June 19, 2006


"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity." -Albert Einstein

Maybe it's not as grand as all that, but here is today's mystery for you. What's in this box?...

Unless you've seen one before, or you worked for an oriental novelty factory in the 1940s, there's no possible way to know what "the thing" inside is. There's no logical conclusion to be drawn. And that's why this item is so wonderful. My friend Scott found this little gem at a flea market and graciously gifted it to me. The graphics are obviously incredible and mysteriously spooky to boot. I think the current contents are what originally came inside, but I can't be certain. It would be equally great if they're not. (I wonder if different items were included in different boxes. That sure would've been a clever way for the manufacturers to liquidate unwanted inventory.)

Ok, the wait is over. I now present... The Thing.

I'm not really sure what to say.
Those ghosts were pretty misleading, huh?
My only theory is that the fellow in the middle is Joseph Stalin, which would make it a piece of plastic political satire. See the resemblance?...

Anyone have any other theories? Was The Thing box created to boost sales of the failed "Three Of A Kind" statue? Or was it all a carefully calculated "box gag?" The near-perfect fit suggests that they were made to go together. And the statue has an open back which could mean that it was intended to remain in the box. Or was the original "thing" replaced with this farce?

Well, now you know what The Thing is, but as with all good mysteries.. the answer only raises more questions.


It all reminds me of an equally baffling roadside attraction in Dragoon, Arizona that bears the same name The Thing (a.k.a. The Mystery of the Desert)...

Approaching interstate traffic must face endless miles of road signs that repeatedly pose the same two-word question.."The Thing?" I've never witnessed the Arizona "Thing" in person, but I've been intrigued by the conundrum for years. My curiosity finally drove me to spoil the puzzle for myself by way of the internet. If you get as desperate as I was, the The Thing is exposed here.

Fact is, attractions that utilize enigmatic words in their names have always been extra-appealing to me. The Trees of Mystery, Secret Caverns, Mystery Hill, Cosmos Mystery Area, Forbidden Caverns, The Winchester Mystery House, Museum of Wonder, The Mystery Spot, The Wonder Spot, and The Mystery Hole are all examples of real attractions that can instantly bewilder me with the flash of a single billboard. I think they're so effective because they suggest that there are still mysteries of the road that remain unraveled. And speaking of revelations.. now you know why I called my web site the Secret Fun Spot.


Das Brick said...

Lucky me! I guessed correctly! Wait.. no I didn't. I will say, tho, that "the thing" is about the best name I can come up with for that... thing. "Joe Stalin and Two Bungers" doesn't really have the same come-hither appeal, does it. In a world of disappointments, you have triumphed! Well worth the wait!!

Todd Franklin said...

Wow, I have this box in my collection and I've always wondered what was inside.

Now I know and I must say I was thinking of something totally different than Stalin. At least we know that it's from the 1940's.