A freak show is an exhibition of biological oddities. Typical features would be physically unusual humans, such as the extremely large or the very small or those with both male and female secondary sexual characteristics or people with other extraordinary diseases and conditions. The performances were expected to be shocking to the viewers. Often, Heavily tattooed or pierced people have sometimes been seen in freak shows, as have attention-getting physical performers such as sword-swallowing acts or macabre demonstrations like biting and swallowing the head from a live chicken.
Incidentally, this is also the story arc for this season of American Horror Story! Notice any similarities in the cast of characters?
Enjoy this gallery of vintage performers!
1. Koo Koo, The Bird Girl.
2. There are two here. A performer with very large feet, and a performer with no arms.
3. Ella Harper, also known as the “Camel Girl.”
4. The Human Pincushion.
5. The Elastic Man.
6. The Four-Legged Woman.
7. Lobster Man.
8. 2 Headed Man.
9. The Legless Acrobat with his family.
10. Lucia Zarate, the smallest person who ever lived. In this picture, she is 18 years of age, and only weighs 4 pounds.
11. Unzie the Albino.
12. John Jennings, also known as The Modern Samson.
13. Mike, the headless chicken. This unfortunate bird lived 18 months without a head.
14. Alice E. Doherty. AKA “The Minnesota Woolly Baby.”
15. Artoria Gibbon, the tattooed woman. If you saw her in Portland today, you wouldn’t look twice.
16. Isaac W. Sprague, AKA “The living skeleton”.
17. “The Pierced Man”. Again, not a big deal in modern day Portland!
18. Pip and Flip
19. Annie Jones, an American bearded woman.
Did you spot all of the original freaks that the American Horror Story cast of characters are based on? Pretty crazy stuff!
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H/T: Viral Nova.