Have you ever hear a story about an event that was so unbelievable you had an internal debate with yourself about whether it maybe, possible could be true… or may not? For me it was always urban legends that would get me. At the beginning I would completely convince myself for sure they were fake, then as I heard more and more people retelling the same story I started to think otherwise. In either case these stories are entertaining if nothing else.
Now why do I bring this up? Well my next stop in New York city is part of a franchise that deals in just these sorts of things. Ripley’s Believe It or Not! was founded by Robert Ripley who documented bizarre events, people, animals or items that would have people to this day still questioning their authenticity. Ripley’s started as a cartoon “penal”, and eventual spanned numerous media formats like radio, TV, books, and eventually museums.
These museum are located all over the world and I will admit I have visited quite a few of them in the past. To be honest I’m not sure exactly why I keep going into them as most of the items inside are the same in each of the locations, and some are pretty hard to look at. I don’t have a week stomach but do tread lightly when visiting these locations. However on this trip I had a location right next door that I did want to spend more time at so I didn’t actually go into this museum other than to press the pennies that are located in the gift shop (no admission required). But as I walked inside from 42nd Street I did take a look at some of the “free” exhibits available by the front entrance.
As you can see the Auditorium included plenty of skeletons, creatures that can’t possibly exist (or did they?), pictures, things floating in jars full of fluids, tall people, short people, and plenty of people with physical anomalies.
The gift shop was to the right of the ticket area just next to the two-trunked elephant on the wall. The doors slid open and the machine was located right inside.
This machine was a little unique in that the gear ratio was pretty light. Meaning that it was very easy to turn, but you needed to turn the handle about 10-12 times per penny. Also each penny cost twice as much as standard machines. It was $1.00 per penny plus obviously your penny. Luckily I had brought along some extra quarters just in case of a situation like this.
These designs were really nice I must admit. In my past trips to these museums they almost all have penny machines but these were the first nicely detailed coins I have found at a Ripley’s. The designs included: The Ripley’s Odditorium Marquee, a Shrunken Head, the World’s Tallest Man, and a Two-headed Goat.
Another set in my pocket and it was time to get out of here. I could feel the oddities calling my name, but I had other places to visit and more coins to collect. Thankfully I didn’t have far to go as the next place was right next door.