994


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