In the midst of “Movember” while you are facing the question of the month ” to beard or not to beard“, we decided to tell you the story of Hans Langseth, the man with the longest beard in recorded history.
Born in 1846 in Norway, Langseth immigrated to the United States at a young age, settling in Kensett, Iowa with his wife, Anna Benson.
When he was 19, Langseth began sporting a beard in order to compete in a local beard-growing contest.
We don’t know if he won the contest, but when it ended, Langseth just kept on growing the beard. As the beard hair can only grow about five feet before dying off, he tangled the dead hair together in a coil.
Dr. David Hunt, a physical and forensic anthropologist, told the Smithsonian Mag that the beard itself acts as a kind of timeline for Langseth’s life—the brown parts represent his youth while the yellowed parts his older years.
“You have to be little eccentric to do this”-Hunt told Smithsonian Mag, describing how Langseth rolled his beard around a corncob and carried it in a pouch around his neck (which sounds very effective for a cold winter).
Langseth worked as a farmer for most of his life until his massive beard prompted him to the Circus, where as part of a sideshow exhibition,he toured the country by the name” King of whiskers”.
He quit the circus after a while because he was tired of people pulling his beard labeling it as fake.
Langseth’s beard was officially declared the longest in the country in 1922 at a celebration in Sacramento, California.
He entered a nationwide search held by a group of beard growers known as “Whiskerinos”, who for sure were dazzled when they saw the results of Langeth’s beard, which measured 17-feet length.
Hans Langseth died in 1927 , at age 81 in Wyndmere, North Dakota.
While there is a claim that Langseth died by stepping on his beard and breaking his neck
, this is not a verified information.
According to his children, his final wish was to have his beard cut off and stored for posterity. Before his casket was buried, his son cut off his father’s beard, with which Langseth’s identified himself for the most of his life.
After being tucked away in the attic for too long, Langseth’s son donated the beard to the Smithsonian Institue where it was displayed as part of the museum physical anthropology exhibition from 1967 to 1991.
Today, the beard it’s kept in storage and once or twice a year it’s brought when some of Langseth’s descendants stop by to visit the famed lengthy whiskers of their ancestor.