Mysterious Sensation

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Mysterious Sensation
Type Funhouse
Park Section Midway
Built 1926
Opened 1926
Closed 1937 (park closure)
Manufacturer Hollis G. Conrad
Designer Hollis G. Conrad
Architect Hollis G. Conrad
Frame Iron

A funhouse attraction called the Mysterious Sensation opened at Olentangy Park in 1926[1] and operated until the park's final season in 1937. Parkgoers would walk through corridors designed to throw off their balance and distort their perceptions of gravity.[2] The building was built on angles to give an impression that water was running uphill to make you think you were walking downgrade when you were really walking uphill.[3]

The attraction was said to be originated at the park[4], but other instances of the attraction were installed at other parks around the country soon after its invention in 1924 such as Krug Park, White City, and Luna Park.[5][6][7] The Olentangy Park version possibly was the first built entirely of sheet metal inside and out. It was built of 3.5 tons of Armco Ingot Iron 26-gauge 26.5-in. x 144-in. sheets nailed to 2 x 4 in. purlins spaced 2 feet apart with a 2-ft. center for siding. No fire insurance was required for the attraction because there wasn't any wood. Hollis G. Conrad was the inventor, designer, and builder.[4]

It was described as having "mingled 45 and 20-degree angle planes."[8] A similar attraction at White City Amusement Park in Chicago and "was likened to Riverview [Park]'s Aladdin’s Castle and a Haunted House mixed together."[9]

When installed at Fair Park in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1927, the description in The Birmingham News[10] described that attraction as:

The interior has nothing out of the common with the average bungalow with the exception that the floor is unusual in its being on a slight gradient. With none of the usual accessories of the diversified types of "fun house," the sensation is the more peculiar and distinctly pleasing.

Defying the laws of simple gravitation, rubber balls roll up an inclined plane and add to the mystery of the building.



  1. "Park Has a Mystery." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 16 April 1926. Pg. 51.
  2. Stow, Edgar. "Dameron Band…Goldfish Show At Olentangy Resort." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 3 July 1933. Pg. 9.
  3. Wentz, Howard E. "What Our Readers Have to Say." The Columbus Dispatch Sunday Magazine. 19 November 1967. Pg. 7.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Columbus, Ohio, Amusement Park Sports All Sheet Metal Fun House." American Artisan. United States: Keeney Publishing Company. 31 July 1926. Pg. 197-198.
  5. "Krug Park Will Reopen Saturday." The Omaha Daily News (Omaha, Nebraska). 4 May 1924. Pg. 11.
  6. Ad. Chicago Tribune. 18 May 1924. Pg. 99.
  7. "'Mysterious Sensation' To Open at Luna Park". The Houston Post (Houston, Texas). 11 July 1924. Pg. 16.
  8. "Variety Club at Olentangy Fiesta." Columbus Evening Dispatch. 26 July 1932. Pg. 8.
  9. Gale, Neil, Ph.D. "White City Amusement Park, 63rd Street and South Parkway (Martin Luther King Dr.), Chicago, Illinois. (1905-1933)." Digital Research Library of Illinois History Journal. 1 April 2017. Accessed 30 July 2022.
  10. "Mystery House--Just What is It?" The Birmingham News (Birmingham, AL). 15 May 1927. Pg. 92.