The world of the late 1800s was a time of drastic change. The Industrial Revolution was in full swing, and new processes were being mastered to give convenience to everyone at the expense of the challenging work of fewer and fewer people.
Our understanding of the nature of disease and disabilities improved drastically, as did the techniques to help people who suffered from rare and complex disorders.
However, it wasn’t perfect. Some of the strangest maladies we know about today were only given public awareness through exposure through dime museums – which were otherwise known as freak shows.
Fanny Mills was one of the more famously enterprising people who went on display for a living.
Unfortunately, it was all she could do. She was born with the condition that made her feet grow to nearly elephantine sizes. She acclaimed had enormous feet in the world.
These weren’t Shaq size; they were in a league of their own, so big she couldn’t lift them, so huge she basically couldn’t move.
This otherwise ordinary girl out of Sandusky, Ohio, left a footprint behind to follow in the world of freak shows.
10 /10 Stepping Into America
Fanny Mills was initially born in Sussex, England, in 1860, but immigrated with her family to Sandusky, Ohio, sometime after, where she grew up and spent most of her childhood.
It was during that time that she started to develop strangely. She wasn’t an ordinary girl like her sisters.
No familial indication could be seen, which would have predicted the outcome her body reached.
9 /10 Milroy's Disease
Fanny was born with Milroy’s Disease. It is a condition primarily affecting women which causes swelling of the feet and lower limb tissues in a process called lymphedema, indicating that the fluids which swell the limbs are lymph fluids.
Therefore, the swelling is part of the flesh and can’t be drained – or it couldn’t, back in those times.
Her feet and lower legs consequently grew gigantically, even more than an obese person’s legs would become.
Her feet were 19 inches long, 7 inches wide, and comprised a massive amount of her otherwise very modest body weight.