These 5 People Really Existed, And Their Stories Are Just As Extraordinary As They Are

Although the practice dates back all the way to the 16th Century, photography brought the last few decades of the freakshow into focus and gave a glimpse at everyday life for its performers.

1. Ella Harper, circa 1870-1921, was known as the "Camel Girl" because her knees turned backward, making it easier for her to walk on all fours.

She had a congenital condition called genu recurvatum and worked in a traveling circus until 1886 when she left with her savings and settled in Tennessee. While she traveled in the circus, she made $200 a week.

In today's currency, that's $5,108 a week.

2. Fannie Mills, circa 1860-1899, was better known as "the Ohio Big Foot Girl." Her condition, called Milroy Disease, caused extreme lymphedema in her legs and feet. At their largest, they were 17 inches long.


As she worked in carnivals, Fannie drew in droves of bachelors, many hoping to marry her, even offering her money to be their bride. Fannie turned down her suitors. She was already married.

3. Maurice Tillet, circa 1903-1954, was a two-time heavyweight champion and movie star in the 1940s.

His face earned him the ring name "The French Angel", but his unusual appearance was due to acromegaly, a condition caused by a benign tumor on the pituitary gland that causes bone overgrowth and thickness during puberty.

In 2012, Tillet was recognized by the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame.

4. Frank Lentini, 1881-1966, was born in Sicily but emigrated to the United States when his family entered him into the sideshow business with Ringling Brothers Circus.


His third leg was the result of a partially absorbed conjoined twin. Frank married and had four children. He is memorialized on the back cover of Alice in Chain's 1995 self-titled album.

5. Jean Libbera, 1884-1936, was billed as "The Double-Bodied Man" or "Jean and Jacques Libbera".

Jean was born with a parasitic twin attached to his chest and a six-inch head buried in his abdomen. The twin, consisting of two arms, two legs and a short torso, was so fully formed that he gave it a name, Jacques. Jean married and had four children while working in the sideshow.

Credit: Imgur

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