This week, the famed singer and performer Julia Pastrana
was laid to rest near her birthplace in Sinaloa, Mexico.
Julia Pastrana died in 1860. Her husband had embalmed her body and exhibited it in a touring display for many years afterward, together with the remains of their infant son. [more inside]
posted by Countess Elena
on Feb 16, 2013 -
Stoney Knows How
is a half-hour film by Alan Govenar and Bruce “Pacho” Lane that portrays Leonard "Stoney" St. Clair, tattoo artist and former sideshow performer. Affected with rheumatoid arthritis when he was four, and with stunted growth, Stoney left Appalachia at fifteen to join the circus as a sword swallower and learned to tattoo soon after. The film is about as safe for work as a 1970s tattoo parlor, which is to say, not very.
posted by hydrophonic
on Dec 5, 2009 -
J. Tithonus Pednaud herein presents for your edification and enlightenment a curious collection of human marvels
. You may call them oddities, freaks or monstrosities—whatever you will—but I call them incredible, persevering, resourceful and marvelous human beings. I chronicle their inspirational stories of triumph over nature, fate and the judgment of man. [Previously seen here. See also.]
posted by parudox
on Jan 3, 2009 -
The Greatest Sideshow Video Ever Made.
"The Greatest Sideshow Video Ever Made was shot at the Moore theater in Seattle in 1992. The oddball cousin of Seattle's grunge music scene, the Jim Rose Circus Sideshow mixed vintage sideshow acts with novel stunts never before seen. Previously available only on VHS tape or DVD, this mind-blowing collection of feats of human daring is now available online in six parts for your viewing pleasure: 1 2 3 4 5 6
As an added bonus, watch as Eddie Vedder
of Pearl Jam participates." [via mefi projects
] [more inside]
posted by stet
on Jul 13, 2008 -
's 1932 cinematic masterpiece Freaks
tells the story of a close-knit group of circus sideshow workers who are wronged and take revenge. The film's use of real-life freaks
so disturbed audiences that some ran screaming from theaters, distributors refused to handle the film, and it was banned in Britain for over 30 years. [more inside]
posted by flug
on Jul 8, 2008 -
Virtual Tour of Steve's Weird House.
"Stephen resides in a Victorian home that is a cluttered combination of museum, library and art gallery, decorated with that old-world Addam's Family charm. Not only is every inch of every wall covered with art, but all the ceilings are also decorated." (Via
posted by Astro Zombie
on Dec 23, 2007 -
Sword swallowing uncertainties
The sword passes within millimetres of the heart, aorta, and other vitals but, surprisingly, few deaths related to sword swallowing have been described. A Canadian sword swallower did die, but that was after swallowing an umbrella.
posted by hank
on Nov 4, 2005 -
Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!
Step right up and see the Sideshow
. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, we have something here for everyone. See the freaks of nature
, the mutants
, the human oddities
, the sword swallowers
, the dime museum
, a special exhibit of sideshow banners
from the past, and yes, we even have, live before your very eyes, direct from the 21st century, special acts from the Coney Island Sideshow
. And for a small extra charge, a special section
of premier performers including exhibitions of pugilism
, as well as an exhibit of posters from Tod Browning's movie, Freaks
. The circus starts in a little over an hour and a half, so you have plenty of time to see these astounding wonders of the world.
posted by mischief
on Oct 26, 2005 -
LA-DEEEES AND GENTLEMEN!
STEP RIGHT UP! THE SHOW IS ABOUT TO BEGIN! The Strange and Unusual, the Freaks of Nature, the Shocking and the Bizarre! YOU won't BELiEVE your EYES!
posted by crunchland
on Oct 26, 2005 -
Area residents speak of hearing their cries
late in the night, a hellish screeching and squealing. Some even have seen them personally, appearing from nowhere in the dark hours... then scattering...
Police came through, but now they're gone /
In other words, the sideshow's on
. A peek into the infamous Oakland sideshow.
(Quicktime videos 1
posted by eddydamascene
on Mar 15, 2003 -
So you want to join the circus.
Well, it helps to have a speciality. Learn how to swallow swords
, twist balloon animals
, crack a bullwhip
, ride a unicycle
, spin plates
, breathe fire
, go to circus school
, throw knives
, or get started by street performing
. You may make it to the big time
, but beware of the consequences
, and careers gone awry
posted by Stan Chin
on Oct 6, 2002 -
The Hottentot Venus
is going home
. An African woman named Saarjite Baartman, apparently EXTREMELY overendowed in the buttock/labia department (second floor, next to men's shoes, watch the doors), she did the freakshow thing in Europe for five years in the early 19th c., was edited down at death to her relevant bits and pickled for posterity. Ever been to an actual state-fair freakshow? I saw the alligator lady in the late 70s somewhere in Kentucky. A morally complicated experience.
posted by luser
on Feb 21, 2002 -