Over the past year, Ripley’s editors, writers, and researchers have been on the hunt for all-new and all-true stories from around the world, and what they found will truly blow you away!

In the 17th edition of this best-selling annual series, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Mind Blown! takes you on a deep dive into our strange and wonderful world, from incredible people to unbelievable animals.

In fact, some of the stories take things to a hair-raising level—facial hair, that is. Brian and Jonathan are childhood best friends with a knack for creativity. Known as The Beard Bros, the two use their artistic abilities to dress up their whiskers with everything from flowers to cheese puffs! Back in 2014, a friend convinced the pair to put a few flowers in their beards for a photoshoot. After the overwhelming amount of love they received for this idea, the duo was on a mission to create more content just like it. Today, The Gay Beards fearlessly push social constructs and decorate their facial hair with anything from flowers to food, glitter, and even cupcake sprinkles.

Beard Bros Cheese Puffs

Jonathan (left) and Brian, The Gay Beards

Every colorful and compelling photograph featured in Mind Blown! is truly worth a thousand words, but artist Phil Vance of Sonora, California, takes this expression to a literal level. He creates masterpieces entirely from handwritten text! Vance’s elaborate portraits honor historical figures like Mark Twain, Einstein, and Picasso. But his methods are anything but ordinary. Vance relies on the written word, to create shadows, contours, patterns, and details in his artwork. The famous words of his muses are compiled to blend into one image from a distance. But up close, they fragment into phrases, as if the viewer is peering into the thoughts of each subject.

The Joker Word Art

The Joker by artist Phil Vance

Alongside these in-depth features, discover the science behind some of the weirdest facts, an inside look at the Ripley’s exhibit collection, and contributions from Ripley’s Believe It or Not! fans. There’s no telling where your curiosity will take you when you uncover the pages of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Mind Blown!, on sale now at all major retailers.

Stay tuned for a closer look at some of the book’s unbelievable talent and featured stories, here on Ripleys.com. And, for live interviews with these curious creators themselves, follow along with us on Facebook or Twitch!


Now that you’ve read the strangest stories of the week, how about the strangest stories of the year? Ripley’s all-new annual is an all-true collection of incredible facts, unexpected stories, and stunning photography!