A Peak Inside Ripley’s Believe It Or Not ~ Giveaway

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Shrunken human heads, animals with additional limbs and real vampire slaying kits – these are a few of the oddities you might expect to find at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!. But when I recently visited headquarters, right here in Orlando, I learned that there is so much more to this 100+-year-old company.

If you have ever driven past a Ripley’s, no doubt you took notice. From buildings that look like they are falling apart to buildings that represent the unusual, Ripley’s odditorium stand out. (Odditorium is what Ripley’s calls its “museums” because well, they are so much more than a typical museum.) With more than 90 attractions currently in 10 countries, you might expect the wow factor from Ripley’s headquarters, but frankly when I drove up I thought I had the wrong address. One of the most unusual companies in the world has the most unassuming headquarters I have ever seen – at least on the outside.

Any doubt that I was in the wrong place disappeared when I walked through the front doors and was greeted by the craziest looking wax sculptures and a motorcycle completely made out of bones. Yep. I was in the right place.

Ripley's Believe it or Not Vampire Lady

Ripley's Believe it or Not bone bike

But over the next couple of hours, I realized that what I thought I knew about Ripley’s barely scratched the surface. This company, it’s founder and the people who work there are just plain cool. It would be impossible to share with you everything I experienced on my journey behind the scenes of this bizarre company, but you better believe I am excited to share the highlights!

The company’s rich history began with a cartoon. Yes, believe it or not… it all started with a cartoon. It was actually a political cartoon in the beginning, but when it evolved into a cartoon about the unique and bizarre well that’s when Ripley became a household name. That cartoon paved the way for a book, which lead the way to radio followed by Odditoriums, TV, more books, toys, aquariums, hotels and on and on. But it all started with a cartoon.

The shear genius of it all is that Ripley didn’t spend his time seeking out the unbelievable, he let the stories come to him and that’s the way it is done to this day. People from all over the world send letters, stories and photos to Ripley about strange and unusual things from unimaginable talents and customs to elaborate works of art made from truly odd materials (think candy, computer pieces and human hair) there seems to be no limit to the things people will create and submit for consideration.

As I toured the halls of HQ, I was impressed by the company’s history but even more so by the company’s dedication to proving the seemingly impossible to be true. Because as crazy and unbelievable as the stories told by Ripley’s seem, there is one underlying constant — it is all real. You can believe it or not, but it is.

Ripley's Believe it or Not Edward Meyer

Not only did I have a chance to explore the halls of the most interesting office building I have ever stepped foot in, but I received a personal tour from Edward Meyer a man who has spent his 35-year career with the Ripley’s company as an archivist, author, curator and so much more. If you want to know anything about Ripley’s — this is the guy to ask. It was like touring with a walking time capsule. Oh the things this man has seen.

As my mind was blown over and over by photos on the wall and living artifacts lining the shelves of the office, I had to ask Meyer his favorite purchases as curator. The question lead me to hold a $1 million dollar purchase that literally fit on the top of a pin head — the Lord’s prayer inscribed on a pin head. To the naked eye, it looked like a rusty old pin, but magnified… Wow.

Then I was escorted into the warehouse where every day fascinating pieces big and small are coming and going – on their way to Odditoriums and back. This place was filled with amazing finds. (I could have spent all day exploring the aisles.)

This post could go on and on with pictures of all of the amazing sights, but I will limit it to a couple of my favorite pieces:

The world’s only working wood-carved Ferrari boat. Made in (where else) Venice, this thing actually works.

Ripley's Believe it or Not Wood Carved Ferrari

A wax sculpture of the world’s smallest man. He stood 17 inches tall, my baby girl towered over him at a whooping 30.5 inches.

Ripley's Believe it or Not World's Smallest Man

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Download the Weird

Ripley’s newest annual, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Download the Weird, is now available with a new twist – readers can actually download the weird. The new Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! App (available in iTunes and for Android) allows hidden content in the book to come alive. By simply pointing your smart phone at special logos in the book, readers can see the story come to life with exclusive bonus content.

The bonus content is pretty cool, but I have to tell you that I could spend all day just looking through the book — wow!

GIVEAWAY One lucky reader will win a copy of Ripley’s  Believe It Or Not! Download the Weird.

To enter – Please use the Rafflecopter form below to take advantage of your entry opportunities.

MANDATORY ENTRY MUST BE LEFT AS COMMENT ON BLOG POST BELOW – then you can check off in Rafflecopter that you did it. Otherwise, all other entries will be invalid. (Click instructions for what to comment about.) *** PLEASE be sure to read instructions in Rafflecopter form as to what to comment about.***

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Comments

  1. Shemp DeYoung (@ShempGames) says:

    I’ve been to a couple of the museums in person and it is crazy to see some of the feats of strength that have taken place over the years.

  2. I cant think of any but i went to the Ripley in Tenn. on vacation

  3. Sharon Schoepe says:

    One that still makes me laugh was an enormous pair of underwear.

  4. Mandi Marcus says:

    The Two Trunk Elephant is nuts! I love seeing it!

  5. Brandy Fisher says:

    we have taken our 3 boys to the Ripley’s in Grand Prairie and they loved it:))) we also really like all the Weird and Interesting things we find out about there<3

  6. I have never been to one, but the building on international drive in orlando is awesome. My son is totally into Ripley’s :)

  7. The lizard man.

  8. sheila musselman askins says:

    we saw the Fertility Statue..you touch it to bring you luck in becoming pregnant lol

  9. Our family has been to the Newport,OR Ripley’s many times and it is always so much fun!
    Rafflecopter: Heidi TextbookMommy

  10. I’m not very familiar with Ripley’s exhibits but that working wood-carved Ferrari boat is rather amazing!

  11. Stephanie Larison says:

    I’ve been to Ripleys in the Dells a couple of times, and once in Gatlinburg. Loved them both! My fave is the replicas of the conjoined animals, or the women with the rings around their necks making them so tall.

  12. I love Ripleys! I have a Ripley’s Believe it or Not Book from when I was kid and it was easily my most looked at and cherished book.

  13. I’ve always wanted to go to one of these museums, they look like so much fun!

  14. Love that place…its so much fun!

  15. I have to admit that the weirdness and oddity of it all would totally appeal to me!

  16. The snake tattooed man.

  17. I agree—the tattoed lizard guy.

  18. Angela Cisco says:

    I really cannot think of anything off the top of my head.

  19. Kari Flores says:

    The man with the full body lizard tattooes.

  20. My biggest fear is granddaddy spiders. I bought my niece a Ripley’s book last Christmas. It has a picture of thousands of harvest spiders in one gigantic rolling cluster.

  21. michelle jonassen says:

    I find most of it weird but my son loves these books. The man with all of the tatoos definitely got my attention.

  22. I will never get that picture out of my head of the people with record breaking long fingernails and toenails. Grossed me out!!

    tdlsfm(at)yahoo(dot)com

  23. This guy ate glass. He was French I think.

  24. This man ate glass. EWW

  25. No, My daughter says that’s Guinness book of world records not ripley’s. Ripley’s has 19th Century Vampire Killing Kits that I thought was crazy.

    tdlsfm(at)yahoo(dot)com

  26. tallest person

  27. Susan Smith says:

    The most body modified women is weird. Putting things under my skin to make bumps is something I would never do.

  28. Brad Merrell says:

    I remember reading about two twins who were separated at birth who later found each other, and they had the same phone number and email address and house number and stuff.

  29. The tallest and shortest folks!

  30. Tanya White says:

    I seen a man with the longest finger and toes nails ever

  31. The man with the longest beard comes to mind.

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