Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Top 10 Incredible Sideshow Freak #1

1) Myrtle Corbin – The Four Legged Lady


Josephene Myrtle Corbin, the Four-Legged Woman, was born in Lincoln County, Tennessee in 1868. Rather than having a parasitic twin, Myrtle's extra legs resulted from an even rarer form of conjoined twinning known as dipygus, which gave her two complete bodies from the waist down. She had two small pelves side-by-side, and each of her smaller inner legs was paired with one of her outer legs. She could move the smaller legs but was unable to use them for walking. At the age of 19, she married a doctor named Clinton Bicknell and had four daughters and a son. It has been said that three of her children were born from one set of organs, two from the other. Myrtle died on May 6, 1928.

2) Lionel – The Lion Faced Man


Stephan Bibrowsky was born in Poland in 1890 to normal parents. He suffered from hypertrichosis, a rare genetic disease that covers the entire bodies of the subjects with a thick coat of fur. Only about 50 cases of the disorder have been documented since the Middle Ages. In the case of Lionel, six-inch-long hair covered his body. He was discovered by a German man named Meyer when he was four years old and became famous throughout Europe where he gained the nickname of Lionel the Lion-Faced Man. When her mother was pregnant, said the story, she saw her husband lacerated by a lion. He then traveled to America where he was a featured attraction with Barnum and Bailey. He died in 1932 in Italy.

3) Wang – The Human Unicorn


Wang is the human unicorn of Manchuria, China, had a 33 centimeter (13 inches) horn growing out out of the back of his head. He was found by a banker, on a farm. The banker took a snapshot of Wang and sent it to Robert Ripley in 1930. Ripley offered Wang money if he would come to Ripley's famous Odditorium, but Wang was never heard from again.



4) Martin Laurello – The Human Owl


Martin Joe Laurello AKA "The Man with the Revolving Head," "The Human Owl," or "Bobby, The Boy with the Revolving Head," was born in May 1885 in Nuremburg, Germany. He was born with a twisted spine that allowed his head to turn a complete 180°. When he had his head turned, his spine was in the shape of a question mark. He moved to America from Germany in 1921 and began preforming with sideshows such as Ripley's Believe it or Not, Ringling Brothers, and Barnum & Baily. Aside from turning his head around, Martin Laurello trained dogs to do acrobatics and was a ventriloquist.


5) Pasqual Pinon - The Two Headed Mexican


Pasqual Pinon, The Two-Headed Mexican, was a performer with the Sells-Floto Circus in the early 1900s. Pinon was discovered by a promoter, whose attention had been caught by a large benign cyst or tumor at the top of Pinon's head. The promoter employed Pinon in his freak show and had a fake face made of wax to place onto the growth, allowing the claim that Pinon had two heads. After several years of touring, the circus manager paid to have the growth removed, and Pinon returned to Texas.

6) Willie & George Muse - The Men from Mars


Born in the 1890’s the pair were scouted by sideshow agents and kidnapped in 1899 by bounty hunters working in the employ of an unknown sideshow promoter. Black albinos, being extremely rare, would have been an extremely lucrative attraction. They were falsely told that their mother was dead, and that they would never be returning home. The brothers began to tour. To accentuate their already unusual appearance, their handler had the brothers grow out their hair into long white dreadlocks. In 1922 showman Al G. Barnes began showcasing the brothers in his circus as White Ecuadorian cannibals Eko and Iko. When that gimmick failed to attract crowds the brothers were rechristened the ‘Sheep-Headed Men’ and later, in 1923, the ‘Ambassadors from Mars’.

7) Frank “Cannonball” Richards - Punching Bag


Frank "Cannonball" Richards was a carnival and vaudeville performer whose act involved taking heavy blows to his belly. Richards began by letting people punch him in the gut. He then progressed to letting people jump on his belly, being struck by a two-by-four, being struck by a sledgehammer, and finally being shot by a 104-lb, cannonball from a spring-loaded 12 ft cannon. Richards limited his cannonball act to twice per day, as performing it more often was too painful.

8) Mary Ann Bevan – The Ugliest Woman


Mary Ann Bevan was known for being one of the worst looking women ever. The reason she had this ugly appearance is because she had Acromegaly, a disease making you grow rapidly. Mary was married at age 32, the same year that she started getting symptoms of the disease. When Mary died, she weighed 168 lbs and was 5 feet 7 inches tall, which was short for someone with acromegaly.

9) Mademoiselle Gabrielle – The Half Lady


Mademoiselle Gabrielle was a legless marvel from the early 1900’s. She was born in Basel, Switzerland in 1884 and began her freak show and exhibition career at the Paris Universal Exposition in 1900 as The Half-Woman. Her first foray into show business proved quite successful as she soon traveled to America to work with the Dreamland Circus Side Show, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. Furthermore, in 1912, Mademoiselle Gabrielle embarked on a short-lived vaudevillian career with New York’s Hammerstein Theater. She eventually broke her contract with the theater agent and was subsequently sued for breach. A four year court battle resulted in a $2000 fine paid to the theater agent.

10) Joseph Merrick – The Elephant Man


Born in 1862, Joseph Merrick began growing disfiguring tumours before the age of 2 and his condition rapidly worsened, rendering one of his arms completely immobile. Increasing health problems eventually made it impossible for Merrick to continue his working life and poverty forced him to enter the Leicester union workhouse. Desperate to find a way out of such grim conditions, Merrick contacted the owner of a Leicester music hall in 1884. Together they established a successful act called ‘the Elephant Man, Half-a-Man and Half-an-Elephant’, in which Merrick displayed his increasingly misshapen body. Merrick himself followed an old folk belief, stating that his appearance was due to his mother being frightened by an elephant during pregnancy.

See : Top 10 Incredible Sideshow Freak #2

1 comment:

  1. My research blog about Martin: martinlaurello.wordpress.com

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