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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Hippo Eats Dwarf

Hippo Eats Dwarf

Thursday February 24, 2005
Update: Announcing 'Hippo Eats Dwarf' - The Book!

Via Museum of Hoaxes, news that a dwarf named Od was swallowed by a hippopotamus in a freak circus accident in northern Thailand. Ouch! Supposedly, an off-kilter bounce hurled the trampoline performer smack dab into the animal's open jaws. "Vets on the scene said Hilda the Hippo had a gag reflex that automatically caused her to swallow," explains a story taken from the Pattaya Mail.

We know it couldn't have happened very recently — if it happened at all — given that the tale is listed as a "1999 urban legend" by the Darwin Awards folks. In point of fact, the story is at least five years older than that, as evidenced by a December 15, 1994 Usenet posting purportedly quoting the Las Vegas Sun:
An Austrian circus dwarf died recently when he bounced sideways from a trampoline and was swallowed by a hippopotamus. Seven thousand people watched as little Franz Dasch popped into the mouth of Hilda the Hippo and the animal's gag reflex forced it to swallow. The crowd applauded wildly before other circus people realized what has happened.
Note that in the 1994 version the dwarf is Austrian and his name is Franz Dasch. There's no mention of the incident occurring in Thailand.

If this isn't an urban legend I'll swallow a dwarf myself.
By David Emery

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