I Saw “The Thing!” The Shocking Secret Of This $1 Mystery Revealed! A “Dust Devil” Too!

Arizona’s Mysterious Signs!

When I made a trip across America, I got involved in the mystery of “The Thing!”

See what I see? It’s part of a roadside sign, one that eluded me for almost a hundred miles…it all began as I was driving cross-country with my son, and just outside Tucson, Arizona I was taking shots of some of Arizona’s unique rock formations:

I noticed a sign up ahead, with a cool 50’s horror movie vibe to it, and I tried to get a shot:

The Mystery Of “The Thing” Begins!

The signs went by so quickly I couldn’t get a clear shot of them, which only made us more and more curious…as we drove on, I kept trying, with mixed results…

“The Thing” Revealed!

As we got closer, the signs were more and more frequent, until I was able to get a better shot, and that’s when things turned REALLY CREEPY:

Well, that’s one unsettling little person there, but the sign promises “happiness ahead” – and more importantly it signaled we had arrived, so we pulled in to find this:

Once inside, we found ourselves in a gift shop that had a lot of unusual things for sale, like this wine bottle holder fashioned out of two six-shooters:

Guns, but no “Thing!”

Yes, the large store was filled with western souvenirs of all kinds, including lots of stuff made out of guns – but no sign of “The Thing”…literally. There were NO signs inside the store showing where “The Thing” was waiting for us…we walked back outside, went around the building to make sure there wasn’t another entrance, then headed back in and saw this:

We raced back inside to discover the “museum” housing “The Thing” was being refurbished….we were crushed…so after all of this setup, there was no “thing?”

“Oh, it’s right back there”, the woman at counter said when we asked, pointing to where a couple was standing over what looked to be a wood-framed freezer…

“And”, she said plainly, “since the museum’s closed, you can see it for free!”

Wait, “The Thing” is actually here, and we don’t have to pay? Score! With that good news, we raced over…

“The Thing” Revealed!

After a hundred miles of teasing, and a frankly confusing store housing it, we got to peer into the abyss and see “The Thing!”

Here is what we saw:

Behold “The Thing!”

And there you have it: what appears to be a mummified woman holding a mummified hat…nothing to see here, folks, thank God we didn’t have to pay the fee they normally charge:


I think we laughed our way all the way out of the store…but if you must know, wikipedia actually has information on this unique roadside attraction:

“The Thing” is an Arizona roadside attraction hyped by signs along Interstate 10 between El Paso, Texas, and Tucson, Arizona. A large number of billboards entice travelers along this sparse stretch of desert highway to stop, just to find out what the mysterious Thing might be. The object, supposedly a mummified mother and child, is believed to have been made by exhibit creator Homer Tate for sideshows.

OK, look at it again:

That’s not a child, it’s a hat! Either way, we bought tho amazingly wrinkled souvenir T-Shirts and a mug as well:

Now, in fairness, New Mexico was also filled with many signs enticing us to stop and buy a variety of things, like these Pueblo Indian Kuchinas, available to purchase right on the continental divide:

Yes, there were also many signs for knives and guns as well…we didn’t stop, perhaps exhausted by the mystery of “The Thing.”

This cross-country trip offered up many adventures, like Arizona’s “Dust Devils” – click here to see the video:

I also stopped at one of the most entertaining towns in the Wild Wild West!

Yes, there really is an “O.K. Corral” – and we saw a reenactment of the fatal encounter – located in the town of Tombstone, Arizona:

Click here for the whole story, including a video of the corral encounter:

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Let me know if you’ve seen “The Thing” up close yourself!

Categories: Art, Books / Media, Exotic Travel, Funny Pictures, Memoirs, nature, Pop Culture, Travel, Travel Adventures, Travel Memoir

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13 replies

  1. YES!!!! I would have been ALL OVER THAT as well. Stop the car! I MUST see THE THING!!!!!!!! Loved it. Too bad the rest of the museum was closed. I wonder what other interesting “things” they might have had in it. Interstate 40 more or less parallels what used to be Route 66—and there are amazing things to be seen along it (and, if you get off and take the existent parts of Route 66, there’s a ton of stuff to see there as well). I LOVE tourist traps and roadside attractions! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is quite funny, John. A clever way of getting visitors to their shop.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We have a couple of these gimmicky type places near us promising strange secrets. It reminds me of the carnival where they try to get you to part from your money to see some astounding thing that turns out to be a huge disappointment.


  4. Good times on the road! The ‘Thing’ looks quite a bit like Sylvester at Ye Old Curiosity Shop, only I think Sylvester is real and you can see him in Seattle for free! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My daughter would have been so anxious to see “The Thing”. So funny. What a fun trip with your son.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I can see the supposed ‘child’, a small head to the right of the ‘mother’. Glad you didn’t have to pay though! 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Omg they is so funny! I’m a huge fan of odd roadside attractions and this one was worth the price!

    Liked by 1 person

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