It may sound strange, but it's true
This expression was made famous by American artist Robert LeRoy Ripley whose 'Believe It or Not' cartoons were syndicated in many American newspapers starting in 1918. However, I believe the expression originated a few years earlier, in about 1914. Robert Ripley died on an island in Long Island Sound in 1949; the island was named Bion, an acronym of Believe It or Not.
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