Weird History: What Is Zzyzx?

Weird History: What Is Zzyzx?

What Is Zzyzx?

Well, Zzyzx, pronounced “zei-zix”, isn’t just a tongue-twisting and nearly unpronounceable use of the English language, it’s also a mysterious settlement nestled in the blistering heart of Mojave Desert, near the California-Nevada border. On route to Las Vegas for a weekend of sin and debauchery, thousands of people per day speed down Interstate 15 and pass by a perplexing off-ramp sign that juts up from the shifting sands and points the way toward Zzyzx road. It always seems to elicit the same response— utter confusion, but if you are one of the brave few who decide to stray from the beaten path and tempt fate by driving down this endless road, you’ll eventually come to a collection of enigmatic springs that were once part of a prehistoric quarry site.

Zzyzx, proclaimed as the final word in the English language, was established in 1944 as the Zzyzx Mineral Springs and Health Spa after discovery of one of its numerous springs. It is said that the fresh water from one of these spring invigorates the body and has special, yet unexplainable, restorative properties. Due to word of mouth, a privileged few would make the pilgrimage there to anoint themselves in the healing waters and bottle extra for future purposes, one of which I am currently in possession of. In the mid-seventies, the Zzyzx Mineral Springs And Health Spa was abruptly shut down and the surrounding area reclaimed by the government, but its intriguing history reaches back much further than that.

Is Zzyzx Home To A Real Fountain Of Youth?

Tales have been told about the these fateful springs as far back as 1860 when the area was a utilized as a US Army outpost. Various letters sent from the soldiers stationed there told stories of an invisible aura hovering over the place and mysterious electricity that seemed to reverberate through the sand. Some even describe amazing firsthand accounts of injured soldiers healing at an “unnatural rate” once they reached close proximity of the springs. It seems that the entire area caused a collective and contradictory feeling of calm and unease among the soldiers, almost as if good were colliding with evil.

Between the years 1905 and 1907 the Tonopah And Tidewater Railroad began to lay it’s rails across the Mojave Desert as a way to extract borax ore from the surrounding area. After scanning through databases from the local newspapers, I came upon a bizarre article from the same era describing a disturbing incident where a rail worker was severely injured when a stack of iron rails broke loose from its carriage, crushing his spine and causing irreversible paralysis from the waist down. After six days of labored breaths and death waiting by his bedside, the worker miraculously walked out of medical tent with only a few bruises and cuts to show for his harrowing experience.

Another intriguing story appeared sometime in the late fifties when the site was still being used as a mineral and health spa. A forty-eight year old man was reportedly horribly burned after a ruptured pipe from one of the mineral baths burst and blanketed him in boiling water. An eyewitness account attests that the man’s face, chest, and arms were badly burnt and his skin resembled “raw hamburger”. Because of the remote spa’s vicinity to the surround towns, there wasn’t a doctor for miles, so a female nurse, who had also been vacationing there, tended to his burns. She stated that in less than a week, the man “pulled out of his skin, like a reptile shedding” and looked as if the whole terrifying experience had never even happened. The man’s only complaint was that he was “unbearably thirsty”. This account comes from the actual nurse who watched over the man as he lay in agony and the same woman who eventually witnessed his rebirth—the man’s very own daughter.

The settlement formally known as “Zzyzx”, is now home to the Desert Studies Center, a field station for the California State University which supposedly conducts research on the desert environment, but what unnatural phenomenon have they really discovered there? Could the true fountain of youth and its life giving waters be hiding in a place known as Death Valley?

~Curtis Rx

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  1. Mandieville666
    Posted July 1, 2009 at 2:25 am | Permalink

    ironic if it is a supposed fountain of youth.

  2. Emma
    Posted July 1, 2009 at 2:31 am | Permalink

    You say you possess a bottle of it? Well that explains much.

  3. Posted July 1, 2009 at 2:48 am | Permalink

    Wow, that’s pretty crazy. I’ve never even heard of Zzyzx before. I’ll be passing through Nevada in a couple of weeks so I’ll keep a look out for it. Great article!

  4. Miss Delirium
    Posted July 1, 2009 at 2:59 am | Permalink

    Hah! My mom was just out that way. I’ll have to ask her if she saw that sign.
    I also agree with Emma. You having a bottle of the spring water DOES explain a lot, heh.
    That’s actually very interesting, though… I’d love to try and find those springs if I were ever out that way myself.
    (Also, is it just me, or does anyone else remember a movie being made about this?)

  5. Posted July 1, 2009 at 4:10 am | Permalink

    But, it says “In the mid-seventies, the Zzyzx Mineral Springs And Health Spa was abruptly shut down” does that mean it is not there anymore? People are not allowed through there? I would love to investigate for myself.

  6. Katy
    Posted July 1, 2009 at 4:29 am | Permalink

    I was actually just talking about Zzyzx Rd. with my friend the other day. I did not know about the springs though. Very interesting!

  7. Migratory Zombie
    Posted July 1, 2009 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    Interesting, very interesting…
    Why should they have shut it down if it seemed to be doing so much good? Perhaps the government wants to keep the Fountain of Youth for its own purposes…it wouldn’t surprise me.
    How on earth did you come to posess a bottle? o_O

  8. Posted July 1, 2009 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    This tales about abandoned places is great… fountain, I want a fountain like it ahHAHAHAhahaha Oh Yeah here have some crazy tales about some places, have the blue lake, a big lake with one deep so so so hole, that have a car cemetery inside. And one guy suicide there in one electronic party, after dreams turn in the nightmare acid suicide =O jump of the top of mountain like a bird I listen the people scream god god he jump and nobody can do party more there, private government, maybe, only have mysterious tales about this place closer of here, about strange noises and disappear people around.

  9. Alice Agony
    Posted July 1, 2009 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    i would love to visit this place sometime…the government probably shut it down because they wanted to test the water so they can use it for the military(morons they shouldn’t be abusing a natural resource this way) in my opinion the water might have an influence over things that happen …so it can heal more people. kind of like a fire(man /woman) setting a fire so they can put it out

  10. Lillian T.
    Posted July 1, 2009 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    i want to go there…maybe take a few pictures…and then do a U-Turn and head my way back to Vegas.

  11. Posted July 2, 2009 at 12:58 am | Permalink


  12. Natalee
    Posted July 2, 2009 at 3:19 am | Permalink

    i have driven down I-15 many times going from salt lake city to vegas and eventually somewhere in california but i have never noticed this road :S haha i might just try to drive it the next time i pass it — if i can find it.

  13. Mandieville666
    Posted July 2, 2009 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    To Natalee: let me know how nasty it is i want to know which car i should take.

  14. horsie890
    Posted July 3, 2009 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    I’ve driven by that road a ton of times. No one ever actually exits on it that I’ve seen. Would be interesting to go see it one day, though.

  15. Posted July 5, 2009 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    i just love all these “weird history” entries i only really
    knew about plum island and the mysteriouse
    monster … i think because of that show
    “Monsterquest” but i have seen this road twice but
    it only served me as a source of entertainment
    for a long drive ahead… just joking with
    the family such things as “thats has to be the
    last word in the dictionary… must be
    the last road in the world too!”

    good posts
    lookin forward
    to more of these
    and seein u again


  16. Posted July 14, 2009 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    Before reading the post, I thought the Zzyzx Rd might’ve been something from a Dr. Seuss book…lol!

  17. Obsolescence
    Posted July 19, 2009 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Wow, that’s crazy. I want to go there.

  18. ZombieAsylum
    Posted August 30, 2009 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    That is pretty wicked. I’d like a bottle. Then again i’d probably end up burning myself on purpose just to test it.

  19. Angela
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 3:50 am | Permalink

    I live in Vegas and used to live in San Diego so I’ve done that long and monotnous drive on the 15 at least 20 times. I’ve always wondered about that zzyzx exit and last summer me and my boyfriend took the exit and couldn’t believe what was out there. I actually went there today by myself to take pics since I didn’t the first time… I was fortunate enough to see “Vinnie the Fox” on my first visit and two or three people walking around. Today, there was no sign of Vinnie or people for that matter. Just me, a research center, and a dried up lake bed from the ice era. Its a must see people; its about an hour and a half outside of Vegas. Just look for the ZZYZX Exit and check out a really cool part of history!

  20. CaseyJ
    Posted August 25, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    Zzyzx is also the name of the demon prison in Fablehaven: Keys to the Demon prison. maybe it was shut down because a demon got loose?

  21. Mary
    Posted December 27, 2010 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    :/ how weird… I live in losvegas, and I’ve been there… XD didn’t see anything but five lizards!

  22. Tuesday
    Posted January 2, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    Another weird place i’ve heard of is Turnbull Canyon (in California). A lot of paranormal things happen there, they’re not good things either. Supposedly the portal to hell is somewhere in there also.

  23. Posted March 12, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    lol!! I haven’t driven by there in years!! I always wondered what it meant. Thanks!

  24. Aaron Adams
    Posted August 13, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    I drove by Zzyzx Road a few days ago on my way to Utah and the road sign brought back a few memories.
    Back in 1969, while still in school, I worked at a Shell filling station just south of Barstow, California. A nice white haired gentleman wearing a white uniform and driving a green GMC suburban with several rows of seats and a luggage trailer in tow would frequent the business for a gasoline fill-up a couple of evenings a week. I remembered he was always pleasant and a pleasure to wait on. On the sides of the front doors in white lettering were the words “Zzyzx Mineral Springs”. His passengers were always nicely dressed elderly people. I once asked him what the attraction was at the springs and he told me that the folks just enjoyed the rest, relaxation and rejuvenation they got from the resort.
    Well, I went to work for the Santa Fe Railroad that year and never saw the gentleman again. But, every time I passed the Zzyzx Road exit on my way to Las Vegas, I wondered how he and his clients were doing.

  25. Kelli
    Posted September 13, 2011 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Curtis, you’re a phychotic weirdo. But that’s why everyone loves you!

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