Starting in the 1920s, the column "Believe It Or Not" by Robert Ripley appeared in more than one hundred newspapers by 1930. Reading this as a boy, I was fascinated by oddities such as the English lad who died of old age before his seventh birthday, the Hindu who hung head downward for three hours at a stretch, and the girl born with a single eye in the middle of her forehead. I was also beguiled by the 210-letter word coined by monastic writers in the Middle Ages to enumerate the varieties of divination using birds, oracles, the Bible, ghosts, crystal-gazing etc., ending with wine and shoulder blades. (The word is reproduced in full in the August 1978 Word Ways.)
Eckler, A. Ross
"Wordplay in 1929, Believe It Or Not!,"
Word Ways: Vol. 39
, Article 24.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.butler.edu/wordways/vol39/iss4/24