Gravity Hill: Loma Alta St, Pasadena, CA

“Basically, you’re driving, I’ve never been there so I don’t know how steep the hill is, but its on an incline. And you get to a certain point where your car is nearly vertical. And you put your car in neutral so you would imagine your car would go straight down, but apparently, what happens is that your car will start to roll upwards instead. And I guess the story is that there was a schoolbus that overturned or crashed, or there was an accident that happened on that hill and a lot of people died. So what happens now is I guess the ghosts of the kids are still there and they’ll push your car upward so no one dies like they did, and people say like you’ll see hand prints on your windshield when it happens.”


This is a standard ghost story from Pasadena, California. It tells the story of a tragedy that occurred within the community, concerning children who had full lives ahead of them. Thus, the story is perfect for ghosts as the childrens’ spirits would want to stay on the Earth to complete their business, in this case which is protecting others from suffering the same fate. Furthermore, it takes place at the top of a hill, a liminal space where boundaries blend together, another condition for the existence of ghosts.

It is interesting that this is also a FOAF tale, where the informant heard the story from a friend of a friend. However, I looked it up, and the effect has been confirmed by multiple people. The common explanation is that the hill is on a grade, and the rest of the view is skewed, which gives people an optical illusion that the hill is slanted downwards where it is actually going up. This is an excellent example of how people will try to explain mysteries with the supernatural when they do not understand how a phenomena works.