Ripleys Believe it or Not

17 Mar

Emily wk9

By Emily Kershek, Bond University Journalism Student

Thousands of people a year flock to ‘Ripley’s Believe It or Not’ in Surfers Paradise for its odd collection of artifacts, but most are unaware of the wacky story that started it all.

Ripley’s Supervisor Jerome Chase said that founder Robert Ripley began travelling in the early 1900s and wrote about all the crazy things he saw, but no one believed him.

“They started calling him a fraud, so he actually sorted the things and showed people,” Mr Chase said.

“‘Ripley’s Believe It or Not’ sprouted from that, and he began receiving a million letters a year about people wanting to send in their own crazy things.

“There was a guy a few months ago trying to sell us this 100 kilo ball of packaging stickers which he had been stealing from his office during lunch breaks.”

Today, Ripley’s Odditorium has 15 rooms and more than 400 real artifacts such as dinosaur eggs and poop, paintings on grains of rice, and even a blanket that summons demons.

“We have wood that was fossilised and turned into stone – that’s one of my favourites actually – because I feel like I’m touching a tree from 140 million years ago,” Mr Chase said.

Ripley’s employee Monique Rennett chose to work there for its established name and describes Ripley’s as a fun and interactive place for the whole family.

“My favourite part of working there is interacting with people – especially the kids – and teaching them about historically famous people like the tallest man of the world,” she said.

“Robert Wadlow was nine feet, basically a whole metre taller than me! I just find it fascinating.”

Both employees said that Ripley’s has a legacy of weird, wonderful and almost entirely human things that you wouldn’t expect to find anywhere else, showing that there are always bizarre people doing bizarre things.

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