China’s Famous ‘Strange Slope’ Appears to Defy Gravity

Strange Slope is a natural tourist attraction in China’s Liaoning Province, where a strange phenomenon causes things to roll uphill and prevents them from rolling downhill.

Located at the foot of Maoshan Mountain, near the city of Shenyang, the Strange Slope scenic area is considered one of the eight natural wonders of Liaoning Province. It was discovered in 1990, when, local stories say, a police officer stopped his car in the area and, taking his foot off the brake, noticed his vehicle slowly rolled uphill, all the way to the top. Word of the bizarre phenomenon spread like wildfire, and before long, people from all over the country, and even from abroad, were coming to see the gravity-defying slope in person. Authorities cleaned the place up, created separate lanes for bikes and cars, and Strange Slope became one of the most popular scenic areas in Liaoning.

The charm of Strange Slope lies in the apparent defiance of gravitational force. Vehicles that appear to be at the top of the slope refuse to slide or roll down to the bottom, and those at the bottom miraculously start rolling toward the top. The same with bicycle riders, who need to pedal hard in order to go downhill, and will effortlessly climb to the top of the slope.

Apart from tourists, most of whom marvel at the bizarre phenomenon, the Strange Slope of Liaoning also attracts researchers and scientists. Over the years, many theories have tried to explain the unusual behavior of objects on Strange Slope, the most popular of them being the presence of magnetic fields that cause things to behave abnormally, and a simple optical illusion.

With no magnetic field ever detected in or around the Strange Slope scenic area, the optical illusion theory remains the most plausible. Simply put, your eyes are deceiving you. The uphill slope is actually downhill, and vice-versa. In fact, Strange Slope is just one of many such oddities around the world, and one of at least 10 in China alone. it just happens to be one of the most popular ones.

To get a better understanding of how this kind of optical illusion works, you need to understand that the area all around Strange Slope is one giant downhill slope, but the attraction itself is actually uphill. Because it is small in relation to the surrounding area – 80 meters (262.5 feet) long and 15 meters (49.2 feet) wide – your eyes cannot differentiate the gradient and perceive it as part of the downhill slope.


Because Strange Slope is a huge part of the tourism industry in Shenyang, officially, its mystery remains unsolved, and scientists are still struggling to understand what is going on.