In the 18th century, a man from Yorkshire, England, captured the curiosity of his fellow countrymen. But it wasn’t his ideas, convictions, or opinions that intrigued them; it was his nose. Thomas Wadhouse, also known as Thomas Wedders, possessed a nose of extraordinary proportions, measuring a staggering 7.5 inches in length. His remarkable nasal feature not only made him a local celebrity but also earned him a place in the annals of medical anomalies.
The Nose that Stole the Show
Thomas Wadhouse’s life was shrouded in mystery, with little known about his early years. He was born around 1730 in Yorkshire, and some accounts suggest that his parents might have been siblings, a fact that raises intriguing questions about the origins of his prodigious nose. While the exact cause of his unique nasal feature remains unknown, it undoubtedly set him apart from his peers.
Wadhouse’s era predates the heyday of “freak shows,” yet he managed to exhibit himself and his remarkable nose across Yorkshire. His name found a place in the historical record in the 19th-century book “Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine,” which briefly described him as follows: “Early in the last century, Thomas Wedders (or Wadhouse) with a nose 7 1/2 inches long was exhibited throughout Yorkshire.”
But who was Thomas Wadhouse, beyond his extraordinary physical feature? Unlike some other sideshow performers, such as Lionel The Lion-Faced Man, who spoke multiple languages and aspired to become a dentist, Wadhouse was known for something very different.
A Life Less Ordinary
The few historical accounts of Thomas Wadhouse converge on one point: he was not a great thinker. According to “Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine,” Wadhouse lived and, unfortunately, expired in a state of mind best described as “the most abject idiocy.” While his nose might have suggested great importance, it did not translate into remarkable intellectual prowess.
In 1896, “The Strand Magazine” also acknowledged Thomas Wadhouse and his remarkable nose, humorously noting that if the significance of an individual were solely determined by the size of their nose, Wadhouse would have accumulated untold wealth and conquered all of Europe. However, the magazine concluded that Wadhouse’s impressive nasal feature did not correspond to exceptional abilities.
In the absence of historical records or personal accounts, it remains a mystery why Thomas Wadhouse chose to exhibit himself. Perhaps he saw it as an opportunity he could not pass up, or maybe he was influenced by others due to his reputation for limited intelligence.
What is known is that Thomas Wadhouse passed away in his 50s around 1780, leaving behind no written record of his life, his feelings about his unique appearance, or his experiences in the exhibitions he participated in. Unlike sideshow performers of later eras, there are no known photographs of Wadhouse, although wax replicas of his face are displayed in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not museum.
Nevertheless, Thomas Wadhouse did leave behind a lasting legacy as the man with the longest nose in recorded human history, a record he still holds to this day.
The Longest Nose in History
Guinness World Records recognizes Thomas Wadhouse as the individual with the longest nose in recorded human history. Their official site notes, “There are historical accounts that Thomas Wedders, who lived in England during the 1770s and was a member of a traveling freak circus, had a nose measuring 19 cm (7.5 in) long.”
So, who holds the title for the longest nose today? According to Guinness World Records, the current record holder is Mehmet Özyürek from Artvin, Turkey, whose nose measures an impressive 3.46 inches in length. Özyürek expressed his satisfaction with his distinctive nose, stating, “I am very happy with my nose, and I don’t have any intention to change it. I always had a feeling I was going to go places and be someone because of my nose.”
While Mehmet Özyürek’s nose is undeniably sizeable, it pales in comparison to Thomas Wadhouse’s remarkable nasal feature, which was reportedly four inches longer.
The story of Thomas Wadhouse, the man with the world’s longest nose, remains veiled in mystery. We may never know his motivations or feelings regarding his unique physical attribute. Nevertheless, his extraordinary nose ensured his place in history, as the man whose remarkable feature captured the imagination of an entire era.