Friday, May 24, 2019

Ripley's Believe It Or Not Debuts at MegaCon Orlando 2019

For 100 years, Ripley's Believe It Or Not has drawn millions of curiosity seekers into its exhibits to explore bizarre, mysterious and weird discoveries. To celebrate its momentous anniversary, the exhibit debuted at MegaCon Orlando as apart of its event tour for the year.

Founded by Robert Ripley, the exhibit originally began as a newspaper panel and has grown into a chain of museums, comic books, and book series featuring nearly 20,000 photographs and 30,000 artifacts of unique artifacts, artwork, and props.

Every item at Ripley's Believe It Or Not exhibit comes with its own unbelievable 'you've gotta believe it' story. From the vaults of pop culture to the vast regions of history, the Ripley's exhibit included rare artifacts you couldn't find anywhere else. Guests attending the convention got up-close and personal to Indiana Jones's bullwhip and Marty McFly's hoverboard as well as a vampire killing kit and shrunken heads.

Salon owner and stylist Steve Warden was inspired by his clients to create a hairball of human hair. Sitting at four feet tall and weighing 124 pounds, "Hauss" is one of the biggest attractions during Ripley's tour of appearances. Guests of the convention are invited to step inside Ripley's barbershop to have a lock of their hair clipped and glued to the hairball. Every hair is attached with a little bit of gorilla glue and preserved with Aquanet. My photographer Amber Valois stepped in to add her name to the list of participants who are now apart of history.

In Back to the Future II, Marty McFly escapes his family's longtime bully Biff by using a little girls hoverboard. Though 2015 has come and gone, and we still have no word yet on real hoverboards, director Robert Zemeckis created quite a stir when the film was released by saying that the hoverboard in the film was real. Movie goers scoured stores looking for their own, only to be disappointed that the hoverboard was simply movie magic.
In 2017, Ripley's added an extraordinary piece of Star Wars history to their collection - Luke Skywalker's lightsaber. Actor Mark Hamill used the prop in Star Wars: A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back. The lightsaber was made a 1930s era Graflex flashgun camera. On a rotating stand, guests could see the original flash piece inside the lightsaber. Originally owned producer Gary Kurtz, it came with a letter certifying its authenticity. 

Han Solo's blaster was purchased by Ripley's Believe It Or Not for $550,000 - a hundred thousand more than Luke's iconic lightsaber. The gun, which kicked off the famous 'Who Shot First' debate started as a real pistol before being refined with its scope and iron sights on top of the frame.

Aspiring archaeologists are more than a little familiar with Indiana Jones's bullwhip. All of the bullwhips actor Harrison Ford wielded were designed by whip maker David Morgan. The one included in Ripley's collection is from the series fourth film Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull.

Livio Di Marchi is a hand sculpted—wood works Italian artist who designs vehicles (and almost everything you can imagine) out of wood. He's most famous for the collection of cars he has created, including boats he drives up and down the canals of Venice.

Before Twilight and True Blood made vampires cool in books and television, vampires were considered a genuine deathly threat in the 19th century. Across Eastern Europe, a majority of the populace carried vampire killing kits which included a wooden stake, cross, silver bullets, and holy water.

Dating all the way back to 1923 when Ripley first acquired a shrunken head from a trader in Panama, the exhibit currently now holds a record for the biggest collection of shrunken heads.

Among its eccentric variety of collections, Ripley's Believe It Or Not takes great care with everything it acquires. Seen here are a few of its staples of Egyptian mummies of a cat, human skull, and falcon - all perfectly preserved.

myself with Sabrina Sieck
Making its way around the convention circuit is not the only way Ripley's Believe It Or Not is celebrating its centennial. Creative content manager Sabrina Sieck revealed plans for the exhibit to build its multimedia platform including a new podcast Ripley's Believe It Or Notcast and Ripley's Believe It Or Not series hosted by Bruce Campbell on the Travel Channel.

Ripley's Believe It Or Not currently hosts over 80 attractions around the world. Check out their official website and experience the unbelievably real oddities in person.

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