The Carnival Showman

 

When he was a youngster, Scott McClelland learned about carnival sideshows from his grandfather, whose vaudeville company and midway toured small towns across the Canadian prairies and Ontario for nearly half a century. Today, Scott ­ a.k.a. Nikolas Diablo ­ is following in those footsteps,

 

It was the Christmas of 1979, when he was just 15, and Scott McClelland remembers his dad pulling out of Scott’s grand-father’s Canora, Sask. driveway when they were suddenly called back.

“We were halfway down the driveway when my grandfather came out to the front porch and went ‘Stop! I want you to come back for a second. I have one thing to give you,’ Scott recalls.”

Scott’s family ­ his parents, brother and sister ­ returned to the house, where grandpa, an old vaudeville magician who under the name Professor N.P. Lew’Chuk had toured small towns in the Canadian prairies and Ontario for close to a half century beginning in 1920, produced a seven-inch surgical needle as thick as a bicycle spoke, and proceeded to push it into his nose.

“And he pushed and pushed and pushed, until you knew that thing was hitting the back of his spine inside his head,” Scott recalls. “And then he looked at me and said, ‘Now you try.’

“I was aghast. There was no way in hell I was going to do that. But I was so excited that my grandfather had these capabilities, that I had to store that in my memory and go ‘There’s going to be a time when I’ll be old enough to try this stuff."

 

by Bruce Deachman, The Ottawa Citizen September 2010

 

Article submitted by Scott McClelland

Image of Scott McClelland and The Ottawa Citizen

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