This repository of biographical information stands as a testament and tribute to the remarkable lives of those prodigious human beings featured herein.
You are not witnessing exploitation. The majority of these peerless people chose to display their god-given assets in an effort to better their lives. In fact exploitation was a rather rare thing in the history of human exhibition. When exploitation did occur, these very special individuals carried themselves with a dignity that very few “normal” folks could muster.
Many of these freaks found fortune, love, family and fame during their lives due to people like you – the inquisitive and curious. Together, you would gather into a great hall, royal court, tent or storefront to witness these extraordinary men and women in all their splendor.
You would not gather just to stare with mouth agape as the common misconception denotes. These exhibitions were instead enlightening and educational experiences filled with questions, answers and personal interactions.
I try my best to carry on that tradition of edification by researching, preserving and recording the true stories of these triumphant human beings and by passing that accumulated knowledge unto you.
You will note that herein human marvel often replaces much of the common vernacular attributed to people of unique physical attributes. In earlier times monstrosity was used prolifically to describe anomalous human beings. The word sounds harsh until you realize that the Latin root monstrum is a synonym for miracle.
The term freak is rarely used here due mainly to the modern usage and current negative connotation of the word. Etymologically speaking the word freak is an accurate epithet, meaning simply that which deviates from the expected, and many marvels held the title with pride during the heyday of human exhibition. That was until 1903 when a group of human attractions, under contract to James Bailey, organized into the Protective Order of Prodigies and fervently protested the use of the word. Their bid failed miserably and the wonder in the word continued to decline. But I have decided to honor the wishes of the Protective Order of Prodigies and indeed follow in the example of the great P.T. Barnum, who never used the word freak during his career, and use human marvel when describing these wondrous human beings.
On one final note, I would like to point out that I am not a sideshow historian. Sideshow was a very specific period of time in history and there are others far more versed in that history. It just so happens that my field of study often overlaps into sideshow. I am more accurately described as a teratological historian. Today teratology generally refers to the medical study of teratogenesis or the occurrences of congenital malformations and grossly deformed individuals. However previously, as far back as the 17 century, teratology referred to the discourse and study of prodigies, marvels and everything abnormally extraordinary.
I study and chronicle the extraordinary individual, the miraculous man and the human marvel.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
J. Tithonus Pednaud was born MAY 28 1976 in Sudbury, Ontario and he currently resides in Toronto.
An eclectic and somewhat eccentric human being, his interest in the unusual began in childhood and eventually narrowed to teratological history through a chance encounter.
Tithonus is a graduate of Laurentian University, where he majored in classical studies and theology. He is also a multiple graduate of Cambrian College and attended Humber College in Toronto, Ontario. He has worked as a funeral director, teacher, voice actor, carnival worker, copywriter and business development officer.
This site is dedicated to highlighting the remarkable lives of those born exceedingly different. Human marvels who overcame seemingly horrific, socially crippling deformities and adverse situations to stand as uplifting testaments to human spirit and serve as inspiring examples of human tenacity.
The work of J. Tithonus Pednaud has been featured in various media including CBC Radio, Rue Morgue Magazine, Bizarre Magazine, G4TV and many others. He also occasionally lectures on human genetic variety and monstrous origins.
His first book is also now available.