Having a paranormal occurrence in your town, especially one that explodes on the scene and changes the town can be come a lightning rod for a community.
Such a thing happened to the town of Leominster, Massachusetts in 1939. A salesman on business in the town stopped his car and but did not put on the parking brake. He stepped out and watched his car go up the hill before his eyes. He reported what he had seen and word quickly spread through the town and beyond.
The town exploded.
Walter Deacon Jr. followed the story for several days and chronicled the events. The days after people came out by the score to try and test Magic Hill and see if they could defy gravity and the laws of science, including an “official” test by the Chief of Police,
George H. Smith. Time and again people stood amazed as they magically went up the hill with no effort. The next day the scene seems to have gotten worse as people came from neighboring towns and outside the state. They went up the hill in bikes, baby carriages any anything else that could roll. Kids started to charge people for rides on their bikes. Some even went on the grass nearby, closed their eyes and spun around.
After opening their eyes they said they had been drawn uphill.
The police wanted to close the street as cars rushed next to little kids on bikes, but the crowd prevailed. The Superintendent of Streets in Leominster was called in to investigate. He concluded the street was actually a decline of 1.9 feet but the surrounding area created the illusion that you were traveling uphill. To stop the pedestrians from coming and causing traffic accidents he tried to fill the hole, but reports said the material he used rolled off the hill.
The hill’s popularity eventually faded, but people still remember the case which comes up when discussing the folklore of the town. Was the hill really magic? Probably not.
News reports of the incident are a bit tongue-in-cheek about the whole thing and stories the reporter heard sound too fantastic to be true, especially one that said cars traveled “up” the hill at between 10 to 15 miles per hour. Boyden’s statements about the hill ring true to a degree and archaeologists who tested the area found no magnetic forces.
Do not tell that to the people who experienced it. Truth or legend, the people of the town enjoyed their moment in the spotlight basking in an event that attracted people from all around.
This article could not have been written without the help of Jeannine T. Levesque from the Leominster Public Library. I encourage people to give to this library that is more than anxious to help eager minds learn about and research the paranormal. Most of this material comes from the Leominster Daily Enterprise from July 13 to 15, 1939, and was written by Walter I. Deacon Jr. Other material was taken from Curious New England by Joesph Citro.