PRINCE RANDIAN – The Human Caterpillar

The man who would become Prince Randian was born in 1871 in Demerara, British Guiana to Indian slave parents.Despite being born without arms or legs he was incredibly self sufficient.

Randian was brought to the US in 1889 and, while he performed at many dime shows and museums, he gained most of his fame performing for P. T. Barnum. In front of the large crowds Barnum provided Randian demonstrated the ease in which he was able to shave, paint, write and even roll cigarettes. Not only was he able to roll a cigarette, he was also able to pull a match from its box, strike it, and light his freshly rolled cigarette.

Randian had many nicknames during his career. Randian’s typical costume consisted of a striped wool garment and his main mode of transportation was writhing about on the ground in a worm-like fashion. These two visuals led to his most common nickname – ‘The Human Caterpillar’ – and he went on to appear in a variety of carnivals and sideshows, including Coney Island, for a forty five year stint.

Randian had a role in the 1932 film freaks, in which he demonstrates his cigarette rolling skills and utters a single unintelligible line. Oddly enough, it is said that he spoke several languages including Hindi, French, English and German.

By all accounts, he was a bright and charming man with a great sense of humor. Both of these talents helped him land a wife and make use of his one remaining appendage.

He and his wife had five children.

Eventually Radian retired to Paterson, New Jersey and in 1934 he died at age 63 of a heart attack following a comeback performance.

Call him what you like: The Living Torso, The Snake Man, The Human Worm, The Human Cigarette Factory or the Amazing Caterpillar Man. Radian was a man who, despite his physical limitations, truly lived live to his fullest.

Update: As the film ‘Freaks’ is now public domain, click here to see Randian in action.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Author, researcher and an expert of the odd, J. Tithonus Pednaud has been chronicling bizarre history and highlighting the lives of those born exceeding different for over a decade.

21 Comments

  • Reply December 17, 2007

    Anonymous

    personally i think he’s awesome but he somewhat scares me

  • Reply January 10, 2008

    Anonymous

    he has a lot of motovation

  • Reply January 10, 2008

    Anonymous

    he has a lot of motovation

  • Reply February 16, 2008

    Anonymous

    I’m fluent in caterpillar. He says “I can do anything with my mouth!”

  • Reply April 29, 2008

    Anonymous

    how the hell do you roll a cigar with no hands?!?!?!

  • Reply May 11, 2008

    Kyo

    When I saw him in the movie, I wondered what he said. Makes me a little happier that I didn’t miss much… xD

  • Reply May 24, 2008

    Cabaret

    I got all happy when I saw him in “Freaks” – this guy is so cool! The scene at the end, when he’s coming towards the “bad guy” with the knife in his mouth, made me laugh. Not, like, making fun of him or anything, just…what’s he gonna do with that knife? I mean really. Love ya, Prince Randian! <3

  • Reply July 3, 2008

    Sadie Thompson

    I had the subtitles on when watching “Freaks,” (the DVD) and according to them Prince Randian says “Can you do anything with your eyebrow.” If you listen hard, it sounds right. I suppose he means it as a sharp remark to the clown character, who as I recall is griping about women. I suppose Randian means “Look buddy, you’re better off than a lot of other people so stuff it.”

  • Reply July 4, 2008

    Anonymous

    I wonder: What happened to his parents? Did he leave them in slavery or was he able to help them out at all?

  • Reply September 10, 2008

    kokomoto

    a character in Annette C. Klause’s book “FREAKS” is based on this cool guy :)

  • Reply September 10, 2008

    JTithonusPednaud

    Yes, and if I am not mistaken Freaks: Alive on the Inside is currently in production filming.

  • Reply December 29, 2008

    Sara

    Wow, five kids? This guy was truly amazing. I saw him in the movie “Freaks” and was amazed of what he could do with the cigarette with no arms!! God rest his soul.

  • Reply December 24, 2009

    Steven

    A cigarette with no arms!

  • Reply March 30, 2010

    Witek Mosakowski

    I really admire this amazing human being !

  • Reply October 8, 2010

    H.R.C. BeVont

    I think he says “that really gonna be okay with you, boss?”

    “Gak ree-ally onna b’kay wi’oo, baws?”

    I study phonetics and the evolution of slang culture as just a hobby, so I’m probably wrong. I’m sure the man would have had better diction as educated as he was, but was portraying the caricature of black stereotype as a role. All in all I had just as hard a time understanding his coworker in that clip, since the sound hasn’t survived time very well.

  • Reply May 24, 2011

    Raziel

    According to the subtitles on the Freaks DVD he says something along the lines of “can you do anything with your eyebrow” but I looked up the script and I got “Anything I can do in the act, bro?”

    I think the eyebrow thing makes more sense, taking a jab at the other guy bragging about his act, the fact that Prince Randian could roll (which they didnt show) and light a cigarette himself with no arms or legs, stick it to the normals!

  • Reply January 26, 2012

    Jack

    i want to use him as a pillow

  • […] PRINCE RANDIAN – The Human Caterpillar – The Human Marvels …Prince Randian, the Human Caterpillar. Prince Randian, from British Guiana, had no limbs at all. He was brought to the US by P.T. Barnum in 1889 and became … […]

  • Reply March 27, 2013

    Karl Komec

    I saw him in ‘Freaks’ in a theatre. When he began to roll that cig you could hear the audience hold their breath(s). When he lit the cig the audience EXPLODED with applause and zeal and delight!!!

  • […] TheHumanMarvelsThe More You Know: Prince Randian spoke Hindi, English, French, and German. He was married and had 4 […]

  • Reply December 20, 2016

    red

    He is like the guy in the Metallica One video except this “one” doesn’t know Mose code so he can’t signal out to just “Kill Me Now”

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