|The Legend of Spook Hill near Orlando Florida|
You won't even have to get out of your car to experience this Florida oddity. Just park your car on the white line at the bottom of the hill, put it into neutral and experience the eerie sensation of your car mysteriously moving backward up Spook Hill.
There are various legends about Spook Hill. The most popular story - and the one the city of Lake Wales officially endorses - is one of an Indian chief's great battle with a 17 foot gator. After rising triumphant from a battle in the lake that lasted for days, another smaller lake mysteriously appeared. Some say the ghost of the alligator is seeking some sort of revenge while others claim the chief's spirit is protecting the land.
Many locals say that the Indian story is a completely fabricated politically correct story that replaced the real story that used to be on the sign. In the original version of the story, an "old darky" had parked his car on the hill and when it started rolling uphill, he ran all over town, screaming about a "spook" that had moved his car.
There is no cost to experience Spook Hill - something you cannot say about many things in the Orlando area. Although the kids sure think it's cool - especially when they think it may involve ghosts - I'm not sure it is worth an hour and a half round trip drive just to experience this two minute phenomenon. There are definitely other things to do in the Lake Wales area while you are there, though.
LEGOLAND is a very short 20 minute drive from Lake Wales and is super popular with kids aged 2-12. It features more than 50 rides, shows, attractions, restaurants and shops as well as the LEGOLAND water park. With its stately mansion, beautifully landscaped gardens and singing tower, Bok Tower Gardens is certainly at the top of the list of other things to do in the Lake Wales area, too.
Also nearby, Kissimmee State Park is alive with all kinds of natural Florida wildlife and features an 1836 "living history" demonstration of early cow hunters and a cow camp. Historic downtown Lake Wales is also a favorite stop, due to its quaint antique and specialty shops.
The legend of Spook Hill appeared on the front page of the Wall Street Journal in 1990 and that same year, it was featured in a segment on the CBS Morning News show. Here's a short video of what you'll experience at Spook Hill, filmed by local ABC affiliate, WFTV. Decide for yourself whether or not there are mysterious spirits at play here:
Florida Travel Sleuth Quote of the Day: "I wouldn't describe myself as lacking in confidence, but I would just say that the ghosts you chase you never catch." -John Malkovich