The desert southwest is full of strangeness, and other things that are just plain odd. Highway signs are no exception. On Interstate 15, approximately 10 miles south of Baker, California, you will see a sign with what will probably be the strangest looking (and sounding) name for a road. Zzyzx Road. Don’t ask me how to pronounce it, because I don’t have a freaking clue. From what I have read online, everyone seems to have their own opinion about how it’s pronounced, but…I’m not even going to try. Besides, it just adds to the mystery. Apparently there was a town of the same name, at the end of the road. There seem to be several different stories as to how it got the name, who inhabited the “town”, and a radio evangelist that started a big scam there. Currently, there appears to be some sort of mineral springs and wellness center, at the end of that particular road.
Curtis Howe Springer came up with all sorts of crazy-ass concoctions that he claimed would cure just about anything, including cancer. He had also recruited homeless people from Skid Row in Los Angeles, to help him build a church, hotel, and other structures on the property that was supposed to be a mining claim filed for by his second wife. When he started selling plots of land that he had no legal ownership of to “donors” of large amounts of money, the feds stepped in and started the downward spiral of his little empire, which eventually landed him in prison. It seems there is still some mystery surrounding that town, and exactly what all happened there. It’s a far cry from what happened in Jonestown. There wasn’t any kind of mass suicide, or any other significant event. But one thing is for sure: It’s still one of the strangest places in the desert southwest.
More details about him, and his quackery can be read here: Zzyzx Rd. and Curtis Howe Springer