Why "Gravity Hill?" That's easy, it's a really cool name! But there's more to the story.
There’s a road on the Holmdel-Middletown NJ border known as Laurel Avenue. Between Route 35 and Holland Road, Laurel Avenue boasted not one, but two legendary teenage hot spots: Thrill Hill and Gravity Hill.
The thrills came when you accelerated at the crest of the hill, causing your car to become airborne. Unfortunately, these launchings were extremely dangerous, as a low railroad overpass was directly in your flight path. The story goes that in the early 60's, a carload of teens hit the overpass, causing their untimely deaths, and Thrill Hill was flattened shortly thereafter. Bruce Springsteen actually namechecks Thrill Hill in his canon of Jersey-related song.
Gravity Hill provided saner, but equally exhilarating kicks. The procedure was to stop the car at the bottom of a slight incline. Putting the car in neutral (with the headlights off, of course) caused the car to roll up the hill. Explanations ranged from ghosts pushing the car away from a fatal accident scene, the aftereffects of a meteor crash, or magnetic fields from deep within the earth. Local officials dismissed these theories with their own: it was an optical illusion, it wasn't really a hill, and anyone foolish enough to try to duplicate the effect would be ticketed. The forbidden factor only increased Gravity Hill's cachet, and teens continued to tempt the spirits well into the late '70's. Sadly, Gravity Hill today is just another four-lane intersection between Route 35 and the Garden State Parkway, with the only mystery being whether a right-turn-on-red is permitted.
There are many locations in New Jersey and across the country known as "Gravity Hill" or "Spook Hill." For more on New Jersey's Gravity Hills, check out www.wierdnj.com, but remember to come back to our Gravity Hill the next time you need help solving the mystery of what to put down on paper!