By Marc Hartzman
A desirable investigate the background of the yankee sideshow and its performers. examine what is genuine, what is pretend, and what is simply downright strange. you will have most likely heard of Tom Thumb. The Elephant guy. Chang and Eng, the unique Siamese twins. yet what approximately Eli Bowen, the legless acrobat? Myrtle Corbin, the four-legged lady? Or Prince Randian, the human torso? a majority of these and extra have been stars through the heyday of the yankee sideshow, from 1840 to 1950. American Sideshow chronicles the lives of really impressive performers, analyzing those courageous and outstanding curiosities, not only as sideshow points of interest, yet as humans, delving into the lives they led and the way they have been capable of overcome their abnormalities. American Sideshow discusses the increase and fall of the unique sideshows and their next substitute through modern self-made freaks. With the development of contemporary medication, the actual abnormalities are disappearing, both via therapy or prevention; and, satirically, those self same technological developments now give the chance to alter bodies at will. it really is awesome how effortless it's to have your tongue forked, horns surgically implanted, or your earlobes got rid of. There also are modern day giants, fire-eaters, fire-breathers, sword-swallowers, glass-eaters, human blockheads, and, oh, a lot more. those attention-grabbing personalities are celebrated via intimate biographies paired with lovely images. nearly 2 hundred performers from the earlier a hundred and sixty years are featured, giving readers a finished and occasionally amazing view of the background of the yankee sideshow.
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Additional info for American sideshow: an encyclopedia of history's most wondrous and curiously strange performers
And late in life, the Coney Island Dreamland Circus Side Show. He occasionally was teamed with the Armless Wonder Charles Tripp. The two were featured in a famous photo with Bowen steering a bicycle being pedaled by his armless partner (see page 282). At age twenty-six, Bowen married Mattie Haines, who was just sixteen. The two produced four fully limbed sons. According to his great-great-granddaughter Gabrielle Bowen, he did not like little boys and wanted daughters. Nevertheless, he often posed for photos with his wife, the boys, and a pet goat—who may have been treated like a daughter.
The giant was often pictured with a Chinese bride named King-Foo—likely just for show. An article in the Kansas City, Missouri, Times in 1886 reported that Chang was single but considering marriage, though he declined to comment on the young lady. The article also claimed that Chang had intended to become an American citizen and make his home in Kansas City. It seems the giant changed his mind, as there are no further mentions of Chang the Kansas City Giant. Other sources say he did indeed find love, but it was in Australia that he met his wife.
Her path to fame began in Vermont, where she was born as Hannah Perkins. She was a normal young girl until age twelve, when puberty unleashed its mighty fury. Rambunctious hormones transformed her into a whole lot of woman. By the time she turned seventeen, the scales were thrust up to 500 pounds. Not only was she heavy, but she stood over six feet tall. As Hannah continued to beef up, she found someone to share her curvaceous cushion with—a Living Skeleton named John Battersby. Her husband was an extreme opposite, weighing just fifty-two pounds.
American sideshow: an encyclopedia of history's most wondrous and curiously strange performers by Marc Hartzman