The tongue of a kind of fish near the coast of Brazil is so rough, it is
used by the locals as sandpaper. Believe it... or not.
The musical instrument, the flute, was named not for its creator, but
for a type of Sicilian eel. Believe it... or not.
In a contest held in Atlantic City, NJ, Israel Weintraub consumed 146
clams in 20 minutes. Believe it... or not.
7,000,000 bats in NYC - and only 1 person assigned to patrol them.
Believe it...or not.
Ripley's Believe It Or Not debuted on ABC 9-26-82 opposite 60 Minutes and a rerun of CHiPs.
Hosts Jack Palance and Catherine Shirriff tour the world seeking the unique and bizarre. Among the opening oddities: moments captured through stroboscopic photography; buildings designed to appear unfinished or crumbling "but it's all tricks with bricks" (Ripley sketch in full page ad shows top exterior of shopping center wall appearing to peel off, car being lowered into graveyard, and police in a bog at night); a conductor who can't read music conducting "the world's worst orchestra" in London; corpses in Denmark preserved for more than 2000 years; death rites and rituals; an eccentric millionairess' Will that specified she be buried in her Ferrari; 2000-year-old murder victims perfectly preserved from centuries ago!
Watch Ripley's Believe It Or Not showing now
on SYFY channel's Chiller TV
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Current schedule for SYFY's Chiller TV including Ripley's Believe It Or Not, is on our Ripley Homepage
An Italian inventor who bilked the French government of $100 million; a Japanese gameshow that tests contestants' courage; automobile safety equipment; scientific technology to aid the disabled; a man who collects junk mail; a woman who designed a Victorian mansion from her dreams and nightmares: The Winchester Mystery House; a windmill restorer
The Dead-Letter Office of the N.Y. General Post Office; how postage stamps helped make Adolf Hitler a millionaire; unusual bronzed mementos; a London shoe store that requires an appointment for a fitting; the hay-fever helmet; a boy born with no immune system; a car shredder
10-20-85:(no episode due to Game 2 World Series coverage by ABC)
A musical number that can be performed by anyone on any instrument; the bizarre fatal downbeat of orchestra conductor Jean-Baptiste Lully; performance art; sculptor Duane Hanson; the development of commercial aviation; aircraft safety; an autopsy performed on a 2500-year-old murder victim found in a British bog, so well-preserved that police were called!
(no TV Guide listing this week) *A man who lives in a golden pyramid; Japanese scientists building a pyramid to prove pyramid-building theories; Marie follows a heart from doner to transplant patient; Houdini bio by Walter B. Gibson (creator of The Shadow)
A 1916 Quarter that was recalled for being indecent; *The Mummy Museum of Guanajuato, Mexico; *Human remains that are launched into orbit; revolutionary medical devices; the Russian space program; sonic sculpture; the unique sound of the Stradivarius violin; a natural art treasure
An Adolf Hitler-sponsored exhibition of "degenerate art"; *a dog that can ski and SCUBA dive; voice-activated cars and mechanisms; *a photographer who uses homing pigeons to deliver undeveloped film; the development of the aircraft carrier; a light-covered car made by sculptor Eric Staller; a man who cares for a collection of over 400 turtles
How a gallery owner sparked interest in an ignored painting; mud bog racing; motorists who pray at the "Temple Of Safe Driving" in Japan; Ben Franklin's proposed phoenetic alphabet; miniature artwork; British Royal Marine basic training; a mystic artist; restoration of Leonardo Da Vinci's "Last Supper" painting
A 75-year-old fake newspaper story that caused a Texas town to be torn apart; using hypnotism to control and prevent pain; a thermography machine; Arabian courtship customs; George Willig's illegal climb up the side of New York's World Trade Center; rock climbing without equipment; cliff parachuting; an 18-year-old deaf woman studying to be a musician; the Leaning Tower of Pisa; a man who transforms ordinary objects into musical instruments; *world's tallest man; a cobra catcher; did Beethoven steal his 4th Symphony?
12-15-85: (rerun from 9/29)
12-22-85: (rerun of 10/13 ep)
1-5-86: (rerun from unknown date)
Explosive sculptures, a blind Scottish artist, kidney stone explosives
1-12 to 1-26: (no info available at this time)
The man who bilked the Portuguese out of $15,000,000; a torantula ranch
The best-kept secret of World War 2, a look at medicines from plants & animals
2-13-86: (no info available at this time)
2-20-86: (rerun from 12/8)
* segments that were redone in the later 2000-2003 series
At the 1992 Academy Awards, Jack Palance did one-arm push-ups on stage just to show how healthy he was. He considered himself a rancher first (Tehachapi, CA) and acted onscreen just as a way to pay for his beloved ranch.
The oldest national flag currently in use is that of Denmark, which has been a white cross on red background for 700 years, believe it or not!
Radio/televangelist Aimee Semple McPherson was buried with a telephone in her coffin. A pound of grasshoppers have three times the nutrition as a steak. The Hula-Hoop was a financial disaster for its manufacturer, Whammo, which had it in full production when the fad suddenly ended, leaving the company with thousands of dollars of unsold Hula-Hoops in storage--it only netted $10,000 from the craze due to all the unsold hoops! The company got its name from the sound of its first product, a slingshot, hitting a target. Believe It or Not!
Lord Dudley & Ward, British Foreign Secretary in 1827, was convinced that he was actually twins, and constantly talked with himself using a falsetto voice for his "twin." In 1938, a mule named Boston Curtis was elected precinct committeeman in Milton, Washington, by a 51 vote plurality. His hoof prints were placed on the filing notice and witnessed by his sponsor, the Democratic mayor of Milton, who did it to prove that voters are careless.
A pound of feathers weighs more than a pound of gold: a pound of feathers is 16 oz. while precious metals use the troy scale of 12 oz. to a pound.
St. Nicholas (Santa Claus) was the Bishop of Myra in Asia Minor. He died December 6, 342 A.D. and is buried in the Church of St. Nicholas in Bari, Italy. He was the patron saint of thieves and pawn brokers. Santa has a brother in Pennsylvania Dutch tradition, Bells Nichols, who leaves children cake and cookies on New Year's Eve
Wayne Harbour of Bedford, Iowa, was obsessed with proving that Ripley was a liar. For 26 years, this postmaster wrote a letter a day challenging at least one of the claims in the daily cartoon. As of 1970, he had written 22,708 letters to people highlighted in the cartoon. He never received a single contradiction to the claims Ripley made. His letters themselves are now part of the Ripley's collection.
Ripley's prized possession was a sculpture of Japanese artist Hananuma Masakichi. The life-size, life-like self-sculpted statue incorporated Masakichi's own hair, fingernails and toenails to make it apppear more real. Ripley kept the statue in a special curtained area of his bedroom.
This series of sculptures in the clear, shallow waters off the coast of Grenada has one highly unusual characteristic: it is accessible only to divers (though it can also be viewed through glass-bottomed boats.) Sculptor Jason de Caires Taylor created the works, a series of human figures in various groupings and settings, as the world’s first underwater sculpture park, which also serves as an artificial reef to promote conservation awareness.
The Earl of Glasgow lost millions betting on his own horses and said on 10/30/1852, he would shoot the next one that lost a race. All six of his horses won their races that day
The ancient Aztecs refered to gold as "excrement of the gods"
In 1928, Ripley visited Hell (a town in Norway, where hell means Gentle Slope) and sent back a photo of himself in front of Hell's train station. He signed it, "With the warmest regards, from Ripley in Hell. Norway-1928. Believe It Or Not." He also said that the maidens in Hell were the most beautiful in the world. As of 2007, Norway's #1 immigrant group is Vietnamese: Norway has eight times as many immigrants from Vietnam than from Denmark, and five times as many as from Sweden. The capital of Norway was founded in the year 1050, burned down in 1624, was rebuilt by the King of Norway-Denmark as the city of Christiania (renamed Kristiania in 1877), and has been known as Oslo only since 1925
Michigan, home to the major automobile makers, says it costs $100,000 to repave a road but only $10,000 to grind up a mile of road and replace it with gravel. As of June 2009, 50 miles of roads in 20 counties have been converted from paved to gravel.
In April 2009, hundreds of dolphins kept pirate speedboats away from Chinese merchant ships passing through the Gulf of Aden. And rescuers in China the same month, failed to find lost tourists on Taishan Mountain but did find seven other frozen corpses. Worm Castles: During the Civil War, the US army came up with something called army crackers, "hardtack" They were baked to last, and resembled concrete more than bread. Dipping the stale, moldy hard round crackers into coffee or soup to soften it often released worms and weavils as well. One soldier commented, "All the fresh meat we had came in the hard bread."
Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of Russia in WW2, was the largest invasion in the history of the world: four million soldiers, yet most of them were defeated by the same Russian ally that drove out Napoleon; the Russian winter. Hitler had not allowed the soldiers to take winter clothing on the assumption that the summer invasion would be as easy as other countries he had invaded. A 1000-year-old oak tree in Easton Lodge Park near Dunmow, England, was dying in 1944 until a bomb dump nearby exploded nearby--and it has flourished ever since
In the movie "2010," sequel to "2001, A Space Odyssey," both filmed during the Cold War, astronauts and cosmonauts are working together in a space craft in the year 2010, though they still have the Soviet "hammer & sickle" flag on their spacesuits.
Sir John Pryce (1698-1761, of Wales), grief-stricken by the death of his wife Elizabeth, kept her embalmed body in the bedroom for 11 years, even after he remarried. When his second wife died, he added her embalmed body to the bedroom until they were both disposed of at the insistence of his third wife. Western star Roy Rogers kept the stuffed remains of his horse Trigger and his dog Bullet in the Roy Rogers Museum. Wife Dale Evans joked that she was determined to outlive him in case he had a spot in the museum picked out for her
TV Can Kill You
Falling furniture causes 300 deaths a year and over 14,000 injuries according to the Nat. Children's Hospital in Ohio, from 100 emergency room reports for the year 2009. About half the deaths came from TV sets, which are front-heavy due to heavy cathode-ray tubes in those homes that haven't opted for flat screens yet. One toddler was trying to climb up the front to get something on top when it fell forward onto him
In the 1770s a survey team that established the boundary between Quebec and Vermont used one-fifth of its expense money on booze, resulting in what an international commission said was "very far from a straight line" on one 20-mile stretch.
Bracken Cave near San Antonio, TX, houses 20,000,000 bats which eat over a hundred tons of insects per night. When the atom bomb was dropped on Nagasaki 8/8/45, bomber pilot Captain Behan said, "Believe it or not, I've got it." In Indonesia, the Veined Octopus sometimes carries around an empty coconut shell as a protective home In 1877 the first telephone was installed in the White House, with telephone # 1.
In April, 1932, a steam locomotive with a snowplow 12 miles from Silverton, Colorado, took 32 days to get through the snow from Needleton. The Darwins Bark Spider of Madagascar spins a web covering an area of as much as 30 square feet in gaps up to 82 feet across.
Nobody likes a whiner: In Japan, whining is known as "vomiting the sound of weakness." In China, "Working with your liver and brains on the ground" means working hard. The 1st motion picture studio was built by Thomas Edison in East Orange NJ, mounted on a turntable so that it could use the natural bright light of the Sun. In Finland, a white cap can only be worn after graduating from high school. The Church of St. Fermo in Verona, Italy, is atop a subterranean church which holds seperate services.
The Nyatpola Pagoda of Bhatgaon, Nepal, the tallest in the country, was built in just 5 days (1703) after King Bhupatindra Malla set an example by peronally carrying 3 building blocks to the site. Jean Cavalier (1681-1740), a French baker, fought for France, Italy, Holland, and in 1738 became a Mjr. General in the British army. The home of Thomas Nelson still contains American cannon balls in its walls because Nelson ordered it fired on after Cornwallis seized it for his headquarters in 1781. All women and even all female animals are banned from the town of Karyes on the peninsula of Mt. Athos, Greece, since the year 1045. During the Dark Ages, the moat around castles were sometimes left empty with the drawbridge up, filling with water only after attacking knights in their heavy armor were trying to walk across the bottom.
When seat-belts became standard in American automobiles, some were also added to train cabooses. On 8/19/64 the Conductor and Brakeman riding up in the cupola, 5 feet above the floor, were uninjured when a Union Railroad caboose derailed at the end of an ore train in Pennsylvania. For over a century, every railroad train approaching a crossing has warned oncoming vehicles with Morse Code for the letter "q" using a horn or whistle. The Oak Ridge Boys (1982 Grammy for "Elvira") formed in 1943, got their name during WW2 entertaining workers at the top secret Oak Ridge nuclear research facility
In addition to 4,578 metric tons gold, Fort Knox holds thousands of karats of diamonds and, during WW2, both the US Constitution and England's Magna Carta - which had been on display at the 1939 World's Fair when Germany attacked Poland, France and then England. The depository is second in the United States to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's underground vault in Manhattan, which holds 7,000 metric tons of gold bullion for the USA and foreign customers; 500 rail cars originally brought most of the gold to Fort Knox in 1937. When Nazi Germany invaded Poland with tanks, General Patton recommended armored tanks to train and be based next to Fort Knox, and they've been there ever since. Ironically, Germany still has the world's second-largest gold supply, much of it kept in New York's Federal Reserve Bank
Nature decided to mark the highest point reached by the Union Pacific railroad: a lone pine tree grows out of a boulder near Laramie, Wyoming, on Sherman Hill between the rail line and Highway 30. The Illinois Department of Conservation spent $180,000 to study owl vomit. The 14th colony was going to be called "Transylvania," meaning "after the woods" because it was reached by going thru the woods of Virginia. But Thomas Jefferson said no, and it eventually became the 15th state, Kentucky. A river that separates Kentucky and West Virginia became the dividing line between the Hatfields and the McCoys, a feud that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court when the 2 states threatened to go to war with each other
In the Roman Empire, a pound of silk was worth more than a pound of gold, the work of 3000 silk worms. For over 1000 years, trade overland between Europe and China was known as the Silk Road. Starting in 1903, 49 specially built refrigerated Southern Pacific railroad cars with passenger train-type baggage car doors and high-speed wheel trucks rushed silk from California to New York when the ships arrived from Japan. The Clapham Transport Museum in London has a Great Western Railway locomotive with wheels 12 feet in diameter. Helen of Troy was actually Greek: she had been seduced & abducted to the walled city of Troy, which took ten years to defeat by the Greeks with the aid of a big horse.
The Statue of Liberty doubles as New York Harbor's lighthouse; in fact it was the world's first lighthouse lit by electricity, visible up to 25 miles at sea. Mrs. A.A. Vial of South Africa baked 150 cakes for the troops in 1941. Unable to find her wedding ring, she sent a note with each cake advertising the missing ring. It was found in the cake given to Sgt. Ronnie Vial in London, her own son! Ben Franklin taught anatomy to British, French and American medical students using corpses purchased from grave robbers, an excavation of just a small part of his basement recently turned up over 1000 human remains
Madagascar is the world's fourth largest island after Greenland, New Guinea and Borneo. During WW2, Madagascar was a colony of occupied France and Himmler suggested sending all of Europe's Jews to it before other Nazi officials came up with a different Final Solution. Australia is considered a continent, not an island. Ayers Rock in Australia is the world's largest single monolith. The American coffee drink "latte" is unknown in Italy, where the word simply means "warm milk." It takes 36 seconds to go a mile at 100 mpg.
The perfume "Charlie" made $10,000,000 the year it was introduced by Revlon (1973), a company founded by Charlie Revlon. In Pennsylvania a 9-mile long railway from the Lehigh River up to a coal mine was built in 1827 using mules - they rode back down in rail cars and loved the ride so much they balked at returning on foot instead. The legislation authorizing the US Secret Service (USSS) was signed by Abraham Lincoln the day he was assassinated. Originally created by the Treasury Department at a time when a third of US money in circulation was counterfeit, a division to protect the President was formed after the 1901 assassination of President McKinley at the request of Congress. The first "panic button" was the nickname of a button on WW2 bombers the pilot could push to signal the crew to abandon ship. The state motto of Maryland is: Manly Deeds, Womanly Words.
Roman chariots had wheels 4 feet, 8 and 1/2 inches apart. Farm wagons had wheels set the same way. Early railroads in England and Europe had wooden rails set the same distance apart to give the farm wagons a smoother ride. George Stephenson built steam engines in England to fit the exsting scale track and Parliament made it official by setting all new railroads built there to the Stephenson gauge. In America, there were at least 23 different track gauges in 1871 from 3 feet to 6 feet, and one in Oregon at 8 feet for logging. President Lincoln and Congress settled the matter by requiring the transcontinental railroads to be the Stephenson gauge as well as any railroad connecting with it.
In Japan it is considered bad luck, even offensive, to name streets. After WW2, the American occupation troops under MacArthur named the streets in Tokyo so they could find their way around. When the occupation ended, the Japanese quietly removed all the street signs. The Coronado Naval Amphibious Base building in California is shaped like a giant swastika when seen from the air