It’s terribly upsetting to think that not all that long ago if a person was born with a physical deformity, they probably had to live with it their entire life. Medical advances since mean that many issues can be addressed with surgical procedures. But a century ago, if you were afflicted in this way, often the only way you could pay your way was to get a job working in a travelling circus as a performer or act. Labelled ‘a freak’, life was tough. But many prospered due to their indomitable spirit and brought up families and thrived. Let’s meet some:
Alice Doherty, aka The Minnesota Woolly Baby
Unzie the Albino
Isaac Sprague, aka The Living Skeleton
Two ladies, one born with a condition meaning her feet grew to gargantuan sizes and another lady, born without arms.
Pip and Flip.
Minnie Woolsey, aka Koo-Koo The Bird Girl, who suffered from Virchow-Seckel Syndrome.
‘The Legless Acrobat’ and his family.
‘The Human Pincushion’.
This performer suffered from Ectrodactyly, which causes hands and feet to appear almost as lobster claws.
The two-headed man.
The four-legged girl.
Ella ‘Camel Girl’ Harper.
The smallest person to ever live, Lucia Zarate. At 18 years of age, Lucia weighed in at just over 4lbs.
A bearded lady named Annie Jones.