79-year-old Alfred David has come to be known as “Monsieur Pingouin” by the people of Brussels because he almost always walks around in his big penguin suit and even “talks” like one.
People who see Mr. Penguin for the first time and don’t know his story might think he’s on his way to a costume party, but the truth is the pensioner puts on the bizarre outfit because it makes him feel like more of a penguin. Alfred’s story began in May 1968, when he injured his hip in a car accident which left him with a limp his friends and colleagues thought was more like a waddle, so they gave him the nickname Mr. Penguin. Some would be bothered being called that, others probably couldn’t care less, but our Mr. David took a real interest in the flightless bird and eventually became obsessed with it.
Photo via Facebook
The Belgian pensioner living in Brussels’ Schaerbeek neighborhood has spent most of the last 40 years of his life collecting all kinds of penguin memorabilia and throughout the years became convinced he too was a penguin. His home turned penguin-museum eventually numbered over 3,500 items linked to the cute bird, but Alfred’s wife was none to pleased with his behaviour, and when he told her he planned to officially change his name to Mr. Penguin, she showed him and his collection the door. He eventually donated all the penguin collectables to raise money for a local football theme, but his obsession for the flightless birds and his giant suit stuck with him.
Monsieur Pingouin has been featured on various television shows, including the 1992 Amsterdam premiere of Batman Returns, where he met Danny de Vito, who played supervillain ‘The Penguin’. Although TV appearances have become scarcer in the last few years, the people in his neighborhood all still know who he is and address him as ‘Monsieur Pingoiun’.
Photo via Houbi
Alfred thinks his relationship with real penguins is so special that they can understand what he’s saying to them. Every time he goes to the zoo and tries to imitate their “ah, ah, aah” sounds, they come towards him and answer. He believes he will be reincarnated as a penguin, either in Antarctica or in some zoo. When he dies, he wants to be buried in Antarctica, dressed in his penguin suit, in a penguin-shaped coffin lined with penguin print. His gravestone has already been made in the shape of two penguins.
Here’s Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson having a chat with Mr, Penguin and feeding him raw fish…