In The Middle Of The Mojave Desert Is An Oddly Named Ghost Town That Was Built On A Scam

sborisov - - illustrative purposes only

In the middle of the Mojave Desert, just two hours outside of Las Vegas is an abandoned settlement with a really odd name: Zzyzx.

At this ghost town, you can find the ruins of a natural spring system that was once called “Soda Springs.”

For many generations, the natural spring water at the site was used by Native Americans, Spanish explorers, miners, and railroad workers who were traveling through the area. But in 1944, Zzyzx became something more.

A man named Curtis Howe Springer capitalized off of the spring’s apparent healing powers, which turned him into a millionaire.

Throughout the 1940s, he founded and operated the Zzyzx health spa around the natural spring, claiming that the water could miraculously cure any number of ailments. People traveled from across the country to visit his spa.

Of course, the whole thing was a scam. The spring water was not an effective remedy for actual health issues.

Springer was a master grifter, spinning lies everywhere he went. The only fact about him known to be true was that he was born in 1896 in Birmingham, Alabama.

In the mid-1930s, Springer had landed in Chicago, where he had his own radio show. He referred to himself as a doctor even though he had left school after the ninth grade and started advertising miracle medicines that didn’t actually cure anything. Eventually, he moved to Pittsburgh, which was when his radio show really took off.

Because of the popularity of his radio show, he decided to head to the Mojave Desert to open a wellness retreat near a small oasis.

sborisov – – illustrative purposes only

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