Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Santa Cruz
Ben’s Place of the Week

Santa Cruz

Coordinates: 36 58 N 122 1 W

Population: 54,760 (2005 est.)

Atlasworld_9780195220452

Anyone will tell you the world is full of mysterious places, but some of them are better advertised than others. In fact, Santa Cruz, California (along with St. Ignace, Michigan, and Hungry Horse, Montana) has gone so far as to conveniently pinpoint its locus of perplexity. Hidden amongst the redwoods here, a short distance from the boardwalk and the famous aquarium in Monterey Bay, exists a small area where “the laws of physics and gravity don’t apply.” Psychologists at the University of California remain skeptical, but curious visitors wishing to see The Mystery Spot for themselves need only head northeast from the Pacific coast towards the Santa Cruz Mountains and Scott’s Valley.


Ben Keene is the editor of Oxford Atlas of the World. Check out some of his previous places of the week.

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