EDMONDS — Don’t come knockin’ if this van’s a hoppin’.
You might have seen Thayer Cueter’s frogmobile bopping down the highway or parked in a quiet subdivision and wondered “What’s up with that?”
The ‘78 VW Transporter is painted frog-inspired green and festooned with hoppy sayings.
The van is how she, with the help of a stuffed Kermit buddy or six, transports thousands of her real and toy friends on her mission to save the declining frog and toad population. Turtles, lizards and bugs tag along for the ride.
The Edmonds woman’s obsession of amphibians landed her in the new “Ripley’s Believe it or Not!: Reality Shock!”
“As far as I know I’m the only frog lady crazy enough to pull this off,” she said. “I’m on page 176.”
Yep, there she is, last graph on the right. Her six lines of fame read: “Thayer Cueter (aka The Frog Lady) of Edmonds, Washington State, has built up a collection of over 10,000 items of frog-related memorabilia, including 400 Kermit the Frog toys, 490 plush frog toys and 20 different pairs of frog pajamas.”
— Andrea Brown (@reporterbrown) November 15, 2014
This isn’t a book for amateur eccentrics. Others in the pages include a 56-year-old grandma with 18-inch fingernails, a man who lives with a pack of wolves, a Vegas bartender who can make 1,559 different cocktails in an hour, and a mouse that skateboards.
The Frog Lady had no idea she was in the Ripley’s book until media started calling her. Turns out Ripley’s scouts discovered her through a blurb in a British paper.
On this side of the pond, Cueter is president of Just Frogs &Friends Amphibian Center. She hosts field trips, does outreach and leads frog webinars.
Her store/educational center on the Edmonds waterfront is hopping with frog gifts, toys and novelties as well as 69 ones in the warty flesh. There are also rescue turtles available for adoption. Training is required. It’s not like a pet store where you can just take a critter home and live hoppily ever after.
Cueter has been keen on green since day one. “I was born on St. Patrick’s Day,” she said.
Frogs were among her BFFs. “I grew up playing with and raising them as a young child in Michigan. I thought they were really cool. I kept going.”
You might say she went frog wild.
Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443; email@example.com. Twitter: @reporterbrown.
Need frogs or a lesson in herpetology? Email Thayer “The Frog Lady” Cueter at firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @jstfrogstoads2; go to www.justfrogs.com or visit her shop at 300 Admiral Way by Arnies Restaurant in Edmonds.
Getting in Ripley’s
Question: How did you find The Frog Lady? Answer: Ripley Publishing has a team of researchers who keep an eye out for strange, unusual and odd stories; this one was discovered in a newspaper in the UK.
Q: How do you select others in your book? What is your standard of bizarre? A: The stories must be true, unusual, odd, bizarre and have an element of the “wow” factor, such as “Wow! Can you believe a woman has collected 10,000 frog-related items!?”
Q: Can people nominate themselves? If so, how? A: Absolutely. People can nominate themselves by writing directly to email@example.com or contacting us through our web page at www.Ripleys.com. They can also call me at 407-345-8010 or mail material to Edward Meyer, Ripley Entertainment Inc., 7576 Kingspointe Parkway, Suite 188, Orlando, Florida, 32819.
Q: What do people receive for being in the book? A: They receive fame, but no fortune. We do pay to acquire actual items, but not for stories. We often give people a Certificate of Recognition for their items.
Source: Edward Meyer, V.P. of Exhibits &Archives for Ripley’s
Got weird stuff?
Ripley’s Bizarre Buying Bazaar is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 14 and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 15 at Pacific Science Center in Seattle.
It’s a stop on a traveling road show to acquire items to be part of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! collection. Ripley’s buyers are seeking oddities, artifacts, relics, strange things from science and nature, unusual artwork. The weirder the better. Offers will be made on the spot. Even if Ripley’s doesn’t want your kinky stuff, you might still get an “oddpraisal,” which isn’t what an item is worth, but an idea of how unusual it is. Sellers get free admission to the Ripley’s exhibit.
Oddity owners planning to attend are encouraged to contact Angela Johnson at Johnson@ripleys.com with details on the item they want to bring in. This will allow Ripley’s research team to find out about the particular items of interest in advance.
“The Science of Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” exhibit is at Pacific Science Center (200 Second Ave. N, Seattle) through Jan. 4. Intermission is included. Tickets are $19.50, 16 and older; $17.50, 65 and older; $14.50, 6 to 15; $11.50, ages 3 to 5. Free for 2 and younger. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information, call 800-664-8775. Tickets are also available to purchase at the box office or at www.pacificsciencecenter.org.