The early 1900s were a peculiar time. Before the modern swing of cinema and after the great staged plays of music and opera, there was a lull when humans were the source of entertainment.
Not through acting or spectacle or sport. This was a time of gawkers and ridicule—the time of the sideshows and circus.
Many people may know of the film Freaks from 1932, a black and white human drama/horror that featured living and real examples of circus sideshow entertainers.
Human exhibits who were deformed from birth. Their entertainment was how different they were from their observers—the Freak Show crowd.
One of the most iconic was known as “The Pinhead” for his unnaturally small head. Many wouldn’t know, but Schlitzie the Pinhead was one of the most sincere and genuine human beings ever to be put on display.
10 The Birth Of Schlitzie
Schlitzie Surtees was born in 1901 with a rare genetic condition known as microcephaly. Also known as Simon Metz, though the name was never fully confirmed or owned, Schlitzie was born in the Bronx.
Due to his condition, his parents more than likely saw raising him as a failed effort over his deformity and decided to sell him off. He was placed into the sideshow circuit of Coney Island as a human rarity.
People would pay to see him, for how strange he was, in a time when human rights were up in the air like a trapeze act.
9 The Ticket Selling Skull
Schlitzie’s condition was a combination of other neurodevelopmental disorders, which resulted in the truly unique humanoid that many flocked to see at the sideshows and circus where he was employed.
His skull, and subsequently, his brain, grew to be much smaller, but his face did not, resulting in a skull that looks deflated from behind.
It led to other symptoms, such as intellectual disabilities, which hindered his development past the stage of a three-year-old’s mind.