Not long ago, residents of El Paso, Texas believed a road that went through town was supernatural in origin. Most of Thunderbird Drive seemed normal enough, that is until you reached a little hill in the road. Over time people came to fear this road and its hill as they did not understand it.
The El Paso Gravity Hill
As the years progressed, and this supernatural hill was studied in-depth, it slowly became evident that the hill itself is not paranormal or supernatural at all. An optical illusion makes the downward slope appear as an upward hill. It wasn’t haunted…it was science.
Learning this fact did not deter local teenagers from driving to Thunderbird Drive to test it out whenever they were bored. Despite knowing the cause, experiencing their car go up an alleged hill was still pretty thrilling to many El Paso kids. It was on a particularly boring Wednesday afternoon one summer when Heather and Sandra were trying to figure out what to do with the remaining daylight.
Terror in the Dark
“We had our feet in my pool, but we weren’t interested in swimming,” Heather stated. “I think we went through a half hour of ideas before Sandra suggested that we drive my car out to Thunderbird Drive. We had learned all about the optical illusion in our science class the year prior, but never had the chance to go out there because we didn’t have our driver’s license’s at that point.
“It certainly wasn’t the best idea, but it was all that we could come up with, so I agreed, and we drove the 20 minutes or so to El Paso. The sun was setting by the time we got there, but we agreed that that extra level of spook was necessary in order to make the hill a bit more fun,” Heather said with a grin. We did our best to really get into the fake paranormal aspect of the hill.
“I remember we were both squealing in delight when I parked my car in neutral, and we started slowing ‘climbing up’ the slope. We were halfway through when all of the sudden we heard this large thump on the left hand side of my car, directly behind where I was. ‘What the hell was that?’ Sandra said, already in a panic.
“’Don’t worry, it was probably just an animal,’ I reassured her, when secretly I was a little freaked out myself. I had turned my engine off after shifting my gear into neutral, so we didn’t have headlights on or anything,” Heather recalled. “Part of me wanted to believe that because the car was dark, some fox or something had run into us…
“But part of me was just plain scared because we couldn’t really see anything ahead of us. Sandra allowed herself to laugh a little at our situation, and I began to relax and join in. And that’s when we saw something run across the front of my car.
“If it had been an animal, I would have been okay…but it was human in shape. Then suddenly Sandra went limp. I thought she fainted. But when I looked over at her, slumped against the door, her head turned towards me and her eyes were rolled back in her head. Then her mouth start moving and weird sounds started coming out. It sounded like she was talking backwards. I was so scared and confused I felt like I was about to lose my mind. Then out of nowhere she snapped out of it and sat up. We both started screaming our heads off, and I fumbled to put my car in drive. We didn’t calm down until we were sitting in the driveway of my house,” Heather whispered.
“The next day a mutual friend of ours told us that a couple of kids in El Paso got into trouble for running around on busy roads and throwing small rocks at cars. It might explain that thing that ran across the car…but I can still see that human figure in my brain and it didn’t look like a living person at all. Then with what happened to Sandra...I don't know what to believe. I just know I'm never going back to Thunderbird Drive.”