Ripley's Believe It Or Not Comes To Phoenix

March 21, 2014

You might have seen their books or comics or been to one of their museums to see their collection of weird artifacts. Ripley’s Believe it or Not exhibits its collections across the globe, but, believe it or not, there aren’t many items from the Southwestern U.S.

“We’ve never had a permanent museum in Arizona, one of the few places Robert Ripley himself didn’t spend a whole lot of time in and until roughly six weeks ago I personally had never been in Arizona," said Ripley’s Vice President of Exhibits and Archives Edward Meyer.

Now that is odd, because Meyer has been collecting items for Ripley’s for 36 years.  He has personally added upwards of 20,000 pieces to the Ripley collection. The company usually asks people to contact them if they have strange items, but last year Meyer decided to go looking for items himself. So far he has made three stops in Florida, one in Canada and now the Arizona Science Center.

The Arizona Science Center’s Michelle Meyer, no relation to Edward Meyer, said the museum is in the middle of hosting its first Ripley’s exhibit, a Bizarre Buying Bazaar this Friday and Saturday in Phoenix.

“A lot of items like the two-headed calf have a lot to do with genetics, so when you’re in the exhibition, guests can learn about what causes this," said Michelle Meyer.

She said the bazaar will be a little different than what you will find in the exhibit. Not many people will bring a two-headed calf, for instance.

“Certainly the most common thing is what I simply call hobby art. Something that somebody has made from an unusual medium," said Edward Meyer.

Edward Meyer said the most exciting hobby art so far was in St. Augustine, Fla.

“We had a guy who had three life-size motorcycles on the back of his truck all made from bones," Edward Meyer said.

Animal bones, of all different types and sizes. Edward Meyer said he has never seen anything like it. We will see if Phoenix can top that. Michelle Meyer said she hopes we can.

“We have a great artistic community here that do unique pieces. It’d be great to have something from Phoenix, from Arizona, showcased in one of Ripley’s Believe it or Not museums," she said.

You can bring your items to the Arizona Science Center lobby. You do not have to buy a ticket to the Science Center if you just want to attend the bazaar. Meyer will be there to give items what he calls an odd-praisal, and if he likes it, he will buy it for the Ripley’s permanent collection.

The buyer’s bazaar is Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Ripley’s Believe it or Not exhibit runs through May 4 at the Arizona Science Center.