New Mexico is a strange place. A beautiful, fun, and unique place, but strange nonetheless. While we’ve dived into some of the larger mysteries of this state (Roswell, for example), there are a few weird mysteries and happenings that might not have made newspaper headlines across the country. Here are four of the weirdest things that happened in New Mexico.
A town changed its name to honor a radio show. You might not be able to find Hot Springs, New Mexico on a map, but you’ll be able to find “Truth or Consequences.” When the radio game show “Truth or Consequences” celebrated its 10th anniversary, host Ralph Edwards asked if any town in the United States was willing to change its name. Officials in Hot Springs, New Mexico ran a special election in which residents voted to officially change their town’s name.
The U.S. was invaded. In the early 20th century, Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa invaded the New Mexican town of Columbus. He and his men set the town on fire and killed close to 20 U.S. soldiers and civilians. This was the only time since the War of 1812 wherein foreign forces invaded the continental United States.
The state had its own “Highway to Hell.” Route 666, often referred to as the Devil’s Highway, ran through each of the Four Corners states, including New Mexico. The 60-mile New Mexico portion is especially challenging; drivers have to maneuver around roughly 400 sharp curves. The road is extremely hazardous, and the beliefs associated with the numbering only made the experience worse. In 2003, New Mexico voted to rename the road Highway 491.
A headless body was discovered in Taos. In 1929, a headless corpse was found in a Taos home. That home, as it happened, belonged to Arthur Manby, a controversial land speculator. Some believed the body to be Manby’s but others thought he faked his own death and fled to Europe. Neighbors and police created a coroner’s jury, later determining that the body belonged to Manby and that the death was ”natural.”