The Oregon Vortex is One of the Strangest Places On Earth

Tyler Tjomsland/The Oregonian

Last updated on February 25th, 2018 at 03:05 pm

If you’re looking for a truly unique and bizarre place to visit in Oregon, then you’ll definitely want to head south to Gold Hill and see the Oregon Vortex and the House of Mystery.

I remember actually going here a couple times with my parents when I was really young, and to this day this place still blows my mind. Brooms stand on end, water seems to flow uphill here, and people appear to grow and shrink inside its centerpiece.

For any of you hardcore X-Files fans, you may have already heard about it. This bizarre place was actually featured in a 1999 episode of the cult classic TV show. With the exception of the Sea Lion Caves, The Oregon Vortex is easily a prime contender for Oregon’s most successful roadside attraction.

oregon vortex
Nac! / Flickr

History of the Oregon Vortex

The Oregon Vortex, was referred to by the Native Americans as Forbidden Ground. Their horses refused to walk into the affected area, and the natives chose to avoid this place as well. More recently, an investigation which was covered at The Oregonian talks of investigators trying to ride horses through the site, but before getting to the Vortex they would completely stop and reverse direction.

A Scottish geologist and mining engineer named John Lister, developed the area in the early 1920’s and opened the Vortex to the public in 1930. Until he passed in 1959, he had conducted thousands of experiments here. Since the 1930s The Vortex has been drawing thousands of tourists, psychics, scientists, and anyone else intrigued by the explainable.

oregon vortex
Aaron / Flickr

Lister’s theory is that the property is the site of a spherical force field, half above the ground and half below it, just under 165 feet in diameter, which causes these things. History tells us this place was an assay shack built at the Old Grey Eagle Mining Company in 1904. Eventually, the shack was apparently knocked off its foundation by some sort of geological disruption – probably a flood – and to this day sits where it landed. It’s now sideways and half collapsed, truly strange to look at as you can see in the photos.

According to the owner, Maria D. Cooper. some people even visit the vortex to find relief for their back pain.

“It’s a unique piece of land and we don’t really know what makes it all happen,” she said. “It is strongest when the moon is full.

Whatever is going on here, nobody has truly been able to explain this mysterious place. Have a theory of your own? Feel free to let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear it!

Road map to the Oregon Vortex (from

oregon vortex