It’s 7:35 pm. It’s already dark. The air has a light chill to it in Amman’s early November. From afar, the lights of a few villas and apartment blocks at the edge of the city flicker. Off the main road, on a newly paved street, half a dozen cars are parked by the wayside. Among their lights the shadows of young men move back and forth. A group of them are hunched over a water scale. One of them has a golf ball that he keeps putting on the road to see where it rolls. Another has GPS device to check the altitude.
A police car slowly approaches. It rolls by. The policemen take a look at a deserted parked car. They leaves the young men alone, but the message is clear. We’re here too.
Welcome to Amman’s anti-gravity street.
A group of young men in a 60’s Mercedes starts laughing hysterically. Their car is slowly rolling backwards although the road is inclining downwards in front of them.
On the street, water stains are everywhere. These are the traces of experiments that people made that evening. On this street, even water flows upwards!
Or does it?
The guys with the water scale, golf ball and GPS are an ‘investigation team’ from our office. I arrived at the scene with my 8 year old son. We stopped the car on the “decline”.
“Put the gear on neutral,” one of the guys said with excitement. Instead of going “down the hill” and rolling front-wards, the car slowly started rolling backwards “up the hill”. What the heck is happening here?!
I spent around 40 minutes walking up and down the street.
“It an anomaly in the earth’s magnetic field, and not the effect of magnetic rock. Magnets don’t attract water,” Zaki, our production manager and GPS expert exclaimed. “There’s other places like this in earth. I read on the internet,” he added.
Welcome to the Matrix??
The water scale, which is a decidedly crude instrument to use on a rough street, was telling us a different story. The road was slightly inclining upward to the front and not downward.
“Well, if water is being attracted by this field, then the water scale would not work,” George said, adding further complication to the puzzle.
I left the scene half convinced that the street is inclined in such a way that it causes a visual illusion. When you arrive at it from the main street, it first inclines sharply up (which is not where the people are doing their experiments). Then comes a 500 meter stretch which is, supposedly, the anti gravity street. It seems to decline until it reaches a sharp long incline.
My theory was that there is a visual and psychological illusion at work here. First you incline, then in the distance you see another incline. What lays in between starts looking like a decline. You know: up.. down.. up.
Very interesting. I turned the ‘terrain’ feature on. the street is clearly going up, and never down. This confirmed my suspicions of a visual illusion.
I traced the altitude of the whole street. Google Earth says it’s just going up.
Another interesting thing, the street seems to have some curvature to it. So it’s an incline that’s curved. This is probably adding to the illusion.
Armed with this new information, I will return to the street during the day to have another look. If there is a land surveyor out there in Amman who’s willing to go an make some measurements then PLEASE do it.
On the other hand, maybe we should just fuel this story further. We could be attracting a new tourist destination in Amman!