Circus sideshows, also less sensitively known as “freak” shows, are one part of the past that we’d all probably like to move past. Not only were some of the attractions a little creepy (or sometimes, a lot), the show also relied heavily on exploiting the performers. They were treated as sub-human, even though they’re just people like you and me. They just look a little different.
Although it’s a time that we’d rather not repeat, there is undoubtedly something fascinating about looking at some of these performers. Below are some of the most famous sideshow performers of all time, in all their glory.
1. The twins: Pip and Flip.
2. Meet Lucia Zarate, the smallest person to have ever lived. Seen here at age 18, she only weighs around 4 pounds.
3. The Legless Acrobat, pictured with his family.
4. These sideshow boxers are quite the pair.
5. A performer with deformities of the hands and feet.
6. Myrtle Corbin, aka “The Four-Legged Woman”.
7. John Jennings, a world-renowned strongman who was also known as “The Modern Samson”.
8. There’s something strangely unsettling about Koo Koo, The Bird Girl.
9. A performer with massively enlarged feet, and a performer born without any arms.
10. Unzie the Albino.
11. What sideshow is complete without a bearded lady? This is Annie Jones, one of the most famous bearded ladies of all time.
12. Ella Harper, better known as the "Camel Girl".
13. The Elastic-Skin Man. Oh, my eyes.
14. A man with two heads. It’s rare for each head to be so distinct from the other.
15. Alice E. Doherty suffered from a birth defect causing uncontrollable hair growth. She was more commonly known as "The Minnesota Woolly Baby".
16. Isaac W. Sprague, better known as “The Living Skeleton”. No surprise why.
17. Artoria Gibbons, the tattooed woman. She may not be such an oddity in this day and age.
Well, I have to be honest. Some of these definitely startled me and were a little unsettling. The important thing to remember, though, is they are still people who deserve the same respect and decency anyone else does.