Greetings. My name is Paul White. All my life, since I was a young lad, I have been interested and fascinated by sideshows and sideshow folks.
About a year ago I met a man named James, who actually worked on a circus sideshow,
back in the days, lived the life, and was accepted in to the outer circle of the inner circle of the freaks.
James was the Outside Talker for the sideshow. We became pen pals.
Here I share with you some of the letters he has sent me through the years.
I retyped the letters to share with you, but left intact all the grammatical errors so as to let the flavor of his letters come through.
Dear Mr. White: I am please to be able to write again.
I hope all is well with you and your family. As promised, here are my recollections of the freaks, which ultimately became my friends. Even though many of them still around and working on the sideshow, I speak of them in the past tense, as I am retelling of them as of the last time I worked with them.
The Freakshow was in a 10 in 1 style in a circus setting. It played small towns, but people came from far away to see the Freakshow.
Lon - The Circus Owner and Leader of the Freaks
Lon was known as just man among the freaks and other workers. He did treat his people well and paid on time, most of the time. If money were short he would talk to us directly to let us know he could not meet the payroll. He would ask us to wait until he was able to pay. We often did wait for our pay; we knew he would pay us in time. (Rumors had it that Lon and Sherri were rich.)
Sherri - Kimmie's Mom
Sherri was quiet, unassuming, and stay to herself when she was not caring for Kimmie and Mongoloid girl. Her best friend was Margaret, the Cannibal Girl.
Curtis - The Dwarf
Curtis was the eyes and ears of the Freakshow. He always knew what was going on the circus grounds. He also had a nasty attitude, was at odds with Lon for one reason or another. He knew how to push Lon's buttons. Yet, he was loyal to Lon. For his size he had a tremendous ego, and a hallow leg. He could drink with the best of them.
The Strong Man
The Strong Man was Lon's right hand man. He was extremely loyal to Lon, and did all his dirty work. He was the punisher and disciplinary on the circus ground. However, among the freaks, and in front of an audience, he was a gentle giant of good humor and on the show his strength was incredible.
The Wolf Man
The Wolf Man was act all on his own. Born with hypertrichosis, he was impressive in appearance. Dark, thick hair covered his face and upper body. Wolf Man was the heart of the Freakshow, always looking after the weaker family members such as Little Kimmie, Mongoloid Girl, and Elephant Man.
The Wolf Boy
One day Lon return from a long trip and with him was Wolf Boy. He told us that he adapted Wolf Boy from a family that was hiding him in a basement. He was able to convince his parents that Wolf Boy would have a better future in the circus.
Little Kimmie was Lon and Sherri's daughter. But in truth she was everyone's daughter.
On the bally, my favorite person to have was Margaret the Cannibal Girl. When she was on the bally I did such a grind, playing off her, that I could turn the whole tip.
The Great Riwami and Chef
The Great Riwami had no arms; Chef was a half man, he had no legs. They were quite a pair.
The Bearded lady
Was a contortionist and acrobat. People came to see a bearded lady, but soon were amazed by her flexibility, grace, and beauty. She had a soft voice, and was a good friend of Curtis.
Mongoloid girl was mentally retarded, however, she did not suffer from mongolism. She had a misshapen forehead, and bizared eyes that give her an evil appearance, yet she was gentle and friendly. Mongoloid Girl and Little Kimmie were always playing together, they were like sisters, even though I never knew if they were in fact sisters.
Grotesque is a good word to describe Elephant Man. His face, head and left arm were severely deformed. He had difficult talking, and made a strange creepy sound when he laughed.
Well. There you have it. I hope this will help in your research.