Raving reporter finally solves centuries old riddle.
This story ran in the April 2008 edition of the VISITOR/EL VISITANTE newspaper.
Special April the 1st
By our raving reporter
It was three years ago when a local realtor introduced me to Volcan’s most enduring and fascinating mystery – its magnetic hill. The realtor drove to the spot just east of town on the Cerro Punta road. As we drove down a sharp incline she stopped the car, turned the engine off and very much to my surprise the car started to roll backwards - uphill. I watched the speedometer climb to nearly 20 kilometers an hour.
I have showed this phenomena to several visiting friends. One man, an ex-engineer from Vancouver Canada, was skeptical at first. Colin Barrington has had a knee replacement and he could feel the magnetic hill pulling on the metal joint in his knee. “I can definitely feel my leg being pulled.” He exclaimed excitedly. Mr. Barrington’s experience is not unique, many other visitors to this idyllic part of Panama have also had their legs pulled.
Archeologists have long suspected that there is something buried deep underground near the Magnetic Hill. Strange odors waft across the mist shrouded volcanic soil at night. Oscar Mendoza, a retired proctologist, who lives nearby refutes all such claims. “Idiots, that’s’ just the fumes from the garbage dump.”
LOCAL TOURIST HOT SPOT.
Local tour guides frequently take visitors for a ride on the magnetic hill. “People are being taken for a ride here all the time. “ he said. “The best part of taking people for a ride, is seeing the expression on their faces.”
Locals look on in amusement as they see cars slowly edging up the hill. "More people having their legs pulled, " they say.
A new phenomena in the area is people reporting episodes of time loss. I spoke to two local people about such an incident. 57 year old, Wilbur Gomez, was driving up the magnetic hill some weeks ago when according to him there was a period of about fours hours that he couldn’t account for. On the exact same day, his young, 18 year old, neighbor, Dolores Goodbody also had a similar period of time loss. Mr. Gomez’s wife feels sure that aliens abducted them. When asked about this Senor Gomez said. “Uh, um, yes, yes, I suppose that could be the reason.” Miraculously no harm came to either person, and as mysteriously as they vanished, they both reappeared outside the entrance to a local motel, the Noches De Amor.(Nights of Love)
This week I went with local historian Ivan Flores to see if we could make sense of this enduring enigma. We disembarked from the car near the bus stop that marks the start of the hill. A small group of bulls sidled up to us inquisitively. Then one of them did – what bears do all the time in the woods – right on top of my boots. I turned to Ivan and said. “Oh dear this whole hill is covered in . . .” Ivan cut in quickly and said. “Yes David, that’s exactly what it is.”
Mysterious lights in the sky.
One local man, reported that as he was leaving a bar late one night a stranger stepped on his fingers. The pain caused him to raise his head so sharply that it struck the underneath of a bar stool. He recalls seeing stars and bright swirling lights. I tried to find out the mans name but his friends said neither they, nor he, had any idea what it was.