Smithsonian Magazine features a wonderful article this month on the ‘Tin Noses Shop’ of London. The London General Hospital’s Masks for Facial Disfigurement Department, founded by sculptor Francis Derwent Wood, created astounding prosthetic faces for the wounded soldiers of World War I. The prosthetic masks were actually fashioned of galvanized and lightweight copper and…

pickled-punk deformed baby

PICKLED PUNKS – Marvels Under Glass

Picked Punks have been a part of every well stocked cabinet of curiosity and perhaps the most controversial of all sideshow exhibits. A ‘Pickled Punk’ is a sideshow term for a preserved human fetus, usually deformed and usually displayed as a specimen in a jar or other vessel. The practice of preserving and displaying prodigious…

OLIVER – The Humanzee

  A Human Marvel, perhaps? Oliver was different from all other apes, very different. During his initial run in the freak shows of the 1970’s Oliver was billed as a missing link, as a hybrid of man and chimpanzee, a ‘humanzee’. This claim was substantiated with a bold medical statement claiming that Oliver possessed 47…

THE GREAT WALDO – The Regurgitating Geek

Did you know that the word ‘geek’ has its historic foundation in sideshow? Historically, a geek was a sideshow performer who ate bizarre or unexpected things. Waldo’s talent was unique, certainly unique enough to be called ‘Great’.


It is somewhat alarming to discover that many individuals born so incredibly different remain relatively unknown to history. Other than the specific nature of their afflictions, old anatomical catalogs make mention of many very special people, describe them in great detail, and yet often names – and other human aspects – are neglected or omitted….