Ripped T’s, Believe It or Not?

Believe it or not, I have been using this term far more than I should, as of late. In trying to figure out why, I fell back on my usual truth speaking self. I’m an honest person. I like big butts and cannot lie! I feel a dying breed. Too many are trusting in ways and “waves” of deceitfulness as facts, rather than holding the logic, “truth being stranger than fiction”, philosophy.

“I have traveled 201 countries including Hell (Norway), and the strangest thing I’ve seen was man.” Quoted Robert Ripley

This brings me back around to the eighties, Sunday nights to be exact, and a time when, believe it or not, was just a show for entertainment / educational purposes. Maybe if we’re “lucky”, can learn a-thing-or-two for the next go-arounders (generation), or at the very least, next time …

“We’re not gonna take it anymore
We’ve got the right to choose, and
There ain’t no way we’ll lose it
This is our life, this is our song
We’ll fight the powers that be, just
Don’t pick on our destiny”

The story hails from the time period of big hair, ripped jeans and oversized t-shirts, twisted and Christian sisters (same soundtrack too boot for glam rock enthusiasts with uber make-up and hair techniques), neon everything, and froyo as actual sustenance.

“Sister Christian, there’s so much in life
Don’t you give it up before your time is due, it’s true”

Pertaining to the phrase “Believe it or not, …” introduces something that the listener might be astonished to hear.

“Believe it or not: a deadly underwater snake attack. A medical facility in Soviet Russia where five surgeons perform a hundred operations a day. Playing with fire in India. The world’s [then] largest television screen in Japan. A contest involving tens of thousands of bees for beards made of bees. Thousand year-old eggs being eaten in Hong Kong. An emergency operation on a baby born with no connection from his mouth to his stomach. A man who lifts two tons in sixty seconds in Spain. And a deeper look inside the human eye.” (Episode #23)

“People” mostly use “believe it or not” to talk about something that’s surprising to the listener, but sometimes it’s used sarcastically. (Shout-out:,, idioms, sarcasm, headphones, linguistics, culture clubs, and the evermore awesome

“Words are few, I have spoken
I could waste a thousand years
Wrapped in sorrow, words are token
Come inside and catch my tears
You’ve been talking but believe me
If it’s true you do not know”
(Culture Club ~ Do You Really Want To Hurt Me)

“Originating in the 1800s, this phrase gained currency as the title of a cartoon series which begun in 1918 by Robert Ripley and continued to run in American newspapers long after his death in 1949. Each drawing presented a strange but supposedly true phenomenon, such as a two-headed chicken.” We’ll talk multiple heads and conjoined bodies another day of writing, saved for a sterile environment, somewhere through the ether, Sumerian or better yet Egypt inspired, hazmat suits requirable wardrobe attire.

Just so you know, hazmat suits have been chic for 500 years (that we “know” of)!

“On December 19, 1918, the first Believe It or Not! cartoon was published, then called “Champs and Chumps”, featuring a collection of sports oddities Ripley had saved. In December 1922, Ripley embarked on his first around the world trip and returned on April 7, 1923 (100 years ago!). He published his travel journal in installment form … Ripley visited a number of ancient and holy sites as he toured through western Asia, southern Asia, and the Middle East in countries including Iraq, Israel, Afghanistan, Jordan, Pakistan, Syria, and more.”

Fun Fact: “Robert Ripley was the first to broadcast underwater with his Marineland stunt in St. Augustine, Florida, on February 23, 1940.” Noteworthy submission to mention: “The 1932 first-prize winner, Clinton Blume, won a monoplane with a complete course at flying school.” His admission: “Lost a scrub brush at sea, when army transport sank 500 miles off coast in France, and it washed ashore at his feet in Brooklyn one year later!”

Speaking of odds; “The first Odditorium opened in Chicago, Illinois, at the World’s Fair. Inside the museum were dozens of Ripley’s famous cartoons, live performers, and hundreds of strange and exotic artifacts Ripley acquired on his worldly travels.

Robert Ripley died on May 27, 1949, after collapsing on the set of his weekly television show. Hundreds attended the service including celebrities, journalists, athletes, and cartoonists.”

Please allow me to introduce an otherworldly (bada**) host with the most, Jack Palance; “An American actor known for playing tough guys and villains.” “With the outbreak of World War II, Palance’s athletic career ended (thought football was too “commercial” (back then!!!), and his career as a member of the United States Army Air Forces began. His face was said to have become disfigured while bailing out of a burning B-24 Liberator bomber during a training flight over Southern Arizona (where he was a student pilot). His distinctive cheekbones and deep-set eyes were said to have been the result of reconstructive surgery.” (Props: Wikipedia, City Slickers, Dracula, Ebenezer, Tango & Cash, OG Host of Ripley’s Believe It or Not, and so many Godly others.)

“The story behind Palance’s face was repeated numerous times (including in respected film reference works), but on his death, several obituaries quoted his saying that the entire story had been contrived: “Studio press agents make up anything they want to, and reporters go along with it. One flack created the legend that I had been blown up in an air crash during the war, and my face had to be put back together by way of plastic surgery. If it is a ‘bionic face’, why didn’t they do a better job of it?”

“After the war, he attended Stanford University, leaving just one credit shy of graduating in order to pursue a career in the theatre.” And we’re so glad he did, because we’re now at the part of this drama to lend his heavenly hosting abilities with his perfect, mysterious, “graduated”, beloved, and imagined “voice” …

Stanford University motto, “Die Luft der Freiheit weht” (often translated as “the winds of freedom blow”).

Now, we’re not surrounded by skulls like an episode from the cathedral of bones, Sedlec Ossuary, in Kutna Hora, Czech Republic. “Located in a beautiful town called Kutna Hora in the Czech Republic, the Sedlec Ossuary is a tiny Roman Catholic chapel. It is beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints in the suburb of Sedlec. It is famous because it contains the skeletons of 40,000-70,000 people; the chapel is entirely decorated with human bones.” (Sources: Wikipedia, gothic art and architecture, ancient history, “dark” art majors, and morbid theology after midnight in the moonlight.)

For sure, we’ll make that trek another day of writing about black deaths and angels, half blind monk’s, amazing races and macabre feats, zombies with the same last name, dungeons and dragons, plus a little jazz, poetry, blood, and chocolate. God willingly, not all at once, but another perfect day awaits …

No, this backdrop completely different than mentioned earlier and not out of this norm! Welcome to the candy shop … (you know the rest of that catchy 50-cent jingle), a perfect 68 degrees, smells of chocolate, vanilla, and copious amounts of caramel. Black and white checkered flooring, floor to ceiling candy, every kind of colored-sugar variation, you can imagine, under the rainbow, of confections to blow your mind and taste buds. An ideal and exquisite place to work. No one can have a bad day, there! And my co-workers, no exception.

“Sorry I’m Late But I Got Here As Soon As I Wanted To.” Cheers, Karen Walker

My immediate supervisor then, Amber, greets us each and every sunny vibrant morning, with a friendly smile and a wave, whilst on the phone. We’ll name her “Karen” because she is a “twinzie” to Megan Mullally’s character from the show, Will & Grace, if we lived in an alternate universe (or the other side of the states, more ways than one). The actual similarity only pertains to “looks”, because my Karen read the bible every day and her entire life devoted and revolved around the church. Many mistook her as “prissy”, but one should never judge a book by its cover or by first impressions only.

“The origin of the expression “don’t judge a book by its cover” comes from George Eliot’s “The Mill on the Floss,” published in 1860. The phrase is not the modern version, but it lays the groundwork for the idiom. In the novel, the character of Mr. Tulliver uses it when discussing “The History of the Devil” by Daniel Defoe.

“It’s Not a Sin To Deceive The Devil.” Daniel Defoe

“and there‘s a lot more of ’em, sermons mostly, I think, but they‘ve all got the same covers, and I thought they were all o’ one sample, as you may say. But it seems one mustn’t judge by th’ outside. This is a puzzlin’ world.” (Thank you, summer and Sunday school, Burger King’s onion rings, southern accents, heavenly literature, puzzles, and the world over and under again.)

“In 1974, Hungarian architect Ernő Rubik created his eponymous Cube as a teaching tool for his students. His students loved playing with the Cube which inspired him to make it more widely available. Forty years on, the Cube has sold 350 million copies making it the most popular puzzle of all time.”

First impressions are important, and I try not to judge anybody anyways, but my soft spoken, kindhearted, sweet employer took at least 4 record seasons before she entrusted me with an experience, held secret, unlike any other I’d ever heard and probably one of the most terrifying imaginable. You can spend years of time with an individual and never really “know” them.

Karen On Apologizing: “The Only Other Person I’ve Apologized To Is My Mother And That Was Court-Ordered.”

I talked all the time, and would barrage Karen with all my newfound studies, statistics, problems, umpteen questions, oh, and most importantly, treats. We talked shop, candy, holidays, marketing, fundraising, religion, psychology, advertising, numbers, pets, schedules, and pop culture, like it was going out of style. I admired Karen’s fashion, family, etiquette, and perfection. Maybe, she, demur and quiet, but I’m a good listener, once I stop talking.

Karen Giving Advice: “Let Me Just Boil All This Hoo-Ha Down To Two Important Points. One: Brown Is Over. And Two: You Need To Get A Life.”

Karen spoke of the rapture and believed end of days were truly among us. While cleaning out the file cabinets and going over my call lists for the upcoming holiday season, Karen explained what the rapture meant.

“The rapture is an eschatological position (a major branch of study within Christian theology, that deals with “last things”. The word derives from two Greek roots meaning “last” (ἔσχατος) and “study” (-λογία); involves the study of “end things”, whether of the end of an individual life, of the end of the age, of the end of the world, or of the nature of the Kingdom of God.). Held by some Christians, particularly those of American evangelicalism, consisting of an end-time event when all Christian believers who are alive, along with resurrected believers, will rise “in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.”

Beyond fascinating and interesting background, sheltered through the church and shouldered by her family. Karen’s lineage, every 15 years for generations, the females marry and start procreation, like clockwork. They had a good track record, with no divorces, but that doesn’t always mean happy and healthy. Just imagine going on hikes and getting to hang out with your great-great-great grandmother. Believe it or not, we haven’t even gotten to the weird part yet.

“Because they have exchanged their vows before God and these witnesses, have pledged their commitment each to the other, and have declared the same by joining hands and by exchanging rings, I now pronounce that they are (Mr. & Mrs. Karen). Those whom God hath joined together, let no one put asunder.”

Newlyweds and barely able to drive, Karen and her husband found a country home in a small town with big hopes and lofty dreams of a Godly life together. Over the hills, through the ether and candy-coated seasons, she would often mention sleepless nights and preferred to fall asleep reading in her chair, rather than a routine bedtime. I figured that’s why a bad back, but after her divulgence of a hellish, nightmarish experience, was utterly surprised she could sleep at all, or sleep without all the lights on.

No partaking in caffeine, smoking, or alcohol, not even a Tylenol pm. A night like all the others and got into bed with her significant other. Somewhere deep into the night, Karen said she “felt” a presence. Completely asleep, she found her REM disrupted. Not fully awake, Karen stated, “Something sat right next to me on the bed.” “Briefly thought, it has to be my husband, trying to wake me.” “Can’t be, (glanced and confirmed husband was still sleeping on his side of the bed) I sensed something else.” Her voice quieter now, almost a whisper. As if, telling me the harrowing ordeal, could be heard, or could evoke something, a fate worse.

Describing as best she could, from her desk and all decked out in polyester and pearls, she motioned her hand down her side, like a reenactment. She continued, “I slid my hand to an indentation on the bed, not opening my eyes, and with my hand tried to feel or graze the side of my bed when I was immediately attacked.” “Somehow, I was entirely paralyzed and a bat like creature with red eyes gripped my throat.” “I could feel heavy pressure, but incapable of screaming or moving away for help.”

“Never seen anything like this creature, in real life!” “It was intent on strangling me and taking all my air.” “In my mind, I was screaming, bloody murder, and how could I get away for help.” She spoke of rapid, panicked thoughts and our mutual, primal, humanistic fears of our lives ending before their prime. Disconcertingly, “Without the ability to fight back, I did what I could, pray.”

Unbeknownst to Karen, I am no stranger to the “unknown” or “unexplainable.” Been spending my days and life studying and seeking answers to the paranormal for I feel nothing is normal. “Normal” is by design and everyone has different interpretations to what is considered abnormal. In that moment, Karen needed a friend, an ear, a compassionate sounding board, and I felt honored to be her chosen constituent.

Softly (barely audible), she spoke again, “I recited the Lord’s Prayer” …

“The Lord’s Prayer is a powerful prayer that most all Christians know and have memorized. It has been translated into more than two thousand languages and dialects.”

Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name;
Thy kingdom come;
Thy will be done
in earth, as it is in heaven:
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive them that trespass against us;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil;
For thine is the kingdom,
the power, and the glory,
For ever and ever.

“As soon as, I said in my mind, in Jesus’ name, the bat creature vanished.” “Gone!” “I had sprung forward, like a huge weight of the world was lifted off my chest, spontaneously and miraculously.” “I was so out of breath, like I had been running, … hard.” “I didn’t want to wake my husband, so I laid back down, trying to contemplate and calm myself.” “How could I explain this!”

“The Nightmare by Swiss artist Henry Fuseli (1781) is thought to be a depiction of sleep paralysis perceived as a demonic visitation.”

Karen looked exhausted trying to convey what happened to her that distressing night. She said, “The next morning, I was “beat”, on edge, and “freaked-out”.” “Asked my husband if he felt, saw, or heard anything.” Her head down and all of these years later in-between, told me the ugly truth. He didn’t believe her! Body language says everything, and she continued dejectedly. “He said, it had to be a nightmare, a hallucination, or an overactive imagination.”

“Sleep paralysis is a state, during waking up or falling asleep, in which one is conscious but is unable to move or speak. During an episode, one may hallucinate (hear, feel, or see things that are not there), which often results in fear. Episodes generally last no more than a couple of minutes.”

“How did my night shirt get ripped, then?” She, emphatic, held up her t-shirt with a giant tear down the front. Neither could explain it, so therefore it became a topic not to speak of. Back in Pandora’s box, never to be opened or mentioned. Karen, like every woman and human in general, didn’t want her mental faculties questioned, decided she wouldn’t bring it up again. That’s how wedges get erected and shadows creep in.

I knew she was telling the truth, and I also knew I was on shaky territory. Been known around these parts for taking “walls” down to the ground before, just like a wrecking ball, without even trying. No, my name is not Miley, but marriage is sacred to me and wouldn’t want to come between anyone. I also didn’t want Karen to go another night without “understanding” the truth either.

I was proud of her for calling on Jesus! She did the right thing! As disturbing as it sounds, it could have been worse. For me, after years of life-long study, confirmed that ancient demon “spirits” could possibly have existed or still exist and, in this land, and time. No way to scientifically test or prove any theories, but nonetheless, an answer emerged from the unknown scary abyss.

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7) There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18)

I’m not here to prove the existence of incubi or jinn and wouldn’t know where to start, but my quest for knowledge and proving history will never perish. “In medieval Europe, union with an incubus was supposed by some to result in the birth of witches, demons, and deformed human offspring. Legendary magician Merlin was said to have been fathered by an incubus. Walter Stephens writes in his book Demon Lovers that some traditions hold that repeated occurrences with an incubus or succubus may result in the deterioration of health, an impaired mental state, or even death.”

“If I got rid of my demons, I’d lose my angels.” ― Tennessee Williams

Believe it or not, this subject has been the demise for many throughout time and documented historical reports have shown that no one is immune, not even the Pope. The inner shrink in me asked a bazillion questions. Never had that dark entity or monster return. No “hallucinations” or sleep paralysis since either. We both surmised that her faith saved her life!

“Judeo-Christianity folklore tells a tale of a woman named Lilith, who later turned into a succubus. Lilith was believed to be Adam’s first wife, who was created during the same time as him, before Eve.
She later left Adam, and there is plenty of conjecture to why she did it. However, one of the most famous accounts involves her mating with the archangel Samael and refusing to return to Eden.
She then transformed into a succubus, and her children engendered from demons, known as lilims, were sent out to the world as demons where they became lesser succubi.
However, some writers believe that the succubus was not necessarily evil. In fact, a succubus named Meridiana was allegedly involved with Pope Sylvester II, and helped him achieve his high status. Before his death, Sylvester supposedly confessed to his sins.” (Source:

Gone on from the famous candy shop and haven’t seen Karen for years now. I think about her often, and can honestly say, she was the best boss I ever had. She taught me so many things, and especially how to build a better relationship with God. It should be on her resume. Of course, her resume will be read by the higher-ups, hopefully long into the future…

Before I say farewell, I must thank you for visiting and everyone who inspired this tale. Hope your April is sweet, historically the best, and believable to the highest! Wishes for savory and lucrative explorations, lumbar support, fearless days and nights, and gloriously uninterrupted sunny naps. I have more ripped T’s, believe it or not, to “talk” about, but that entails traveling with me to New Jersey. We must drop by my friend from all girls’ Catholic school, mom’s house. Plan for being festive! She’s an over-the-top belly dancing instructor that as memory serves, holds a mirror in which a demon once came through.

Published by SiriusSea

Many moons ago and in a faraway land, I used to write about all things wonderous to the world and I am back to stir the seven seas of wonderment once more. As the storms pass through, I set my compass and my sights upon and beyond Sirius Sea! Welcome aboard!

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