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Thread: Glamour shots of carnival “freaks” of the 1800s were oddly touching (NSFL)

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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Default Glamour shots of carnival “freaks” of the 1800s were oddly touching (NSFL)

    This kind of reminds me that I still haven't been able to find Todd Browning's "Freaks" yet. The woman who gave birth from two V's - never heard of that before....


    Glamour shots of carnival "freaks" of the 1800s were oddly touching



    secret historycarnivalsanatomyCharles eisenmannphotography
    Jun 27, 2012 8:30 AM



    Glamour shots of carnival “freaks” of the 1800s were oddly touching

    Throughout his career, Charles Eisenmann photographed thousands of sideshow performers seeking portraits for their résumés to send to carnival and circus publicists. These pictures oscillate between amusing ("the educated horse!") and bittersweet (there's something terrifically morbid about a man marketing his massively distended colon). But when you had a bad case of hypertrichosis (like Jojo The Dog-Faced Boy) or Milroy's disease (like giant-footed Fanny Mills, above), career options weren't legion.
    Eisenmann began shooting sideshow performers in New York City prior to 1870. Explains Syracuse University of his practice:


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    A lower class area that was the hub of popular entertainment, the Bowery was known for its cheap photographic galleries and dime museums. Here Eisenmann discovered his clientele. Dime museums were modeled on P.T. Barnum's American Museum on Broadway which exhibited various human "curiosities" as well as many unusual and questionable "scientific" exhibits. Similar in many respects to the circus sideshows, these museums featured human "freaks" who displayed their odd physiognomies and performed before gawking visitors. To help these performers market themselves, Eisenmann and his successor Frank Wendt supplied them with small photographs that they could sell or distribute to publicists.
    You can see hundreds more of Eisenmann's sideshow photographs at Syracuse University Library's Ronald G. Becker Collection. Here's a selection of his promotional photos.


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    Jo Jo, The Dog-Faced Boy.


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    "Human skeleton" I.W. Sprague with his wife and children.

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    "The Wild Men of Borneo."

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    "Eddie Masher, Skeleton Dude."

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    Lionel, The Lion-Faced Boy.

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    A 26-month-old "hairy baby."

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    Prince Randion.

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    "Mahomet, the Educated Horse."

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    Anne Leek, the armless lady.

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    Felix Wehrle, "The Elastic Man."

    Four-legged Myrtle Corbin, who bore two children from her first vagina and three from her second.

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    Francesco Lentini, the three-legged man.

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    I've read that the story about Myrtle Corbin giving birth from both vaginas was untrue, that it had been made up to enhance her 'freak' story as a marketing ploy.


    This made me laugh:

    From Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine by George M. Gould and Walter L. Pyle:

    Wells a describes Mrs. B., aged twenty, still alive and healthy. The duplication in this case begins just above the waist, the spinal column dividing at the third lumbar vertebra, below this point everything being double. Micturition and defecation occur at different times, but menstruation occurs simultaneously. She was married at nineteen, and became pregnant a year later on the left side, but abortion was induced at the fourth month on account of persistent nausea and the expectation of impossible delivery. Whaley, in speaking of this case, said Mrs. B. utilized her outside legs for walking; he also remarks that when he informed her that she was pregnant on the left side she replied, "I think you are mistaken; if it had been on my right side I would come nearer believing it;"--and after further questioning he found, from the patient's observation, that her right genitals were almost invariably used for coitus.

    http://www.phreeque.com/myrtle_corbin.html
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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Was Mrs. B the same person as Myrtle Corbin?

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    Yes, her married name according the phreeque site.
    It's no longer a dog whistle, it's a fucking trombone


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    Was Eddie Masher the model for Mr. Peanut?
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    Prince Randian always interested me ever since I saw his picture as a kid. He's in the Tod Browning movie Freaks
    It's no longer a dog whistle, it's a fucking trombone


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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by witchcurlgirl View Post




    Prince Randian always interested me ever since I saw his picture as a kid. He's in the Tod Browning movie Freaks
    This was the first one I had heard about, too. I think he was called the Human Caterpillar.

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    The guy in the header picture was really handsome.

    I.W. Sprague and Eddie Masher, did they have that disease where your body doesn't metabolize fat?
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    A*O
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    My nephew has that Stretchy Skin thing (Ehlers Danlos Syndrome). It's great for gross party tricks. The downside is an increased risk of heart problems.
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    Quote Originally Posted by A*O View Post
    My nephew has that Stretchy Skin thing (Ehlers Danlos Syndrome). It's great for gross party tricks. The downside is an increased risk of heart problems.
    that doesn't sound fun. (Having the syndrome, not the party tricks part.)
    "AND WHEN YOU BECAME DENISE, I TOLD ALL YOUR COLLEAGUES, THOSE CLOWN COMICS, TO FIX THEIR HEARTS OR DIE."

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    A*O
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    Meh, you wouldn't know he was 'different' unless he decides to go all Mr Stretchy.
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    well, I made the mistake of looking at the wiki page for Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and all their gloom and doom symptoms. lol I'm glad your nephew is doing OK.
    "AND WHEN YOU BECAME DENISE, I TOLD ALL YOUR COLLEAGUES, THOSE CLOWN COMICS, TO FIX THEIR HEARTS OR DIE."

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    Thanks for posting this, I am fascinated by old carnivals and sideshow acts (even though it's sad they had to do this kind of stuff for a living).

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    Quote Originally Posted by MohandasKGanja View Post
    This kind of reminds me that I still haven't been able to find Todd Browning's "Freaks" yet.
    Don't know if you're looking for the DVD specifically, but it's actually free (and legal!) to download or stream from here: Freaks : Tod Browning : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive
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    Oh my my... oh hell yes!

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