As an engineer, Mazlan had the opportunity to travel and work abroad. He has traveled to over 30 countries.
On my recent trip to Madinah, Saudi Arabia, the tour guide informed us that we would be taken to this mysterious spot where water can flow uphill. Even a vehicle put in neutral can travel uphill.
I had never seen anything like this before and it sounded exciting. The basic laws of science and gravity that I know do not support these claims, so I looked forward to the trip.
I found out later that phenomena like this are not only unique to Madinah, Saudi Arabia, but can be found in many places all over the world. They are also known by various names: Magnet Hill, Magnetic Hill, Magnet Mountain, Gravity Hill, Mysterious Spot, and Mystery Hill.
Note on Travel Visas: Effective 28 September 2019, the Government of Saudi Arabia, is issuing Tourist Visas for the first time. So now you can take this opportunity to see this mysterious country and this Magnet Hill near Madinah.
Where It Is
The Magnet or Gravity Hill of Madinah is located at Wadi al-Jinn (also known as Wadi-E-Baida, Wadi-e-Al-Baida or Jabal Baida or Baida mountains or Baida wild park ), North West of Madinah and is about 37 miles (60 km) from the city center with coordinates 24°43'21" N 39°26'35" E.
The exact location, however, is not listed on Google Maps. The following map shows only the location of Madinah in relation to Jeddah, the second-largest city in Saudi Arabia and the main gateway to the holy city of Makkah.
Note: Correct Spelling for Madinah
Many have misspelled Madinah as Medina or Madina. The correct name and spelling for this holy city are Madinah Al-Munawarrah or Madinah for short. For this article, I will be using Madinah.
The ride to Wadi al-Jinn took us about 30 minutes. It was a beautiful ride in early February and the weather was a cool 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius). The initial leg of the journey was scenes of date palm plantations on both sides of the road. Later the scenery changed to rugged but beautiful mountains.
We passed through what used to be a big lake, now dry except for a tiny patch of water. It is a shame to see this happening as otherwise, it could have been a perfect spot for a picnic. The guide told us that in the old days, the lake was the water supply source for the city.
This area is also a popular place for recreation for Saudi families. On weekends, it is packed with families from the neighboring area and from other towns. They bring tents, camping gear, and barbecue sets. On weekdays, it is quiet and empty. A big contrast!
The guide constantly reminded us that we would soon be experiencing the magnetic forces that will pull our bus uphill. Hence, I was a bit worried that these magnetic forces might create havoc on my electronic gear: my smartphone, watch, and camera. I was reassured that this would not happen. Strange answer, but I have to believe him as he too, had a smartphone.
Magnetic Hill Illusion
As we drove along one stretch of the road, the bus driver told us that we were now passing through "a magnetic field area" and he would stop the bus and put it in neutral. He will not be pressing the accelerator pedal but will hold the steering wheel to control the bus movement.
Suddenly, as if by magic, the bus moved and started to gain speed, as it moved on. This was while moving up a hilly road and not downhill. The guide reminded us that the magnetic power of the surrounding mountain is pulling the bus uphill. The bus gained speed and it even reached as fast as 75 miles/hr (120 km/hr).
We believed him and were amazed when we saw puddles of water moving uphill. This reminded me of my favorite magician, David Copperfield, and his creative and fantastic illusions.
The driver demonstrated this act on another stretch of road, on our way back to Madinah.
Unfortunately, I did not take a photo of the speedometer nor took a video of the ride as I was too engrossed in the occurrence and forgot to document the experience.
Magnetic Hill Illusion Explained
Despite being an engineer, I must confess that I was completely taken in by the tour guide's "magnetic forces" explanation. The numerous science fiction books and films that I have read and watched may have blurred my mind.
When I got home, I decided to Google for more information, and lo and behold, my good friend Wikipedia came to the rescue!
How Does a Magnetic Hill Work?
It seems that the areas where these "magnetic forces" are strong are actually optical illusions. The topography of the surrounding area gave an impression that the slight downhill slope seems to be an uphill slope.
The illusion or rather a confusion is caused by the surrounding landscape. The mountain, rock outcrop, or trees and embankments blend with the horizon and are positioned in a way to trick your mind and eye. That's how it works.
Hence, water that seems to be moving uphill is, in reality, moving downhill. Likewise, the bus that we were on was moving downhill and was gaining speed as it moved further down the hill! Silly me! I should have known better.
Study by Kokichi Sugihara
This was proven by several studies including the award-winning study by the Japanese scientist Kokichi Sugihara, from Meiji Institute for Advanced Study of Mathematical Sciences.
This explained why such "strong magnetic forces that can pull buses uphill" would not damage my electronic gear. There are no magnetic disturbances at all!
We can also dismiss the marketing catchphrase "gravity forces do not apply in this area" as the "no-gravity" should also work on anything in that area including us if we happen to be standing there.
Magnetic Hill in Madinah Was Closed to Heavy Vehicles
A freak accident where a pedestrian was killed by a moving bus in Madinah's Magnetic Hill, prompted the authorities to ban all heavy vehicles including buses to enter the area. This happened when the driver was demonstrating the "powerful effect of the magnetic forces." It was reopened to tour buses in 2010.
Do remember that it can be dangerous to stop or reverse your vehicle while on these "magnetic roads." Always have the engine running and do not switch off the engine as it will be easier to control your car when the engine is on.
Madinah Magnetic Hill Explained
The phenomenon of Madinah Magnetic Hill is also an optical illusion of what seems to be an uphill slope is actually a gentle downhill slope.
Sarfraz Khan's Blog
Sarfraz Khan proved this in his blog where he did a detail study of the distance and slope from Madinah to Al-Khulail Dam. In his study, he proved that the road inclined at a maximum of 7% and gradually drops to 0.9% towards Madinah. See the illustration below showing the gradual change in gradient, taken from Sarfraz Khan’s blog.
You cannot see the slope as the total distance is about 8.7 miles (14 km) and on both sides of the road are mountain terrains. There is no horizon to give you a good reference to see the slope.
Your Take on Gravity Hills
Magnetic Hill in the World
As I had mentioned earlier, magnetic hills phenomena are in several places all over the world and not just in Madinah, Saudi Arabia.
If you Google "magnetic hill," you will find several websites including Wikipedia. Many of these websites are designed and written to a specific hill site.
List of Magnetic Hills Around the World
For a full listing of the various magnetic or gravity hill sites around the world, visit Wikipedia for a comprehensive guide.
The listing shows 29 countries with these gravity hill sites. The USA alone has a grand total of 40 gravity hill sites spread over 23 states.
Canada came second with six sites and Australia, Ireland, and the UK tied for third place with four sites each. Next is Italy with three sites and the rest of the countries with one site each.
Magnetic or Gravity Hill Explained
FAQs on Magnetic Hill or Gravity Hill
These are more questions on the mystery of the magnetic hill or gravity hill:
Why Is It Called a Magnetic Hill?
Because of the perception that things like a stationary vehicle can move upwards due to the strong magnetic force.
Are Gravity Hills Real, and Why Do Cars Go Uphill in Neutral?
Gravity hills or magnetic hills are optical illusions due to the surrounding topography and your brain thinks that the road, which is actually sloping downhill, is sloping uphill. Because of this illusion, people think the area defies gravitational forces or has strong magnetic forces. So, a car that was assumed to go uphill in neutral is actually doing downhill.
Some even believe the area has the presence of supernatural forces, which is not true. So, gravity hill per se is not real.
What Is the Physics Behind Magnetic Hill?
There are no scientific phenomenon and physics behind magnetic hills. As explained above, it is all an optical illusion.
What Is Unique About a Gravity Hill?
The uniqueness of a gravity hill or magnetic hill is the optical illusion. You think the area is on an uphill slope but it is actually in the downward direction.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Question: Is the Wadi- al jinn area near to Madinah an optical illusion?
Answer: Yes. You can read the reasons why it is an optical illusion in my article
Question: Is the illusion of the Madinah Magnetic Hill set up by people or a natural occurrence?
Answer: 'Magnetic Hills' are natural optical illusions. They are not purposely 'set up' up by people. However, any changes to the surrounding area due to infrastructure changes and construction MAY contribute to the illusions. I can't cite you an example but if other readers know of one such example, please share them here.
Question: Is there any relation between Bermuda Triangle in Atlantic ocean, Devil Triangle in Japan sea and Wadi- al jinn area in near to Madinah?
Answer: None, whatsoever.
© 2013 MazlanA
Student on September 07, 2019:
السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
Excellent explanation alhamdulillah, brothers and sisters don't let the fact that there is a logical explanation let us stop praising Allah and His Greatness and knowledge and how he allows us to understand certain things and yet puts us in our place so we don't become proud. Me and a group of friends from Madinah University made the long (37km) bike ride through this area(we actually wanted the mountain range after it but this was a bonus) and all you can say is Subhan-Allaah, on the way back at least!! A new meaning to "false flat" subhanallah. Jinn, gravity, and magnetic forces all exist by the power of Allah but in this case, it is merely our feeble human minds unable to interpret imagery we are not used to, may Allah grant us all knowledge and understanding, and protect our vulnerable elders and Muslim ummah from being tricked by business men looking to make a profit out of conjuring wonderful tales as to why the Jinn are taking time out on a daily basis to push tourist buses up hills :)
TotoHurikan on June 10, 2019:
أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم
Oh my Muslim brothers and sisters!
Despite being in the information age we subscribe to such paranormal trash...may the Almighty, All Loving Creator bless us with knowledge and wisdom.
Simply google: "Ames Room", by His grace may we become enlightened - Ameen.
Jinn pushing cars and buses, since they don't have anything better to do, right? :)
Also, the magnetic forces pseudo theory would not apply to water and such an ostensibly strong force would play havoc with tech - smartphones, video recorders and even the human body.
(I felt obliged to create a user login to dispel such 'Jahiliyat')
May the Almighty have mercy on us all.
Finally, no disrespect to anyone - it was an enchanting experience for me also until, by His grace, I sought knowledge and understanding.
MazlanA (author) from Malaysia on May 30, 2019:
Ishtiaq, thanks for the excellent suggestion. Need to find time to do the video though :-(
Ishtiaq Ahmad on May 30, 2019:
Excellent writing. To make people fool, a lot of videos circulated in Utube. you should upload your findings to Utube so that people will understand real science. Thanks a lot
MazlanA (author) from Malaysia on May 01, 2019:
Babu, thanks for pointing this me. I mistaken her comment for the article. My apologies to Fatima.
Babu on April 30, 2019:
Fatima Haque was answering Jalal Khan Mr. Makan. Well written article...
MazlanA (author) from Malaysia on March 16, 2019:
Rayan, pls read my article that list out similar sites in other parts of the world.
Rayan on March 16, 2019:
Is there any other place like this?
MazlanA (author) from Malaysia on January 15, 2019:
Fatima, I think you misunderstood the article. It states clearly that it is the optical illusions that gives the impression of vehicle moving upwards.
Fátima Haque on January 15, 2019:
@Jalal Khan what kind of nonsense is that?? Allah says to believe that Jinns exist true believers believe in Jinns and on the unseen/unknown. Sorry brother but it's just unislamic to say Jinns don't exist!
Jalal Khan. on January 02, 2019:
Before anyone jumps to a conclusion, let me say that I'm a devout believer in Allah and all his beautiful and mysterious creations. Biggest of all the Universe.
Since that's out of the way. Lemme say that it was a brilliant piece of writing and I wholeheartedly agree with the author.
I don't believe in "Jinn" or Ginnies, given the fact that Alladin is my favourite animated movie. Huge Robin Williams fan.
And to all the beautiful minded ( slightly blind sighted ) brothers. Jinns aren't real. And even if by any neutrino of chance they exist ... Why the hell would they pull cars !!
MazlanA (author) from Malaysia on December 22, 2018:
Hi Waqas, I know it is difficult to comprehend such 'trickery' on our mind and sight, but it is true!
Waqas Maqsood on December 22, 2018:
I visited two daya before but i think this this answer is not satisfactory..even its an optical illusion how is it possible to enhance the speed to much....not jsut simply running on the road but it increases upto 120km /hr... Even if you try from clear visually seen downhill... I am sure that car will not go at such a high speed
Shamim on September 30, 2018:
This is a visual illustration.
The listing shows 29 countries with these gravity hill sites. The USA alone has a grand total of 40 gravity hill sites spread over 23 states.
Canada came second with six sites and Australia, Ireland, and the UK tied for the third place with four sites each. Next is Italy with three sites and the rest of the countries with one site each.
the slave of Allah on August 12, 2018:
excuseme its not a magnetic ,its called as wade e jinn..the car is moving on its own with pressure but how could this all miracle be written in Al qura’an before years so its not the pressure or something els its just Allah’s fire creature jinn’s action to prove that Allah is the one true god..*ALL PRAISE TO ALLAH THE AL MIGHTY*
MazlanA (author) from Malaysia on June 26, 2018:
Abdullah, thanks for sharing your experience at this 'Jinn Valley'. Yes, the scenery is great and it is worth the trip actually.
Abdullah Al Masud on June 26, 2018:
It is interesting how people may fall prey to paranormal stories. I was in Madinah in 2011 and I was told by fellow travelers who visited the jinn valley that the acceleration was caused by some force of jinn. I was pretty excited to see the place by myself and the next day I went there. The tour guide told us the same story that a miracle force causes the bus to move despite the engine being stopped. However when our bus started moving itself, I felt we were going downhill and the slope is causing the bus to move and gain acceleration. It was pretty disappointing how people bought into the jinn story. Nevertheless, the site is a beautiful landscape.
MazlanA (author) from Malaysia on May 02, 2018:
Hi, thanks for the input and will correct it.
from Madinah on May 02, 2018:
correction : Jabal Baida or Baida mountains or Baida wild park
MazlanA (author) from Malaysia on March 20, 2018:
Hey, Qazi Sohel Ahmad I am glad you managed to visit Madinah Magnetic Hill and thanks for sharing your experience here.
Yes, you are right, the place is awesome and it is a great visit and outing for anyone.
Qazi Sohel Ahmad on March 20, 2018:
Last week I had been to this mysterious place! When I was travelling from Makkah to Madinah I was discussing about it with our driver and he suspected that it is the slope causing the speed effect. I took it in consideration and while I was visiting wadi al Jinn I was pretty sure there was no magnetic field seeing a lot of standing cars, ice cream van (remain unaffected/ not moving). At an specific point driver started the magic (switched off power of car). So i understand probably that was the start point of slop. But with naked eye it was impossible to prove. Hence, my car mates disregarded 'slop concept rather treated it as paranormal activity. Well, I got confused too. After reading this article now I understand the mystery. Thanks for eye opening article.
Regardless it was a great visit...enjoyable...
MazlanA (author) from Malaysia on February 18, 2018:
Mushfiq Majumder, thanks for sharing these additional facts, which gives clearer reasons why we observed such illusions that we tend to call as magnetic hills etc.
Mushfiq Majumder (Silchar, India) on February 17, 2018:
The frame of reference used by the brain to determine the amount of slope (of a road etc.) is the horizon. But in a hilly terrain where the horizon is not visible the task becomes difficult for it. It comes in the grip of a confusion which gives a wrong interpretation of the matter. The result is the visual illusion which makes us see a thing different from what it actually is. The processing power of the brain is limited and confusion takes over when this limit is crossed. Anti gravity hill is the extreme example of this confusion.
GREL(gravity related eye level el) is the plane at the eye level of the observer which is perpendicular to the line joining the eye and the Centre of the earth. In a level area the horizon and the GREL coincide making the task of finding the slope for the brain easy. It is not so in a hilly terrain where the GREL and horizon are two different planes.
It has been observed that due to the nature of the surroundings the GREL bends down towards the horizon by an amount exceeding 50%. It can be proved geometrically that this bending will cause a reduction in the slope of a road. This can make a road with a small slope appear almost parallel to the horizon. A a road having a still smaller slope can attain a slope in the opposite direction thus making a downhill slope into an uphill one.
In hilly areas the horizon goes over the surrounding hills. The higher the horizon the lesser the slope. This again can make a slope appear in the opposite direction.
This optical illusion happens so swiftly in the visual cortex of the brain that the higher parts of the brain cannot get to know it and the mistake remains as it is.
In Bedford County in Pennsylvania a stretch of road 416ft long has its "lower" end lying above the "upper" end, the difference in heights being 13ft. A stream in California travels "upward" to be united with a lake named Lloyd.
When you visit such a place a strange mix of fear and reverence will grip you even though you know the reason behind the mystery.
MazlanA (author) from Malaysia on January 06, 2018:
Hi, Abdul Sattar. Yes, it does feel scary especially with the rocky landscape at Wadi e Jinn. Thanks for sharing your experience.
Abdul Sattar on January 06, 2018:
In December 2017 I visited Wadi e Jinn. At bottom of slope driver halt car and switched off engine in neutral while we were sitting inside a car. Within few seconds car moved in reverse uphill slowly and gradually speed increased and I asked driver to apply break to stop car to avoid any mishap. It was really amazing. Surrounding hill were of medium size and road was wide and enough away from hills.
MazlanA (author) from Malaysia on May 15, 2017:
Mohammed Ehtesham Ansari on May 15, 2017:
Greetings Mr Mazlan,
I appreciate your work in this subject, which created basics for others in this direction and overcome such belief.
MazlanA (author) from Malaysia on May 15, 2017:
Mohammed Ehtesham Ansari, thank you for affirming what I had written.
Mohammed Ehtesham Ansari on May 12, 2017:
After learning that this sort of place exist in Madinah Munawwara, I asked Islamic scholar whether it has any historical connection, answer was No. Then I was sure it has got something with magnetism and / or gravity and / or illusion.
After visiting the place, came to following conclusions:
1. There's No Magnetic Anomaly i.e. Normal magnetic field exists as the gadgets were not affected nor did it attract my freely hanging iron bars nor did it deflect the magnetic needle.
2. Water (non - magnetic object) was going uphill, which assures magnetic field is normal.
3. Vehicle gradually accelerates, that is to say the momentum increases as the velocity increases.
4. This increase in velocity is due to slope of the road, which is confirmed by referring to one the blogs which beautifully explains altitude at various levels along the road.
5. Additionally, horizon is obscured due to which one can not create a reference level of the slope with that of nearby land.
6. Finally, power of Jinn has No role in this acceleration.
It is Optical Illusion which creates a false sense of uphill acceleration, and not the Power of Jinn.
Allah knows best.
MazlanA (author) from Malaysia on November 15, 2016:
Abdul Rasheed, you are right. Good to hear that you went to this 'Madinah Magnetic Hill' and thanks for sharing.
Abdul Rasheed on November 14, 2016:
Very nice article. I have visited the place. As mentioned vehicle on return speed up with engine off. It is because of gravity. When you go to that place, your car need a lot of acceleration as you are going up. Passengers in the vehicle will be able to feel it from the sound of the vehicle. Obviously when you are coming back, it is down the hill and need no power. There is no Jinn effect or magnetic effect.
manumohanan83 on October 06, 2016:
Its is not optical illusion , it's caused by earth curvature,
MazlanA (author) from Malaysia on June 17, 2015:
Hi Aladdins Cave, it's part of the overall travel package inclusive of our airfare, hotels etc. Thanks for dropping by.
Aladdins Cave from Melbourne, Australia on June 10, 2015:
Thank you for that interesting Hub page
I hope they did not charge to much money for that tour :)
Cheers from DOWNUNDER
MazlanA (author) from Malaysia on June 17, 2014:
Hi Md Towhidul Islam, you are right. However, in areas where there's the illusion of the slope going uphill instead of downhill, it may be difficult to see it. I suppose you will have to go to a similar site nearest to you to 'feel' this 'magnetic hill' illusion.
Md Towhidul Islam on June 16, 2014:
I am not used to the explanation here. Is it not possible to say whether I am standing on a slope or the direction of the slope whatever may be the landscape? I think I can say anywhere whether the land under my feet is slant or not. I have seen that some people do not have sense of north, south,east or west. I always had the sense and can not understand how some people can go without such sense.
MazlanA (author) from Malaysia on May 06, 2014:
Lindsey Nobles, Do you know that in the USA there's a total of 40 gravity hill sites and that includes the Gravity Hills in Pennsylvania. Thanks for sharing and for dropping by.
Lindsey N from Western New York on May 02, 2014:
There is a hill like this in Pennsylvania. I believe it is named "Gravity Hill" It's an optical illusion, it appears you are going uphill when in fact you aren't. Great article. :)
Kalmiya from North America on February 27, 2014:
This is so interesting! There is a similar 'zona magica' at Colima, Mexico where your car will go uphill backwards! Amazing and curious things found in our world.
Ar mukul on February 10, 2014:
sohail on October 16, 2013:
madaina is a very nice
Dianna Mendez on February 22, 2013:
Fascinating article and so well written. I love the optical illusion of this hill.
Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 20, 2013:
Very interesting! I remember having read about one of these magnetic hills earlier and also viewed a video that showed cans and bottles moving uphill including the puddle of water.
MazlanA (author) from Malaysia on February 15, 2013:
@vibesites . Thanks for the votes and the compliments. Everything about Saudi Arabia is an adventure from learning and knowing their cultures, foods, places of interests, religious sites, fishing & diving in the red sea etc. To me, the worst adventure or experience in Saudi Arabia is driving- it is a nightmare! Yeah, if you have a chance, give the country a peek; like their magnet hill! You, however need to have a business visa, as there is no tourist visa like in other countries.
vibesites from United States on February 15, 2013:
Yeah, I've heard that petroleum is cheaper there than water, as it is an arid country. Beautiful scenery, thanks for the pictures you provided. I want to go there and experience some sort of adventure (thanks for the advice for us females). Voted up and useful, interesting, awesome. :)
MazlanA (author) from Malaysia on February 14, 2013:
Thanks for dropping by. Getting around Saudi Arabia is easy if you have a guide, otherwise it can be tough esp. if you female (in which case you MUST travel with a male, related to you) I was working there before so it was a lot easier for me as I understand the culture, the people and things that I can do and cannot to do. It is a beautiful country and despite the vast desert area the country has fantastic landscape and the food is good. Petrol, of course is CHEAP and driving big cars over long distance is not going to burn your wallet.
Sarah from USA on February 14, 2013:
Sounds like you had a great time in Saudi Arabia! Was is easy to travel around?