The Thing?

What is the Thing?  Along Interstate 10, from Tucson, Arizona to El Paso, Texas, you see billboards with messages to tickle your interests.  One will say, "The Thing?", and a few miles more you will see "What is it?" and down the road a ways another might say "Mystery of the Desert".  

Located on a hilltop between Benson and Willcox, Arizona, you will see a large red, yellow, blue filling station and gift shop.  Inside you will find the typical southwest roadside gifts such as bows, arrows, moccasins, baseball caps, turquoise jewelry and The Thing? shot glasses, T-shirts and other items with the logo on it.

What is it?  I sounds like a novelty which peaks enough people's interest to get them to stop and check it out.  For a dollar, you walk past the register and into a tiny outside courtyard.  In the courtyard is three prefabricated corrugated steel sheds full of odd exhibits.  You will see unusual wood carvings, framed lithographs, saddles, rifles, a covered wagon and some vintage automobiles.  They even claim that the 1937 Rolls-Royce once was owned by Adolf Hitler.  After walking through the maze of bizarre stuff, you finally see The Thing?, a mummified mother-and-child tableau encased in a glass-cover coffin.

I have not seen The Thing? yet.  But the next time I head to southern Arizona, I might have to take a detour and see this oddity for myself.


  1. It's pretty cool, I've dragged the husband out a few times. I don't rennet it looking quite like that though. The real reason to go is to see the beautiful furniture and carvings. Definatly worth the trip. Also the employees are friendly and they had a Dairy Queen. :)

    1. Thanks Betty. I will be sure to visit the place the next time I head south.

  2. I love that it's called "The Thing" ... it just draws one in, doesn't it ;-)?

  3. Used to live in West Texas and had friends in Tucson, so I saw the billboards many times. Well, once we decided to actually stop in. We couldn't even justify the few bucks it was worth. I just new we would be somehow disappointed. But the concept sparked in me a story idea. I've written a short story about a roadside attraction like that.


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