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.

The Weird Allergies You Really Don’t Want

Have you ever suffered an allergic reaction? If you have then you know that it is no fun. In fact, it is can be potentially life threatening. What you might not know is that the world is filled with weird allergies you really don’t want.

Water Allergy

Weird Allergies You Really Don’t Want

How would you like being allergic to water? Sure, at first it might seem like a bit of fun at first. But, you would soon realize that this is a terrible allergy that makes life incredibly difficult. The technical term for this weird allergy is aquangenic urticaria. It is so rare that only 1 person out of 23 million has it. The skin breaks out in spots or hives whenever it comes into contact with water.

Shoe Allergy

Unusual Allergies

If you want the proper name for this condition, I’m just going to come right out and say shoe contact dermatitis. This weird allergy means that as soon as the sufferer puts on any form of footwear their feet swell up or break out in hives. The reaction is caused by a certain type of resin used in shoe making. Sufferers have to wear brands that don’t use this resin.

Fish Bait Allergy

Weird Allergies

Fishing is meant to be a relaxing and enjoyable sort of pastime, at least for the person involved. However, one guy discovered that he was breaking out in rashes every time he went fishing. It was eventually revealed that it was the larvae in the fish bait that he was allergic to. The good news is that it is a heck of a lot easier to keep away from fish bait than it is to steer clear of water and shoes.

Beanbag Allergy

Weird Beanbag Allergy

A report from a few years ago told of how a young boy suffered a reaction after playing on a beanbag. It sounds like a bizarre and frankly unlikely type of allergy but there was a relatively simple explanation for it. It seems that many people are allergic to soybeans and this was the case with this boy. The beanbag was made out of soybeans. The dust from them caused his reaction.

Cell Phone Allergy

Unusual Allergies

Have you ever had a red and itchy face after speaking on your cell phone for a while? If you have then you probably have what is known as cell phone allergy. In truth, this allergy is due to the nickel used in these phones and is really a nickel allergy. Nickel allergy is surprisingly common, especially in women. This same allergy can also make it difficult to handle coins.

Exercise Allergy

Weird Allergies

Maybe you aren’t just a lazy slob after all. It could be that you are allergic to exercise. It appears that about a thousand people in the world have a condition known as exercise induced anaphylaxis (EIA). This can cause a severe and very worrying allergic reaction after working out. It is believed to be made worse when the sufferer eats certain types of food before they exercise. The more serious symptoms include falling unconscious and having the throat swell up.

Apple and Birch Tree Allergy

Weird Apple and Birch Tree Allergy

Probably the weirdest allergy of all on our list belongs to unlucky Grace Morley from Ireland. You see, she can eat apples without any problems and she can also be near birth trees without any sort of reaction. However, if she tries to eat one of those tempting fruits next to one of those lovely trees she goes into shock and her life is in danger.

The Top 5 Female Superheroes in Movies

Who doesn’t love some badass fun females that can save the day or do some mischief with few being able to get in their way? Female superheroes are both inspiring as a model of a strong female character, and also pleasing to the eye as well. There’s really nothing not to like about them, and their huge popularity within the comics and superhero films fan cultures proves it. Since today is the 4th of July – and with Captain America and Wonder Woman serving as the patriotic superheroes everyone knows so well – we thought it would be a good time to talk about superheroes. We previously shared with you a list of the best and worst superhero vehicles. So, today, we created a list of the most popular female superheroes featured in movies.

1. Wonder Woman

The Top 5 Female Superheroes in Movies

Since we already mentioned Wonder Woman, let’s start with her. As most superheroes, she was initially created within comic book canon. For the most part, she has only been presented in comic books and magazines since 1941. This brunette superheroine, clad in the American flag, was created by psychologist and writer William Moulton Marston, at a time when the West was already preparing for the Cold War. Therefore, writers often depicted her character fighting the Axis military forces. Another detail that contributes to her popularity is the fact that her origins are those of an Amazon princess. She fights for gender equality. She appeared in several TV series and is also going to be a part of the upcoming Batman vs. Superman movie, scheduled for 2016. To this day, she remains to this day the most iconic of all female superheroes.

2. Catwoman

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Historically a villainess, Catwoman has been an iconic bad girl turned good in lots of movies. She is deeply ingrained in the fan culture of superheroes. Many talented actresses portray her over the years. The most recent role was played by Anne Hathaway (pictured above). From all the female superheroes the fictional universes have to offer, she is the living embodiment of hotness and her name says it all.

3. Phoenix (Jean Grey)

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Jean Grey was already awesome enough back when she was simply a powerful telepath, but when she is taken over by the Phoenix cosmic force, she becomes almost god-like. Or should we say, goddess-like? She becomes a tremendously powerful goddess with her red locks flowing in the currents of her power (extra awesome points). After the death of her partner, Cyclops, she falls into a deep sorrow that triggers her to become a Dark Phoenix avatar (pictured above) which threatens to destroy everyone and everything. What makes her story even more memorable is, of course, the touching unrequited love which Wolverine has for her.

4. Invisible Woman

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The Fantastic Four wouldn’t be quite so fantastic without their now you see me, now you don’t figure, Susan, also known as the Invisible Woman. The beautiful Susan was initially a more damsel in distress type of character, when her passive invisibility was all she had, but later on she gained new powers which made her a force to be reckoned with. Her apparent frailty and gentle nature make her a wonderful addition to the top of awesome female superheroes.

5. Black Widow

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There were a few other characters which deserved to be honored on this list of best female superheroes (like Storm and Rogue from X-Men to name only two), but the Black Widow, by her real name Natalia Romanova, was the best choice. Not because the other candidates would lack impressive skills or charm. On the contrary. What’s so awesome about Natalia is the impression she gives of being a self-made woman. Unlike other female superheroes (and male superheroes for that matter), she didn’t get superpowers thanks to genetics or some mutation. She is one of the only characters who worked hard for her combat skills. If that’s not worthy of admiration, then I don’t know what is.

The Best and Worst Superhero Vehicles

There are basically two great things about being a superhero; the outfit and the vehicle. Having said that, not all superhero vehicles are as cool as you might think.

The Batmobile

Best and Worst Superhero Vehicles

If there is to be an undisputed champion of superhero vehicles, I reckon that it has to be the Batmobile. This is the car that is so cool that people have tried to build their own versions of it. The vehicles used in movies sell for millions. What you might not know is that Batman once also had a less glamorous and less speedy Flying Batcave at one point. It sucked.

Hong Kong Phooey’s Vehicle

Best and Worst Superhero Vehicles

You know, I just can’t work out if this is one of the best superhero vehicles ever created or one of the worst. As a kid I used to love the Number One Super Guy and I would have given anything to ride the mild mannered janitor’s car. It was called the Phooeymobile. It could turn into a boat or a plane or even, for some strange reason, a phone booth. However, when I look at it now it seems just a bit silly. Could I really imaging myself driving around in the Phooeymobile. Frankly, yes I could.

The Fantasticar

Best and Worst Superhero Vehicles

The Fantastic Four’s Fantasticar is, well, fantastic. Early versions of it looked suspiciously like a hollowed out bar of soap or a tissue box but it improved over the years and is now one of the best superhero vehicles in the whole wide world of crime fighters.

The Spidermobile

Best and Worst Superhero Vehicles

Did you even know that Spiderman once had a car? I had no idea about this vehicle until just now. The story around it is kind of weird, as old Spidey was behind on his rent and got approached by a couple of advertising executives to advertise a car. Due to his financial problems our hero agreed but then he realised that he had to build the vehicle as well. What? How does that even work? I can’t work out if this is a great car or a terrible one but if Spiderman came on the TV offering a car he had built then I would probably buy it.

Wonder Woman’s Invisible Jet

Best and Worst Superhero Vehicles

Back in the bad old days when Wonder Woman wasn’t very powerful she needed a way of getting around. Being too darned lazy to build her own car, someone gave her her own invisible jet. As the name perhaps suggests, this was a jet and it was completely invisible. In the pictures I’ve seen of it, the plane is invisible but Wonder Woman can be clearly seen, which makes is seem both incredibly cool and a little bit stupid at the same time.

The X-Men’s Blackbird

Best and Worst Superhero Vehicles

If you need to get somewhere in a hurry then you need the Blackbird. It has changed a lot over the years but remains a brilliant superhero vehicle. It’s probably a bit too fast and scary for me to fly if I’m being honest.

The Hulk Copter

Best and Worst Superhero Vehicles

Apparently the Hulk has got himself a copter. Good for him. Our giant green buddy doesn’t look like he would be the best helicopter pilot in the world but if there’s a toy of it for sale on the internet then it must be true.

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.