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Mysterious Mojave Megaphone

A strange Megaphone shaped object is located on top of a 100 feet high rocky hillock in the Mojave desert near the Crucero Road, off Mojave Freeway between Barstow, CA and Las Vegas.


Image from Flickr is by °Florian

Image from Flickr is by °Florian

No one really knows what it is, who put it there and how it was transported there. Made from welded strips of thick steel it is about 8-10 feet long and estimated to weigh few hundred pounds. It is securely fixed on two rocks which means who ever had put it there, wanted it to remain there for long time.

It is total mystery how it reached the top. It will require a crane with a long boom to place it at the location but there is no regular road to the spot so it would be very difficult for a crane to reach the location. If it was taken up to the top manually then it will require several persons to pull it or carry it to the spot. Not an easy task as the tract to the top is full of loose stones and small boulders. Assembling it at top will mean taking gas welding equipment to top. Again a difficult task.

I tried to search about it on the WWW and couldn't find any information about it. There are several theories but no concrete answers.

There is a reference to it in a 1998 book entitled "Guide to 50 Interesting And Mysterious Sites In The Mojave" by Bill Mann. However as per GaryB's post in forums.ghosttowns.com "…… I read about the mega phone in one of Bill Mann's books. Too bad he passed away, he likely took more with him than we'll ever know of."

Another blogger Michael who had visited the spot writes in Michael's Blog that "Bill Mann couldn't discover its history and we could learn no more with the all-powerful Google."

Another message board Death Valley Talk Message Board mentions that it may be part of "Mojave Desert Megaphone Experiment, 1932". The link given in this Message Board is however dead and I couldn't find any information about this so called experiment. However a search for the dead link in web.archive.org shows following image, which apparently is something altogether different;


Another poster in Death Valley Talk Message Board writes that; "According to an article in the Desert Dispatch a few years back, it is a drum. The builder supposedly comes back with skins to stretch across the ends. He then plays it and makes recordings. I just saw a picture of it in a 4 wheeler magazine!"

Another blogger "Adventure Duo" who also visited the area writes that; "Rumor has it that some local comes out and puts skins over each end and plays it like a drum. Rumor also has been said that someone from the railroad made the megaphone with railroad parts from the local track down the valley. We know one thing for sure. It wasn't a easy task."

As per Digital Desert; "Historians have thoroughly searched available records, newspaper articles written and now with the internet communication regarding this strange object has increased exponentially, but no one has ever come up with an explanation as to why it is there. Rumor has it that at one time a group would go out there, climb atop the little mountain, stretch a skin over the end and use it for a drum. If true, and for whatever purpose it served, we may never know."

The web site lasvegas360.com mentions that "…. it was made by someone working for the railroad long ago. Some have speculated that the ends may have been covered with skins and used as a drum."

Another website mojave-road.com says that it is work of some prankster.

Mark Girdner in his Flickr images has added some more mystery to it. He visited it on June 8 2007 and in one Flickr Image he writes "As of June, 2007, all readings were well within tolerance. Annual maintenance performed. June 8, 2007" He also writes on another Flickr Image that he visited the spot "….. to tune and adjust the Mojave Desert Megaphone near Crucero. June 8, 2007"

Frankly I have no idea what he meant by above. One thing however is clear there is no consensus on this so called Megaphone and the WWW is abound with all kinds of premises/theories about its purpose.

I also posted about it in the Fun and Games section of Google Earth Community, whose members are expert sleuths. Lockhopper's husband gave a suggestion that it looks like Venturi Flow Meter.
(Copyright status not known. Image is widely available on the Web.)

Barnstormer66 also suggested that it could be Venturi Exhaust or Scrubber (Wikipedia) used in inflammable areas as exhaust.

Hill, a GEC moderator, sent a link to following Youtube by rudedogii, from which one can see more details of the Megaphone.

The object however still remains a mystery. I hope some of my reader(s) will come out with more information/history about this Mysterious Mojave Megaphone.

View location in Google Earth / Google Maps.

6 comments:

Gio Ve February 25, 2013 7:02 pm  

Congratulations on Your impressive and well done website! I have discovered it today, after a search about "towns along the Equator" with Google.
I will be following You with a great pleasure. I have linked permanently Your website from mine about the borders (more that 8,200,000 pageviews and more than 800 photos in the archive).
Best wishes!

CuriousJM February 25, 2013 7:15 pm  

Thank you Gio Ve. I am happy that you liked my blog. I have not been very active in this blog but am planning to post some more unusual items shortly.

rndull robinson January 21, 2015 1:10 pm  

That's a huge amount of welding and fabrication. The only people that spend money like that is our government.
Maybe it's connected to the atomic test area which isn't that far away. It might have been some type of shock wave detector.

佬鬼 January 29, 2015 5:17 am  

The welding sure suggests an amateur job. Like effective, familiar with welding, but certainly not the skilled work I'd construe as professional fabrication.

Michael Bonser October 16, 2015 7:49 pm  

It does look a lot like a venturi flow meter. Perhaps it was used to measure wind speed in the desert?

desert rat April 19, 2016 5:21 am  

On the top and sides there are flat plates welded to the outside on the megaphone. These plates are at very close to right angles with each other forming what is known as a corner cube and will reflect a radar signal back in exactly the same direction as the signal came from. The megaphone is orientated exactly up and down the Ludlow / Broadwell lake bed valley. I believe the device was used to train military pilots in low altitude flying. As long as they were inside the cone angle of the megaphone, they would see no radar reflection but as soon as they flew outside the cone angle they would get a huge reflection.

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