Freakshow, (in English, of freak 'freak, freak', egl. 'grilling, warm', of uncertain orig.), screening of persons or animals with congenital abnormalities or aberrant appearance in the circus, "sideshows", "folk museums" or marketplaces; included dwarfs and giants of both sexes, very thick or thin people, people with extreme hair growth, Siamese twins, etc.

People with different looks have been presented since the Renaissance, including in English marketplaces. With P.T. Barnum's American Museum (1841) was freakshow part of the entertainment industry. A special group was called fodkunstnere, people without arms, for example, could play the violin or shoot a bow and arrow with her feet. Most "freaks" were professional show people that had build specialized skills in one or more disciplines and even participated in the staging of their show. An exception was people from foreign cultures, which in 1800-t. were displayed as freaks, including plate Negroes. There were several cases of deceit, such as mental retardation due to a special head shape was submitted as "original Aztecs". More freak shows came in 1800-t. to Denmark, but apart from dwarfs and giants beat the rarely hit with the audience. At the beginning of the 1900-T. were freak shows particularly shown on Dyrehavsbakken but disappeared in most places during the 1930s. From being who attracted interest for their deviation from the normal, were freaks increasingly perceived as a disease, and it was considered unethical to present them for payment. The American director Tod Browning created in 1932 the controversial film Freaks, where most of the roles played by freaks.

 


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