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)
The Human Owl (1886 – 1955)
Martin Joe Laurello was able to spin his head around 180 degrees due to a few dislocated vertebrae. He would do it just for fun, but then he was noticed by popular circus acts and was welcomed to many sideshows.
Frank ‘Cannonball’ Richards (1887 – 1969)
Frank Richards was best known for exploding cannonballs into his stomach and survive. Constantly. In fact, his act was known as the Human Punching Bag. He even let his friends punch him in the gut, just like Houdini. Sometimes, audience members were allowed to jump into the ring and try their best to beat him up!