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21 Unbelievably Haunting Vintage Photos From The Circus

The greatest show on earth has come a long way.

Hulton Archive / Stringer

JoJo, the “Dog face Boy.” (1900)

Topical Press Agency / Stringer

Clementine Clatteaux Delait a bearded lady. (1907)

Hulton Archive / Stringer

German strongman Eugene Sandow and Goliath wrestling with “a bear.” (1910)

Topical Press Agency / Stringer

Anita, ‘the Living Doll’, sits for a portrait. (1912)

General Photographic Agency / Stringer

A circus elephant balances on its front legs. (1920)

General Photographic Agency / Stringer

A female contortionist. (1925)

Topical Press Agency / Stringer

Daredevil Gladys Roy trains for her flying acrobatics by balancing on the rooftop of a skyscraper in Los Angeles. (1925)

Felix Man / Picture Post / Getty Images

A member of Sir Robert Fossett’s family circus grooms the show’s boxing kangaroo. (1940)

Topical Press Agency / Stringer

Mr Valenches holding two of his performing animals; a dog and a fox. (1908)

Fox Photos / Stringer

Jacko and Bess, two mandrills who perform at the Olympia Circus in London, wearing a fancy suit and dress in imitation of a smart couple. (1931)

Fox Photos / Stringer

Dixie the elephant from Whipsnade Zoo performs part of her repertoire with her keeper George Braham. (1932)

Keystone-France / Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

Man crushes a block placed on the stomach of a strongman. (1930)

Fox Photos / Stringer

Samson Brown, the world’s strongest man, lets a motorcycle run over him. (1934)

General Photographic Agency / Stringer

A man carrying twins, two 36-year-olds who are part of a circus act, in his bags. (1935)

Hulton Archive / Stringer

Members of Bertram Mills Freak Show are examined by a medical profession. On the examination table is the ‘Giraffe Necked Woman’. (1935)

Fox Photos / Stringer

Facial contortionist Alfred Hyland, gurning during an exhibition in Glasgow. (1938)

Keystone-France / Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

The director of the Sarrasani Circus poses with a Sioux family in South Dakota, whom he was presenting as part of his circus. (1930)

John Phillips / Time Life Pictures / Getty Images

Czech showman Baron Richard Nowak, 19, stands 21 inches high & weighs 17 lbs., blowing on a trumpet as he nestles inside tuba player of the Hamid-Morton Circus. (1940)

Herbert Gehr / Time Life Pictures / Getty Images

A seal performing in a harness, the trainer nearby, at a circus. (1942)

Alfred Eisenstaedt / Time Life Pictures / Getty Images

Gargantua the Great, the famous giant gorilla featured in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus, sustained a scarred face when a sailor threw acid in his face on the ship from Africa. (1940)

FPG / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

A strongwoman balances a piano and pianist on her chest. (1920)

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