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The Strange and Mysterious Town of Zzyzx

Driving along lonely Interstate 15 in San Bernadino County, in the state of California, in the United States, you may come across something strange as the desolate arid wasteland of the Mojave Desert passes by. There on the side of the highway your attention may be caught by an odd road sign reading “Zzyzx road,” the pronunciation of which might elude you just as much as its inscrutable purpose. If you were to take a detour onto this shabby, rugged little rural road you would find yourself meandering 4.5 miles through the dusty scrub to eventually be deposited in an area perched on the edge of a bone dry lakebed that is littered with the decrepit ruins of what appears to have once been some sort of prosperous spa resort, with now dilapidated buildings, weed-choked lots, and the muddy remnants of the hot springs still there. You have found yourself at Zzyzx, a strange, off-the-beaten-path town with a history just as bizarre as its name. The town lies in an area officially called Soda Springs, a natural mineral spring which was a quarry in prehistoric times, a water stop for Native Americans and Spanish explorers, a U.S. military garrison from 1867 to 1870, a wagon stop, a railway, and the location of numerous salt mines over the years. It is already a fairly interesting history, but things get even more so with the coming of an eccentric, oddball individual by the name of Curtis Howe Springer. Born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1896, Springer got his start selling sheet music for an evangelical service, after which he moved to Chicago, became a minister, and took to touring around giving self-help and healing lectures where he proclaimed himself to be a medical doctor, referring to himself with such important titles as M.D., N.D., D.O., Ph.D. and throwing around the names of prestigious universities he had attended, including several that he just made up. This was not the only of his tall tales, as he also claimed to have been a boxing instructor in World War I, but it was his most profitable, as he would often ask for donations after his lectures and try to sell private courses in psychoanalysis. It was all very impressive considering that he was not a doctor at all, and had no experience whatsoever in psychoanalysis. Read More: Mysterious Universe

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