Louise Speaks: Heading out of Tucson and on our way to another State Park, we decided to see some Quirky Sights along the way. If you’ve ever driven East on I-10 you have seen the billboards for “The Thing”. It has been said that there are 322 billboards for The Thing between El Paso, TX and Tucson, AZ. I myself must have seen these billboards at least 100 times yet never got off the freeway to go see it. But today we were going to obey the signs and exit the freeway. Located in the town of Dragoon, AZ at exit 322 it is known as the Mystery of the Desert,
The Thing, starts off by being a huge gift shop. The shop features just about everything and anything. But where was the thing? I had done some research and it said it was in the back room. The gift shop was currently under construction so I thought maybe that was the back room. After walking the store and not seeing anything out of the ordinary, I finally broke down and ask the gal at the counter. She told me The Thing was in a box in the back corner, so off we go.
In the corner in, a coffin like box with a glass top, was what looked like a mummified woman and child. The exhibit is believed to have been made by exhibit creator Homer Tate for sideshows. The Thing was purchased by former lawyer Thomas Binkley Prince in the mid-twentieth century, who quickly based a tourist attraction around the strange object. Although Prince died in 1969, the attraction was run by his wife Janet for many years. Today, the site is under the ownership of Bowlin Travel Centers. Despite its remoteness, the attraction has been popular; it has appeared in several tourist guides, and has been the subject of several news stories and reports.
Many things I have read said they charge $1 admission, but that is not true. Since it is a gift shop it is hidden so not really an attraction. And the best part of whole thing, is that there is a Dairy Queen at the travel center, so another reason to stop. The Thing was on our list of Quirky things to see but to be honest, unless you want a Dairy Queen, there is no reason to stop.