The Omnibus Believe it or Not

Robert Ripley (1890 – 1949) was an American newspaper cartoonist who hit on the idea of collecting strange facts from around the world which were then published in American newspapers under the heading, ‘Believe it or Not’. He became enormously popular with both radio and TV shows and I suppose it was no wonder his newspaper articles were collected into an omnibus edition.


My book was given me by my grandfather, but I don’t think it was originally his.


No, my grandad never had a son called Bert to give him a book like this and neither did he live (so far as I know) at the address given.


I loved the book which I will have had for well over 50 years now. It suited the nerd in me being full of facts presented in short and manageable newspaper sized items.

Some of Ripley’s articles are all words. Some are a mix of words with a drawing like the one below.


Back in 1934, when this book was given as a present, facts about the giant mudskipper would have been hard to believe. These days we are more used to such information.

Some of Ripley’s items were largely based on a drawing and the facts can be strange.


Now that sounds like good value!

Lovely book, despite its tatty state. Thanks Grandad.

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4 Responses to “The Omnibus Believe it or Not”

  1. Neil Foster Says:

    Thanks for mentioning this book. I was given a copy of this by a neighbour in the late 1940s.and it was a great read. Not everything he claimed to be true was honest. For example, he wrote:””Why” is not a question . It is a cow. Look it up in the dictionary”. I did and it only mentioned that the word as a question. Years later, I discovered that “why” is a question but it is also a dialect word for a cow. Bit dishonest of him, what?
    Has your copy got the amazing story of the prisoner who blew himself up with a pack lf cards? If so, refresh my memory please. Was it true? I still don’t know – but it makes a great story!

    • locksands Says:

      My copy was given me by my grandfather and I loved it. I’m told Ripley did endeavour to verify his tales. There was, apparently, a rumour that prisoners at Dartmoor Prison had been asked not to lean on walls because they might fall down. Ripley thought this would be a fantastic ‘believe it or not’ but he found it to be untrue. I don’t remember the pack of cards story. I daresay there were quite a few omnibus editions.

  2. Neil Foster Says:

    Thanks very much for your prompt reply. The book I had seems to be exactly like yours. I’ll keep searching for the pack of cards story!
    Regards, Neil

    • locksands Says:

      Hi Neil

      You must be correct. I have re-found my book and located the page withe story about the cards. I’ll send it to you by email.


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