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Electric hills

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84097.  Sun Aug 06, 2006 4:03 pm Reply with quote

The 'Electric Brae' in Ayrshire is a well-known example of a naturally occurring optical illusion, described thus:
"Though the road appears to be running uphill, a suitably free-running vehicle will slowly move off from a standstill."
(from the Wikipedia article).
This is mildly interesting.

84119.  Sun Aug 06, 2006 6:20 pm Reply with quote

There are other such places, including Putney Road, Benzie County, Michigan: post 29399.

84757.  Wed Aug 09, 2006 5:34 am Reply with quote

Flash wrote:
There are other such places, including Putney Road, Benzie County, Michigan: post 29399.

And "The Magic Road", looked forward to by Fathers Ted and Dougal on their caravanning holiday!


84760.  Wed Aug 09, 2006 5:54 am Reply with quote

That pic looks like the hill is running downwards (i.e. away from the camera)...

Am I being thick this morning? (Just a possibility!)



84761.  Wed Aug 09, 2006 5:56 am Reply with quote

It's supposed to look like it's running upwards even although it's going downwards.

I suspect it's the position of the camera at the side of the road.

84771.  Wed Aug 09, 2006 7:19 am Reply with quote

I wonder if the optical illusion doesn't work so well with a photograph of the place.

84775.  Wed Aug 09, 2006 7:46 am Reply with quote

I think it only works at all when you see a car rolling the 'wrong' way - that's the illusion.

1136219.  Fri Jun 05, 2015 2:54 am Reply with quote

Just trawled this item up, and I can add some personal experience of the Ayrshire Electric Brae. I was on a BBC Nationwide film crew sent there to shoot it in the late 1960s. The cameraman had to thrash around quite a lot to get an angle that showed the illusion of the car rolling away uphill, but he managed it. I think our reporter was Bob Langley.

After it had been transmitted there was a lot of public interest and many people thought that it had been achieved through trick photography. Michael Barrett, who was the presenter of the programme, was despatched up there with another film crew, to see for himself and to confirm that there had been no jiggery pokery. Apparently his stamp of approval was the equivalent of an ex cathedra statement from the Pope. He duly authenticated our earlier effort and as a postscript, he showed a message scratched on a rock, which he assumed had been put there by a puzzled viewer. It said:" Go round the bend with Nationwide". Actually, our cameraman had scratched it there, but we kept quiet about that.

1136223.  Fri Jun 05, 2015 3:40 am Reply with quote

The wiki-page 'List of gravity hills' is obviously missing one spot: Knock, in Cumbria. I took Troux there, a few months ago. Although we knew it was coming, to actually roll back with the car when you see the road in front of you going down hill, is majorly odd.

1142382.  Wed Jul 22, 2015 11:01 am Reply with quote

And 'yorz went there again a few days ago. I can attest to the weirdness of it; I drove the car up a fairly steep incline. You get to the crest, and can see another steepish incline ahead. It definitely feels as though one is now heading into a sliight dip. But sure enough, I stopped the car, applied the handbrake and then released it; lo and behold, it rolled backwards.
I took a pic from near the front of the car

Perceptions are, perhaps, distorted by the line of the ridge ahead, and by the dry-stone wall on the right of the road, which appears to dip slightly, as well as leaning back away from the road. I extricated my bottle of water from the car (yes, I remembered to have one with me) and held it up so as to get an idea of what was actually level -- in that location, absolutley nuffink; everything is a bit off-kilter.


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