ByJancy Richardson, writer at
To avoid fainting, keep repeating 'It's only a movie...It's only a movie...'
Jancy Richardson

American Horror Story: Freak Show redefined and found joy in what makes us 'freaks', often looking at real people throughout history for inspiration.

Here's 9 vintage photos of remarkable people from real Freak Shows of the past - people daring to be different in a world that could be cruel, who would surely have found friends in Elsa Mars' 'Freaks'...

1. The Three Legged Man

Name: Frank Lentini

Condition: Polymelia

Facts: Lentini not only had multiple legs, but two sets of working genitals - this was actually the result of a half-formed twin fused to his body. He had four children, and toured the world as part of sideshow attractions until he died in 1966.

2. The Living Skeleton

Name: Rosa Plemons

Condition: Progressive Muscular Atrophy

Facts: Plemons weighed only one pound at birth in 1873 and joined the sideshow in a tragic manner - she was kidnapped from her parents at the age of 19. The 'Living Skeleton' act was made famous by Isaac W. Sprague, a well-known Freak Show performer.

3. The Anatomical Wonder

Name: Anato Hayes

Condition: Unknown

Facts: Hayes could move his internal organs and muscles around his belly so dramatically that his spine was visible from the front!

4. The Bohemian Twins

Name: Rosa & Josefa Blazek

Condition: Pygopagus conjoined twins

Facts: The twins worked in sideshows in Paris after leaving the small village where they were born in 1878: Skrejšov , Czech Republic. They were eroticized in their publicity, even claiming to have had a son, Franz, who was marketed as 'The Son of Two Mothers'.

5. The Living Venus De Milo

Name: Frances O'Connor

Condition: Amelia

Facts: Frances was one of many fabulous Freak Show participants to demonstrate their abilities despite their missing limbs. Another famous example was Carl Unthan (pictured below) who played violin with his feet and even inspired soldiers in warzones by counselling them after limb loss and disability through injury.

6. Lionel, the Lion-Faced Man

Name: Stephan Bibrowski

Condition: Hirsuitism

Facts: Bibrowski's hirsuitism was sold to the public with fantastic stories: his mother had been attacked by a lion during pregnancy, leaving the boy with the hair and eyesight of a big cat... He was a good painter and a brillain acrobat, enjoying a full life and education despite his oddity. He was almost totally toothless, but earned a lot of cash - $11,000 a week in today's money at the peak of his career.

7. The Dwarf Fat Lady

Name: Sophia Schultz

Condition: Dwarfism

Facts: Schultz combined two famous side show acts - the little person and the fat lady act. Later, she even added Bearded Lady to that roster when she started spontaneously sprouting facial hair.

8. The Camel Girl

Name: Ella Harper

Condition: congenital genu recurvatum

Facts: Ella starred in W. H. Harris’s Nickel Plate Circus around 1886, and may have been married at some point in her well-paid career.

Which of these amazing people inspired you the most?

Source: Pinterest, Fun Guerilla, The Human Marvels, Mental Floss


Latest from our Creators