The Gates Of Hell, Gravity Hill, and The Old Slaughterhouse on Empire Mine Road

Dark Forces, Thin Places


The Gates of Hell. In Antioch.


Growing up in Contra Costa County in the East Bay Area of California, the one place I remember having legitimate fear of passing through is the area collectively known as Gravity Hill.

On a small back road in Antioch (near Mt. Diablo), there is a road called Empire Mine Rd – and on this stretch of asphalt teenagers were known to park their car and put it in neutral in a spot that gave the illusion of being completely flat (if not going up at an incline). I remember doing this (only during the day obviously) and being surprised that our completely stationary  car would start to slowly begin to move and then pick up speed and start lunging forward – an phenomenon that was speculated to have been ghostly hands pushing our vehicles out of
harms way.

Nearby there was a place called the Gates of Hell (which of course sat close to an abandoned Slaughterhouse). Much of the lore has been lost to time for me, but I do remember if ever we had to drive by late at night, I would clench my arm rests and look out the window. The rumors had something to do with Satanic cults and strange rituals and I was always afraid I would see dark figures carrying torches back in the hills.

I haven’t been back since the 2000s, and it looks like the road is closed (but possibly still accessible via pedestrian traffic if what I read online is correct). I wonder if the kids nowadays still go visit The Gates of Hell?

Submitted by: Garrett Kelly