If you took the most Cronenbergian episodes of The Magic School Bus, blended them in a cosmic meat smoothie with the avanc from China Miéville’s The Scar, and then sprinkled in some good ol’ American tourist trap schlock, you still might not approach the eldritch delights of Mystery Flesh Pit National Park, located just south of Odessa, Texas, off Highway 20.
As the name suggests, it’s a giant flesh tunnel opening through the Earth’s epidermis, dermis, hypodermis, and more, revealing colossal esophagi and leviathan spleen. As you descend, you may encounter “spasm fits” and “gastric ejecta” or feel your bodily moisture being “leeched.” Deviate from the marked trails and you risk digestion, lethal entanglement with “Macrobacteria” and “Abyssal Copepods,” or a splattering of “amniotic secretions.”
Feast your eyes upon it, O mortal.
D̷̺̕ȯ̸̗ ̸͈͂y̷̢̚o̵͐͜ü̷͖ ̶͉͑f̷̓͜e̴̻̒ḛ̴̆l̷̩̊ ̴͕͆i̸͕̒ẗ̶̖́ ̴̤͠b̵͎̽e̵̖͛c̵̤̆k̸̦̈́ȍ̵̱n̴̟͊i̴͖̅n̴̦̐g̷͖͘?̸̼̍
Mystery Flesh Pit National Park began as a much-loved exercise on r/Worldbuilding. The brainchild of Redditor u/StrangeVehicles, aka designer, illustrator, and writer Trevor Roberts, it has since evolved into a series of imaginary NPS effluvia showcasing the monstrous attraction.
Roberts describes the MFPNP as such:
The Mystery Flesh Pit is the name given to a bizarre natural geobiological feature discovered in the permian basin region of west texas in the early 1970s. The pit is characterized as an enormous subterranean organism of indeterminate size and origin embedded deep within the earth, displaying a vast array of highly unusual and often disturbing phenomena within its vast internal anatomy.
Following its initial discovery and subsequent survey exploration missions, the surface orifice of the Mystery Flesh Pit was enlarged and internal sections were slowly reinforced and developed by the Anodyne Deep Earth Mining corporation who opened the Pit as a tourist attraction in 1976. In the early 1980s, the site was absorbed into the National Park System which operated and maintained the Mystery Flesh Pit until its sudden closure in 2007.
There’s a brochure…
…and even job opportunities:
Roberts describes the project as ongoing, with new material to be released, “at minimum, twice a month.” An art book is tentatively in the making, although no solid plans have been unveiled as of yet. In the meantime, you can traverse the Mystery Flesh Pit on Reddit, where Roberts releases fun supplemental Easter Eggs in the comments, as well as the project’s blog.