(The famous conjoined twins from Siam, Chang and Eng. The term “Siamese twins” was coined after them.)
This rare 80’s HBO documentary on human abnormalities takes a look at the most well known sideshow performers of the last century as well as more obscure ones. The saddest tale of all is that of the “ape woman,” Julia Pastrana of Mexico, who was a talented opera singer managed by a man named Lent, who proposed marriage in order to keep her from running away to a more profitable sideshow. A pregnancy had Julia on cloud nine until her baby passed away shortly after birth. Julia died from a broken heart three days later. Her shady husband had her and the baby preserved in order to keep making money on his newly silent freak show. Karma eventually caught up with him– he went insane and spent his final years in an asylum.