In The Desert
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Baker, Ludlow, Calfornia
This is a real mystery in the desert. It was a fun challenge to determine what its purpose was (see photo below). It's located on top of a 100 ft. hill southeast of Baker, California and due north of Ludlow, California. About half way between these two towns in the Mojave Desert. It's a little over 37 miles from Baker to Ludlow (as the crow flies). Of course by Crucero Road it's much farther (see the maps below).
You'll find the megaphone just west of Crucero Road and the old RR bed, which was once the Tidewater / Tonapah spur. Now this is out in the middle of nowhere. Just north of Ludlow the old RR bed's location is still visible for many miles. Many of the old RR ties are still there - Google Earth View. The RR was last used in 1931
The Google Earth co-ordinates for the "megaphone" (lat & long) are
Mojave Megaphone Photo
This is the best photo of the Mojave Megaphone you'll ever see. Reason: it shows a size relationship. It is huge! It measures over 8 ft. in length and is estimated to weigh over 500 lbs. Thanks to Ryan Goodwin for sharing this great photo.
As you can see it is securely, permanently, anchored into two big boulders on top of this small hill. There has been much speculation as to it's purpose and use. Some of these speculations are certainly unfounded. One for example, was that people or persons climbed up the hill and fastened skins over the ends and made a "drum", really? If you use common sense you'll realize that this had to be placed here with great effort, not to mention the fabrication work before hand.
There are triangular plates welded to each section (front and back) that were used to lower it to the desert floor off of the train.
Inside there are welded "tees". Some have said it was a "gun sight" of some sorts, because of the + welded into the ends. If you've ever fabricated something like this then you'd realize the + in the ends of the barrels was to hold 4 of the long pieces in place, then the others were added to complete its construction. It then had to be hauled up to the base of the boulder covered hill. We'll never know exactly how this was done. So what is its purpose?
It wasn't a drum, or a hoax or a sight for a weapon. None of those bad guesses makes any sense at all. Too much time and work went into the planning and fabrication of this device. Answer: simple, it was a siren. And the siren that was attached to the small end is now missing. It was probably hauled to the site each time it was used. It was probably a hand cranked siren. Makes sense, no need for power. So how would this work? The siren would be attached to the small end of the megaphone and the sound would be greatly amplified!
Mojave Megaphone Use
There were literally hundreds of old hand cranked sirens made back during WWI and WWII. If you do a search on Google for "hand cranked sirens" you see what we mean.
Now for the biggest part of the mystery. And this is only a conclusion that we've drawn about its original purpose, maybe you'll agree?
The train carrying the chemical weapon gas probably came in from the north. The megaphone siren was used to alert the people testing the chemical suits and gas masks to "suit up". We concluded this was the scenario because of the direction that the "megaphone" points. You may come up with a better scenario! Why do we think this was to test Chemical Warfare Gases?
It is now known that the Army did secret testing in California of different variants of toxic gas. To test their masks and suits they needed a very isolated area in the desert. Some of the chemicals tested may include the following: Mustard Gas, Chlorine Gas, Cyanide Gas, Lewisite and phosgene gas. This would have been the perfect place to test without causing any harm to civilians.
Mojave Desert Map
Military bases in the area, See this MAP
See enlarged version for more detail.
There are a lot of mysteries out there in the desert southwest. This may remain a mystery until someone comes forth that actually knew someone that was involved with this "Mojave Megaphone". If you do go out this location, be careful it's not likely you'll run into anyone and you should travel with others for safety!