Published: Thursday June 19, 2014 MYT 4:55:00 PM
Updated: Thursday June 19, 2014 MYT 7:15:11 AM

Strangest contest ever: Send a 'strange' item to Ripley's to win

Got something weird? Slap a postage stamp on it and send it to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! headquarters to win the ‘Strange Mail Contest’.

Under the rules of the contest, which was announced on June 13, the item should not be in a box, envelope or wrappings of any kind. The postage stamp  and address must be affixed to directly to the item. Depending on what strange curio you have in mind, the 'no box' rule may be tricky but it's not impossible.

Just consider the winning item of the inaugural Strange Mail Contest in 2013: A McDonald’s Happy Meal laid out on a plastic plate. The meal — hamburger, fries and apple pie — was secured to the plate by glue, and the postage and address were on the bottom of the plate, said Edward Meyer, vice president for Ripley's exhibits and archives.

A year later, the meal is currently on display at Ripley's museum in Atlantic City.  Strangely, it shows no signs of deterioration. “Kind of scary when you think about that. It’s whatever preservatives McDonald’s puts in their food,” Meyer said. Other 'strange' entries from last year’s contest, which came from as far away as Russia, included a bowling ball, a rotting zucchini, a pumpkin and a toilet seat, he said.

Can you beat last year's weekly 'strange mail' winners? 
First row, from left: Week#1 'Lemon'; Week#2 'Inflatable monkey'; Week#3 'Toilet seat'. 
Second row: Week#4. 'Dinosaur hat'; Week#5 'A painting from Russia of Branson BION, Ripley's Newsroom building in Branson, Missouri'; Week#6 'Fish hook, with 50-year-old stamps'. 
Third row: Week#7 'Chinese fan'; Week#8 'Toilet plunger'; Week#9 'Doll, from Ireland'. 
Fourth row: Week#10 'Zucchini'; Week#11 and Grand Prize winner 'McDonald's Happy Meal' and; Week#12 'Puss in boots'.

Strangeness rewarded

According to the contest information page on Ripley’s website, all entrants will receive a free copy of Dear Mr Ripley, a book containing unusual photos from Ripley’s archives. A weekly winner will also be chosen during the 12-week run of the contest, each receiving a copy of the not-yet-released Reality Shock! — the 2015 edition of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! annual series that compiles oddly fascinating facts and other curious goings-on from around the world.

Meanwhile, the grand prize winner will receive a 10-volume set of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! annuals. But entrants have to really think outside the box to win the mother lode. 

Meyer said founder Robert Ripley, who died in 1949, received more mail in his lifetime than anyone else including the US president and Santa Claus, a fact he said was confirmed by the postal service. When he was still alive, the postal service decreed it would no longer deliver un-packaged items to Ripley.

Fortunately, the postal service is making an exception for the strange mail contest, Meyer said.

If you’re up for the challenge, entries should be addressed to Meyer at: Ripley Entertainment Inc, 7576 Kingspointe Parkway Suite 188, Orlando, FL 32819, USA. You can send in as many items — the stranger, the better — as you wish, but just make sure they arrive at their destination by Sep 5, 2014. — Reuters

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle, Features, Funny, Contest, Ripley s Believe It Or Not, Strange Mail Contest, Robert Ripley


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