Ripley's Believe It Or Not's Top Attractions

01
of 42

90 Years of Weirdness and Counting

Ripley's Believe It Or Not! has carved out a singular spot for itself in entertainment history. Its museums are perhaps the single best source for lovers of the bizarre.

Here is a look at Ripley's history, recent events and some of its most popular attractions.

02
of 42

Something That'll Make Your Eyes Pop

Face Off Winner Jalisa Thompson
Meet the 2011 Great Face Off Winner Face Off Winner Jalisa Thompson. Ripley's Believe It or Not!

Some people can make their eyes bulge right out of their sockets, just like cartoon characters. Jalisa Thompson is so good it at that she won Ripley's "Great Face Off" championship twice. In the 2006 competition, Jalisa caught the eye of celebrity judge Marcel Forestieri, who is also known for his Jay Leno impersonation.

03
of 42

Women on Top

Kevin Fast Lifts 22 Women
Canadian Strongman Lifts 22 Gals Kevin Fast Lifts 22 Women. Presscott McDonald / Courtesy of Ripley Entertainment

Can you imagine lifting 22 women at once, weighing more than 2,000 pounds combined? 

Ripley's Believe It or Not says Kevin Fast, one of the strongest of all the strongmen the company has ever documented, carried out the feat at a performance in Ontario.

04
of 42

Strong in the Family

Kevin and Jacob Fast Pull Firetrucks
Father-Son Duo Tug 153,000 Pounds Kevin and Jacob Fast Pull Firetrucks. Presscott McDonald / Courtesy of Ripley Entertainment

Kevin Fast bulges his muscles again. He and his son, Jacob, are able to pull two firetrucks weighing a combined 153,000 pounds 100 feet in 38 seconds.

05
of 42

Military Transport

Strongman Kevin Fast
Canadian Strongman Pulls Aircraft Strongman Kevin Fast. Ripley's Believe It or Not!

Canadian strongman Kevin Fast is able to pull a C-17 military transport plane, which is not how these aircraft are usually powered.

06
of 42

Scanning Oprah

Barcode Oprah
Queen of Daytime TV Becomes Work of Art Barcode Oprah. Scott Baker

Artist Scott Blake has been turning pop icons, cultural figures, world leaders and rock stars into unique works of art. They're unique because these giant portraits are made entirely out of barcodes.

His first barcode artwork depicted Jesus. Blake's second piece was a portrait of Oprah Winfrey, saying "I figured you had to choose Oprah after Jesus because she's more biblical than any other celebrity." 

And because the images are made of barcodes, they can all be scanned -- the barcodes here, for example, are all from books that were selections from her book club.

07
of 42

Living Dead Man

Living Zombie Rick Genest
Real-Life Zombie Pals Around With Lady Gaga Living Zombie Rick Genest. Colin Singer

Genest has inked his insides onto his outsides, turning his skin into a canvas of guts, bones and rotting flesh -- and becoming a living zombie in the process. A Facebook page was set up to make fun of Genest, "I bet this guy will regret getting this tattoo once he's older." But instead of regret, he's hanging around with one of the hottest names in music. You can catch him in Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" music video.

Genest has more than just extreme body modification on his resume: he can also eat fire, lie on a bed of nails and hammer nails up his nose.

08
of 42

Hammer, Nail & Nose

Buck Wolf and Albert Cadabra
I Drive One Up Albert Cadabra's Nasal Passage Buck Wolf and Albert Cadabra. Ben Trivitt

One of famed magician Albert Cadabra's moves is driving a hammer up his nose.

09
of 42

Arnold Schwarzenegger Like You've Never Seen Him Before

Terminator Sculpture by Enrique Ramos
'Terminator' Turned Into a Tribute to Film Terminator Sculpture by Enrique Ramos. Ripley's Believe It Or Not!

Enrique Ramos made an Arnold Schwarzenegger "Terminator" sculpture out of clay, resit and bits of vampire bat. The life-size statue is also a tribute to film history, as it features images of everyone from Charlie Chaplin to Johnny Depp, and scenes of films ranging from "Jaws" and "Rocky" to "The Wizard of Oz" and "Harry Potter."

It's a true mixed-media work, and Ripley's Believe It or Not! acquired it with the intention of placing it in their Orlando, Florida Odditorium.

"Mr. Ramos has been a part of the Ripley family for over 20 years, supplying us with many fantastic exhibits," Edward Meyer, Ripley's VP of Exhibits and Archives, said in a press release. "This piece, however, is his opus - his 9th Symphony - both in complexity, detail and historic scope. He has virtually told the history of the film industry in one spectacular sculpture."

10
of 42

The $840 Penny

The Giant Penny
Honest Abe Recreated in Coins The Giant Penny. Ripley's Believe It or Not

Wander Martich create a 1,200-pound penny that measures 8 feet in diameter. The sculpture is made of 84,000 pennies. Martich's idea for the sculpture goes back to 2006, when she got divorced and lost her job. Back then, she had to literally save pennies to make ends meet, keeping them in a big jug.

Now, she's back on her feet, and submitted this piece to the ArtPrize competition in Grand Rapids.

"Art was the only way I could tell a mass of people my story," she told Ripley's, which now owns her masterwork. "I wanted to share the message that anyone can do this, you just have to start somewhere. What matters isn't how much you make, but how much you save."

 

11
of 42

Will the Real Lizardman Please Show His Forked Tongue?

Lizardman With His Own Wax Dummy
Body Modification 'Freak' Unveils Wax Likeness of Himself Lizardman With His Own Wax Dummy. Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

"Lizardman" Erik Sprague spent $250,000 turning himself into a human-lizard hybrid. A living work of art himself, Sprague was transformed into a wax statue. Now, the tattooed and pierced author, philosopher and self-described freak has unveiled his own likeness. Four Ripley artists spent 200 hours on the likeness, including 60 hours just painting all of the Lizardman's tiny green scales. 

12
of 42

Santa Has Wishes, Too

Reverse Santa
Let the Big Man Sit in Your Lap Reverse Santa. Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

We all have photos of ourselves in Santa's lap. But there's one place in the world where Santa will sit on your lap. Ripley's Believe It or Not! Times Square is putting its own spin on the Santa pic, offering visitors a chance to let the big guy sit in their laps for photos, keychains, trinkets or whatever else they have for sale.

13
of 42

The Ugly Dogling's Amazing Transformation

Ripley the Dog: Before
Ugly Dogling Gets Ripley's Makeover Ripley the Dog: Before. Ripley's Believe It or Not!

This is Ripley -- and there's a real dog hidden under that mess. He was given the name by animal shelter workers who couldn't believe his condition.

When the Ripley's Believe It or Not! company found out about it, they offered to pitch in and help clean him up. Ripley's say the company will keep tabs on its namesake dog.

Ripley will be in the 2012 "Believe It or Not!" book and his eventual owners will be expected to share their pet with the world.

 

14
of 42

Famous Half Man Johnny Eck

Half Man Johnny Eck
Sideshow Star Named Top Ripley's Act of All Time Half Man Johnny Eck. Ripley's Believe It or Not

Some of the world's most bizarre acts and strangest people have passed through the halls of Ripley's Believe It or Not! One of the greatest was Johnny Eck, the famous half man who was a sideshow legend and movie star in the first half of the century.

In a world where we constantly feel that bigger is better, Eck proves the opposite is sometimes true, less is more.

15
of 42

Vivian Wheeler, Bearded Lady

Bearded Lady Vivian Wheeler and her long-lost son, Richard Lorenc
A Most Unusual Family Reunion Bearded Lady Vivian Wheeler and her long-lost son, Richard Lorenc. Richard Lorenc

Vivian Wheeler is a hermaphrodite, born with both male and female body parts -- but doctors removed the male bits at birth, allowing her to live life as a woman. But she also happens to have a very masculine facial structure, and -- since childhood -- has been able to grow a beard, leading to a life on the circus-freak circuit.

Her 11-inch-long beard has earned her a position in the Guinness World Records book, as well as in Ripley's Believe It or Not! publications.

16
of 42

Bugging Out

Franklin Hannatt, winner of the 2010 Ripley's Face Off
Ripley's Great Face Off Franklin Hannatt, winner of the 2010 Ripley's Great Face Off. Ripley Entertainment

This is 37-year-old Franklin Hannatt of New Jersey, winner of the 2010 Great Face Off, which was held at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! in Atlantic City.

The annual end-of-summer contest aims to “find the person who can make the funniest, silliest, weirdest, creepiest or craziest face.”

17
of 42

Colorful Figure

Julia Gnuse, the World's Most Tattoeed Woman
World's Most Tattooed Woman Shows Off Her Body of Art Julia Gnuse, the World's Most Tattooed Woman. Buck Wolf

Meet Julia Gnuse, the world's most tattooed woman. Julia has 95 percent of her body covered in art, with images of everyone from The Beatles to the cast of Bewitched. The 55-year-old Californian has more than 400 tattoos -- including ink on her most private of parts. In fact, there's only one place she's not covered: her feet.

Gnuse says she suffers from porphyria, a skin disorder similar to lupus. Sunlight can cause scars and spots that look like burns. So she decided to cover the marks with art and began visiting a tattoo artist every week.

18
of 42

World's Strangest Married Couple

Al and Jeanie Tomaini: World's Strangest Married Couple
Al and Jeanie Tomaini: The Giant and the Dwarf Al and Jeanie Tomaini: World's Strangest Married Couple. Property of the Judy Tomaini Collection

Al Tomaini reportedly stood at 8 feet, 4 inches tall. His wife Jeanie is without legs and her height is 2 feet and 6 inches. The two traveled the sideshow circuit billed as "The World's Strangest Married Couple."

They settled down in Gibsonton, Florida, and helped turn the community into "Freaktown USA," the off-season home of sideshow workers and circus freaks.

19
of 42

Lady Gaga's Candy Poker Face

Lady Gaga Candy Portrait
Pop Singer Officially Good Enough to Eat Lady Gaga is sweet as candy in this edible portrait. Ripley's Believe It or Not!

Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" gets a candy makeover in this new edible artwork commissioned by Ripley's Believe It or Not! This 40" by 32" portrait by Mexican artist Christiam Ramos will hang in the candy shop of the Hollywood Odditorium.

20
of 42

Candy Beyonce Makes Ripley's Debut

Candy Beyonce
Singer Gets Edible Makeover Candy Beyonce. Ripley's Believe It or Not!

Beyonce's film career has given her plenty of different looks, but this one is made of candy. The 40" by 32" portrait will be on display in the lobby of the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium in Orlando.

21
of 42

Michael Jackson: Candy King of Pop

Michael Jackson: King of Candy
Late Singer Lives On in Edible Art Michael Jackson: King of Candy. Ripley's Believe It or Not!

Michael Jackson may have been the king of pop, but now he's also the king of candy. Ripley's Believe It or Not! commissioned this 48" bu 36" inch portrait of the late singer made entirely of candy. It will hang in the New York City Odditorium.

22
of 42

Marilyn Monroe: Candy Queen

Candy Marilyn Monroe
Pop Icon Recreated in Sugar Candy Marilyn Monroe. Ripley's Believe It or Not!

Diamonds may have been Marilyn Monroe's best friend. But now, the pop icon will forever sparkle with sugar.

Ripley's Believe It or Not! commissioned this all-candy portrait of Monroe, which was created by Mexican artist Christiam Ramos. The 40" by 32" portrait is on display in the lobby of the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium in Orlando.

23
of 42

Edible Elvis a Legend in Candy

Elvis in candy
Pop Icon Gets Sugary Makeover Elvis in Candy. Ripley's Believe It or Not!

Elvis gets a new look in this edible portrait by Mexican artist Christiam Ramos. Commissioned by Ripley's Believe It or Not!, this 40" by 32" candy King will be on display at the Gatlinburg, Tennessee Odditorium.

24
of 42

Mt. Everest of Gum Wrappers

Gary Duschl and some of his 12 miles of gum wrappers.
Bizarr Collection is 12 Miles Long Gary Duschl and some of his 12 miles of gum wrappers. Buck Wolf

Meet Gary Duschl, a man with a chain of chewing gum wrappers twice as long as Mt. Everest and long enough to cross 210 football fields.

Gary's proud of his unusual collection, although his 12-mile chain is barely halfway to his goal, a 26.2-mile marathon of gum wrappers. You can help by sending him yours.

25
of 42

A Paradise of the Bizarre

This Fab Four is always playing at the Ripley's Odditorium in Surfer's Paradise, Australia.
Ripley’s Odditorium 
Opens in Surfers Paradise, Australia This Fab Four is always playing at the Ripley's Odditorium in Surfer's Paradise, Australia. Ripley Entertainment Inc.

The newest Odditorium is in Australia's Surfer's Paradise, and features this animatronic "Fab Four" musical act.

The band features robot versions of famed giant Robert Wadlow on the double bass, Alypius the Egyptian Dwarf in a birdcage playing trumpet, and Italian Francisco Lentini, the three legged man on banjo. A long-necked Padaung Woman from Burma sings and plays the xylophone on her neck coils.

Other exhibits include a model of New Zealand’s Christ Church Cathedral made from 500,000 wooden matchsticks, Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper made of burnt toast, and four genuine Jivaro Indian shrunken heads.

26
of 42

Legendary Sideshow Fat Man Dies

Bruce Snowdon, Professional Fat Man
Bruce Snowdon Was the Last of His Kind Bruce Snowdon, Professional Fat Man. Marc Hartzman

Bruce Snowdon, the last professional fat man, died in November 2009 at the age of 63. Snowdon, who at his heaviest was billed at 712 pounds, worked the sideshow circuit from 1977 to 2003, and was often billed as "Harold Huge."

Snowdon's biggest appearance came at the end of his career, when he appeared in the 2003 Tim Burton film, "Big Fish." He was also known for keeping chickens in his yard... and five roosters that gave the neighborhood an early wake-up call.

27
of 42

Lizardman's Corkscrew Trick

Lizardman Erik Sprague
'Professional Freak' Shows His Stuff Lizardman Erik Sprague. Photo by Allen Falkner

With sharpened teeth, a split tongue, and a full-body tattoo of creen scales, sideshow star Erik Sprague of Austin regularly appears at Ripley's Odditoriums.

Lizardman is more than just a man who looks like a lizard. The self-proclaimed professional freak is a certified Ripley's star. Lizardman can perform an array of tricks from sword-swallowing to fire-eating and making creative use of a corkscrew and a couple of orifices.

28
of 42

Big Rig Jig

Mike Ross Big Rig Jig at Burning Man
4 Story Sculpture at Burning Man "Big Rig Jig" by Mike Ross. Photo © Ripley's Publishing

This four-story sculpture is the work of Mike Ross, who fused together two 18-wheel trailers. It's called the "Big Rig Jig." This work of art is one of the many features in "Seeing Is Believing," a book by Ripley's Believe It Or Not!

29
of 42

Human Pincushion

B.A. Bryant, Human Pincushion
B.A. Bryant, Barnum and Bailey Sideshow Star B.A. Bryant, Human Pincushion. © Ripley Publishing

Ripley's "Seeing Is Believing" features a look at vintage Barnum and Bailey's sideshow stars from the early 20th-century. This man, B.A. Bryant, was a human pincushion, able to stick himself with large needles and feel no pain.

30
of 42

World's Smallest Car

The Peel 50 - The World's Smallest Car
130-lb. Vehicle Approved for Street Use The Peel 50 - The World's Smallest Car. Photo © Ripley's Believe It Or Not

It's no surprise Ripley's is bringing the world's smallest car, the Peel 50, to its New York Odditorium. At 52 inches long, it's perfect for parking in Manhattan.

The Peel 50, purchased by Ripley's Believe It Or Not! in early 2009, weighs only 130 pounds and is the smallest car ever approved for street use. The Manx Peel Engineering Co. built about 50 of them in the early 1960s, and only a few of them remain to this day.

With two wheels in front, one in back, the Peel 50 hits a top speed approaching 40 miles an hour. It only has room for the driver and a small bag.

31
of 42

Gumball Obama

Gumball Obama
President Depicted in Chewing Gum Gumball Obama. Photo © Ripley's Believe It Or Not!

Exactly 12,784 pieces of gum went into this 6' by 6' gumball portrait of President Obama. It's the work of Franz Spohn. Spohn has made similar murals of Robert Ripley, Dean Cain, Michael Jackson and other iconic figures.

32
of 42

Eminem in M&Ms

Eminem in M&Ms by Enrique Ramos/Ripley's Believe It Or Not!
Chocolate Salute to Rap Star Eminem in M&Ms by Enrique Ramos. Photo © Ripley's Believe It Or Not!

Artist Enrique Ramos has depicted rapper Eminem in a mosaic of M&Ms. This 8-pound confection is made of more than 1,000 chocolate candies.

Ramos is no stranger to unusual media. His painted Mona Lisa on the back of a cockroach and has also worked with flies, beans, animal bones and bats.

33
of 42

Luis Tussaud's Unveils Wax Obama

Wax Figure of Barack Obama
Hall of Presidents Welcomes New Addition Wax Figure of Barack Obama. Photo @copy; Louis Tussaud's Palace of Wax

The intense heat of the Oval Office could melt any ego. Luckily, this wax figure of President Obama will be stored at Louis Tussaund's Palace of Wax. 

34
of 42

World's Most Pierced Woman

Elaine Davidson, World's Most Pierced Woman
Human Pincushion Elaine Davidson Elaine Davidson, World's Most Pierced Woman. Photo © Dave Hogan/Getty Images

Brazilian-born nurse Elaine Davidson sports 6,005 piercings, including 1,500 that are internal. When Davidson entered the Guinness record, in 2000, she had a mere 462 pieces of hardware on her body, 192 just on her face.

35
of 42

The World's Biggest Mouth

Jim Purol, World's Biggest Mouth
Jim Purol Jim Purol, World's Biggest Mouth. Photo © Ripley's Believe It Or Not!

With the ability to put more than 200 straws in his mouth, Jim Purol is billed as having "The World's Biggest Mouth".

36
of 42

International Sword Swallower’s Day

International Sword Swallower’s Day in New York City
23 Deep Throats Gather at Odditoriums Around the World International Sword Swallower’s Day in New York City. Photo © Ripley's Beleive It Or Not!

On February 28, 2009, sword swallowers downed 360 inches of steel at Ripley's Odditoriums all over the world. That's over 30 feet of solid steel!

37
of 42

Two-Headed Calf

Two Headed Calf, a bizarre mutation.
Ripley's 'Prank of Nature' Two Headed Calf, a bizarre mutation. Photo @copy; Ripley's Beleive It Or Not.

Ripley's calls some bizarre mutations "Pranks of Nature," and that includes this two-headed calf, on display at the London Odditorium.

38
of 42

Van Gogh in Jelly Beans

Van Gogh in Jelly Beans by Peter Rocha
Dutch Artist's 'Self Portrait' Redone in Candy Van Gogh in Jelly Beans by Peter Rocha. Photo © Buck Wolf

San Francisco artist Peter Rocha offered a salute to Van Gogh's famous "Self Portrait," with an uncanny study of the work rendered in jelly beans.

39
of 42

The Cat-Man

Dennis Avner, the Stalking Cat, with Francis Antoni.
Dennis Avner Tests the Limits of Extreme Body Modification Dennis Avner, the Stalking Cat, with Francis Antoni. Photo © Ripley's Beleive It Or Not!

Body modification enthusiast, Dennis Avner transformed himself into a tiger by undergoing many cosmetic surgeries and receiving a lot of , as well as getting a great number of tattoos and piercings

"I am Huron and Lokota," says Dennis Avner. "And in following a very old Huron tradition, I am transforming myself into my totem, a tiger."

40
of 42

World's Longest Fingernails

Lee Redmond, the woman with the world's longest fingernails.
Lee Redmond Lee Redmond, the woman with the world's longest fingernails. Photo © Ripley's Beleive It Or Not!

In February 2009, a four-car pileup in Holiday, Utah, caused Lee Redmond to break her 35-inch nails. She was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

41
of 42

Robert Ripley's First Cartoon

"Champs or Chumps" by Robert Ripley, 1918.
From 'Champs or Chumps' to 'Beleive It Or Not' "Champs or Chumps" by Robert Ripley, 1918. © Ripley's Believe It Or Not!

On December 19, 1918, Robert Ripley, an obscure newspaper illustrator, threw together a cartoon of random sports facts. He was certain he'd be fired. From this cartoon, entitled "Champs or Chumps" the Ripley's Believe It Or Not! empire was born.

42
of 42

Weeki Wachee Mermaids

Weeki Wachee Mermaids at Ripley's
Underwater Grace and Beauty Weeki Wachee Mermaids. Photo © Ripley's Beleive It Or Not!

The performing mermaids of Weeki Wachee Spring State Park -- a Florida tradition for 6 generations -- now make guest appearances at Ripley's aquariums.

Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg -- America's No. 1 aquarium according to TripAdviser.com -- is one of Tennessee's most visited attraction.

Ripley's other aquarium, in Myrtle Beach, features 11-foot sharks and two of the longest underwater tunnels in the world.