.From the April Fool’s Files: Mystery Spot Shut Down for Building Code Violations

[Editor’s Note: This story ran on April 1 as our traditional celebration of April Fool’s Day. Since the holiday has now passed, and we’re not in the business of fake news, we have marked it as such to avoid any confusion. Again, to be SUPER clear: nothing is wrong at the Mystery Spot, we love them, and we thank them for being so gracious about our fooling. Long may they tilt!]

When Santa Cruz County officials announced they had red-tagged the Mystery Spot in Happy Valley, shockwaves immediately reverberated through the community.

The owners say they had no choice but to close up shop after they learned about their beloved institution’s building code violations.

“We realize the optics of this are not great,” says Planning Director Kathy Previsich. “But at the same time, we cannot let our love of this institution tilt our decision. These crooked buildings are unsafe to let anyone to enter.”

Protesters denouncing the closure lined up outside the Mystery Spot, which believers say is a vortex, where the laws of physics get distorted.

secure document shredding

Skeptics, of course, simply say it’s a couple of oddly shaped wooden structures on a hill. Either way, the news has been difficult for many Mystery Spot fans and team members.

“You know, maybe this wouldn’t mean anything to county inspectors, but I’ve spent the last six months honing a dry sense humor and corny puns,” says tour guide Erik Jung, who’s now thinking about applying for a job on the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland. “The gravity of the situation is still sinking in. I’m sorry, this has just been really hard.”

Activists and politicos are already chiming in about how to save the property—or at least reuse the destination, which has been deemed unstable.

Former Santa Cruz City Councilmember Micah Posner tweeted from his newly created Twitter account that maybe the Mystery Spot could be used for affordable housing.

Santa Cruz Transportation Manager Jim Burr has begun to look into using the property for a seven-story parking garage. Former County Treasurer Fred Keeley suggests putting a brand new Santa Cruz Warriors arena there instead.

“Imagine, we could have everyone’s favorite basketball team playing, surrounded by trees,” Keeley says. “Boy, doesn’t that sound fun?”

And Santa Cruz Shakespeare has begun to look into using the buildings for a performance of “The Tempest.”

Still, some Mystery Spot supporters aren’t ready to give up just yet. James Durbin has started writing a benefit song to save the fun joint, and even sent us an advance copy of the chorus:

Mystery Spot,

Mystery Spot,

You bring me joy when I don’t feel hot.

I love Santa Cruz so much.

President Donald Trump heard about the developments via Fox News, which reported the shutdown, and immediately took to Twitter to condemn the decision.Mystery Spot - Trump Tweet

As longtime Santa Cruzans mourn, First District County Supervisor John Leopold has announced a community meeting to discuss the Mystery Spot’s future.

“Visitors from all over Santa Cruz and beyond have celebrated this institution for more than seventy years,” Leopold says. “It’s time for a balanced community dialogue to hear concerns, while we look for a path forward. We’re trying to have an informed discussion.”

The discussion about the future of the Mystery Spot will be at Gotcha Cultural Center at 1 APRIL FOOL Drive, Soquel at 7 p.m.


  1. In the meantime, can we paint a James Dean on one of the buildings, to replace the one painted over in Brookdale?


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