Bizarre Early 20th Century Circus Photos Have People Questioning What Went On Behind the Scenes

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Back in the late 1800’s until the early 1900’s, traveling sideshows were at its peak. Many times, these circus’s would bring along animals and people with incredible talents for pit stops all over the world. A lot of the time, these circus’s would feature bizarre acts and creepy talents, like sword swallowing or breathing fire. A lot of the time, they would also feature people with physical deformities who performed comedy acts or had interesting talents.

These photos depict the best of the best! They were truly dedicated to their practices in the circus and delivered incredible acts of entertainment despite the obvious exploitation of some of the performer’s abnormalities. A lot of these famous performers were featured in American Horror Story: Freak Show.

Koo-Koo (1879 – 1960)

Koo Koo, the Bird Girl, was born in 1880 and reportedly “rescued” from a mental asylum to enter the circus world. She was diagnosed with a rare congenital growth skeletal disorder called Virchow-Seckel syndrome. This explains her short stature, small head, and narrow bird-like face. She also had a receding jaw, large ears, and mild intellectual disability.

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The Human Owl (1886 – 1955)

Martin Joe Laurello spent three years rotating his head for the sole purpose of spinning it to 180 degrees. This practice, along with a few dislocated vertebrae, gave him the role of The Human Owl in many popular sideshows.

 

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