Michel Lotito (June 15, 1950 – June 25, 2007) was a French entertainer, born in Grenoble, famous for deliberately consuming indigestible objects. He came to be known as Monsieur Mangetout ("Mr Eat-All").
His performances involved the consumption of metal, glass, rubber and other materials. He disassembled, cut up, and consumed bicycles, shopping carts, televisions, and a Cessna 150, among other items. The Cessna 150 took roughly two years to be "eaten", from 1978 to 1980...
He was awarded a brass plaque by the Guinness Book to commemorate his abilities. He consumed it as well.
Years ago Johnson, who is married and has two children, had an idea that he could float vertically if he tried hard enough. “It became an obsession,” he said…
For 12 years, Johnson said, he practiced, risking his life time and again trying to “force my body into harmony with the water.”
Johnson had a dream... to achieve something entirely useless.
Many of you might already know about the McGuire Twins, since they appeared on both Family Guy and The Simpsons. But when I realized they hadn't yet been mentioned anywhere on WU, I thought I should correct that.
The two claimed to be the world's heaviest twins. And they probably were. They both weighed well over 700 lbs at their heaviest.
They were born Billy and Benny McCrary. The McGuire Twins was a stage name they adopted later during their professional wrestling career.
Apparently they were of normal weight until age 10, when a case of measles left both of them with malfunctioning pituitary glands, and their weight started to balloon.
They're best known for riding around on their Honda mini-bikes.
The winner of the 1925 Miss Plump of Coney Island contest was Jolly Irene, which was the stage name of sideshow performer Amanda Siebert. According to Marc Hartzman's American Sideshow:
Amanda Siebert wasn't always the jiggly Jolly Irene. Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, she was quite normal for the first twenty-one years of her life. In 1901 she weighed a respectable 120 pounds and gave birth to a child. Not only was a baby born, but because of a few glands gone awry, so was Jolly Irene.
The pounds piled up and the flesh got fleshier. Diets were ineffective, leaving her helpless against her newly acquired mass. One reporter later described her as having "biceps three times as large as Jack Dempsey." But at 620 pounds, rather than box the heavyweight champion, she turned her tragedy into profit by joining Ringling Bros.
Ray Myers was known as the 'armless musician.' He was born in 1911 without arms, but he taught himself to play the guitar with his feet, and he became quite accomplished. Good enough that he was considered to be talented in his own right, not just as a curiosity.
Myers also taught himself how to drive a car using only his feet. Not a specially outfitted car. Just a normal one. (Though I'm assuming it was an automatic.) But in 1965, after driving without incident for 29 years, he lost his license. The reason: the state's new computer flagged his license to be revoked when it came across the notation in his file that he had been "born without arms."
Honolulu Star-Bulletin - Jan 18, 1965
Myers appealed the decision, and (probably thanks to all the media attention the case got) was allowed to take a special exam. Two weeks later he was driving again.
Young Leonard Hanstein, aka Big-Mouthed Boy, had a talent for stuffing things in his mouth.
Pittsburgh Press - Apr 30, 1939
Detroit Free Press - July 9, 1939
Sheboygan Press - Apr 13, 1939
Drew Friedman included a caricature of Hanstein in his book Sideshow Freaks (2011), and claimed that Hanstein made a living for a while by displaying his talent.
I came across a columnist (below) musing in 1969 about what might have happened to Hanstein, but the question went unanswered. The only other biographical info I can find about Hanstein is that he died in 1994 at the age of 70, still living in Oklahoma.
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Who We Are
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.
Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.