The story of the man with the longest beard in history


Saturday is World Beard Day. (Why? Why not?) It’s a day to ponder the wondrous mysteries of the beard and celebrate the bearded individuals who walk among us.

In that spirit, we bring to you the story of the man widely regarded as having the longest beard in history.

His name is Hans Langseth, and he is a legend in the extremely-bearded community.

Langseth was born in Norway in 1846, but moved to America and raised his family there. He lived a long and fulfilling life, dying in 1927. Langseth had many passions, but his biggest was his beard. Smithsonian magazine explains:

Langseth began growing his prodigious bristles when he was just 19 years old to compete in a local beard-growing competition. After the competition ended, Langseth simply continued the effort. Though beard hair can only grow about four or five feet before dying off, Langseth matted the dead hair together in a coil, like that of today’s dreadlocks, to further lengthen and strengthen his beard.

That is beard dedication. In fact, Langseth loved his beard so much that, upon his death, he made his children promise to cut the beard off and saved as a testament to his hairy greatness. Eventually, they donated it to the Smithsonian, where it resides today.

There is some dispute about exactly how long the beard was. The sleuths at the Smithsonian say Langseth’s whiskers reached 17.5 feet in length, but a family website devoted to him says they were more like 18 feet, 6 inches. (That website, incidentally, contains many pictures of Langseth and his truly extraordinary beard.)

Whatever the statistics, Hans Langseth grew his furry way into history. He’s more than earned our World Beard Day thanks.

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