Jo-Jo the Dog Faced Boy Above and the Elastic-Skinned Man Below:

"People may shudder and cover their eyes - but they always peek."
 

 

 

Are Freaks or Human Oddities, still being Exhibited

 

Are Freaks or Human Oddities, still being exhibited in circuses and amusement park and carnival sideshows in the United States?  Your recent item on Julia Pastrana, the "ugliest woman in the world," who died in 1860 but whose mummy was exhibited in a glass coffin at a carnival in the United States in 1973, made me wonder. I though America had outgrown this sort of thing. - Mrs. D. B., Oak Park.

The exhibition of human oddities is fading, but the chance that it will join the medicine show in show business limbo is questionable.  In face, just last week at the Wisconsin State Fair, a show called Wondercade exhibited and "alligator girl" (a girl with scaly skin), a 700-pound man, a midget less than 3 feet tall and a "human skeleton" (a man who looked as if his dieting had been too successful).  And this week at Crown Point, Ind., a unit of the Mighty Bluegrass Shows is featuring several similar oddities.

True, though, far fewer human oddities are being exhibited than in the past, and for these reasons, we were told by Frederick Drimmer, author of a 1974 book, "Very Special People," on top sideshow attractions of the past:

In 1956, the Ringling Bros. and Banrum & Bailey Circus, once the chief exhibitor of such attractions - with the likes of Siamese twins Chang and Eng, midget Gen. Tom Thumb, 800 pound fat ladies, bearded ladies, giants, Jo-Jo the Dog Faced Boy and the Elastic-Skinned Man - stopped performing under the "Big Top" tent, in favor of indoor arenas, and at the same time ended its sideshow operations. (Today its only such attraction as Michu, a captivating midget who is even smaller than Tom Thumb.)

 

Daily News - Aug. 23 1976
 


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