At least twice a month I receive a link to the video below. I suppose it is time I shed some light on the figure depicted in the clip.
The name of this gentleman is Alfred Langevin. At the time of the video, he resided in Detroit, Michigan but was under the employ of Robert Ripley. Mr. Langevin was featured not only in the Believe-It-Or-Not cartoons of Ripley, but also appeared in Ripley’s renowned Odditorium from 1933 to 1940 and was even featured on the 1933 Odditorium postcard.
Not only could Mr. Langevin use his eye socket to smoke, he could also blow up balloons and play a recorder. It should be noted that Mr. Langevin indeed had two very real and functioning eyes. The medical reason for his unusual ability remains unknown but is likely due to an anomaly in the development of his tear gland. This rare tear gland defect is responsible for the fairly recent Guinness Book category of ‘squirting milk from the eye’. The record is currently held by Mike Moraal of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The record is for distance and Mike managed 8.745 feet in 2001.
image: Mr. Langevin demonstrating his unique ability alongside fellow performer ‘Big Mouth’ Paul McWilliams during their run with Ripley.