Sideshow Anomalies

Bangladesh Tree Man – rare disease causes tree-like branches to grow from his body

In Bangladesh, Abul Bajandra is known as the “Tree Man” because of an extremely rare genetic condition known as Epidermodysplasia Verruciformis, or "Tree Man" disease, which causes large bark-like tentacles, resembling tree branches, to grow from his body. In Bajandra’s instance, the tree-like branches grow from his fingers, palms, and feet and are so large and cumbersome, he cannot eat, drink, brush his teeth, or take a shower without assistance. In fact, according to Bajandra, about the only thing he can do with his hands is scratch his neck. He relies on his 21-year-old wife, Halima, to feed and take care of him. Bajandra first noticed the growths on his legs in 2006 when he was 15-years-old. Doctors tried medicines but the growths continued to spread across

“Bionic girl”, incapable of tiring, feeling hunger, pain, nor fear – has no sense of danger

Doctors dubbed 7-year-old Olivia Farnsworth of Huddersfield, England, the “bionic girl” because a rare chromosome condition (chromosome 6 deletion) renders her incapable of feeling pain, hunger, or exhaustion. Her mother, 32-year-old Niki Trepak, explained to reporters: “Doctors have called her the bionic girl; she's made of steel - and she's got no sense of danger.” Geneticists say they have never come across the disorder before and believe Olivia is the only person in the world with these unusual characteristics. Hit and drug by a car, she never even cried Lest you think Olivia has an admirable condition, recognize that her rare disorder also renders her impervious to fear or the normal human rules of self-preservation. For instance, little Oliva was run over by a car – and drug hundreds of feet underneath it –

The history of the Freak Show and the legendary freaks who promoted the popular attractions

The history of the freak show Freak shows were popular attractions during the mid 19th to mid 20th centuries until changes in societal attitudes towards handicapped persons and tightening of local laws prohibiting “exhibition of deformed human beings” led to the decline of the freak show as a form of entertainment. Featuring attractions such as deformed humans and animals, unusual physical performers, “pickled punks” (abnormal fetuses preserved in glass jars), and occasional hoaxes (e.g. “bouncers” - fake pickled punks made from rubber), the freak show has captivated audiences since as early as the 16th century. The 1600's  thru 1800's By 1600, severe physical human deformities and animal abnormalities were no longer deemed bad omens or manifestations of evil spirits residing within the person’s body and the public display

21-year-old Florida woman obviously misunderstands men’s motiviations – adds third breast to make herself unattractive

21-year-old Jasmine Tridevil (I’m guessing this isn’t her real name) says she was rejected by fifty plastic surgeons before one cosmetic surgeon (licensed?) agreed to perform an unusual surgery to add a third breast in between Tridevil’s two natural breasts. At a cost of more than $20,000, the surgeon’s only condition was that she sign a non-disclosure agreement to protect his identity. The doctor constructed the third breast out of silicone, skin tissue taken from her stomach, and used an artificial implant to create the nipple for her new breast. The areola was tattooed on by a tattoo artist. When asked why she sought such a bizarre procedure, Tridevil gave two reasons – (1) she wants to be a reality TV star (subsequent to her surgery, there's plenty of

Woman spends $50,000 to transform herself into real-life blow-up sex doll

30-year-old Victoria Wild had great aspirations.  She wanted puffy pouty lips, gigantic breasts, and huge eyelashes so she could look more like an inflatable sex toy.  Wild went through several operations to obtain size 32G breasts followed by rhinoplasty, bottom implants, lip implants, and botox injections.  $50,000 dollars later (she funded her surgeries with various modeling jobs), it looks like she accomplished her goal. Wild heralds from Cannes, France and says her obsession with looking like a blow-up doll began when she visited Latvia as a teenager.  Ten years later, her boyfriend Simon encourage her to pursue her dream.  Wild told The Metro that she is pleased with the result and her boyfriend is also excited about her new look: “Simon loves my sex doll look. I’m a

Woman wears corset day and night to deform waist into freaky wasp-shape silhouette

24-year-old Berlin native Michele Koebke has a goal in life - to set the world record for the World's Tiniest Waist.  In order to achieve this goal, and create the wasp-waist silhouette that was so popular in the 19th century, she has worn a tight corset every day and night for the past three years (she removes the corset to shower).  When she began her quest, her waist measured a mere 25 inches.  Thus far she's shrunk it down to 20 inches and intends to get it down to 15 inches before she stops - or before she is forced to stop.  With a waist so abnormally small, her stomach has been pushed from its normal horizontal position rendering her unable to consume a normal

Mind-reading girl set to be added to worldwide registry of people with phenomenal savant talents

A 9-year-old mind-reading savant is discovered In 2013, a nine-year-old autistic girl from Sharjah, India was discovered to have an extraordinary ability to feel her mother’s emotions and read her mother’s thoughts without touch or any other physical medium.  Nandana Unnikrishnan was revealed to the world in April 2013 and she could be the next name added to a worldwide registry of people with savant talents.  Savant syndrome is a condition in which a person with serious mental disabilities demonstrates profound and prodigious abilities far in excess of what is considered normal.  Nandana Unnikrishnan’s parents began to notice her unusual reactions to her mother’s thoughts at an early age.  When her mother felt or thought something, nine-year-old Nandana would react – without being told.  Before long

Raymond Robinson – the true story behind the legend of “Charlie No Face” (aka The Green Man)

In the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area, children are often told the tale of a monstrous creature, a faceless man that wanders the streets at night, stalking the roads, looking for prey.  They call him the “Green Man” or “Charlie No Face”.  “If you go out after dark, Charlie No Face may grab you.”  “If you stay out too late,  you may run across the Green Man who will steal your face to place over the gaping hole where his  face once was.”  “He roams the hollow late at night and chases the parkers and the loafers away.” It’s a right of passage in the area - young people frighten themselves and others with stories of the Green Man or Charlie No Face. The legend says that

German Super Baby – mutated gene gives baby superhuman strength

  Superman Lives In 1999, a 24-year-old former professional sprinter gave birth to a bouncing baby boy in Berlin, Germany.  For the first four years, the baby boy had a somewhat normal life - until researchers found out he was a "super baby". The super-strong child was examined by Markus Schuelke, a neurologist at the University Medical Centre (Berlin, Germany), just after birth but researchers are not releasing much information and the family wishes to remain private.  What they will say is that the boy is able to hold weights weighing nearly 10 pounds out to his side with his arms completely extended.  Most adults have trouble doing this with half that weight.  At 4 years old, the boy is extremely muscular displaying bulging calves and biceps.  His muscle mass is

Grady Stiles – the Lobster Boy

Grady Franklin Stiles, Jr., born in Pittsburgh on July 18, 1937, suffered from ectrodactyly, a condition where the fingers and toes are fused together to form a crab-claw like appendage. Ectrodactyly literally means "monstrous fingers" and is generally a highly hereditary condition (as evidenced by the Stiles family) although it can occur spontaneously. Grady’s family had a long history of the condition. His father was a sideshow attraction and shortly after Grady was born, added him to the show when he was six years old and booking him as “The Lobster Boy”. Grady was married twice and had four children, two of whom were also born with ectrodactyly. The Stiles family lived in Gibsonton, Florida when not travelling (strangely, many other carnival performers also lived in

Schlitzie the Pinhead – tragic story of a famous sideshow “freak” performer

“Schlitzie” was born Simon Metz on September 10, 1890 in the Bronx. From birth Schlitzie looked like any other baby boy but as the years progressed, it became apparent that he suffered from microcephaly, a condition where the face grows at a normal rate but the head does not. Microcephaly bestows upon the person an abnormally small head (often only half the size of a normal head) and sloping forehead. Known as “chaus”, “rat people” or “pinheads”, the condition almost always results in mental retardation and diminished brain capacity. The cause of the condition varies. Sometimes it can be caused when a child’s mother consumes excessive alcohol. There is no cure. As one of the greatest circus sideshow performers in history, it is odd that many

Minnie Woolsey – Koo Koo the Bird Girl

Koo Koo, the Bird Girl was born Minnie Woolsey in Georgia in 1880. Fate dealt Minnie a bad hand – she was born with a rare skeletal disorder, Virchow-Seckel syndrome. Virchow-Seckel syndrome is also known as bird-headed dwarfism, Harper's syndrome or Seckel dwarfism. It is characterized by growth retardation and dwarfism, an extremely small head, a narrow bird-like face with a beak-like nose, large eyes with an unusual slant, a recessed jaw line, and mild mental retardation. It is very rare. Woolsey’s precise date of death is unknown but reports exist of a car nearly running over her in 1960 making her at least 80 years old. In addition to Virchow-Seckel syndrome, Woolsey was also bald, toothless, and almost totally blind. Woolsey was taken from a

Prince Randian (The Human Torso or Human Caterpillar)

Prince Randian, billed as the Living Torso, was a side show performer during the 1930’s. He starred in the landmark film, Freaks, where he was mistakenly credited as “Rardion”. Born without arms and legs, Randian was often introduced as “the human caterpillar who crawls on his belly like a reptile”. Nobody knows Prince Randian’s real name and very little is known of his early life. He was born in Demarara, British Guiana in 1871 to British Indian servants. He was brought to the United States by the famous P.T. Barnum (of Barnum and Bailey circuses) in 1889 and began his career performing in dime shows and museums and for a long period of time, Coney Island. Randian was a crowd favorite when he demonstrated his remarkable

Lady Olga – the Bearded Lady

Jane Barnell, a “bearded lady” who used the stage name Lady Olga, was born February 28, 1877 in Wilmington, North Carolina. According to historians, Jane was already bearded at four years old when Barnell’s mother sold Jane to the Great Orient Family Circus. Her deformity caused her mother to believe she was bewitched so she sold Jane to the circus when her father was away on business. The Circus took her to Germany.  Jane quickly fell ill in Berlin with Typhoid Fever and expected to die, was left in an orphanage, where she was later found by her father and returned to her home. She would later comment, "I have never been able to find out if Mamma got any money for me or just gave