HALL of Trenton, Neb., stands outside of World of
Wonders show at the Bloomsburg Fair. The show
is the last of its kind, according to Hall, who has
been at the fair every year since 1968 and has run
this show consistently for the past 11 years.
In the background on stage, John Powell holds an
Albino Burmese Python, Norbert "Poobah" Terhurne
gets ready to swallow fire and Chris Christ co-owner
of the show, sells tickets
BLOOMSBURG - If another "Schlitzie the Monkey
Girl" came along, Ward Hall probably wouldn't put
her in his World of Wonders Sideshow.
years ago the girl, abandoned by her prominent
parents, was adopted by circus people. Her
main caregiver died when she was in her 70s, and
Schlitzie was taken to a mental institution on the
chance, a sword swallower who worked at the hospital
in the off-season noticed Schlitzie (who was really
a male) in the waiting room. He knew the
monkey girl from working the sideshows and told
doctors about her carnival background.
mental evaluation, doctors said the disfigured girl
liked attention and wouldn't survive in an
institution. The sideshow was the best place
for her, surrounded by caring carnival people.
was a "wonderful attraction," but was mentally
incompetent, said Hall, one of the last purveyors of
curiosities still working the fair and carnival
circuit. She suffered from microcephaly, a
condition where the skull does not grow properly.
owners often traded human oddities, and Hall worked
with Schlitzie in 1968. She even appeared at the
Bloomsburg fair that year.
Photo courtesy of - Tom Adams Press Enterprise
Except from the article "Schlitzie the Monkey Girl"
of - Michael T. Burkhart