How we created a portal to another world for our most mysterious cover yet

Where it goes, nobody knows.

The forest on the cover is a real place, but it’s not as eerie as it looks. Adam Voorhes, of photography duo The Voorhes, captured it in Stephenson Nature Reserve in Austin, Texas, where he ventured to find the perfect backdrop.

mysteries cover photo set
The earthen sausage in the making. The Voorhes

Before pressing the shutter, he waited for enough cloud cover to generate a soft, diffused light that could transform the sunny hiking spot into an otherworldly scene. Adam, together with partner and producer Robin Finlay, overlaid the image with some digital smoke and a shot of a white vintage door taken inside their studio. The spooky result is a bright portal leading somewhere beyond the imagination.

No matter how much you look, you won’t find this particular threshold to the unknown. If while walking in the woods you stumble upon another one, well, that’s a whole other mystery.

This story appears in the Fall 2020, Mysteries issue of Popular Science.

Cover of the Fall 2020 issue of Popular Science
The Fall 2020 issue of Popular Science. The Voorhes
Sara Kiley Watson

Sara Kiley WatsonSara Kiley Watson is an assistant editor at PopSci. Her work has also been featured in NPR and Business Insider. Contact the author here.