Believe it or Not

Isolated beholder monster
Extra toes? Two heads, or a shrunken skull? If you have ever visited one of Ripley’s museums, or read one of his amazing photograph-rich books, then you know that he was the kind of man who appreciated oddities.

In his personal life, the “real life Indian Jones” Robert Ripley traveled to 200 countries. He wrote about the unusual, assembling a rare collection of artifacts and stories about people, animals, and places he encountered along the way. Even his beloved sheepdog, Cyclops, had only one eye in the middle of his furry head!

Some interesting facts:

1. Ripley displayed multi-limbed animals, albinos, two-headed kittens, one-eyed “cyclops” animals and actively pursued the “bizarre creatures” across five continents.
2. He obtained photos of fish that climbed trees, wingless birds, four-legged chickens and peg-legged cows.
3. He bought an island just north of NYC for $85,000. Using his acronym for “Believe It or Not,” he called it BION Island. His beloved Cyclops lived on the island with him and a “harem of women” that hosted parties for the rich, famous, and unusual.
4. On May 24, 1949, Ripley was taping the 13th show of his new series when he collapsed, unconscious. Ironically, it was a program about the origins of “Taps,” the military song played at funerals. He never recovered, dying a few days later of this heart attack.
5. When he died he left behind no widow or children, only a dog.

Robert Ripley was known for his love of unusual animals. His legacy lives on today, with examples like this:

Ripley Entertainment Inc. donated $400 to “My Heart’s Desire” dog rescue. The rescue had posted photos of an unusual dog they called RIPLEY: ‘You would have never believed there was a dog under (all that matted fur). He didn’t even look like a dog. He looked like the elephant man. All you could see was his snout.” stated rescue owner Tracey Lapeyrous. Make sure to check out the website ( where you can submit photos and stories about your own unusual animals!