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GRACE GILBERT – The Redheaded Bearded Lady

The redheaded Grace Hester Gilbert was born on February 2nd in 1876 on a small farm near Nettle Lake, Ohio. She was the youngest of four children and the only one in the family to be born covered in a layer of silken hair. By the time she was 18 she was being exhibited full-time…

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Five Freak Show Freaks Who Should be Famous

There are a handful of freaks and human oddities who captured the imaginations of all who bore witness to their visage. This upper echelon of famous freaks consists of household names like The Elephant Man, The Two Headed Boy of Bengal, Edward Mordrake, The Lobster Boy, Jo-Jo the Dog-Faced Boy and a few others. These…

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The Origins of the Freak Show – Part One

People who are visually different have always been subject to attention. In different eras these individuals were labelled as monsters, freaks and human oddities. It is human nature to speculate and obsess about those born ‘different’ and it is also in our nature to feel disquieted by their appearance. Freaks have always been studied, documented…

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JOHN COFFEY – The Living Skeleton Dude

As far as human curiosities go, The Living Skeleton was always a classic attraction. Living Skeletons, sometimes referred to as ‘shadows’ in the exhibition business, were generally adult men afflicted with some sort of consumption disease and their emaciated presence was practically a standard in every circus, exhibition or sideshow for over 100 years. That…

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SIDONIA DE BARCSY – The Bearded Lady Baroness

Unlike many of her bearded-lady contemporaries – the Baroness Sidonia de Barcsy was a genuine member of a royal family. Sidonia was born whisker free on May 1, 1866 in Hungary. She remained sans mane until shortly after she gave birth to her son at the age of 19. Her son, Nicu, was a dwarf and was destined to stand less than three feet in height. The Baroness, meanwhile, began to sprout facial hair and in a few short months Sidonia possessed a full beard measuring nearly 9 inches in length.