Thursday, May 23, 2024

Thomas Wedders – Owner of the World’s Longest Nose

Thomas Wedders – likely born Thomas Wadhouse – was born in Yorkshire around 1730. Exact details about his life are sketchy, given that much of it was spent as an exhibition at circuses and freak shows. Wedders is thought to have been the owner of the longest nose ever recorded, though sadly the 18th century was not known for reliable Norris McWhirters and so we must rely on sources from around the time, hold a licked finger to the wind and hope for the best. The nose is said to have been fully 7.5 -7.8 inches from base to tip, 20 cm in new money. By comparison, the current nosiest man in the world is a Turkish man named Mehmet Özyürek, recorded to have an 8.8 cm long nose. Perhaps related to this wonderous feat of nature, Wedders was considered of low intelligence, however, it is more likely that nasal chauvanism was in play.

Mehmet Özyürek

An extract from The Strand Magazine, Vol. XI, which was released in 1896, contained the following:

“Thus, if noses were ever uniformly exact in representing the importance of the individual, this worthy ought to have amassed all the money in Threadneedle Street and conquered all Europe, for this prodigious nose of his was a compound of the acquisitive with the martial.

“But either his chin was too weak or his brow too low, or Nature had so exhausted herself in the task of giving this prodigy a nose as to altogether forget to endow him with brains; or perhaps, the nose crowded out this latter commodity.

“At all events, we are told this Yorkshireman expired, nose and all, as he had lived, in a condition of mind best described as the most abject idiocy.”

Illustration from The Strand

Thought to have died around 1780, Wedders’ notoriety had clearly lasted long enough to filter beyond Yorkshire and into the London-based magazine. Wikipedia suggests hypertrophy of some kind may have been responsible for his unusual feature, though it seems more likely to have been rhinophyma, a tumour, or, less likely, nasal meningoencephalocele, in which brain tissue protudes into the nose. Wedders lives on in wax at Ripley’s Believe it or Not locations worldwide.

Daz Lawrence 

Encephalocele in a child

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