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Montana pseudoscience

I mentioned the Montana Vortex a while back. It seems that since then they’ve built themselves a web site with all sorts of wacky information.

Did you know they have a circle you can walk around? I bet not:

The healing Labyrinth is a new addition to the vortex grounds and we invite you to take a walk in this unique area.

Walking a labyrinth is an interesting approach to meditation and is claimed by many to have very special healing and spiritual powers. Our Labyrinth has been built right in the center of the largest vortex on the property and is ready for your personal journey.

Oh, sorry, it’s a “labyrinth.” Wait. No, it’s a circle.

The true mystery at the Montana Vortex is the question of how human beings can appear to shrink and grow in the eyes of others and themselves by simply walking a few short feet along a level surface?

“The Platform” is a level cement area that sits on one of the lines of energy of the vortex. When you stand on one end of “The Platform” in the energy field you will shrink any where from four to six inches. Standing on the other end of “The Platform” will bring you back to your normal size. Visitors are continually amazed at being able to see this natural occurring phenomenon and leave with pictures and video to prove it.

Ooooh, spooky, eh? They have pictures of this, though not on their magic concrete. It’s ably explained here.

Here’s a solid chunk of pure woo:

Does anyone know what a vortex is? Basically, it’s a swirl of energy that can be clockwise or counterclockwise. In Yoga one learns of 7 main chakras which are spinning wheels of energy that are also known as gateways between the outer world and inner world within the body. I equate the body to the living earth as the same except for the information exchange is different. These vortexes can be opened or closed depending on ones intent. They can also amplify whatever energy is present …negative or positive. Of course, everything is entirely subjective and your intent does make a difference.

I use this Montana vortex as a platform to introduce people to the world of quantum, the field of all potentiality, as Deepak Chopra would say. Although this is ancient knowledge it has only recently become popular.

Which apparently means it’s a “genuine…anomaly,” except to the people who don’t believe in it. I think someone’s confused about the meaning of “genuine.”

Then there are the orbs. Oh lord, the orbs. Also known as “dust,” these have been fascinating the credulous for years. Here’s one getting ready to attack a child. Another one is spying through a window. This one is headng for the trees. Not content with “orbs,” they see a new phenomenon. Ecto mist!

I think this is what you get when you take pictures with cameras that have “moderate noise, artifacts, and a compressed dynamic range that tended to blow out highlights” and “a tendency to blow out whites and highlights.”

They do have a section labeled “Scientific” on their site. It’s empty.

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Categories: Silliness, Skepticism
  1. rob
    July 30, 2006 at 9:27 pm

    They don’t even look like orbs, just… lensflare. Poor effort :(

  2. July 30, 2006 at 9:28 pm

    Wow…after four years here, this is the first time that I’ve heard of the Vortex. Looks like they’ve got themselves a nifty little tourist trap. Good for a laugh, if nothing else.

  3. August 1, 2006 at 6:46 pm

    My daughter finally convinced me to go several years ago. I think that we would have been better amused to wad up the cash, throw it in the river and speculate about where it went.

  4. August 2, 2006 at 7:10 pm

    I was about 12 years old the last time I visited this place. I got a pretty serious kick out of it back then. I swore that I saw a marble roll uphill. The website doesn’t do the place justice. Give it a visit I say, one of Montana’s quirky little backwaters. What have you got to lose?

  5. August 2, 2006 at 8:09 pm

    See Granny’s wadded up cash comment above. :-P

    It’s not worth the drive to Kalispell, but I fully intend to visit it sometime.

  6. June 29, 2007 at 11:08 pm

    Actually you guys are under-educated, quite embarassing. It wasn’t until 2005 and after that a leading world scientist came in to tour you and explain. It’s an electromagnetic vortex it’s all scientifically built and explained and the internet is sadly limited even still because of how new it is. Some things are just solid fact, take any item you want there to disprove it THEN talk trash. You’ll see it’s in-penetrable fact. Please go to college, take physics…

    The vortex is real.

  7. July 3, 2007 at 6:48 pm

    Actually, I’ve been to college and taken physics (which you could have gathered from the About link above). I think you should hesitate to call anyone uneducated, considering you didn’t actually say anything useful, other than that some scientist explained it. How vague. Plus, you’re asking me to disprove those events, which isn’t how you go about these things scientifically. If you have a phenomenon, you provide evidence to support it. That’s evidence, not vague claims based on authority that I can’t verify. Let’s have some research, some papers in mainstream refereed journals, some qualified physicists who have studied the claimed phenomenon, etc. My under-educated brain requires some support for these things, not bluster.

  8. MattusMaximus
    July 16, 2007 at 4:40 pm

    Last August (2006) my wife and I went to the Montana Vortex during a trip out west. I just wanted to see their leaning house, but we got way more than we bargained for… those folks actually tried to convince us that all this woo-woo was real. Check out their website for more:

    http://www.montanavortex.com

    For reference “Christian”, I have a Masters degree in physics and my wife has a Masters degree in geophysics, and we saw immediately that pretty much all the stuff these folks were dishing out was pure hooey.

    We even challenged them right then and there, and I made numerous measurements that disproved their claims – for instance, they claim that their special concrete slab is level yet people still shrink and grow on it (due to “vortex energy”).

    I showed definitively that the parts of the slab where the people stand are NOT level (dipping by about 3 degrees each, in fact) and that the illusion of growth & shrinking was due to a combination of well-known optical illusions called the Ponzo effect and the Plank illusion. Their response: “What do you mean ‘you can’t always trust your eyes’? You don’t trust what you see?!”

    Exactly, that’s what optical illusions are – duh. And “Christian”, that is how science is done – you make measurements and experiment, not just allow anyone to come along and dump weird ideas into your head like an open dustbin.

    I actually did a detailed analysis and write-up on this place and the claims of the proprietors. If anyone is interested, feel free to email me at lowryclan AT yahoo DOT com and I’d be more than happy to share it with you.

    Cheers – Mattus Maximus

  9. teeytena
    July 31, 2007 at 3:55 pm

    You guys are some real buzz-kill. Why not just have fun? Bunch if losers…

  10. July 31, 2007 at 6:01 pm

    Writing that post was actually quite fun.

    Some of us think exposing bullshit is a worthwhile endeavor. I know I don’t enjoy being scammed in the name of fun.

    What the hell is with this subject anyway? This post is abnormally popular (for this blog, anyway) of late.

  11. August 3, 2007 at 3:33 am

    Interesting. Have you ever considered the possiblity that both sides are ture? The fun stuff really is just physics trickery to engage the kid part of us. No more than that.

    AND the vortext stuff is actully real and has nothing to do with the trick rooms, etc. The ancient traditions of the world all have a place for psychic levels and the non-phsyical world of energy.
    Try reading Ken Wilber for a worldview that can include and transcend all of the above. Scientists are gradually exploring the subtle energies of the human body and world. Perhaps we will understand it better some day – but, in the meantime, don’t dismiss what you haven’t experienced.

  12. August 3, 2007 at 6:42 pm

    I generally dismiss what there is no evidence for. New Age mysticism is a good example. “Experience” in these areas means little more than a certain event was interpreted by an individual brain to mean something more than it was, typically to suit beliefs or preconceptions already held. A truly transcendental philosophy would recognize that your experience is not the be all, end all of truth.

  13. Orly
    August 25, 2008 at 9:04 am

    I just visited the “Vortex” in Montana and it seemed like a total hoax to me as well. I brought a compass and the needle continued to point to North and didn’t do anything wacky, despite the supposed electromagnetic energy all around us. I didn’t go as a skeptic, I really expected it to be genuine and wanted to see the compass go crazy. Also, the platforms that make people look taller and shorter aren’t level. I can’t believe anyone who actually goes to it will believe it’s anything more than lame carnival tricks. I know, it’s a fun silly thing for children like the wax “shrunken heads” at Ripley’s Believe It or Not museums. But they shouldn’t try to seriously sell it to adults as real, no one wants to feel they’re being sold snake oil. The guide was immediately defensive when I discreetly tried to see proof of the Vortex during the tour, although we were “welcome” to test it for ourselves.

  14. steveeqwonder
    September 11, 2008 at 8:54 am

    i am neither here nor there on this subject and quite intrigued by both sides actually. The only thing i question is what about all the trees. the house be damned there is a lot of trickery there but what happened to all those trees to make them grow like that and only in that area. since visiting that place i always keep an eye out for forest growth like that as i live and work 98% of the time in the bush and i have yet to see more than one or two trees at any given time growing all messed up like that.

    blind man

  15. Big Foot
    May 14, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    There is a definite scientific explanation of the forces involved in the creation of all phenomena surronding this and many other vortexes around the world. Do your reaserch:) Some of the optical illusions that I observed while in Motana’ Vortex included: Trees lining up in a row, 7 of them at a 45 degree angle to the ground and this row of trees disappearing half an hour later.

  16. Canuk
    July 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    I visited the Montana vortex and was a little taken. I understood about perception and illusion and could explain most things. I could not explain the effect of seeing the haze and Aura between my fingers or the heat I could build up between my hands or the difficulty in pulling them apart also I immediatly felt very odd when in the circles. All in all it broke up a long trip and was worth the eight bucks.

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