Ripley’s Believe it or Not, San Francisco

It’s campy, creepy and a tad bit sad, but I can’t keep myself away from sideshow museums where displays are corny and reminiscent of 1950s Barnum and Bailey America when everything that wasn’t American was considered “odd.”

This particular Ripley’s museum is like all of the others. It has the typical Jivaro shrunken heads, vampire-slaying kits, two-headed animals, profiles of fat/skinny/tall/animalistic people, featured cultural events that really aren’t so unbelievable (e.g. Para Hara in Sri Lanka), and write-ups that seem to be written for a third-grader.

It’s best to just meander and see what catches your fancy… I rather enjoyed watching other people’s reactions to the displays.

I will, however, give the SF version of Ripley’s Believe it or Not this: unlike the wax museum next door, there was an attempt to pull together oddities from San Francisco and keep the context of the city the museum is in.

The most fascinating for me was seeing a car (supposedly Buck Helm‘s car) that was crushed when the Cypress Street Viaduct fell onto Interstate 880 during the Loma Prieta earthquake. This, in turn, drove me to go to YouTube where I found lots of videos from the earthquake.

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