Cover image for The world of Ripley's believe it or not!
The world of Ripley's believe it or not!
Mooney, Julie.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Black Dog & Leventhal, 1999.
Physical Description:
159 pages : color illustrations ; 35 cm
Added Uniform Title:
Ripley's believe it or not (New York : 1965)
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
AG243 .M653 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize Non-Circ
AG243 .M653 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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It's shocking but irresistible. The fantastic and amazing World of Ripley's Believe It or NotĀ® uncovers and relates curiosities from around the globe. Its full-color, oversized format and round trim make it a suitably remarkable package to display the bizarre findings of Robert Ripley, who traveled to 198 countries to research his famous newspaper cartoon strip.

Starting with his first drawing in 1918 and the first Ripley museum in the 1930s, this book is filled with examples of human oddities, exotic artifacts, strange happenings, unusual inventions, marvels of nature, extraordinary achievements and coincidences. Readers will be amazed by the truly macabre world that Ripley captured. Hundreds of photographs show the real people and things that inspired the famous drawings. Exotic objects and human feats stretch the limits of the mind, body and imagination.

Here readers will meet world champion chicken picker Buck Fulford who could catch, kill, cook and eat a chicken in less than two minutes; Alice Penfold who could lift her sister Mary on a stool using only her teeth; "Three Ball Charlie" who could put a tennis ball, golf ball and billiards ball in his mouth and still whistle; and Liu Ch'ung of China who has double pupils in each eye.

Author Notes

Robert Ripley began creating his fascinating and immensely popular cartoons in 1918. Today, Ripley Entertainment continues this tradition with 26 museums around the world. Julie Mooney has written many books, including Black Dog's bestselling The World of Ripley's Believe It or Not!



LONELY AT THE TOP: The Life of Robert Wadlow, the World's Tallest Man When Robert Pershing Wadlow was born in Alton, Illinois on February 22, 1918 weighing 8 pounds, 6 ounces, he appeared to be a normal healthy child in every way. A respectful, quiet lad, Robert seemed ideally suited to the goodhearted family that Addie and Harold Wadlow were raising. If all had remained as it seemed at his birth, Robert Wadlow would probably lived out his life in relative obscurity as a fine lawyer in a small Midwestern town. But when Robert was six months old, his parents noticed that there was something different about their son. Where most babies at six months weighed between 7 and 14 lbs, Robert tipped the scales at a whopping 30 lbs. A year later, 18-month-old Robert weighed 62 lbs. By the time he was eight years old, he weighed 195 lbs and stood 6 feet 2 inches tall. Addie and Harold were determined to protect their son from unkind attention, and they did all that they could to give him as normal a life as possible. Robert was a good student in school and was well-liked by his classmates. He enjoyed the usual boyhood pursuits: photography and stamp collecting, and at the age of 13, when he measured 7 feet 4 inches, he became the world's tallest Boy Scout. But when you're head and shoulders above the crowd, it's hard not to be noticed. By the time he was nine, the press had started taking an interest in him. The Wadlows began a battle to keep their son from being exploited that would continue for the rest of his life. One rainy night a man claiming to be a doctor appeared unannounced on the Wadlow's doorstep, invited himself in, and proceeded to ask Robert a number of embarrassing, intrusive questions. The report this so-called doctor published made Robert out as a freak, calling him 'slow-moving and thick-witted.' The Wadlow family sued, but lost. The taller Robert grew, the harder his body had to work to maintain itself. A common symptom of the overactive pituitary gland, which caused Robert's tremendous growth, was a loss of sensation below the knees. Medically speaking, the impulses from the nerves in his lower extremities had to travel so far to reach his brain that the taller he grew, the fainter the signals became. Robert's explanation was simply that his legs were growing 'too fast for the nerves to keep up.' As Robert continued to grow, the signals from his lower legs and feet grew dimmer and dimmer, until he could hardly feel them at all. Robert became prone to injuring his feet. Because he could not feel them, even minor blisters and chafing often became seriously infected. By the time he had grown to 8 feet tall, Robert needed leg braces in order to suport his massive frame. He often had to lean on family and friends in order to walk. Robert's dream was to become a lawyer. He was determined not to allow his unusual height to stand in his way. After he finished high school, Robert began studying law. But after a while he Excerpted from The World of Ripley's Believe It or Not!: A Global Retrospective of Amazing Achievements, Bizarre Behavior and Extraordinary Events by Julie Mooney, Ripley Entertainment Staff, Editors of Ripley's Believe It or Not All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgementsp. 6
Introductionp. 7
1. Around the World with Robert Ripley: Ripley's Love Affair with Chinap. 8
2. Amazing Anatomy: Lonely At The Top: The Life of Robert Wadlow, World's Tallest Manp. 14
3. Baffling Balance: A Well-Balanced Individual: Master Equilibrist Bob Dotzauerp. 22
4. Bizarre Buildings: Atlantic City's Elephant Hotel: Souvenir of a Bygone Erap. 24
5. Creature Curioddities: Bozo the Mind-Reading Dogp. 28
6. Curious Coincidences: Lincoln Kennedy: Uncanny Coincidencesp. 34
7. Different Duds: Robert Ripley: Fashion Mogul?p. 42
8. Eccentric Epitaphs: Cognac and Roses: Poe's Mysterious Annual Graveside Visitorp. 46
9. Efforts and Endurance: Kuda Bux's Amazing Trial by Firep. 50
10. Fabulous Foods: Dinner is served... and served... and servedp. 58
11. Feats of Faith: Ripley's Fascination with Mystic Indiap. 66
12. Fishy Fables: Do You Believe In Mermaids? Ripley's Encounter with the Famous Fijian Hoaxp. 72
13. Historical Hijinx: Ripley Makes History: A BION Cartoon Launches Public Demand for an Official National Anthemp. 74
14. Incredible Inventions: Roland Emmet's Whimsical Gadgetsp. 78
15. Miniature Marvels: The Lord's Prayer on the Head of a Pinp. 82
16. Oversized Oddities: Van Gogh's Self-Portrait in Postcards: Ripley's Largest Exhibitp. 86
17. Mother Nature's Mischief: A Prophesy Fulfilled: The Birth of the Sacred White Buffalop. 90
18. Nutty Names: To Hell With Ripley! Robert Ripley Travels to Hell, Norwayp. 98
19. Peculiar Places: The Black Hole of Calcuttap. 104
20. Personal Projects: Masakichi: Lifelike Legacyp. 110
21. Queer Customs: Head Shrinking Made Easy: A Recipep. 114
22. Remarkable Royalty: Wax Majesty: Royalty on Displayp. 120
23. Talented Totsp. 128
24. Terrific Transportation: One Man's Junk is Another Man's Treasure: Ripley's Mon Leip. 130
25. Whimsical Wonders: Scavenged Sculpture: Leo Sewell's Trash Artp. 134
26. Wonderful Weddings: 147 Years of Wedded Blissp. 138
27. Ouch!: The Iron Maiden of Nurembergp. 142
28. Huh?: Navel Novelty: One Man's Startling Adventure Inside His Own Belly Button!p. 146
29. About Ripley Entertainment: We're 'Out There' Too! Ripley's Entertainment Meets The XFilesp. 150