Zzyzx - Part 3

By Christopher Zoukis

Miracles like this didn’t come free, they told each other.  God’s work would continue only with their help.  So they gave.

But that wasn’t all.  Dr. Springer had his own publishing company and his own radio station at Zzyzx.  Flyers, pamphlets and booklets churned off the printing presses.  And the radio station blazoned Dr. Springer’s Christian messages to the faithful and to those still seeking for light in a dark world.  Dr. Springer delivered his messages in a good-old-boy, folksy manner.  They were easy to understand and very non-threatening.  There was not a hint of hell, fire and damnation.  Only a heavy dose of the healing power of Jesus, which could be found by one and all in the Antediluvian Tea, the ‘Hollywood Pep Cocktail,’ which was nothing more than the juices of carrots, celery, turnips, parsley and brown sugar.  Manna was the real name of the Pep Cocktail. 

Dr. Springer neglected to mention what was in the cocktail.  That wasn’t important.  What was important was that it worked!  A miracle straight from heaven.

There was also a do-it-yourself hemorrhoid cure kit.  The kit could be purchased for a free-will donation of only $25.  Of course, $25 then was equal to $250 or more now.  A small price to pay for deliverance.  Better to pay than suffer like poor old Job.

Jesus himself had provided Dr. Springer with the formula for his greatest remedy.  At least that was the claim.  “Mo-Hair,” which was a miraculous cure for baldness.  For those who desired to be like Samson before he met Delilah, all that was necessary was to massage the tonic vigorously into the scalp.  Then they were to bend over and hold their breath for as long as they could.  When they stood up, they could literally see the effects of the miraculous potion – flushed cheeks and a tingling scalp.  This in combination with the magic potion brought about the miracle. – abundant, luxurious hair. 

The ways of the Lord were indeed mysterious.

One gentleman used the elixir extensively, but still grew no hair.  Frustrated, he sued.  Dr. Springer didn’t seem at all upset.  He merely paid the fine, peeling off the stipulated $2500 “as casually as if he was taking care of a $2 traffic ticket.”

Dr. Springer preached mightily against the evils of alcohol and the destructive power of arguing.  Demon rum “dragged men down to the dark pit of Hell.”  Complaining, according to the good doctor, was toxic to mental and spiritual health.   

“The Lord can’t work His miracles in a carping heart,” he often said.

Never one to let an opportunity pass, Dr. Springer started selling lots for houses on his property.  That way those of his followers who had been financially blessed by God – because of Dr. Springer’s ministry – could have uninterrupted access to the healing waters of Zzyzx.

Many people took advantage of the opportunity.  Soon the wooden skeletons of luxury homes being built dotted the landscape.  Dr. Springer owned the construction company that purchased wood from his lumber company to build the houses. 

Then things started to go to hell.

Dr. Springer was not – as he claimed – either a physician or a Methodist minister.  He was a fake.  The newspapers picked up on the story and the government took notice.  An investigation began.  As a result, the Bureau of Land Management realized that Dr. Springer did not own the land that Zzyzx sat on. 

He was a squatter