The Truth About The World’s Weirdest Collections

Fast food toys, traffic cones, talking clocks, telephones, Air Jordans, milk bottles, nails, stones, airplane sick bags, tiny chairs, joker cards, pilfered Do Not Disturb signs, back scratchers, bars of soap, belly button lint, toenail clippings, chewed nicotine gum, glass bottles, Coca-Cola cans, sugar packets, banana company stickers, scratch-off lotto cards, the gamut of dolls, stuffed animals, and action figures… The list of wacky things that people the world over have collected over the years really does go on and on. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has a full-on race car graveyard on his North Carolina property he calls Dirty Mo Acres. It can get weirder. And it definitely does.

The very first Guinness world record had nothing to do with themed hoarding, but once people caught onto the fact that you could turn your living room into a fetishistic nightmare of doll eyes, vintage packaging, unneeded body parts — what have you — it was on. Now you can find scores of smiling collectors all over the internet proudly posing with the world records that reward their strange obsessions they’ve displayed with loving care behind them. Let’s take a look into some of the weirdest personal collections out there. They might make you feel a little better about your own odd fixations and eerie eccentricities.

Nancy Hoffman collects umbrella sleeves

Let’s make our first stop at the home of Nancy Hoffman in Portland, Maine. Hoffman is the proud owner of the world’s largest collection of umbrella sleeves. That’s right. Not umbrellas. Just the things you put them in the first few times you use one, then get fed up with and toss in the garbage or leave at a friend’s house. Where do they all go? To Nancy Hoffman’s museum. According to Atlas Obscura, the magic all started in 1996, when the accordionist noticed that she had “between 5-7” (so, six?) umbrella sleeves in her closet, then apparently thought she needed more of them for all the umbrellas she didn’t have. Those 5-7 sleeves turned into 80, at which time she decided to add philanthropy to her repertoire and share her collection with the world, inaugurating her Umbrella Cover Museum with a ribbon cutting.

She earned her hallowed place in the Guinness World Record book in July 2012, when her collection added up to an admirable 730 umbrella sleeves, which she has gathered from more than 50 countries across the globe. She reportedly started the collection as “a celebration of the mundane,” but people in photos of the museum appear to be having a genuinely wonderful time. Maybe it’s the umbrella sleeves, or maybe it’s Nancy’s accordion rendition of the museum’s official song, the classic Bing Crosby tune Let A Smile Be Your Umbrella.

George Frandsen is the 'Indiana Jones of poop'

Gorge Frandsen of South Florida is a collector of coprolites, or fossilized feces. He has so many specimens of dino doodoo that Mental Floss dubbed him the “Indiana Jones of poop” (he’s even got the hat to go with it). Frandsen told Guinness World Records that he got started back when he was in college. He was given an assignment to make a collection of fossils for a paleontology class he was taking, and when he discovered a coprolite, he “thought it was the neatest thing in the whole world.” His collection only grew from there. He was awarded the Guinness World Record in August 2015, when his collection totaled 1,277 pieces of petrified poo.

Back then, his prized specimen was a Chipotle burrito-sized chunk of prehistoric waste he named Precious, since it was the world’s largest “true to form” coprolite at the time. However, according to Poozeum, the virtual coprolite museum Frandsen founded in 2014 to show off his collection, he appears to have broken that record since then. His newest star is a piece of T-rex poop he named Barnum. It measures 26.5 by 6.2 inches, weighs over 20 pounds, and is around 66.5-70 million years old. The titanic turd earned him another Guinness Record in 2020, this time for the largest coprolite by a carnivorous animal. Frandsen says his collection has now burgeoned to over 7,000 scatological specimens.

Etanis Gonzalez's creepy doll collection will haunt your nightmares

Now onto the stuff of horror flicks. Dolls are a commonly collected item, but this next guy on the list doesn’t have a living room full of beautified Barbies or cute little Cabbage Patch Kids. Venezuelan artist Etanis Gonzalez has lined his balcony railings with the heads and limbs of baby dolls that are even more terrifying than Chucky. The decapitated former playthings peer out at his neighbors 24/7, threatening to demonically possess their souls, or at least not let them sleep at night. According to Cracked, he got started with a few of his daughter’s dolls when she was younger, then figured his neighbors would love to hear about what the voices in his head were telling him to do. Some thought those voices were telling the owner of “The Balcony of a Thousand Heads” to worship Satan, but Gonzalez just calls it artistic expression.

Reuters published a photo of Gonzalez’s balcony in Caracas on Instagram, noting that he began his collection in 2011. He sources the evil-looking little things from various places. Some have obviously been resurrected from the trash, but most appear to have been taken right out of our worst nightmares. He used to personalize some of the heads with decorative stones, but was forced to quit the practice when Venezuela sank into an economic crisis and he was no longer able to afford them. Still, they’re terrifying enough — maybe more so — without that special touch.

Chen Quingzu collects bras, but it's not what you think

Chen Quingzu, from Hainan province in southern China, has a rather peculiar obsession. According to Oddity Central, he has been collecting women’s bras for over two decades, during which time his stockpile of ladies’ undergarments has grown to more than 5,000 pieces. He has even lined the walls of his apartment with them. That’s enough to start his own museum.

Now, we know what you’re thinking. It’s a fetish, and he’s a creep. But hear him out before you judge. He’s not a pervert, he’s a health worker with a mission. He said many have decried him as a bra fetishist, but that the purpose of his collection is to raise awareness about breast cancer. “It’s my job to educate the public about the importance of health checkups, but my special interest is as an advocate for female health relating to their breasts and this was a good way of going about it,” said Chen.

Chen uses his collection as a sort of timeline of how bra fashion and its effects on women’s health have changed over the past decades. Back in 2014, the Yacheng town council was considering giving him a building in which to house his collection and found a museum. But he said at that time that he wanted to double his collection first. Maybe soon we’ll be hearing reports of him cutting the ribbon at the inauguration of his new bra museum.

Bob and Lizzie Gibbins have a different kind of doll collection

This next collector can’t claim innocence as easily as Chen over in China. It’s actually a duo of collectors, but we’re pretty sure Bob Gibbins is a bit more into it than his very supportive wife Lizzie is. According to the Hereford Times, the Gibbins collect life-sized love dolls. We thought Etanis Gonzalez’s variation on the doll collecting theme was the creepiest, but that was before we met this interesting pair of Brits. They have spent over 100,000 British pounds on them, which in U.S. dollars amounts to way too much money spent on sex dolls, and their collection has grown to more than 240. (We say “their,” but it’s obvious Bob is running the show.)

According to The Sun, the Gibbins went on the British daytime show This Morning and no doubt lied their rear ends off. Lizzie claimed rather unconvincingly that she “doesn’t mind at all” the fact that she shares her home with hundreds of silicone women with mouths and legs that never close. Then Bob lied through the few teeth he’s got left to say that he doesn’t use the dolls for their intended purpose. The Gibbins apparently just take them out to dinner and the movies, maybe a bit of shopping here and there. You know, normal stuff. Normal love doll date stuff. Sure, Bob. Of course you don’t see them “that way.”

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