FUBARtrivia at Ripley’s Believe it or not! museum in London

  • Last week, FUBARtrivia visited London, England and stopped by at ”Ripley’s Believe it or not! museum”.
  • The museum is a collection of strange, amazing and rare objects and people from all around the world collected by the entreprenour Robert Ripley.
  • The London museum is the world’s largest Ripley’s Believe it or not! museum and it opened on August 20, 2008 at Picadilly Circus.
Outside Ripley's Believe it or not! museum in London at Picadilly circus

Outside Ripley's Believe it or not! museum in London at Picadilly circus

18th century's Thomas Wedders had the longest nose in the world with 19 cm

18th century's Thomas Wedders had the longest nose in the world with 19 cm

A self-deformed Peruvian skull.

A self-deformed Peruvian skull.

A woman with huge lips.

A woman with huge lips.

Patrick Deuel a.k.a. "The Half ton man". He was one of the heaviest persons with a peaking weight of 486 kg.

Patrick Deuel a.k.a. "The Half ton man". He was one of the heaviest persons with a peaking weight of 486 kg.

Scold's bridle, a Scottish torture device from the 16th century which was used to punish women using unwanted language.

Scold's bridle, a Scottish torture device from the 16th century which was used to punish women using unwanted language.

Iron maiden, a German torture device from the 18th century.

Iron maiden, a German torture device from the 18th century.

A man with four pupils.

A man with four pupils.

A two-headed goat.

A two-headed goat.

A very rare shrunken head from the Jivaro-tribe

A very rare shrunken head from the Jivaro-tribe

Sources and further reading:

Ripley’s Believe it or not! London Museum site

Connie Culp: The First face transplant in the U.S.

Connie Culp before her face transplant

Connie Culp before her face transplant

  • In the beginning of May 2009, a woman was all over the news. That woman’s name is Connie Culp and she is the first person to undergo a near-total face transplant in the United States.
  • The procedure took 22 hours and was performed on December 10, 2008. 80 percent of Culp’s face was transplanted. Her entire face was replaced except for her upper eyelids, forehead, lower lip and chin.
  • The 46-year old mother Connie Culp was shot in the face with a shotgun by her husband Thomas G. Culp in September 2004 outside a bar in Ohio. Her husband tried to perform a murder-suicide, but he failed and both of them survived.
  • Connie Culp lost most of the midsection of her face and from 2004 to 2008 she got a dozens of surguries. Before her facetransplant, her disfigurement prevented her to eat and breathe on her own.
  • After the transplant, Connie was blind but she has learned braille and can use her other senses quite normal.
Connie Culp after her face transplant

Connie Culp after her face transplant

  • The husband was convicted of aggrevated attempted murder and serves a 7-year prison sentence. Connie says she has forgiven him and that she is waiting when he gets out of prison.

Sources and further reading:

Reuters news article

The Man who ate his lover

Armin Meiwes, the German cannibal

Armin Meiwes, the German cannibal

  • At a young age, the German Armin Meiwes lived alone with his demanding mother and therefore created a imaginary littlebrother called Frank. He also imagined dismembering and eating other children so they could “be within him forever”.
  • When Meiwes controlling mother died, it threw him completely off balance.
  • After Meiwes had joined cannibal news groups, he renovated his old house and built a secret room specially designed for slaugher.
  • In March 2001, Meiwis posted an advertisement stating he was searching a “well-built 18 – 30-year old to be slaughtered and then consumed”. The ad was answered by the 42-year old computer engineer Bernd Jürgen Brandes.
Bernd Jürgen Brandes

Bernd Jürgen Brandes

  • When Brandes broke up with his girlfriend he decided to invent himself by working out excessively and shaving his head.
  • After visiting male prostitutes to be whipped and with the unfulfilled wish of getting his penis cut off, Brandes joined the same cannibal news groups as Meiwes and they connected.
  • When the to meet up at Meiwes house, Meiwes has prepared with a videocamera to film as Meiwes begin to cut Brandes penis off for them both to eat.
  • Brandes is still alive after bleeding for 3 hours. Meiwes decides to finish him off with a knife stab to Brandes throat.
  • Meiwes buried Brandes skin and innards in his garden, but kept some meat in his freezer which he made a meal of the next day. To the police he later told it tasted like pork.
  • People began to search for Brandes, but after weeks without a result – the case was closed.
  • The 10th December 2002, Meiwes was apprehended by the police and charged for “glorification of violence”.
  • Later, the police found the remains in Meiwes garden and the 10kg of meat in his freezer. When the police also found the video tape Meiwes tried to hide, they determined that what killed Brandes wasn’t the mutilation buth the stab to the throat, and therefore Meiwes was charged for murder.
  • In January 2004, the court decided that Brandes did approve to his own slaughter and they accepted Meiwes claim that the killing was not sexually motivated. However, Meiwes was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to eight and a half year in prison.
  • The German industrial band Rammstein’s song ”Mein teil” is inspired by this story.
  • A movie based on Meiwes case called ”Rothenburg” was banned in Germany because a complaint from Meiwes. Meiwe’s rights as an individual outweighed artistic freedom as he should not become the object of a horror film.

Sources and further reading:

BBC news article
Channel 4:s Bodyshock episode: The man who ate his lover

Videos:

The Woman with the huge leg

Vicki Borken, her daughter and her huge leg

Vicki Borken, her daughter and her huge leg

  • Vicki Borken is a 45-year old woman from Miami, U.S.A. who has rare type of the condition called “Lymphedema”, which has made her left leg grow to a massive size.
  • Vicki’s foot and leg started to grow abnormally when she was 2 years old, now it is 102 cm around and weighs 39 kg. Vicki’s case of Lymphedema is one of the largest in the U.S.
  • Lymphedema is swelling of the tissue. Lymphedema is caused by a faulty lymphatic system. The lymphatic system collects and filters the tissue fluid of the body, helping fight infections. Lymphedema causes the fluids to be kept localized at one area, causing it to swell.
  • Vicki’s swelling on her leg has an infection that risks spreading to her whole body, poisoning her blood.
  • Vicki fears her condition will be genetically inherited by her 8 year old daughter, something that’s possible.
  • Vicki things her swelling began after she had a dresser falling on her leg when she was young.
  • Each morning, Vicki has to wash and dress her leg – a task which takes 3 hours.
  • Vicki’s daughter helps Vicki with the protecting bandaging of her leg, a job she has been doing every morning since she was 3 years old.
  • There are different ways of treating lymphedema. One is a special type of massage to encourage the lymphatic system to work as it should. Another one is a method which is performed by the Swedish surgeon Dr. Håkan Brorson, where fat is drained from the bodypart by liposuction.

Sources and further reading:

The Vicki Borken Story
Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
My Shocking Story: episode information

Cat man

Dennis Avner: Cat man or Stalking cat

Dennis Avner: Cat man or Stalking cat

  • Dennis Avner is an American born in 1958. He is more known under the name of ”Cat man” or by his native american name; ”stalking cat”.
  • Cat man is a descendant from the American indians Lakota and Huron . He was inspired to achieve his look by a native chief to ”follow the ways of the tiger”.
  • Cat man has spent large sums of money to surgically modify his body to make him look like a tiger.
  • Cat man has gone through 14 surgical procedures, such as: hairline modification, implants in the face, filing and capping of his teeth, surgically pointing of the ars, silicone injection in the lips, cheeks, chin and a split upper lip.
Cat man (Dennis Avner) in profile

Cat man (Dennis Avner) in profile

  • Cat man also has a lot of piercings, tattoos and cat-like contactlenses to complete his look.
  • Cat man holds the Guinness World Record for ”most permanent transformations to look like an animal”
  • Cat man enjoys climbing trees and eating raw meat – just like a real tiger. But he has to work in office and make TV appearances to bring in money – because he is still a hunan with human needs.
  • Cat man is a former navy sonar technician and is currently a computer programmer. He is now somewhat of a celebrity with appearences on ”Ripley’s believe it or not!”, ”Larry King Live” and ”Kerrang! radio”.

Sources and further reading:

Daily Mail-article
Stalking Cat’s official website

The Man with the constant shedding skin

Ryan González as a child

Ryan González as a child

  • Ryan Gonzáles is an American who was born in San Diego with a rare condition called Harlequin ichthyosis.
  • Harlequin Ichtyosis caused Ryan to have deep red cracks in his skin and his eyes turned inside out.
  • One in 500 000 babies is born with this condition which is also known as Harlequin fetus. It’s almost always fatal because of the skin’s difficulty to hold water and its lack of protecting from bacterias or diseases.
  • Ryan’s body produces too many skincells and his skin is not shedded properly – it’s sheds seven to ten times faster than normal leading to a hard, armour-like skin in red.
  • Because it’s such a rare condition, not many doctors know how to properly treat it. However, Ryan was successfully treated with an acnecream called Accutane. It functions like a large dose of Vitamine A, allowing his skin to shed properly.
  • With a normal caloric intake, Ryan was still starving as a baby because of his body was producing new skincells at an extremely fast rate.
  • Ryan started to grow when he got a high calory, high protein food suppleant which he now receivs while asleep.
  • Ryan needs to consume 7500 calories a day to keep up with his fast shedding of the skin.
Ryan González grown up

Ryan González grown up

  • Ryan is now 22 years old and competes in triathlon despite his difficult condition which also has left him with an impairment in his hearing and eyesight.

Sources and further reading:

10News article
Discovery Channel Health’s ”Medical Incredible”.

The World’s smallest bodybuilder

Aditya "Romeo" Dev, world's smallest bodybuilder

Aditya "Romeo" Dev, world's smallest bodybuilder

  • Aditya Dev is a 19 year old man from India who is 2’9″ (84 cm) tall and weighs 9 kgs but still is an active bodybuilder.
  • Aditya was born in 1988 with a fifth of the size of a regular baby, weighing only 680g.
  • Aditya was born with a rare form of dwarfism called ”primordial dwarfism”, that results in a smaller body size in all stages of life beginning from before birth.
  • Romeo has been considered both a blessing as well as a curse within his community in India.
  • When he grew a little bit older, he became a big fan of the Indian popstar Jazzy B and started to dance like him.
  • Aditya took his artistname from his idol Jazzy B’s song ”Romeo”.
  • He later started working out with a personal trainer and he can lift 1.5 kg dumbells.
  • India’s version of the Guinnes book of World Records; ”The Limca Book of Records” recognized Romeo as the world’s smallest bodybuilder.
  • Unlike many other little people, Romeo is well portioned.
  • In summer 2008, Aditya was diagnosed with a number of serious aneurysms (baloon-like bulge of a blood vessel) in his brain. If left untreated, Aditya may suffer a stroke and die.
  • Aditya’s poor family are trying to raise the approximately 7500 USD required for his advanced brain surgery. People can donate money via his official website.

Sources and further reading:

Aditya ”Romeo” Dev’s Official Website
Daily Mail news article

Videos:

The Boy who could see without eyes

Ben Underwood: The Boy who could see without eyes

Ben Underwood: The Boy who could see without eyes

  • Ben Underwood from USA was born as a healthy boy in 1992, but at the age of two, Ben developed a type of cancer in his eyes called retinal cancer or Retinoblastoma.
  • At the age of three, his eyes was forced to be removed because of the risk of the cancer spreading by the optical nerve to the brain.
  • Ben’s family refused to let him be held back because of the lack of eyes, his mom told him he could see by touching or hearing.
  • Instead of becoming completely blind, he started to ”see” things by listening to the sounds around him. He began hearing the difference between buildings and alleys.
  • At the age of five, Ben discovered something called ”Ecolocation”. He was able to detect the location of objects by making clicking noises with his tongue.
  • He could ride a bicycle, play basket, go inlining and writes text with the help of a braille-writer and text to audio-software.
  • Ben refused to use a dog or a cane as he didn’t considered himself blind or handicapped. * Ben’s ears has normal hearing, despite having a navigating-technique similiar to that of dolphins, bats or even sonar.
  • Daniel Keesh is a mobility trainer who wanted Ben to realise the dangers of not using a cane as well. Daniel is also blind and has developed a similar clicking-system like Ben, but his also involves the use of a cane.
  • Ben passed away on January 19th 2009, at the age of 16 because of the same cancer that took his sight.

Sources and further reading:

Ben Underwood Foundation

Videos:

Documentary: Extraordinary People: The boy who sees without eyes @ Youtube:

The Treeman

Dede Koswara, tree man

Dede Koswara, tree man

  • Dede Koswara from Jakarta, Indonesia is a 36 year old man with a rare medical condition with symptoms making parts of his body looking like a tree.
  • Dede, also known as Tree man has warts all over his body and his limbs look like roots growing from the skin.
  • It grows 5mm each month and has recently grown around his face.
  • Dede got his first wart when he was 15 and cut his knee in an acciedent. The wart deveoloped on his lower leg and then spread uncontrollaby.
  • He used to work with construction and fishing, but at age 20 he could no longer make use of his hands.
  • The condition’s name in latin is ”Epidermodysplasia verruciformis”.
  • Warts are a tumor caused by a virus that lies resting inside the body.
  • Doctors believe Dede got his condition because of him having The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and a weak immune system.
  • Local doctors tried to remove some of his warts, by the warts just grew back later at an even faster rate.
Dede Koswara (tree man) after his treatment

Dede Koswara (tree man) after his treatment

  • Each wart has its own blodsupply and it’s hard to control the bleeding when doctor wants to remove the warts
  • Dede is unable to fight the warts as his immunesystem is very bad
  • Surgical treatment is not the option, but instead medical
  • Dede is member of a group called ”The Clan” which is a group of him and four other people with other rare medical conditions.
  • The Clan performs at the circus in the city to earn money. The others are called ”Bubble man”, ”The Lady”, ”Elephant man” and ”Snake man”. The performances is the only choice for Dede to earn money for his family.
  • After a sucessful operation in March 2008, Dede was able to feed himself and even operate a phone for the first time in many years. The doctors removed around 4 lbs (2 kg) of warty horns from his limbs. Now the mission is for the doctors to find a way of not letting the warts to grow back.
  • Although this is a very rare condition, there is another found case: 38 year old Ion Toader, a man from Romania who also got the condition when he was a teenager.

Sources and further information:

The Sun-article about Dede Koswara
Discovery Channel: My Shocking Story information
Telegraph-article about Dede regaining use of his hands

The Girl with two faces

Lalli Singh: The girl with two faces

Lali Singh: The girl with two faces

  • Baby girl Lali Singh was born in March 2008 in India with a medical condition called ”Craniofacial duplication”
  • She had two faces, four eyes, two noses and two mouths
  • A human has the odds of 50 million to one of being born with the condition
  • Many hinduists considered her as a reincarnation of various gods, such as Vishnu: a god with three faces.
The Hindu god Vishnu

The Hindu god Vishnu

  • Many hinduists considered her as a reincarnation of various gods, such as Vishnu: a god with three faces.
  • Pilgrims flocked from all India to visit her and she became a global phenomenon.
  • Within weeks, her health got worse. She started to loose weight, becoming dangerously thin and not able to close the centerlookated eyes eyelids, risking to loose sight on the them.
  • It was hard for doctors who wanted to help to convince Lali’s father of their good intentions as he is religious.
  • Doctors were amazed to see how long Lali had already survived, but they were concerned about how much she had left.
  • The Singh family finally took the doctors advice as Lali’s condition turned to even worse, but the family don’t treat the baby as the doctors request. Lali is treated with drip.
  • At the age of two months old, Lali suffers a massive heart attack and died.
  • Lali was worshipped as a godess throughout her life and buried as one. She was honored with a statute and an annual day of worship.

Sources and further reading:

Channel 4’s ”Bodyshock”: The Girl with two faces information

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