‘Hoss’ the Ohio hair ball is 125 pounds and counting
CAMBRIDGE, Ohio (AP) — What’s 4 feet tall, 125 pounds and is covered in hair?
No, it’s not Cousin Itt of the Addams Family. It’s Hoss, the giant ball of human hair.
Hoss, named after Dan Blocker’s character from “Bonanza,” is an oblong shape and is, well, hairy. Hundreds of people have donated their hair to its creation, so its exterior is an ever-changing mess of different colors and textures.
The hair ball was created by Steve Warden, a hairstylist from Cambridge, who began crafting it after years of conversations with his four children.
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“When my kids were younger, they would always say, ‘Dad, you should make a hair ball and get it in the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not book,’” Warden said.
So in 2013, with his children all grown and moved out of the house, Warden decided it was time to give it a shot.
Warden started collecting his clients’ hair at his salon, Blockers. When he’d finish a cut, Warden would sweep their hair into a chute he installed in the floor that was connected to a trashcan in the salon’s basement. Above the chute was a little sign that read “Future Hair Ball Hair.”
Warden said none of his clients seemed to be concerned with the collection; most people were just curious.
After a few months of haircuts, it was time to start construction.
It started small. Warden would take some hair and wad it into a ball using glue to make it stick. (Gorilla Wood Glue is the only thing that works, Warden said.)
He would let the ball dry for a week and then add more on top. Warden continued this process for months until the ball was as big as a basketball. From there, Warden used a combination of liquid glue and spray adhesive to attach the hair. Hairspray is used for touch ups.
Finally, the ball at an enormous weight of 97 pounds, Warden reached out to Ripley’s Believe It Or Not to donate his masterpiece last year.
Kurtis Moellmann, exhibit and interactive coordinator for Ripley’s, said Warden’s hair ball has quickly become one of the company’s most popular items.
It’s so popular that Moellmann began taking it with him to different oddities expos across the country. In each city, Moellmann brings along a pair of scissors and a can of glue so people can donate their hair to the cause.
“The first day I did it, I cut about 200 people’s hair,” Moellman said. “It was a huge hit.”
Warden has not, in fact, created the world’s largest ball of human hair. That honor goes to Henry Coffer, a barber from Charleston, Missouri, who claimed the title in 2008 with a 167 pound ball of hair, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Coffer, who was 77 years old at the time, had collected his clients’ hair for more than 50 years.
But at its current weight of 125 pounds, Hoss is still impressive.
Warden and his creation were reunited this weekend at the Oddities & Curiosities Expo at the Ohio State Fairgrounds, where Warden cut people’s hair for eight hours Saturday to add to the ball.
Hundreds of people passed by the Ripley’s booth, which featured a number of other collected oddities. Emotions from onlookers ranged from awe to disgust. But it’s safe to say Hoss piqued the interest of many.
Helen Drosak was cautiously eyeing the hair ball when Warden walked up to her and asked, “Would you like to donate to the giant hair ball?”
“Why not?” the 69-year-old Clintonville resident replied. “I have enough to spare.”
Warden snipped a lock of her graying brown curls and his friend, Ryan Girdwood, glued it to the ball.
Aiden Deibler had planned on growing out his hair this summer, but after seeing Hoss at the expo, the 10-year-old changed his mind.
Aiden and his mom, Aubrey, were in town from Pittsburgh to help a friend who was performing at the expo. Aubrey also donated a snippet of her ombre orange hair to the ball. Girdwood glued the mother and son’s hair next to each other.
“I donated to a big ball of hair,” Aiden said. “It’s pretty cool and pretty weird at the same time.”
Warden knows it’s all a little weird, but that’s OK. He doesn’t mind. To him, the hair ball is a legacy of sorts.
Warden, who currently has two grandkids, bought 12 copies of the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not book he’s featured in for any other grandchildren he might have. Inside is a note to each of them.
“When I die, my grandkids can see this and know I did something,” Warden said. “They can say, ‘That was our crazy grandpa.’”
Information from: The Columbus Dispatch, http://www.dispatch.com