Monday, 27 February 2012

World's shortest man declared in Nepal

Home to Mount Everest, the world's highest peak, Nepal has added another height-related record to their collection – that of world's shortest man.

A Guinness World Records team measured Chandra Bahadur Dangi at 21.5 inches (54.60cm), declaring the 72-year-old even shorter the previous title holder, Junrey Balawing, from the Philippines, who stood at 23.5 inches at the age of 18 last year.
"The good news is that Chandra Bahadur Dangi is the world's shortest living man," Guinness Records Editor-in-Chief Craig Glenday said after measurements were taken.
"If he is really 72 years old he is the oldest person to be awarded the shortest-man record," Mr Glenday said, adding Mr Dangi was also the shortest person ever measured by the Guinness World Records.
From a poor and uneducated family in a remote part of Nepal, Mr Dangi said he had never heard of Mount Everest and was unaware of the world record title before a timber merchant visited his remote village last month and decided to measure him.
His diminutive size has since made him a celebrity in the impoverished nation of 26.6 million people and he took a plane for the first time last week to travel from his village, Rimkholi, 167 miles west of Kathmandu, to meet the Guinness World Records officials in the capital.
"I am good. I feel happy," Mr Dangi said holding two framed certificates . "I want to travel around the world and spread the name of my country."
Mr Dangi, whose parents died when he was still in his teens, lives with his brother with, he said, no desire to marry.
His family has no idea when he stopped growing as many Nepali villages still lack basic health care. Dangi has never seen a doctor in his life. Five of his brothers and two sisters are of normal size.
Dangi mostly stays at home, needing assistance to move around, preparing head straps used by villagers to carry loads.
Before Balawing, who was declared the shortest man in the world in June last year, another Nepali man, Khagnedra Thapa Magar, who stood 26.4 inches tall, held the title.

Friday, 24 February 2012




Lazarus Colloredo (1617-1646) is perhaps the earliest example of a man who became widely famous as a human freak.  Born in Genoa, Italy, Lazarus toured Europe for a decade.  He made his living by exhibiting himself to a public that was drawn to see the unusual.
Lazarus Colloredo was a handsome, courteous man.  He got married and fathered several children, all of whom were normal.  Lazarus also had a parasitic twin named Joannes Baptista, who dangled from his midsection. 
Joannes Baptista had only an upper body and a left leg that protruded out of Lazarus.  Joannes never spoke; he never opened his mouth or eyes.  Lazarus kept him covered up with a cloak when not performing. 

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Schlitzie, possibly born Simon Metz , and legally Schlitze Surtees was a American sideshow performer and occasional actor, best known for his role in the 1932. movie Freaksand his life-long career on the outdoor entertainment circuit as a major sideshow attraction with Barnum and Bailey, among others.
Schlitzie’s true birth date, name and location is unknown; it is commonly accepted, at least by what was inscribed on his death certificate , that he was born on September 10, 1901 in New York, though 1892 has also been considered as a possibility.
Schlitzie was born with microcephaly, a neuro developmental disorder that left him with an unusually small brain and skull, a small stature (he stood about four feet tall (122cm)),myopia and moderate to severe mental retardation. It was said Schlitzie had the cognizance of a three year-old: he was unable to fully care for himself and he could only speak in monosyllabic words and form a few simple phrases. However, he was still able to perform simple tasks and it is believed that he could understand most of what was said to him, as he had a very quick reaction time and the ability to mimic.  Those who knew Schlitzie described him as an affectionate, exuberant, sociable person who loved dancing, singing and being the center of attention, performing for anyone he could stop and talk to.
On the sideshow circuit, microcephalics were usually promoted as “pinheads” or “missing links”, and Schlitzie was billed under such titles as “The Last of the Aztecs”, “The Monkey Girl” or simply”What Is It?”, or was paired up with other microcephalics. One notable example of the latter was Schlitzie’s possible pairing with a microcephalic woman named Athelia, exhibited together as “Aurora and Natalia, the Aztec sisters”. This has led to claims that Aurora actually was Schlitzie’s sister, but these claims are unsubstantiated.
Schlitzie was often  presented as a female or left androgynous to add to the mystique of his odd appearance. Those who knew him alternately referred to him as “he” and “she”. The sideshow circuit was a tremendous success for Schlitzie, and throughout the 1920s and 1930s, he was employed by many upscale circuses. In 1928, Schlitzie made his film debut in the The Sideshow, a drama that took place at a circus, featuring a variety of actual sideshow performers including himself. In 1932, Schlitzie landed his most known role as an actor in Tod Browning’s iconic horror film Freaks.
The appearance of Freaks’ cast proved extremely controversial on its original release, and the film was ultimately a financial failure. Additionally, it was banned for thirty years in the United Kingdom and Browning struggled to find work following its release, his last with a major studio.
In 1935, while Schlitzie was performing with the Tom Mix Circus, George Surtees, a chimpanzee trainer also appearing at the show with a trained chimp act, adopted him, becoming Schlitzie’s legal guardian. In 1941, Schlitzie appeared in his final film role as “Princess Betsy”.Under the care of Surtees, Schlitzie continued performing the sideshow circuit until Surtees’ death in the early 1960s, after which Surtees’ daughter, who was not in show business, committed Schlitzie to a Los Angeles county hospital.
Schlitzie remained hospitalized for some time until he was recognized by sword swallower  Bill Unks, who happened to be working at the hospital during the off-season. According to Unks, Schlitzie seemed to miss the carnival dearly, and being away from the public eye had made him very sad and depressed. Hospital authorities determined that the best care for Schlitzie would be to make him a ward of Unks’ employer, showman Sam Kortes, and return him to the sideshow.
On September 24, 1971, at the age of 70, Schlitzie died from bronchial pneumonia at Fountain View Convalescent Home. His death certificate listed his official name as “Shlitze Surtees” and his birth date as 1901. Schlitzie’s grave remained unmarked until August 2008, when members of the website raised almost $400 to purchase him a proper headstone, which displays his name as “Schlitze Surtees” and his birth date as September 10, 1901.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Lionel – The Lion Faced Boy

Stephan Bibrowsky was born in Poland in 1890 to normal parents. He suffered from hypertrichosis, a rare genetic disease that covers the entire bodies of the subjects with a thick coat of fur. Only about 50 cases of the disorder have been documented since the Middle Ages. In the case of Lionel, six-inch-long hair covered his body. He was discovered by a German man named Meyer when he was four years old and became famous throughout Europe where he gained the nickname of Lionel the Lion-Faced Man. Far from being exhibited as a beast, he wore often the best clothes to show that under his hairs he was a literate and enjoyable person that spoke five languages.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012


Schlitze was born in Yucatan, Mexico during the 1880's and had a sister who also suffered from microcephaly. Despite being male, Schlitze wore dresses to simplify his toilet needs, but he was unusually intelligent for a microcephaly sufferer and could sing a few notes, dance a few steps and even count to ten. It was said that Schlitze loved hats, new dresses, bits of string, games and Freaks director Tod Browning, even to the point of imitating the tone of his voice.
Up until a tour of St. Louis, Schlitze was billed as "Maggie, the last of the Aztecs", but then a well known beer company gave him the name of Schlitze.Schlitze with Rochelle Hudson and Chester Morris in Meet Boston Blackie (1941)

His nature was of a fun loving and extremely affectionate child and also expressed a liking for young Jackie Cooper, much to the actor's terror.
Schlitze also appeared briefly in a carnival scene of Columbia's MEET BOSTON BLACKIE (1941) with Chester Morris.
After 30 years of exhibition, Schlitze's owner and manager died forcing him into an institution where the attendants never had the time to provide him with the attention he craved. Sam Alexander, a Canadian promoter, found Schlitze literally dying of lonliness. Alexander persuaded the authorities to place Schlitze in his care and he took him on the road.
Schlitze died in California during 1961 at the age of 80, an unusually long life for a microcephile.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

The Man Who Could Survive Being Impaled by a Sword

Mirin_Dajo_promotionalMirin Dajo with rapier piercing his thorax from back to front
On June 23, 1947, Time Magazine reported from Switzerland on what it called the “Miracle Man” – a mysterious 35-year old Dutchman by the name of Mirin Dajo who confounded onlooking scientists, doctors and ordinary spectators when, apparently without any pain or internal injury, he was skewered straight through the chest with a 28-inch fencing foil. The skin on his torso appeared to bulge as the solid steel blade was pushed through by an assistant, but Dajo stayed stoic, unflinching. In the wake of the harsh reality of the Second World War, people were in search of miracles. Through Mirin Dajo, that is exactly what they seemed to get.
Long before the Jim Rose Circus came to fame in the 1990s, there was a single-man sideshow who put all their masochistic acts into the shade. Claiming he was invulnerable, Mirin Dajo became notorious for radical body piercings more extreme than any seen before or since. During the 40s, this living enigma was run through with sharp objects like spears and swords without suffering physical damage or even bleeding. How was he left alive? Was he, as some of the headlines of the time read, some kind of “second Messiah”? Was it just a trick, some kind of elaborate sleight of hand? Or could the truth be explained by science?