WEIRD NEWS

Eye-Popping Champ Jalisa Thompson Wins Ripley's Face-Off For Second Time

08/28/2011 08:49 am ET | Updated Oct 25, 2011

Jalisa Thompson had her unusual eyes on the prize going into a funny face contest.

In these freaky showdowns, ter peepers are a secret weapon which she can harmlessly pop out of their sockets.

Thompson's big eyes were the big winners at Ripley's 15th Annual Great Face Off, an annual event presented by the Ripley's Believe Or Not Odditorium in Atlantic City that is designed to find the person who can make the craziest, funniest, weirdest or most unbelievable face.

Thompson previously won the contest in 2006, but, this time, the victory was sweeter because her popping peepers beat out seven other former winners. As a result, she won her a $500 grand prize, the most in the contest's history, as well as four tickets to Legends in Concert featuring Jay Leno impersonator Marcel Forestieri, who served as a celebrity judge for the event.

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Of course, she's had lots of practice this summer, because she's been working at the Ripley's Museum three or four days a week engaging both visitors and her fellow employees.

“It’s not something that you ever get tired of seeing," said Chris Connelly, General Manager of Ripley’s Atlantic City location. "You really cannot believe that you are witnessing someone pop their eyes right out of their sockets!”

Thompson, 21, first discovered her jaw-dropping talent when she was a pre-teen growing up in Atlantic City.

"I scared my mom at age 12. I had to show her. My mom took me to the eye doctor," Thompson told the Press of Atlantic City. "The first thing he said was, 'Do it again.' He said I have a wide eye socket and strong eye muscles. It's very rare. He had never seen any other cases like that, but he heard about it."

Before Connelly hired Thompson in 2006, he had only seen eye-popping in photos.

"She's definitely been able to attract more people to the lobby, which gives us more of an opportunity to tell them about the museum," said Connelly, who told the Press of Atlantic City that he believes his Ripley's is the only one with a locally-based human oddity working for it. "She's a good representative of what they will see inside."

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