5 of the Most Incredible Old-time Circus Freak Show Acts

The days of circus freak show acts are long gone, which is no bad thing really. However, it is very interesting to look back at some of the incredible old-time circus acts that once took people’s breath away and made them recoil in horror in the past.

James Morris and His Elastic Skin

Incredible Old-time Circus Freak Show Acts

This guy was known as the India Rubber Man or the Elastic Skin Wonder due to the fact that he could pull his skin and stretch it so far out. He was said to be able to pull the skin from his neck over his ears, which is a pretty cool thing to be able to do when you think about it. He joined the Barnum circus and earned a living from this bizarre ability. As with most of the famous circus freak shows acts from the past, there is a sensible scientific explanation for it. In this case, Morris has something known as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.

Mary Ann Bevan – The Ugly Woman

Incredible Old-time Circus Freak Show Acts

This woman became a widow at the start of the First World War and took on a farm labouring job near London while disguised as a man. To be fair, it probably didn’t take that much of a disguise going by this photo. She was talked into entering a beauty contest and, perhaps unsurprisingly, didn’t win. However, her lack of beauty led to her being offered the chance to join travelling fairs, billed as the Ugliest Woman in London. Her fame then grew and she travelled all over the world in shows. She seems to have been happy enough, calling her ugliness “a blessing”.

Josephene Myrtle Corbin and Her Extra Legs

Incredible Old-time Circus Freak Show Acts

It’s pretty clear why this lady became famous. Doctors in the 19th century called her a “dipygus dibrachius tetrapus” and even a “monster by fusion”. However, to put it in simpler terms, she had 4 legs. She could move the two inner legs but they were said to be unsuitable for walking on, as they were too weak. At 13 years of age she joined circus shows as the Four Legged girl from Texas. In later life her condition didn’t stop her from having children of her own.

Madame Clofullia – The Bearded Lady

Incredible Old-time Circus Freak Show Acts

The bearded lady is one of the classic circus show freak acts and Madame Clofullia (born in Switzerland as Josephine Boisdechêne) was one of the most famous. By the time she was 8 she had a 2 inch beard and before long she was touring Europe to show off her unusual looks. She was given a giant diamond by Napoleon III and then went on to tour in the US with Barnum. She ended up in court; accused of being a man in disguise but it was proven that she really was a woman. At one point her beard measured 6 inches.

Ella Harper – The Camel Girl

Incredible Old-time Circus Freak Show Acts

At first sight Ella Harper might not look like she has much to offer a circus but just look at those legs. The bizarre ability that she had was that of being able to bend her knees forwards and walk around on all fours like. She became the Camel Girl for a few years before seemingly giving up the freak show circuit to go to school. The medical term for her condition is now known as congenital genu recurvatum.

African Leaders Vote to Give Themselves Immunity from War Crimes

A few days ago, on Friday, 27th of June 2014, the leaders of African countries reunited at a summit in Equatorial Guinea. What they voted for should give us all the chills. The leaders, some of which are in trouble with various courts for their involvement in war crimes and human rights violations, voted to give themselves and their allies immunity from war crimes. Two sitting presidents and one ousted president of the African continent are currently facing charges at the International Criminal Court. This ruling is surely not a minor detail of how the initiative for this vote was taken.

Immunity from War Crimes

The news of this outrageous decision only seems to have hit the Western World today. All the major voices have expressed concern for this turn of events. Amnesty International, which is the NGO most equipped with studying problematic issues and charged with reporting to the UN, has called the vote “a backward step in the fight against impunity and a betrayal of victims of serious violations of human rights”. Indeed, there’s plenty of reasons to feel outraged when a bunch of politicians by this sit down meeting. They’ve voted to give themselves immunity against war crimes and the international community can’t remain indifferent.

What makes the matter even more concerning is the continent’s recent history and inter-ethnic conflicts that too often ended in downright massacres. Without meaning to imply anything inappropriate about Africa and the capacity of its peoples to peacefully govern their territories, there have been enough problems to make the matter worrisome. Leaders voting to give themselves immunity from war crimes would chill the blood in anyone’s veins no matter where he or she is from (and we surely do have our own part of troubled history). In a place as ripe with conflict and tension and Africa is, this seems all the more dangerous.

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When a massacre like the recent South Sudan attempt at ethnic cleansing ensues, the only thing the UN and a few NGOs can do is watch helplessly and try to offer a bit of comfort and basic shelter to the survivors. Intervening military in such a situation would be both difficult and problematic. One thing the rest of the world can do in order to prevent such atrocities and help the troubled areas achieve greater stability is impose regulations and preventative measures. Such a preventative measure includes making sure the laws and the courts have a firm grip on the rest of the country. But, this recent vote basically rejected any kind of accountability for even the most serious violations. Giving themselves immunity from war crimes is equitable to a defiance of basic human kindness. It shows a lack of respect for human life for their own people. It’s a shame such news are able to tarnish the image of the African areas that are actually peaceful and doing just fine.

The vote was held especially because the international community is currently struggling to set up an African Court for Justice and Human Rights. Netsanet Belay of Amnesty International declared that the vote to give these leaders immunity from war crimes is undermining the integrity and capacity of this court even before it can become operational. On a more optimistic note, others (namely, Simon Allison of the South African Institute for Security Studies) argued that even if the vote to give the leaders immunity from war crimes is undoubtedly a drawback, it could also prove to have some utility on the long run. In his words, the newly gained immunity could prove to be some sort of incentive for those leaders to not hinder the activity of the court and perhaps even be willing to collaborate more with it since they would feel safe from its rulings. In any case, the matter remains a heated source of debate and discomfort for the rest of the world as well. We eagerly await more reactions and truly hope things won’t remain like this for long.

5 Unusual Jobs You Never Knew Existed

Complaining about one’s job seems to be everyone favorite activity, at least if you look mainly at socializing networks and the status updates posted there. If people aren’t complaining about their work or their bosses, they’re complaining about how much they hate Mondays. We previously published a story about a few horrible jobs to have, in the hopes to make everyone appreciate what they have. We also wanted people to realize there’s no reason to whine so much. Today we will follow up witha story about some of the most unusual jobs out there. These are the jobs that you probably never even knew existed. We’re not saying they’re either good or bad. We’ll let you be the judge of that instead.

5 Unusual Jobs You Never Knew Existed

Human Statue

If you think we’re referring to those painted up performers at fairs and whatnot which stand in the street as still as possible waiting for people to give them some money or interact with them in some way, you’re wrong. Being a human statue is way weirder than that. It truly deserves to have the entry position in a top of the most unusual jobs out there. Basically, it consists of spending your time in the window of a high-end clothing store dressed up with their clothes. You know, just like a mannequin. Except, they prefer using a live one. The pay is around $100 an hour and it would definitely give you the funniest stories to tell at social gatherings for the rest of your days.

Odor Judge

Perhaps you’re not aware of this, but there are actually body odor competitions being organized. The winner is the one with the most “natural” armpit smell. Needless to say, there’s an odor judge who sniffs out all the competitors in order to deem a rank to each one. The job usually pertains to a female odor judge. If this isn’t the most unusual job you could ever think of, we don’t know what is.

Body Part Models

You know those images from watch catalogues or nail polish commercials or shoe advertisements where you can’t fully see the person modeling them but only the hands or feet, depending on the product marketed? Well, imagine that the people featured there are actually body part models! That means that they get hired for only one part of their body which is particularly attractive. It probably makes for some pretty weird and Frankenstein-like business cards.

Paid Internet Commenter

This is an official position which is offered to some people seeking employment in China. Apparently the government there is paying people to comment all over the internet and to cast a positive light on the ruling Communist Party. These paid commenters are tasked with penetrating all the popular layers of the web community: chat rooms, news forums, bulletin board systems and so on. These people are called “wumao”.

Professional Cuddler

To finish the list of 5 most unusual jobs you could ever imagine, why not bring up one which awkwardly blurs the limits of what we call privacy and intimacy in a novel way? The job is that of a professional cuddler. It seems to be popular in Japan right now. The “hikikomori” (“crippling loneliness”) that plagues much of Japan’s society today apparently found some relief with these cosy cafes where one can go cuddle with a stranger and maybe even sleep next to them. The people reporting this for CNN swore that cuddling is really all that happens.

Ok, so maybe some of them aren’t horrible. Maybe one or two could even be appealing if you’re open minded enough, but you’ll probably admit that these were some of the most unusual jobs you ever heard of. We’re wondering how exactly these employees first break the news to their families about what they do for a living. Not that we’re judging such brave souls.

A Look into the World Beard and Moustache Championships

A few days ago, we presented you with a guide for experimenting with your beard styles. We also put up a strong defense of the sometimes vilified and mocked hipster beard. Since the topic has been opened, we would like to examine a unique world and subculture you may not have heard about until now: the world beard and moustache championships. Yes, you read that right, and yes, it’s just as upbeat and fun as you probably already imagined it to be.

the World Beard and Moustache Championships

Yes, it’s quite hipster-ish (which isn’t a word). This sort of competition falls into a recent hipster beard debate. This debate has split sides down the middle between the beard-praising enthusiasts (as I am) and the beard-bashing whiners. These people decry the beard as a compensation for the loss of masculinity as it once was. I believe that the way men choose to style their beards should be as free as the way women choose to color (or not color) their hair. It should not indicate something about the quality of the person sporting said style. Last but not least, beards look and feel pretty friggen awesome. I think those aesthetics count for something. So, let’s raise a glass to the beard resurgence and the World Beard and Moustache Championships.

The History of the World Beard and Moustache Championships

The only unfortunate consequence of the relatively new hipster beard resurgence is the fact that these World Beard and Moustache Championships don’t really have a rich history. The first time the completion took place was in 2007. It was organized as a convention that reunited some of the world’s largest association and clubs that already were centered on their members’ facial hair. The history of these modern contemporary clubs celebrating beards and moustaches is arguably older than the relative novelty of the competition itself.

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The styles and categories in the World Beard and Moustache Championships should speak for themselves about the historic value of the beard. “Hungarian moustache”, “Musketeer”, “Garibaldi” and “Imperial” are all styles which proudly reflect the rich history of the beard and moustache styles that mankind experimented with. The World Beard and Moustache Championships aren’t quite as new as some may think because the beard is a more contemporary style. Only recently have beards become something exotic enough to spark up a special competition dedicated to them. Not that anyone is complaining about competition, of course.

Who Competes in the World Beard and Moustache Championships

If you’re wondering about where the contestants of these competitions come from, you will be pleased to know that most Western countries have a team of awesomely styled hairy men competing. That includes, of course, the United States. More details about the American team can be found here. If you want to check them out or maybe even manage to get involved in the club, the next public event will take place in Montana at the Red Ants Pants Music Festival in Sulphur Springs. This festival will be held on July 26th 2014.

People Who Had Plastic Surgery to Look Like Someone Else

Have you ever been tempted to go under the surgeon’s knife to look like someone else? The following people are so obsessed that they will do almost anything to be someone else.

The Jessica Rabbit Fan

Plastic Surgery to Look Like Jessica Rabbit

I enjoyed the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit, as I’m sure most right thinking people did. However, I can safely say that I don’t harbour any urges to become any of the characters. That’s because I’m not as stark flipping bonkers as Penny Brown. This Australian lady now lives in Japan and she is quite keen on being Jessica Rabbit. Sadly, Jessica is a cartoon character whose proportions aren’t realistic. This hasn’t stopped our bold heroine from getting breast enlargements and squeezing into a tiny corset every day to exaggerate her figure. Bizarrely, she isn’t even the first person to get surgery done to look like the famous animated character.

The Asian Brazilian

Plastic Surgery to Look Asian

Have you ever wished that you had been born on the other side of the world and looked completely different? Of course you have, as you are a hard to please sort of person. However, unless your name is Xian Guacho you didn’t spend a fortune a series of bleeding painful operations to look as though you were from another continent. This blonde Brazilian felt that his life would be enhanced if he looked Asian. 10 operations and a good few thousand dollars later he now models Asian clothes on a Brazilian website.

The Human Barbie

Plastic Surgery to Look Like Barbie

Valeria Lukyanova is a human who looks like a Barbie doll. What’s hard to understand about that? What? You don’t understand why someone would undergo a series of expensive plastic surgery treatments to try and look like a frankly unlikeable doll? Actually, when you put it like that I guess you’ve got a point.

The Nefertiti Surgery

Nefertiti Plastic Surgery

I’m sure I read once that the ancient Egyptian queen Nefertiti has been classed as the finest example of human beauty to ever walk the Earth. Personally, I thought she was a bit ugly but Nileen Namita didn’t agree with me. This English woman believes that she was an Egyptian queen in a previous life and has had over 50 operations to recreate the look in this life. Well, I reckon that I was a pirate in a previous but you don’t see me growing a beard and getting a hook fitted, do you? Actually, the beard growing part might be good fun really.

The Twin Surgery

Twins Get Plastic Surgery to Look Alike

The strange thing about this plastic surgery story is that it is a pair of twins who had the surgery to look like, err, twins. Jo and Kerry Burton are the deranged geniuses who spend all that money on looking the same as each other. They get all their operations carried out at the same time using the same doctors, although I guess that he at least finishes one of the noses before moving on to the next beak.

The Michael Jackson Surgery

Michael Jackson Look-a-Like after Plastic Surgery

Who do you think is in this picture with Michael Jackson? Unless you are Mr Magoo I am guessing that you didn’t say that it’s another Michael Jackson. This is a shame, especially for the lady called Miki Jay who spent $16,000 to try and look like the King of Pop. At least in this case there is an almost sensible reason for using plastic surgery to look like someone else. The UK based impersonator makes a living from looking vaguely like a dead singer.