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Welcome to Bizarro Ohio oddities, where you are about to enter the world of strange Ohio attractions, wacky Ohio events, and other unique and weird things in oddball Ohio.

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Jungle Jim's
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Welcome to "Martian House"
in Carlisle, Ohio along Route 123


Unsolved Mystery


Known as the Mysterious Revolving Ball of Marion Cemetery, this real life unsolved mystery has lured the curiosities of Ripley's Believe It Or Not and Paul Harvey News & Comment.


Although different scientific and non-scientific theories continue to be tossed around, nobody knows for sure why a giant granite ball weighing more than 5,000 pounds continues to move since being erected in 1896 and despite repeated attempts to glue it or solder it back in place only to see it move again. But move it does at about an inch or two every year.


It is definitely rotating as evidenced by the original unpolished resting spot of the giant ball that now resembles a super-sized olive because of the  discolored circle marking its original resting place. Equally weird is that there are no scratch marks evidenced by the movement.  


Marion Cemetery is located at 620 Delaware Avenue in Marion, Ohio. The mysterious marker is the resting place of the Charles B. Merchant family. You can't miss it. It has a bunch of mini granite balls positioned around it on the ground.


By Frank R. Satullo, The OhioTraveler



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Dittrick Medical History Center has long opened eyes to the archaic and ground-breaking medical tools used to advance mankind throughout history.


It is a fact of life and history that contraception has been an exploratory field dating back to Cleopatra. Dare we call her the mother of Contraception?


In any case, the esteemed Percy Skuy, past President of Ortho Pharmaceutical in Canada, began collecting contraceptive devices and relics in 1965. It wasn’t long before he amassed the world's most comprehensive collection of historical contraceptive devices, totaling more than 650 artifacts. The collection encompasses a broad variety of cultures and time periods.


The collection became a traveling museum touring the globe in the 1990s. But in 2000, Skuy sought a permanent home for his collection where it could be seen and studied by a broader public. Dittrick Medical History Center’s Chief Curator, Jim Edmonson, was introduced to the collection in 1998 at a medical meeting in Canada. He found the collection fascinating, but never thought it would eventually be permanently on display at his Center in Cleveland, Ohio.  


Dittrick Medical History Center has more to offer besides this unique, one-of-a-kind exhibit. Visitors will marvel at the medical advancements made or have a coronary to think how archaic today’s medical devices may look to future generations.  


The collection has more than 10,000 images and 60,000 rare books and museum objects. Artifacts displayed represent medical history from 1800 through 1965 and include items such as a 1952 infant respirator, 1928 X-ray machine, 1861 amputating set, 1882 antiseptic sprayer, 1890 surgical chair and much more. The museum’s displays also include an 1870’s and 1930’s doctors’ offices, 1880’s pharmacy and hospital medicines from 1865 – 1920.


The Dittrick Museum of Medical History offers free admission. It is open Mondays through Fridays from 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. It is located on the 3rd floor of the Allen Memorial Medical Library at 11000 Euclid Avenue (at the corner of Euclid Avenue and Adelbert Road) in Cleveland, Ohio 44106. The phone number is 216-368-3648.


By Frank R. Satullo, The OhioTraveler


Flushed Away at Jungle Jim's
(Excerpt from October 2007 edition of OhioTraveler)

(Play Video)

America's Best Restroom

Leave it to Jim Bonaminio to find a way to turn a public restroom into a tourist attraction.

The owner of Jungle Jim’s International Market in Fairfield, Ohio grabbed national headlines again. This time, it’s for winning America’s Best Restroom Contest. The bizarre competition is a creation of Cincinnati-based Cintas Corporation – a leading provider of restroom hygiene products and services.

At first glance, Jungle Jim’s restrooms might confuse customers. What appear to be handicapped-sized port-o-lets are actually faux entrances to a hallway, adorned in jungle motif, leading to an exquisitely decorated 10 stall restroom, complete with flowers, marble, soft green tile, tropical pictures and more.

This year’s America’s Best Restroom Contest attracted nominations from a wide-selection of businesses, including restaurants, hotels, and casinos nationwide. The finalists were selected based on exceptional hygiene, style and open access to the public. Tens of thousands of votes were cast at the program’s web site – www.bestrestroom.com, which produced the following results:

1.   Jungle Jim’s International Market in Fairfield, OH

2.   Catch 31 in Virginia Beach, VA

3.   Mix Lounge at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, NV

4.   Vermont Marble Museum in Proctor, VT

5.   Fandangles’ in Flushing, MI

Jungle Jim’s received the coveted “America’s Best Restroom” plaque of recognition from Cintas and secured their place in the America’s Best Restroom Hall-of-Fame found at www.bestrestroom.com.

“I’m all about putting smiles on people’s faces,” said Jim Bonaminio. “People are so tense these days. Those bathrooms just seem to make people laugh and that’s what we’re all about: laughing and having fun.”

Not only has Jungle Jim's redefined what to expect from public restrooms, they have redefined the business of retailing groceries for years earning nicknames such as amusement park for foodies, America’s wackiest supermarket, and mad-cap grocer.

Without fear for making mistakes and a whole lot of imagination … and determination, Jim Bonaminio turned a roadside produce stand in 1971 into an international food lover's paradise!

Jungle Jim's now has six acres of food – under one roof! And it has enough attractions to double as a theme park. Look left to right and see 44,000 imported groceries from 75 countries and places around the globe, including 40 varieties of rice, 78 olive oils and the widest selection of cheese in the U.S.! Then make sure you look up, down and all around because that’s the other half of the adventure: a flying pig, a rowboat over the lights, Robin Hood’s treasure trove, Elvis rocking out, and a soup can smiling – singing and swinging.  

The fun-filled and educational Food Safari Tours are free along with the many samples of exotic foods along the way. Knowledgeable tour guides tell about the history of Jungle Jim’s International Market, explore each department and the thousands of incredible edibles from around the world. These 1 to 1½ hour walking tours are offered weekdays by appointment only, and can be tailored to meet special requirements and interests. To plan a tour,
call 513-674-6023.

Jungle Jim himself, Jim Bonaminio, has always been a non-conformist, hard-working, creative entrepreneur. He grew up in Lorain, Ohio and was a business major at Miami University at Oxford. He may experiment with many wild and crazy ideas but one thing boils down to success – people leave Jungle Jim’s smiling…and hungry to return! That is why more than 2.5 million visitors ring up more than $90 million at the checkout counters annually. To plan your expedition to Jungle Jim’s in Fairfield, Ohio, go to www.junglejims.com.


e-mail your Ohio legends & folklore

The legend of the Lake Erie Monster is alive and well after more than 100 years of sightings. As with most legends, it probably started with a little truth to it, but over time, a whole lot of tall tales were added.

Just what exactly is the Lake Erie Monster anyway? By most accounts from eyewitnesses throughout the years, it is best described as a blackish-greenish serpent spanning 30-50 feet. Sighting have pretty much been condensed off the shores of Northwest Ohio by Sandusky, Vermilion, Huron, Port Clinton, and Lorain. Although there are a few who claimed to have
seen it near Toledo and Windsor, Canada, it has never been reported to be seen anywhere in Eastern Lake Erie.  

The legend of the Lake Erie Monster was once so strong, the New York Times did a piece on it in 1931. However, the period with the most sightings was the 1980s. It probably had nothing to do with Northwest Ohio community leaders orchestrating a naming contest and campaign to make it a tourist attraction on the level of the Loch Ness Monster. Ironically, the Loch Ness Monster is nicknamed “Nessie” and the Lake Erie Monster is nicknamed “Bessie.”     

In researching this story, I want to introduce a new theory, based on the facts I uncovered. My theory is that the toxic pollutants pumped into Lake Erie throughout the Industrial Revolution caused a certain species of eel to mutate into a giant-sized version of its former self. After all, isn't it strange that Bessie the Lake Erie Monster sounds suspiciously similar to Davis-Besse, the nuclear power plant on the Lake Erie coast in Northwest Ohio?  

In any case, it seems whenever people encounter an unexplained bite while in the Erie waters, it inevitably gets credited to the Lake Erie Monster. And the legend grows. 



Did you ever think it possible to cross a bridge and still be on the same side of the river you started?

This peculiar construction may not be the only "Y" bridge in the world, but it is the most recognized.

It is true that other "Y" bridges exist, such as those that look like normal straight bridges only to have some off-shoot that makes it look more like a lower case "y." But the one in Zanesville, Ohio is an unmistakable "Y".

In fact, legendary pilot Amelia Earhart called Zanesville the most recognizable city in the country because of it and said it was a usefulness navigational aid to pilots.

There have been five "Y" bridges constructed or reconstructed in Zanesville since 1814. It has been rebuilt for various reasons ranging from the first one falling into the river to widening it to add lanes. The present-day "Y" bridge was built in 1984.

Today's "Y" Bridge is made up of U.S. Route 40 and Linden Avenue and spans the Muskingum and Licking Rivers.




Some people serve crab at their wedding and some serve 65 people inside a crab.

Welcome to bizarro-Ohio where anything is possible. In the town of Blanchester, Ohio, a story about a giant crab gets wackier than an episode of Sponge Bob Square Pants serving up crabby-patties.

The world’s largest horseshoe crab is a spectacle from the outside, but you can actually go inside it as well. In fact, weddings have been held there. So have birthday and retirement parties, family reunions, church and business functions. Sixty-five people can be seated inside the belly of the giant crab. If you don’t believe it, Google or YouTube it. There are postings by people from around the world.

But just how did this unlikely creation happen? Was it a result of a nuclear accident? Is it a replica of some giant prehistoric predecessor to today’s horseshoe crab? Or was it a reject from some aquarium exhibit?

If you guessed the later, you’re right! In fact, it was intended for the Baltimore Maritime Museum in Maryland. Don’t worry, this strange creature didn’t up and walk itself to Blanchester, Ohio.

It was bought by the Creation Museum in Hebron, Kentucky but it was simply too big to incorporate into the museum’s floor plan. Alas, it was donated to the Freedom Worship Baptist Church in Blanchester, Ohio. Don’t ask me why. Go for yourself and save those questions for when you get there.

Located at 664 West Main Street in Blanchester, Ohio, the world’s largest horseshoe crab is 55 feet long (head to tail) and 25 feet wide. For more information, call 513-256-5437.


(Admission: $8 per adult and $6 per child, 4 and younger free)

Bellaire, Ohio is home to The Toy Museum being built one LEGO at a time. Housed in an old school turned museum, a man by the name of Dan is on a mission. Dan Brown, founder of the Bellaire Historical Society and Toy Museum, boasts to have the world’s largest private LEGO collection. Although that may be true, there is one distinction officially proclaimed by the Guinness Book of World Records that cannot be denied – The Bellaire Historic Society and Toy Museum is home of the World’s Largest LEGO brick image.

Although originally conceived as a toy museum, the LEGO exhibit grew and grew. And GREW! Now instead of a LEGO room in the museum, each room has a LEGO theme. If you enjoy the sea, there’s an “aqua” room complete with ships built from LEGO’s. Other rooms include a classroom with life-size teacher and students, a zoo, an old-west town, and other pieces such as a life-size astronaut. An out-of-this world exhibit is illuminated with black lights and features the galaxy …in LEGOS of course. The last time someone checked it was estimated the total museum brick count exceeded 4 million!

Although Dan Brown has had a hand in creating much of the museum’s displays, he has also been instrumental in acquiring one-of-a-kind pieces. Some of the one-of-a-kind exhibits feature LEGO creations that were done for the NBA and Kellogg’s. As a big-time Star Wars fan, Dan Brown has not disappointed! The force is with the museum. Throughout the museum are eye-popping masterpieces demonstrating the engineering world of LEGO’s. Some of the astonishing pieces even seem come to life with the use of animatronics.



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