Carny Folk: The World's Weirdest Sideshow Acts

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Kensington Publishing Corporation, 2005 - Performing Arts - 221 pages
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Here spectators will see Atasha the Gorilla Girl, Combustible Kira, Lionel the Lion-Faced Man, Otis the Frog Boy, Serpentina the Snake Girl, and more than forty other legendary sideshow acts. From P.T. Barnum's albinos and "Siamese" twins, to the traveling oddity museums linked to circuses and carnivals, to a whole new generation of "carny kids," Carny Folk reveals the strange, fantastic, and misunderstood world of the side show attraction. This captivating anthology pulls back the curtain on fifty of the most famous side show celebrities of all time, revealing the astounding, the curious, and the little-known facts behind such subjects as:
- Joseph Carey Merrick: "The Elephant Man" claimed that his deformities were caused by the shock his pregnant mother experienced when she was crushed under the feet of an elephant.
- Melvin Burkhart: The "father" of "human blockhead" acts, he could actually drive a spike or an ice pick into his head without flinching.
- Bettie Lou Williams: Born with two bodies--one head, four legs, and three arms--she made her debut in Robert Ripley's first "Believe-It-Or-Not" Odditorium at the 1934 World's Fair in Chicago.
- Tom Thumb: Discovered by P.T. Barnum in 1842, the singing, dancing sensation stood 25 inches tall and weighed a mere 15 pounds.

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User Review  - Sullywriter - LibraryThing

Fascinating collection of brief autobiographical profiles of "human curiosities" who performed in carnivals and circuses. Read full review

About the author (2005)

Francine Hornberger is the owner of Hornberger Publishing Services, a packaging, writing, and editorial firm based in New York City. She has written nearly twenty books, including Mistresses of Mayhem: The Book of Women Criminals and The World's Greatest Psychics.

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