Mountain Mysteries

Mountain Mysteries

Lovers of Sherlock Holmes or Area 51 may find a chance to solve their own “what-dun-it” here in the High Country with a visit to Mystery Hill.

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Nestled against a large hillside between Boone and Blowing Rock, Mystery Hill offers a taste of unique mountain weirdness.

Along with its two adjacent attractions — the Native American Artifacts Museum and the Appalachian Heritage Museum — Mystery Hill attracts thousands of paranormal lovers, skeptics and visitors simply looking for fun.

People who believe in the paranormal claim Mystery Hill is located within a gravitational anomaly known as a vortex. Others attribute the area’s strangeness to unique mineral deposits.

Visitors to the main Mystery House lean at angle as they walk through (wear treaded shoes). Broomsticks appear to stand on end with no means of support. Balls seem to roll uphill.

When two people stand facing each other on it, the popular Mystery Platform appears to make the person on its north end look larger than the person on its south.

Skeptics contend that every aspect of Mystery Hill is a result of optical illusion and can be explained scientifically.

Both groups will find plenty of ways to either stare in wonder at or attempt to disprove the various exhibits. In addition to its mysteries (or illusions), the Mystery House also contains the Hall of Mystery — an ample collection of well-known and obscure optical illusion displays including the Spooky Spigot, Magic Lightbulb, holograms and the Flying Mirror.

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For smaller children, the Hall of Mystery offers Bubble-Rama — user-friendly collection of soap-bubble makers.

History

William Hudson developed the property around 1949. After observing what he believed to be strange phenomena on his land, Hudson learned of another such area, Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz, Calif. from an article in LIFE magazine. He built a small cabin on the property and called it the Mystery House.

In 1958, Buford Stamey and Rondia J. Underwood bought the land and marketed it as a family attraction.

The original cabin was eventually rebuilt after being consumed by a fire and the Underwood family continued to enlarge the attraction, renaming it Mystery Hill. Later, the family added the two museums.

Appalachian Heritage Museum

The Appalachian Heritage Museum is the former home of D.D. and B.B. Dougherty, who helped establish nearby Appalachian State University.

The Underwood family moved the house from the Boone campus in 1989 to its present location.

The house is reportedly the first in Watauga County to have both electricity and running water.

Today, the house serves as a museum that portrays everyday aspects of Appalachian life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Native American Artifacts Museum

When R.E. “Moon” Mullins died in 1987, the Georgia gentleman left behind a unique legacy — more than 50,000 pieces of Native American artifacts collected by him and his wife, Irene.

A 70-year hobby, the couple mostly collected arrowheads but also found awls, bowls and other everyday items that are now on display at Mystery Hill’s Native American Artifacts Museum. The items are displayed in a variety of patterns and framed collages throughout the lower level of the Dougherty house.

Mystery Hill is located on U.S. 321 between Blowing Rock and Boone. Admission is $8 for ages 13-59; $6 for children 5-12, $7 for ages 60 and up. Children four and under received free admission. A gift shop is available.

Hours are 8 a.m.-8 p.m. (June-August) and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (September-May).

For more information, call 828-264-2792 or visit online at http://www.mysteryhill-nc.com/

Location: 129 Mystery Hill Lane - Blowing Rock, NC 28605
Contact: 828-264-2792

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