Today, if you visit a fair or a carnival, you’re not likely to see “human wonders,” aka “sideshow freaks” like you did in the 20′s, 30′s, and 40′s. For one, exploitation isn’t as cool as it used to be, and for two, now we have the Jim Rose Circus, so that pays better and you make cooler friends.
It’s fun to learn. There was this guy, Martin Emmerling, who changed his name to Martin Laurello. That’s not the interesting part. He changed his name when he moved to the good old US of A in 1921. He had a special talent in that he could turn his head a full 180 degrees. What?!?!? See for yourself:
That’s crazy! How is that possible? I can’t tell you for sure because the internet didn’t tell me, but it was likely some genetic predisposition that Laurello cultivated into an “act.” He started performing in Europe, and then when he moved to the US he toured with Dreamland circus, Barnum & Bailey, and Ripley’s Odditorium. He had this strange little pamphlet wherein he told people about what he could do. He said that it took him three years to perfect his “act.”
It is funny that he is encouraging people to try to do what he does. IF (and it’s a big if) someone was able to accomplish this, without Laurello’s funky spine situation, it would likely kill them, whether they did it before or after breakfast. But, at least he wasn’t being stingy with the knowledge and stuff.
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