There’s no clear line between passion and obsession, but some people are so deep into the latter that there doesn’t need to be. Some men put their entire lives into building something, and the results are astonishing.
In 1959, a 15-year-old named Jim Bishop bought 2.5 acres of land in Colorado, and 10 years later, he began building a house. He’s still going, and the result is one of the biggest buildings ever created by a single human being.
Bishop Castle’s main tower is 49 meters (160 ft) tall. Like the rest of the 50,000-ton building, every single piece was placed by Bishop himself. He worked with no direction, plan, or—so it appears—much regard for structural engineering.
The result has been called something you would find in a cross between Lord of the Rings and Mad Max. Wrought-iron bridges and walkways wind around the outside and join together at the tops of the castle’s towers. Its most breathtaking feature, a dragon’s head, pokes out above the main hall’s stained-glass window.
It’s made from old metal hospital trays but actually breathes fire with the help of a burner from a hot air balloon, while the castle’s fireplaces release their smoke through its nostrils.
The dragon’s breath currently shoots about 2 meters (6 ft), but there are plans to increase its range to 9 meters (30 ft). Bishop says he has mastered the art of chatting and working at the same time, so visitors are encouraged, but they should keep in mind that he has no insurance and they must waive liability by signing the guestbook.
Bishop is currently working on a dungeon room, though it’s as unplanned as the rest. According to Bishop, “What’s real neat about not having blueprints is that if you make a mistake, you call it art.”