Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Top 10 Incredible Sideshow Freak #2

1) Ella Harper – The Camel Girl

Ella Harper was born with an extremely rare condition that essentially consisted of a pair of knees that bend backward.  Her preference to walk on all fours resulted in her nickname "Camel Girl". In 1886 she was featured as the star in W. H. Harris’s Nickel Plate Circus, appearing in newspapers wherever the circus visited.

2) Isaac W. Sprague - The Human Skeleton

Isaac W. Sprague was born on May 21, 1841 in East Bridgewater, Massachusetts. According to one of his early cabinet cards, he was a normal and active child until the age of twelve – when he began to rapidly lose weight. His concerned parents, alarmed by his weight lost, forbade young Isaac from high energy activities. Despite this, the boy continued to loose weight and his now terrified parents took Isaac to the best doctors they could find. Unfortunately the doctors were also baffled and Isaac continued to wither away despite a healthy appetite.

3) Josephine Clofullia – The Bearded Lady of Geneva

Josephine Clofullia  was a Swiss-born bearded lady who toured with P. T. Barnum's "American Museum".She was born covered with fine fur and she was bearded by the age of two. Today her condition is know as hirsutism, which is a variant of hypertrichosis. However, local doctors were baffled by her condition and most were hoping the young girl would simply ‘grow out of it’. It was recommended that she be taken to doctors in Geneva when she was older. At the age of eight her parents did just that however, by that age, her beard was already over two inches long.

4) Lucia Zrate - The Mexican Liliputian

Lucia Zarate was born in San Carlos, Mexico. Zarate is the first person to have been identified with Majewski osteodysplastic primordial dwarfism type II. She was entered into the Guinness World Records as the "lightest recorded adult", weighing 2.1 kg at the age of 17. According to an 1894 article in Strand Magazine, Zarate achieved her full growth by the age of one year. She first worked as part of an act billed as the "Fairy Sisters", later partnering with Francis Joseph Flynn to exhibit internationally. In 1889 she was billed in The Washington Post as the "marvelous Mexican midget" and described as "a tiny but all powerful magnet to draw the public." After her circus train became stranded in the snowy Sierra Nevada mountains, Zarate died of hypothermia in 1890.

5) Prince Randian - The Human Caterpillar

Prince Randian was born in 1871 in Demerara, British Guiana to Indian slave parents.Despite being born without arms or legs he was incredibly self sufficient. Randian was brought to the US in 1889 and, while he performed at many dime shows and museums, he gained most of his fame performing for P. T. Barnum. In front of the large crowds Barnum provided Randian demonstrated the ease in which he was able to shave, paint, write and even roll cigarettes. Not only was he able to roll a cigarette, he was also able to pull a match from its box, strike it, and light his freshly rolled cigarette.

6)The Seven Sutherland Sisters

The Seven Sutherland Sisters, a group of singing ladies from Lockport/ Niagara, N.Y., were famous for their long hair, which they showed off in a sideshow of Barnum & Bailey’s from about 1882 to 1907. On such group photos the sisters were always placed in such a way that it seemed all of the sisters had hair reaching the floor.

7) Grady Stiles - Lobster Boy

Grady Franklin Stiles, Jr. was a freak show performer. His deformity was ectrodactyly, in which the fingers and toes are fused together to form claw-like extremities. Stiles' stage name was the "Lobster Boy".

Stiles had been married twice, having a daughter and son whom both have electrodactyly. They toured in the circus as performers.Allegedly, Stiles was an abusive alcoholic. He killed his daughter's fiance to prevent them from being married, and was not imprisoned because the prison could not cater to his disability. He ended up with 15 years probation. Stiles quit drinking and remarried his first wife, Maria Herzog. Soon after, Stiles began his drinking and abused his wife. Maria Herzog and their son allegedly hired someone from the circus, Chris Wynant, to kill Stiles. He shot Stiles 3 times in the head, killing him instantly, and all three (Maria, her son, and Chris Wynant) were charged and convicted.

8) Ruth Davis - Penguin Girl

Ruth Davis, the penguin girl had seal limbs a disease called phocomelia. It is what gave her the penguin appearance. Mignon often wore a two piece bathing suit to show off her unique physique, she was not content to rely on appearance alone. She learned to play the rather exotic marimba, an African instrument similar to a xylophone. She proved to be very proficient as she was not only featured in numerous sideshows, her act was also featured at the 1933 Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago and the 1939 and 1940 World’s Fairs in New York.

9) Simon Met - Schlitzie the Pinhead

“Schlitzie” was born Simon Metz on September 10, 1890 in the Bronx. From birth Schlitzie looked like any other baby boy but as the years progressed, it became apparent that he suffered from microcephaly, a condition where the face grows at a normal rate but the head does not. Microcephaly bestows upon the person an abnormally small head (often only half the size of a normal head) and sloping forehead. Known as “chaus”, “rat people” or “pinheads”, the condition almost always results in mental retardation and diminished brain capacity. The cause of the condition varies. Sometimes it can be caused when a child’s mother consumes excessive alcohol. There is no cure.

10) Sam Alexander - The Man with Two Faces

Sam Alexander "The Man with Two Faces," was born a normal man. In his twenties he was pursuing a career in theatre and was an average man. When he was in his thirties, he lit a match near gasoline and he received deep burns throughout his face. Doctors had to cut out the parts of his face that were burned leaving not a very good looking face. He then got a prosthetic face which, in the right light, looked perfectly normal. He is remembered by his friends as a very nice man, unlike many other freak show performers. He was involved with Ringling Bros, Barnum & Bailey, and the Clyde Beatty Circus, and later started his own sideshow company. After over seventy operations on his face, although it never looked the same again, he retired wearing his masked and lived a normal life. He passed away in 1997 of natural causes. The screenshots are taken from a video entitled "Russell Bros. Circus 1940's" which was sold on ebay.

See : Top 10 Incredible Sideshow Freak #1