Amazing Human Tongue Tricks

sideshow freaks Brad Byers sideshow performer   sideshow entertainer RecordSetter world record for Hottest Flame Extinguished with Tongue    Amazing Human Tongue Tricks sideshow tongue tricks   freak  amazing International Sideshow Performer

International Sideshow Performer Brad Byer – Extinguishes Propane Blow Torch On His Tongue

Brad Byers Sets New Tongue in Rat Traps World Record!!!

On May 9, 2015 sideshow performer, Brad Byers, released 12 rat traps on his tongue in 60 seconds; and while damaging his tongue in the process, Byers set a new world record. Byers holds other world records with Guinness, Record Holders Republic, RecordSetter, and Assist World Records.

Sideshow performer Brad Byers extinguished a propane blow torch on his tongue setting an official world record! RecordSetter lists Byers as holding the world record for “Hottest Flame Extinguished with Tongue”. Byers holds other world records with Guinness, Record Holders Republic, and Assist World Records.

Brad Byers is a modern-day sideshow performer known for his extreme sideshow performances, which include the following:
Brad Byers Tongue Stopping Fan sideshow freaks Brad Byers sideshow performer   sideshow entertainer RecordSetter world record for Hottest Flame Extinguished with Tongue    Amazing Human Tongue Tricks sideshow tongue tricks   freak  amazing International Sideshow Performer Stopping Metal Fan Blades with Tongue
Stopping Metal Fan Blades with Tongue
Sword Swallowing
Lying on a Bed of Nails
Pulling a Swan Through His Nose
Walking and Jumping on Broken Glass
Fun with a Staple Gun
Extinguishing Propane Blow Torch On His Tongue
Smashing Finger with Canned Goods
Snapping Animal Traps on Hands and Forearm
Snapping Rat Traps on Tongue
Straight Jacket Escape while Hula Hooping
Inserting Various Tools Into His Nose – referred to as a “Human toolbox”
Putting Tarantulas or Scorpions in Mouth

Brad Byers Tongue Stopping Fan sideshow freaks Brad Byers sideshow performer   sideshow entertainer  Amazing Human Tongue Tricks sideshow tongue tricks  Putting Tarantulas or Scorpions in Mouth  freak  amazing International Sideshow Performer Brad Byers spider in the mouth

Byers was born in October 8, 1959 in Moscow, Idaho. He joined a traveling circus as a juggler shortly after high school. Byer left the circus two years later to focus on television performances. At the age of 21 years, Byer added sword swallow to his performance and he is among several people in the world that are able to swallow a curved sword. Brad has appeared in five episodes of the Fox TV show “Guinness World Records Prime Time”, on “Late Night with David Letterman” and in the fourth (2009) and eighth (2013) seasons of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent”. Byers taped performances are currently being featured in Ripley’s Believe it or Not museums. During his career, Byer has performed in over 20 countries. Byers holds several world records and has been featured in various editions of the Guinness Book of Records.

Other Amazing Human Tongue Tricks

Archy Strange (aka “Bi0HAZARd”) demonstrates some amazing tricks with her split tongue in the following video:

Jessi Rose Cheak demonstrates 20 tongue tricks in the following video:

Datev Gallaghern (aka “Ladie Dottie”) makes an origami swan from a starburst wrapper using only her tongue in the following video:

2012 Miss USA, Olivia Culpo, ties a cherry stem with her tongue in the following video:

Other Facts About The Human Tongue

The human tongue is covered with taste buds, which are known to detect the following five tastes: bitter, sour, salty, sweet, and umami (the chemical responsible for umami is modosodium glutamate).

The human tongue imprint is as unique as a fingerprint.

The human tongue has eight muscles.

On average, women have shorter tongues than men.

Using a tongue scraper to clean the tongue is known to help prevent heart attacks, diabetes, pneumonia, premature births, osteoporosis, and male infertility.

In many parts of the world, sticking one’s tongue out at someone is considered an act of defiance; however, in the country of Tibet this act is used as a greeting.

The old saying “cats got your tongue” originated in ancient Assyria more than 2,500 years ago. In ancient Assyria, the tongues of criminals and conquered soldiers were cut out and fed to the cats of the Assyrian king.

Various other figures of speech involving the tongue are as follows:

tongue in cheek
tongue twister
to bite one’s tongue
slip of the tongue
speaking in tongues
forked tongue
silver tongue

In recent years, tongue piercing and tongue splitting have become common in many western countries. Up to 20 percent of young adults in these countries are believed to have at least one piece of body art in their tongue.

In 2008, a human tongue was found in the chicken risotto served up in a Slovenian hospital’s canteen. A doctor complained that a strange piece of meat on his plate was not chicken. After some intense bickering the piece of meat was sent away for testing and latter found to be part of a human tongue. After investigating the incident, Slovenian officials closed the canteen. However, hospital officials insist that patients’ body parts were never used in any of the dishes and that the doctor unwittingly dropped the tongue in his food after treating a patient.

longest human tongue sideshow freak   worlds longest human toungue sideshow freaks freaky tongue extremely long tongue amazingly long tongue
To see the

World’s Longest Human Tongue


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World’s Longest Human Tongue

Adrianne Lewis 2  sideshow freak   worlds longest tongue  Freak Sideshow  freaky long tongue amazingly long human tongue   extremely long tongue long tongued freak

Adrianne Lewis may have the world’s longest human tongue

So who has the world’s longest tongue? Well step right up and see these sideshow freaks and decide for yourself.

Adrianne Lewis may have the longest tongue in the world; at least that is what she says. This 18-year-old Michigan girl has a four inch tongue and has used it to make a name for herself on social media.
 sideshow freak Adrianne Lewis 3

Two years ago Lewis created a YouTube channel and since then her extraordinarily long tongue has gone viral and thousands of people have seen her use this long tongue to lick her nose, chin, and even her eye. Lewis calls herself “Long Tongue Lewis” on the internet.

sideshow freaks Adrianne Lewis 1

Although Lewis has not yet been officially recognized by the Guinness Book of World Record, she believes that her extremely long tongue will break the world record. Lewis has already been featured in Ripley’s Believe It or Not book.

Lewis appears to be embracing her new found fame. She recently tweeted the following on Twitter:
‏@LongTongueLewis “Am I famous enough to get on @DancingABC yet? I am an Internet sensation…”

sideshow freak  sideshow  social media freak social media sideshow   freak

But does Adrianne Lewis really have the longest tongue in the world. There are other contenders who might disagree.

The current official 2015 Guinness World Record is held by Nick Stoeberi. The following video shows Stoeberi’s amazing 10.1 centimeter (3.9763inches) tongue.

This girl from Quebec can stick her tongue all the way down her throat

Megan Lauren86 (aka “Super Tongue”) believes that she has the world’s longest & sexiest tongue!!

What do you think??

Blue Whale - the world’s largest existing animal and the heaviest animal that ever existed  sideshow freaks
In the animal world, the blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) has the largest tongue of all animals. The blue whale’s tongue weighs about 6,000 pounds and reaches nearly 14 feet in length.

long tongue sideshow freak   worlds longest tongue  Freak Sideshow  freaky long tongue   extremely long tongue  amazingly long tongued freak

For other sideshow freaks that can do amazing tongue tricks CLICK HERE!!!

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The No Pants Subway Ride

New York City Gives Us Another Wonderful Sideshow Event

Sideshow Freaks No Pants Subway Ride Berlin Germany January 2015 Sideshow of Life  Sideshow Annual Event Freak Improv Everywhere  sideshow performer  underwear  sideshow new york city girls in their underwear


In the sideshow that of life there are certain events that just bring out the freak in some of us, while providing entertainment for the rest of us. One such event happens every January in New York City, and in cities around the world – the No Pants Subway Ride.

Imagine getting on to the subway in New York and many of your fellow passengers appear to have forgotten something. Something that you just don’t forget when you are out in public and especially not in the middle of winter – THEIR PANTS. Yes, they are riding the subway without their pants. As you can see from the photos and videos this creates a bit of a surreal moment for the other passengers, especially for those who may not be aware of this annual event.

Sideshow Freaks   international event  Improv Everywhere  sideshow performers No Pants Subway Ride - January 2013 - New York City, USA  sideshow of life

The No Pants Subway Ride was originally started in 2002 by Improv Everywhere* in New York City with just seven participants (see video at the very bottom of this page). Over the years, the No Pants Subway Ride has grown into an international event with tens of thousands of participants in more than 60 cities throughout 25 countries on six continents (to my knowledge this has not been done in Antarctica yet). The No Pants Subway Ride has been celebrated in most of the major cities of the world, including New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Minneapolis, Chicago, Baltimore, Boston, St. Louis, Atlanta, Miami, Austin, Dallas, Charlotte, Portland, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Washington DC, Honolulu, Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Vancouver, London, Paris, Lyon, Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart, Basel, Stockholm, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Brussels, Rome, Milan, Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon, Bucharest, Warsaw, Vienna, Budapest, Prague, Istanbul, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Bangalore, Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, São Paulo, Buenos Aires and Mexico City.

sideshow freaks underwear sideshow international event freak No Pants Subway Ride - January 2014 - Buenos Aires, Argentina sideshows sideshow of life

The idea behind the No Pants Subway Ride is fairly straight forward. Passengers simply ride the subway (or in cities without a subway, the city’s commuter train) in the middle of winter without pants. Participants are requested to dress normally on their top halves and to otherwise act normally as they ride the subway without their pants. Yes, underclothes must be worn – only the pants are absent.
Sideshow Freaks Improv Everywhere No Pants Subway Ride - January 2012 - New York, USA Freak International event sideshow performer sideshow of life

Check out the photos and videos below and enjoy your virtual No Pants Subway Ride. But don’t freak out. In fact, if you happen to live in a city that has a subway or other type of commuter train and feel the spirit to participate in this event why don’t you take a real No Pants Subway Ride and enjoy the sideshow that is life.

Sideshow Freaks  International event Chicago  No Pants Subway Ride - January 2014 - Chicago, USA  sideshow of life  sideshow performer sideshow

* Improv Everywhere is a comedic performance art group that is based in New York City. Improv Everywhere carries out pranks, which the group calls “missions”, in public places, sometimes using thousands of performers. Improv Everywhere was formed in 2001 by Charlie Todd who had moved to New York City after graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 2009 Todd’s book about Improv Everywhere, “Causing a Scene” was released by Harper Collins. Improv Everywhere is huge on U-Tube with nearly two million subscribers. A feature length documentary, titled “We Cause Scenes”, about Improv Everywhere was released in 2013. This film can now be seen on both iTunes and Netflix, as well as, on other platforms. Improv Everywhere has been featured numerous times in both the national and international media, including The New York Times, The Today Show, and ABC’s Nightline.

No Pants Subway Ride – Berlin – January 2015

Sideshow Freaks Paris   International Event  Improv Everywhere  No Pants Subway Ride - January 2014 - Paris, France  sideshow of life side show performer  Paris  funny

No Pants Subway Ride – Paris – January 2014

No Pants Subway Ride – Bucharest January 2015

Sideshow Freaks London No Pants Subway Ride - January 2015 - London, Great Britain  sideshow of life sideshow performer  England

No Pants Subway Ride – London – January 2015

No Pants Subway Ride – Chicago January 2015

The original 2002 No Pants Subway Ride. Filmed by Improv Everywhere with a hidden camera

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Pitchmen of the Sideshows and Carnivals

Sideshow and Carnival Pitchmen

sideshow freaks sideshow pitchman carnival pitchman sideshow talker carnival circus sideshow freak freaks showman

The Sideshow Pitchman – An Introduction

Sideshow freaks and other extreme attractions were a big part of circus sideshows, carnivals and county fairs, but sideshows also had their aggressive, yet colorful, sideshow pitchmen, also known as “talkers”. These talkers could also be found working the five-and-dimes and the boardwalks across the United States with their hard-selling, flamboyant style of marketing. The sideshow pitchman was both an entertainer and a salesman, who captured the imagination of his audience with stories that were bigger-than-life, yet believable. The sideshow pitchman always exhibited the mark of a true showman, as he would first make his audience applaud and then take their money. The sideshow pitchman never used one word when four would suffice. As the sideshow pitchman ballyed his sideshow attraction with his distinctive brand of hyperbole and conspicuous use of superlatives, the audience, like a moth drawn to a light, was captivated by his enchanted narratives and soon cheerfully paid to see the sideshow freaks or other attractions that he offered them.

The Structure of the Sideshow Pitch

However, the colorful words and exaggerations were not the only ingredients needed to create a successful sideshow pitchman. There was a structure to the sideshow pitch that allowed it to work so well.

side show freak snake charmer lady  circus sideshow carnival sideshow performer

The first step was called “building the tip”. The “tip” was the sideshow term for the crowd that would gather in front of an attraction to hear the sideshow pitchman. A free show of some sort was given outside a sideshow to attract a tip. In the daytime, a beautiful girl in a revealing costume, often holding a big snake, was often used to build the tip. At night time, a fire-eater or fire juggler was used very successfully to build a tip. An extreme sideshow freak, such as a pinhead, or magic tricks were other draws that were often used to bring the crowd to the sideshow pitchman. "Making the opening" was a term referring to attracting the attention of everyone within earshot. The object was to assemble a crowd, anyone willing to pause for a moment to find out what all the excitement is about.

sideshow freaks fire-eater sideshow performer  fire juggler fire show sideshow  circus sideshow   circus performer

Once, the sideshow pitchman had built a tip, he now had to “freeze the tip”, the second step in a successful sideshow sales process. This phrase refers to holding the audience in place so that the talker can sell them. If you can get a few people, successfully mesmerized, this will in turn attract a larger crowd, as other people wonder “What are all those people looking at?” and decide to check it out. Sometimes a “stick” or shill was also used to subtly herd the tip into a tightly-packed bunch making it more difficult for anyone to leave the tip and much easier for them to stay to see the “draw”, something interesting that was designed to draw the tip closer to the bally platform. This was sometimes done with a real magic trick, or even just the illusion that a magic trick was going to be performed. For example, the sideshow pitchman might say that he is going to do a magic trick, put a dollar bill in his lapel, while telling the audience to watch the dollar bill. He may interrupt his bally several times to say “watch the dollar bill”, but never actually perform a magic trick. Another clever method was to tell the audience that it was important to keep their eyes on the coin that the pitchman would place under a beautiful girl’s shoe. He would tell the audience that by the end of the show the coin will have moved to her hand. But at the end of the show, the girl would simply pick up the coin and place it in her own hand. These clever devices, while simple, would hold the audience, who waited in anticipation of the magic trick, while the sideshow pitchman delivered his bally.

The bally was the third step of the process. Now that the pitchman has successfully frozen the tip, it is his job to sell them on the entertainment that is on the inside. He does that with his bally, short for “ballyhoo”. The bally was a five to six minute commercial, sometimes illustrated with quick appearances by the sideshow freaks featured in the show.

sideshow freaks Tattooed Girl Sideshow Banner sideshow circus

The term ballyhoo is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “a noisy attention-getting demonstration or talk.” The term’s origin has been the subject of much speculation. Some have said that the term originated at the 1893 Columbian Exposition, where Beledi dancers from the Middle East were called by Exhibit manager W.O. Taylor during slack periods to perform outside in order to attract crowds. These tired performers, who only spoke Arabic would mutter “D’Allah hun”, which can be translated as “Oh, for God’s sake!”, as they were forced to perform these additional duties. Taylor who did not speak Arabic and supposedly heard “D’Allah hun” as “ballyhoo” began calling these performers to ballyhoo. Some also credit Taylor’s corruption of the name “Beledi dancers” as the origin of the term “belly dancers”. However, the origin of this term is generally credited to Sol Bloom, the entertainment director of the 1893 Columbian Exposition, who referred to the dance as “danse du ventre,” which literally translates as “belly dance”.
The word ballyhoo, first recorded in 1836, was a nautical slang term used to describe an inferior ship. This usage was thought to be related to the word ballahou, from Spanish balahú, which was a type of small schooner. However the connection between these sailing terms and its use by the sideshow pitchman has never been clearly established. An article published in the July 1880 Harper’s magazine refers to a ballyhoo bird, but again no clear connection has been established between this bird and the word’s usage in the sideshow.

The bally was both rehearsed and improvisational. Reading the crowd and reacting to them was an art that every successful sideshow pitchman had to learn. The sideshow pitchman was also an expert at painting word pictures and creating amazing stories which he used in his bally. Since people in general are used to following the instructions of someone louder and higher up than they are, the pitchman also used this implied authority to compel the audience to see what was inside, to describe the excitement that the audience would experience, and the rare opportunity that this was to see something really thrilling. Some examples are provided below:

The sideshow pitchman might tell the audience, “You will see sideshow freaks, the strange and unusually, the weird and the wild people. You will see what they do, hear what they talk about and ask questions to them yourself.”

A sideshow pitchman might say, “See the Real Terrors of the Amazon! Man-eating fish, the deadly piranhas, able to strip the flesh right off a cow in seconds, leaving just the bones! This is an experience that you will remember for the rest of your life. You will probably be telling your grandchildren this story.”
It was part of the pitchman’s job to strain credibility, and even invite skepticism, “You have to see it to believe it!”

A sideshow talker might tell the audience, “See the geek. Is it human or is it a wild animal or something else? What you will see when I throw this live chicken into its steel cage cannot adequately be described with mere words. You have to see it with your own eyes to believe that such a creature can actually exit!”

Fear and excitement were two of the emotions that a pitchman might use to appeal to an audience. For example he might caution the audience, “Let me warn you once again if you have a nervous condition or a weak heart this is your chance to leave now to avoid the shook of a lifetime.”

Sex was another strong attraction that the sideshow pitchman would use where possible. For example, a pitchman for a girlie show might say “Each one of our beautiful ladies is unadorned and as natural as nature made her. Their modesty is only protected by the white robes that you see them wearing now. I want you to look carefully at these robes. They are handmade of the finest silk. Study them carefully now because once you come inside you are never going to see them again. Some of you may be wondering about the shiny whistle being shown to you by our lovely Candy Cane.” Candy blows the whistle to draw the audience’s attention to her. The pitchman continues, “That is the sound that you want to hear….Candy, tell them why.” Candy laughs and, with a wink and a smile, says, “Everything goes when the whistle blows!”

The success of the sideshow was highly depend upon the quality of its pitchmen. It has been said that the most expensive thing that promoter could have at a sideshow is an inexperienced or lazy pitchman. The best sideshow pitchmen worked for a percentage of the gross ticket sales. This created the necessary incentive for them to work hard even when they were tired. However, because of the extreme physical and emotional energy required to perform well, several sideshow pitchmen were often used, sometimes working one hour and then resting two.

As the sideshow pitchman brings his bally to its climax, he must “turn the tip”, getting the crowd to buy tickets to see the show. When the crowd starts to line up to buy tickets, the pitchman has turned the tip, the fourth step in his sales process. If the pitchman turned the entire tip, it was said that he “cleaned the midway”.

During the active ticket-buying phase, the pitchman has stopped his bally and begins to “grind”, the fifth step in the sales process. The sideshow pitchman grinds with compelling and rhythmic phrases, like “Hurry, hurry, hurry! Don’t miss a moment of it! Hurry, hurry, hurry! See it all if you are quick enough to get in line. Hurry, hurry, hurry! Follow your neighbors. They know where they are going. They are going inside. They are going to see the freaks! Hurry, hurry, hurry!” The grind is intended to keep up the excitement and to move the audience into the show.

Vermont Sideshow Human Freaks 1940s

A “grind show” is a show or attraction where the audience can walk through and see it at any time without being guided. These shows have no pitchman with their bally and no clear beginning or end time. In the past, grind shows had “grind men”, ticket sellers, who would just grind away all day. This was considered a less-skilled job than sideshow pitchman, because the grind is much less complex and interactive than the pitchman’s bally. Most of the shows on today’s carnival midway are grind shows; however, the grind men have been replaced by audiotapes that play over the sound system.

The final step is the “blowoff”, sometimes called “the blow”. This is where the real money could be made, because the sideshow exhibitor did not have to split this “inside money” with the front office. It was also one of the sources for the sideshow’s dark reputation. At the end of the show, there was a final “surprise” sales pitch, where the crowd was offered a really extra special added attraction for an additional fee. Members of the audience could either pay to see this special attraction, or they could “blow off” and leave without seeing it. It was at this point that the pitchman would suddenly slow his pace to draw attention by contrast and tell a story. The pitchman might say, “I want to draw your attention to a special attraction not advertised on the outside. To give you a full appreciation of what you are about to see, let me tell you a brief story.” This is where the pitchman would really showcase his story-telling abilities.

The pitchman might tell a story something like this. “One dark night three years ago, there was a heavy rain and show was closed. Late that night I heard a strange sound outside my tent that sounded like a baby crying. So I went outside to see where this noise was coming from. There, to my amazement, standing in the mud, was a beautiful, young woman holding a bundle wrapped in a heavy cloth. She was soaked and wet and I could see every curve of her body through her wet clothes. I asked her what she was doing out in the rain. She told me her name was Tingsen, and that she had something to show me. She handed me the bundle she was holding. As she stood watching, I unwrapped the bundle, which revealed a sight I can never forget. In that bundle that she showed me is what you are about to see behind this curtain. It is something that most will never have a chance to see in their entire lives. You men look like strong men. Like me, you probably think you have seen some strange things; but when I looked down at the child that was wrapped in the bundle, I asked God, how could such a thing even exist. Mothers and fathers, when you go home tonight, look at your children. Love them, hug them, and thank God that your child was not born like this. For a goodwill offering of just 25¢, you can go with me behind the curtain and see what I saw on that dark, rainy night. I make no apology for this small additional fee. This is Tingsen’s only means of support. She and her five normal children, have no other income other than the quarters that you give. But let me warn you, once you have seen what is behind the curtain, you will never forget it. ”

sideshow freaks muttermuseum circus sideshow pickled punk  sideshow freaks sideshow pitchman freak sideshow freak sideshow performer sideshows and fairs carny   fetus human freaks

What was behind the curtain could have been anything, but almost certainly it was not alive. Often there was what was called a “pickled punk,” a deformed fetus in a jar of formaldehyde. Sometimes there was a “fake” freak, something made out of the parts of dead animals. But usually the build-up was far greater than whatever you saw.

Sometimes these special attractions were only aimed at men. In these cases, a magician might do a brief magic show for the ladies and children on a platform at the far end, while the men who paid the extra fee could go behind the curtain to see the blowoff.

It was always implied that the best was yet to come in this special attraction that you haven’t paid for yet and that it was something so adult that it could not be advertised outside. The pitchman might start off like this, “OK men, we all know what you really came here to see, and you’ve seen a great show already. I am sure that there is not one of you who doesn’t think that he has already got his money’s worth. But you came in here to see more, didn’t you? And you’re going to see more, a lot more, I promise you. You know that we couldn’t tell you everything outside because you know there’s women and kids on the midway. However, now that the women and child are gone we can talk all about it. It’s only going to cost you another fifty cents, but if it’s the last fifty cents you have in the world, it will be well spent.”

Again this special attraction could be almost anything. Perhaps a chance to come up on stage and look down into the Blade Box, where the young lady inside is presumed to be naked. Perhaps it would be the chance to buy a sideshow item “for men only,” or to see a part of the tattooed lady’s anatomy that might not be appropriate to show women and children. And again the build-up was usually far greater than whatever you actually saw.

Modern Pitchmen

There are still pitchman working at carnivals and fairs; however, most are pitching some kind of product rather than sideshow freaks. Some have actual gone into television where they make good money doing infomercials with only a fraction of the work.

Sideshow freaks      s. David Walker  sideshow pitchman   Svengali pitch Midway  sideshow performer freaks geeks  Chupacobra

One of the most famous modern pitchman was S. David Walker. Walker, now dead, worked the Svengali cards on midways and sideshows for decades. When he could not work cards in his later years, he found the Chupacobra, and displayed that for many years (see photo above). Walker is known as one of the best Svengali pitchman ever. Walker was taught the Svengali Card Pitch by its inventor, Mickey McDougall. Walker later taught famous pitchman, Don Driver, who himself continued to pitched Svengalis for over a quarter of a century.
Don Driver started his magic career in the late 1960’s working at the Yogi Magic Mart in Baltimore Maryland, his home town. From there Driver moved to sideshows and later he was inducted by David Walker to become a Svengali pitchman. Don worked as pitchman for more than 30 years and is considered the best Svengali pitchman alive today.

Svengalis are card decks that have been special altered to make performing magic tricks much earlier for the novice. These were invented by magician, Burling Hull, who was also known as “Volta the Great”, “The White Wizard,” and “The Man with the Radar Mind”. Hull patented the Svengali deck of cards in 1909. Today, Svengalis are usually bought from magic dealers or pitchman at carnivals and fairs.

Modern day pitch man have their own set of tricks that allow them to prosper, if they are good at the game. For example, if you have a crowd of fifty and from this twenty-five people come forward to buy, the great pitchman will only sell to twenty of them. To the other five, he says, “Wait! There’s something more I have to show you!” Then he starts his pitch again, with some different variations, and the remaining four or five become the inner core of his next crowd. Hemmed in by the people around them, and eager to pay their money and be on their way, these five will start the selling frenzy all over again in the new crowd.

You also have to know how to ask for the money. One way is to use “the countdown”, in this routine the pitchman says, “You’re not going to spend three hundred dollars, not a two hundred and eighty dollars, not two-seventy, not two- sixty . . . etc.” It’s a modern pitchman’s trick. By starting the price way up high it creates more drama and excitement in the sale. Another cardinal rule of the modern day pitchman is that flash will bring you the cash so you want to always be showing the crowd something that wows them.

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Frank Lentini – The King of the Freaks and a Sideshow Wonder

sideshow freak  Frank Lentini   circus sideshow  sideshow performer King of the Freaks Human Tripod  Three-legged Wonder  sideshow business


Sideshow Freak

Frank Lentini was known to many as “The Human Tripod” because he had three legs. Lentini was born to a well-to-do family in Sicily.   His unusual condition was the result of being part of a pair of conjoined twins, also known as “Siamese Twins”. However, in his case the other twin no longer existed, but had been partially absorbed into Lentini’s body during development in his mother’s womb.   This left Lentini with some of the body parts of the other twin. For example, he was reported to have had sixteen toes, two sets of fully developed male sexual organs, and four feet.

At the young age of eight, Frank Lentini’s family moved to the United States where he went on to enter the circus sideshow business. Starting with Ringling Brothers Circus, his sideshow career would run more than forty years, as he worked with every major circus and sideshow, including Barnum and Bailey, Coney Island and Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.

Soon after Lentini joined the sideshow business, Bavarian-born, George Lippert, began billing himself as the “Original” Three Legged Man, as he felt in competition with newcomer Lentini. Lippert retired some years later.

Lentini would charm his audiences with his keen wit and sense of humor, while wowing them by kicking a soccer ball about with his third leg. Lentini’s cheerful personality made him very popular with the sideshow patrons and well-respected among his sideshow peers who often called “The King”.

Lentini learned at an early age to appreciate his life, in spite of his deformity. He related a story about being taken to an institution when he was young, where he saw a number of children with severe handicaps. He realized then that his condition was not so bad, and that it could be worse. While the visit to the institution had been unpleasant for Lentini, he realized that this experience was the best thing that could have happened to him. From that time on, he decided to enjoy his life and see the beauty in it. Later when asked how he dealt with having three legs, Lentini simply replied “If you lived in a world where everyone had just one arm, how would you cope with two?”

Lentini became a citizen of the United States in 1921. Later he married Theresa Murray and they had four healthy children. Lentini retired with his family in Gibsonton, Florida, several years before dying in 1966 at the age of 85.

Frank Lentini was featured on the back of the self-titled record album, Alice In Chains, released in 1995. This album is often referred to as the “Tripod Album” and as the album cover features a photo of a band member’s three-legged dog, Sunshine.


sideshow freaks Alice In Chains Tripod Album  record album cover  great album covers Three-legged Dog Sunshine Sideshow Performer Sideshow Business Circus sideshow  great album covers rock album  rock band

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International Fireflyers Meeting in Florida – A Must For Every Sideshow Freak

sideshow freaks - circus freaks sideshow circus  circus freaks Insects Firefly lighting bugs glow worms sideshow Third International Firefly Symposium opened in Gainesville, Florida  sideshow freaks On Monday, August 11th of this year the Third International Firefly Symposium opened in Gainesville, Florida. Running through Friday, August 15th, the International Firefly Symposium attracted about 50 prominent firefly experts from a dozen countries. These experts disseminated and exchanged information about the amazing firefly, the most commonly encountered and widely recognized bioluminescent organism in the world. Sideshow freaks everywhere should be aware of this. Fireflies, also known as “Lightning Bugs”, use bioluminescence to shine in the night and attract a suitable mating partner. These amazing creatures are nature’s pyrotechnic performers, bringing a sense of magic and mystery to our world. Man has been fascinated with the firefly for thousands of years.  Over the centuries, fireflies have appeared in literature, poetry and folklore. Fireflies were discussed in Chinese writings as far back as 1500-1000 B.C. The main attraction to the firefly is its light production. Fireflies use a “language of light” to communicate with other members of the same species. The color of the light and flash patterns often varies between species. Firefly light is usually intermittent. This flash pattern is an optical signal that helps the firefly locate mates. The firefly lights are efficient “cool lights” where nearly 100 percent of the energy is given off as light. In contrast, incandescent lights use only about 10 percent of its energy in light with the rest given off as heat. The firefly light is generated in a bio-chemical reaction within dedicated light organs located under the firefly’s abdomen. The enzyme luciferase catalyzes chemical reactions between luciferin, magnesium, Adenosine triphosphate (“ATP”), and oxygen to produce light. This reaction is actually a two-step process where luciferin is first combined with ATP and magnesium to create luciferyl adenylate. The oxidization of the luciferyl adenylate then produces the firefly light. Fireflies are actually not flies, but are flying beetles in the family Lampyridae. There are over 2,000 firefly species found worldwide. Tropical rainforests are a favor habitat for fireflies, but some species are also found in the temperature regions. The adults of most firefly species are active at night. There are also fireflies beetles that are active during the day; however, these diurnal species usually do not produce light. Most fireflies have a nasty taste, as a result of defensive compounds known as lucibufagins. These chemicals are similar to those found in some poisonous toads and can sometimes even be toxic to a predator. In the scientific community, the firefly serves as the model system for the study of bioluminescence. For this reason, the ecological, behavioral and morphological studies of fireflies are of great interest to the international scientific community. In 2008, the First International Firefly Symposium took place in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Bringing together people from around the world with a common interest in fireflies in a venue that was open to not only scientists, but also educators, naturalists and artists; the First International Firefly Symposium included artistic, educational and scientific activities involving fireflies. By providing such a venue for an international meeting, the organizers fostered collaborative partnerships between those interested in many different aspects of fireflies. This meeting represented an essential link in promoting fireflies and their conservation to a wider audience. Organized by the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) and the Malaysian Nature Society, the Second International Firefly Symposium was held in Subang, Selangor, Malaysia two years later in 2010. The theme of this symposium was Firefly Conservation: From Science to Practice. With experts in taxonomy, genetics, biology, behavior, ecology and conservation of fireflies as well as members of government agencies, non-governmental organizations, educational institutions, corporations and the public, this symposium created “The Selangor Declaration”. This official document urged all the world’s government to protect, rehabilitate, educate, and promote the firefly habitats, as well as to support firefly research. Firefly conservation is in practice in many countries throughout the world. Public education, awareness and involvement are also found in many countries. However, protected areas specifically for fireflies are extremely rare. Four years in the planning, the 2014 International Firefly Symposium featured Dr. James E. Lloyd, Professor Emeritus, Department of Entomology and Nematology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida as the keynote speaker. Firefly research has been conducted at the University of Florida for over 30 years, due largely to the research programs of Dr. James E. Lloyd and his students. Dr. Marc Branham Associate Professor, Department of Entomology and Nematology, University of Florida was the conference host.

      Other Presentations at the Symposium included the following:

        • Paul Marek speaking on The evolution of bioluminescence in the Sierra luminous millipedes
      • Gavin J. Martin speaking on A molecular phylogeny of Lampyridae and its implications to the evolution of firefly signaling systems
      • Abner B. Lall speaking on Colors of the night: Do fireflies detect the color of their bioluminescence?
        • Yelena M. Pacheco speaking on A phylogenetic comparison of populations of Pyractomena in the western United States
        • Lawrent “Larry” L. Buschman speaking on The bioluminescent behavior of some North American lampyrid larvae  and Courtship flash communication in two Photuris fireflies  
        • Andrew Moiseff speaking on Female Photinus carolinus lateralize their response flashes
        • Raphael De Cock speaking on The enigmatic Blue Ghost Firefly Phausis reticulata (Coleoptera: Lampyridae): Observations on its courtship, mating and oviposition behaviors
        • Zachary H. Marion speaking on Extending the concept of diversity partitioning to characterize phenotypic complexity
        • Radim Schreiber speaking on Photographing the glow of fireflies up-close (Art Presentation)
      • James K. Fischer speaking onFireflies and the photic field

Other activities included a walk to Florida Museum of Natural History, a guided tour of the Butterfly Rainforest, and an evening tour of the Cedar Key salt marsh, where participants observed the habitat and behavior of the Florida Intertidal Firefly (Micronaspis floridana), a monotypic species found only in salt marsh habitats. This international symposium provided an opportunity for participants to share up-to-date information and research related to the firefly. This exchange of information is critical to advancing scientific, conservation and educational efforts concerning fireflies. While you might have missed this exciting symposium in 2014, you can start planning now for the 2017 international firefly symposium, which will be held in Taiwan. See you there!!! Seeing fireflies sparkling in the summer sky is a magical experience, much like a circus side show attraction. However, imagine seeing fireflies that are all flashing at once—in a symphony of light. Species exhibiting this type of behavior are called Synchronous fireflies. These species are very special because they exist only in a handful of places in the world. In North America, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most popular places to see this spectacular display. For a two week period, sometime in the months of May or June, one of the national park’s 19 species of fireflies, Phototinus carolinus performs its amazing pyrotechnic dance which could easily rival a sideshow attraction at a circus. P. carolinus was the first North American species found to show synchronized flashing behavior. Aggregates of these flying male fireflies exhibiting synchronized flashes of five to eight bursts of light every few seconds depending upon the temperature. sideshow freaks circus freak sideshow freak circus sideshow attraction sideshow performer firefly lighting bug glow worm  insects sideshow Third International Firefly Symposium opened in Gainesville, Florida  sideshow freaks malaysa   In Southern Asia, synchronized flashing by male fireflies is more common, and huge aggregates of male fireflies perch in entire trees creating a bright display reminiscent of flashing Christmas tree lights. One such place is the Kuala Selangor Firefly Park, often referred to as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” Kuala Selangor Firefly Park is one the few places in the world where you can see, literally, millions of fireflies flashing in synchrony. The firefly park is home to one of the biggest firefly colonies in the world. Kuala Selangor Firefly Park is located near the small fishing village of Kuala Selangor about an hour ride north of Kuala Lumpur. Best viewed from boats on the river, the fireflies of Kuala Selangor Firefly Park glow like twinkling stars on the distant mangrove trees. This is something that every sideshow freak should experience at least once.

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Medical Oddities And More At The Mütter Museum

Sideshow Freak Mutter Museum    medical oddities Skulls

The Mütter Museum

Sideshow Freak Mutter Museum    medical oddities Skulls

The Mütter Museum is best known for its unique collection of medical oddities and anatomical specimens such as a wax model of a 19th-century Parisian woman with a six-inch a horn growing out of her forehead. The Mütter Museum also contains the famous Hyrtl Skull Collection, the skeleton of a 3 foot 6 inch dwarf, and the tallest skeleton (seven and a half feet tall) currently on display in North America. Other unique specimens include a nine-foot long human colon from a man who was so bloated that he was called the Human Balloon when he appeared as a sideshow act, a collection of teratological specimens (preserved human fetal specimens), the liver from the famous Siamese twins Chang and Eng Bunker, slides of Albert Einstein’s brain and a malignant tumor removed from President Grover Cleveland. The Mütter Museum also has jars of preserved human kidneys and livers, and a collection of human skulls eaten away by tertiary syphilis, dried severed hands, and the corpse of a two-headed baby. Most of this unique collection of medical oddities and equipment was donated by Dr. Thomas Dent Mütter in 1858.

The Mütter Museum acquired the Hyrtl Skull Collection in 1874 from Josef Hyrtl, who sold his anatomical collection after his retirement. The collection was initially used to train medical students, but is now on display in the Mütter Museum, as its mission has changed from solely medical education to public outreach.
Over 150 years old, the Hyrtl Skull Collection contains 139 human skulls. Josef Hyrtl, who was a 19th-century Austrian anatomist collected these skulls in order to disprove the science of phrenology. Hyrtl did not believe in the phrenologists’ idea that the human brain, and therefore a person’s personality and character, was subject to changes that could be measured in the size and shape of the skull. The Hyrtl Skull Collection contains skulls from people who were mostly Eastern European or Asian and died between the ages of 8 and 80. Most of the skulls were from men, with only 14 from women.

In the 1800s it was an illegal, yet privately accepted, practice for medical doctors to pay grave robbers for the corpses of the dead. The bodies of criminals, the very poor and the mentally ill, were often taken by grave robbers because they rarely had family members who were concerned with their burial. Not surprisingly, most of the skulls in the Hyrtl Collection came from executed criminals, people who had committed suicide, or people had been institutionalized because of disabilities, usually mental disabilities. However, Hyrtl’s collection is unusual in that it contains biographical information on many of the skulls. For example, the collection contains the skulls of a robber who was beheaded in Lebanon, a teenager who hung himself, a woman executed for the murder of her own child and an eighteen year old described only as a child murderer. Interestingly, this documentation also suggests that Hyrtl may have obtained bodies directly from hospital and prison officials rather than from grave robbers.

Sideshow Freak Mutter Museum    medical oddities Skulls

America’s finest museum of medical history, the Mütter Museum is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and displays its beautifully preserved collections of unique medical oddities, anatomical and pathological specimens, wax models, and antique medical equipment in a 19th century “cabinet museum” setting. As part of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the Mütter Museum’s original purpose was medical research and education, but more recently its mission has shifted to public awareness.

Sideshow Freak Mutter Museum    medical oddities Skulls5

The Mütter Museum has shown a steadily rising international popularity, with a recent documentary on the Discovery Channel and the subject of two best-selling books. The goal of the Museum is to help the public understand the mysteries and beauty of the human body while appreciating the history of diagnosis and treatment of disease.
The Mütter Museum is open 7 days a week from 10AM – 5PM except on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year’s Day. General admission is $15.

Sideshow Freak Mutter Museum    medical oddities Skulls

Sideshow Freak Mutter Museum    medical oddities Skulls

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Improbable Realities of Glen Wexler

great album covers slaughter stick it to ya album cover  Glen Wexler

Glen Wexler is a preeminent album cover artist and photographer who has worked with many well-known musicians and rock bands, including Van Halen, Michael Jackson, Steve Miller Band, Rush, KISS, Yes, Black Sabbath, ZZ Top, Slaughter, the Black Crowes, Bob Weir, Boston, Kansas, Chaka Kahn, Herbie Hancock, Whitesnake, Peter Frampton, and Chick Corea. With more than 300 great album covers in his portfolio, Wexler’s work has been presented at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

great album covers van-halen balance album cover by glen wexler sideshow freaks

Wexler’s work often has a mysterious and surrealistic feel to it. Many of his works use circus sideshows images to help create this effect. The work of Wexler on Slaughter’s “Stick It To Ya” and “Stick it Live” record album covers are perfect illustration of this influence. Both album covers have knife-throwing themes with other circus images in the background. On Van Halen’s “Balance” album cover, Wexler has placed a set of Siamese twins on a seesaw, ironically making it completely out of balance. More recently in the video, “No Money, No Love”, directed by Wexler for the rock group Heaven and Earth, we see a number of sideshow images, including a clown on slits, a dwarf, a magician, a fire performer and a man with an abnormally long, serpent tongue. These images are used to create a sense of weirdness or absurdity within a realistic context, or as Wexler refers to them “improbable realities”.

great album covers slaughter stick it live album cover by glen wexler   sideshow freaks

Slaughter – “Stick it Live” record album cover

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Giraffe Women of Burma

Sideshow    Giraffe Women  Kayan Lahwi tribe  Padaung Freaks  long-necks

Giraffe Women of Burma

Beauty is described as a characteristic that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure or satisfaction. The experience of beauty generally involves a feeling of attraction and emotional well-being. The subjective nature of this experience has led to the saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

Each society develops general standards concerning what is beautiful. These standards are generally reflected in the art and literature produced by or for a society. Standards of beauty change over time, based on changing cultural values and vary among cultures. Historically, art and literature have shown a wide range of different standards for beauty. However, whatever these standards of beauty, human beings are willing to take drastic actions to comply with their culture’s standards of beauty. An example of this in western civilization, has been the historic used of the corset for female waist-reduction, which reached its peak during the Victorian era. In other cultures the attention may be focused on other parts of the body.

In the mountains on the border between Burma (now known as Myramar) and Thailand live the Kayan Lahwi tribe (also called Padaung). The women of this tribe are known as “giraffe women” to the tourists, because of their seemingly extraordinarily elongated necks caused from the wearing heavy brass rings (actually coils rather than individual rings) around their neck. This custom is thought to have its origin with a Mongolian tribe who assimilated into the Kayan Lahwi tribe thousands of years ago. Theories as to why this practice was first started range from making the women less desirable to slave traders to the belief that the brass coils would provide protection against tiger bites, a peril found in their former homeland. However, today the custom is both an expression of feminine beauty and a show of social status. In fact, the number and value of the brass coils worn by a Kayan woman also confers status and respect on her family.

Sideshow   Kayan Lahwi tribe   Giraffe Women  Padaung   Freaks long-necks

A Kayan girl will begin wearing brass neck coils when she is about five years old and over the years by wearing these coils she will gain the appearance of a substantially lengthen neck. The brass neck coils of are placed on the girl by the village shaman. Her neck is first prepared by massaging it for several hours and then smearing it with a protective salve. The shaman then fits small cushions under the first coil to prevent soreness in the neck. These cushions will be removed by the shaman later as the girl’s neck adjusts to her brass coils. Over time the girl’s brass coil is replaced by a longer one and more turns are added. This process will continue with successive coils added about every two years. As longer coils are added the weight of the coil increases. The weight of the brass coils pushes down on the clavicle, compressing the ribs and ultimately deforming the girl’s collarbone. This deformity can make the neck appear longer by more than 10 inches. Generally a Kayan woman will wear her brass coils for her entire life. In the Kayan Lahwi tribe, adulterous women are punished by the removal of their brass coils. In addition to the neck coils, Kayan women usually wear metal rings around their knees, ankles and wrists.

Sideshow   Ndebele woman   Africa   Freaks

Interestingly, there is a tribe located in South Africa and Zimbabwe where the women also wear neck rings. As part of their traditional dress, the women of the South Ndebele tribe wear metal neck rings, which they called “dzilla”. As in the Kayan culture, the neck rings are an expression of beauty and indicated the wealth and status of the Ndebele woman and her family. Both Kayan and Ndebele women also wear metal rings, usually made of copper or brass, around their knees, ankles and wrists. However, unlike Kayan girls, Ndebele women are not allowed to wear neck rings until they are married. Also the Ndebele neck rings differ from the coils worn by the Kayan women, in that the rings are individual, so they do not put as much pressure on the Ndebele woman’s rib cage. Because of these differences, the necks of the Ndebele women do not appear to be as elongated as those of the Kayan women.

Ndebele women adorned themselves with a number of ornaments that symbolize their status in Ndebele society. The Ndebele wife wears rings of metal around her neck, arms and legs. These marriage rings symbolize her bond and faithfulness to her husband. The rings are provided by the husband. The richer the husband, the more rings the Ndebele wife receives. The rings are believed to have strong ritual powers and the Ndebele wife would only remove the rings after the death of her husband.

Married Ndebele women wear a number of items that are associated with their marriage, including isigolwani. These isigolwani are grass neck hoops that are twisted into a coil and covered with beads. Married Ndebele women also wear an apron called an ijogolo. The ijogolo marks the consummation of the marriage, which in Ndebele culture only occurs after the birth of the first child. A Ndebele wife also wears a marriage blanket called a nguba. The nguba is decorated with beadwork to record significant events that take place during the Ndebele woman’s lifetime. A married Ndebele woman wears some form of head covering as a sign of respect for her husband. This head covering can ranged from a knitted cap to a simple beaded headband to an elaborate beaded headdress.

Sideshow  Giraffe women Kayan Lahwi Tribe  Padaung Freaks long-necks

sideshow     ndebele woman    long-necks     freaks     Africa

Sideshow    Giraffe Woman   Kayan  Padaung   long-necks   Freaks

Sideshow   Ndebele Woman   Africa  long-necks   Freak

Sideshow   Giraffe Women    Burma Padaung  long-necks Freaks

Sideshoe    Ndebele tribe       Africa    long-necks    Freak

Sideshow     Giraffe Woman Padaung    Burma   long-necks  Freak

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Freaks or Not “Bamboozed” is a funny film

Tropfest is the world’s biggest short film festival(oxymoron???). The 2013 Tropfest film winner was West Australian filmmaker Matt Hardie’s film “Bamboozled”. Tropfest began in Sydney Australia over 20 years ago has continued to grow in size and notoriety.

Matt Hardie also won the best actor award at Tropfest for his role in the film. In describing how he came up with the film’s concept, Hardie said “I was going for a walk, I knew I wanted to make a Tropfest film and sex change popped into my head.”

Unfortunately, the film has created an outcry from the transgender community, some of whom find it offensive and are concerned that the film portrays them as freaks. I believe that is a bit of an over reaction to this movie. On the other hand, their sensitivity is also understandable when there are people like Todd Kincannon, the former executive director of the South Carolina Republican Party, making hateful comments about the transgender community. This past October, Kincannon launched into an anti-transgender tirade on his now suspended Twitter account.

“The only things I hate these days are commies, trannies, and most Muslims.”
— Todd Kincannon (@ToddKincannon) October 5, 2013

“I have no problem with gays but I hate trannies. I think they are disgusting freaks, and they are. Am I evil?”
— Todd Kincannon (@ToddKincannon) October 6, 2013

“There are people who respect transgender rights. And there are people who think you should all be put in a camp. That’s me.”
— Todd Kincannon (@ToddKincannon) October 14, 2013

“I have plenty of compassion for trannies. They should all be locked up in mental institutions and their care paid for by the state.”
— Todd Kincannon (@ToddKincannon) October 14, 2013

“I’m totally ok with gays and I celebrate female bisexuality as if it were the Mona Lisa of genital sports. But transsexuals are sick freaks.”
— Todd Kincannon (@ToddKincannon) October 14, 2013

Although some people are clearly uncomfortable with the whole transgender issue, it has become a more prevalent theme in the entertainment industry. The novel, “The Danish Girl”, a fictionalized account of the life of Lili Elbe, the first person to undergo sex reassignment surgery, is being made into a movie starring Nicole Kidman and Charlize Theron. In 2012, “Hit & Miss”, a British television series about a transsexual contract killer, premiered in both England and the United States. “Hollyoaks”, a long-running British television teen drama, introduced the character of Jason Costello, a boy who feels that he’s a male in a girl’s body, in 2011. In 2005, TransGeneration first appeared on the Sundance Channel. This eight episode documentary series depicted the lives of four transgender college students and their struggle as they were gender transitioning. The series is currently back on the Sundance Channel.

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