Vintage Circus Sideshow Acts

Freaky but fascinating these vintage photographs reveal circus sideshow acts in all their glory. Photographer Charles Eisenmann followed performers in the mid-1800s in New York City and offered to shoot their portraits so they could tout for business. The freak show was popular with the lower classes, causing ‘dime museums’ to spring up in some of the city’s most impoverished neighborhoods.

As science improved and led to many of the ‘freaks’ physical differences being explained as genetic mutation or disease, the sideshow fell into decline as the individuals were treated with compassion and sympathy instead of fear and disgust. VIA: –THE PRESURFER

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