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10 Incredible Sideshow Performers You Might Not Know About

We are all freaks. Some on the inside, some on the outside. Let your freak flag fly on Oct. 8 with the premiere of American Horror Story: Freak Show 10PM on FX.

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1. The Bearded Lady, who advocated for change in the sideshow business.

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Real Name: Annie Jones

Time Period: 1860–1902

Amazing Fact: Jones had a full mustache and sideburns at the age of five. As an adult, she became the country's most successful "bearded lady" and an advocate to put an end to the word "freaks" in the sideshow business. Not content simply to be stared at, Jones also educated herself and became an accomplished musician. She married twice and retired a very wealthy woman.

2. The Half-Man Half-Woman, one of the first sideshow performers to be immortalized in film.

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Real Name: Josephine-Joseph

Time Frame: Early 1900s

Amazing Fact: Though it is unknown whether the individual was truly a hermaphrodite or rather a skilled impersonator, Josephine-Joseph's half-man/half-woman body landed her/him a role in the 1932 film Freaks, where she/he famously begin the chant, "We accept her, we accept her. One of us, one of us."

3. The Snake Man, who is remembered for perseverance and positivity.

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Real Name: Prince Randian

Time Period: Early 1900s

Amazing Fact: Having no limbs and dressed in a one-piece, Prince Randian was able to write, shave, and roll cigarettes using only his mouth. He spoke Hindu, English, German, and French and was known for both his quiet sense of humor and his philosophy that "no physical handicap need matter if the mind is dominant."

4. The Half-Man, who conducted his own orchestra.

Ronald Grant Archive / Mary Evans Rights Managed / Everett Collection

Real Name: Johnny Eck

Time Period: 1900s

Amazing Fact: A true performer from an early age, Johnny, alongside his twin brother, delved into the entertainment industry in facets beyond the sideshow business. Johnny was an accomplished painter, appeared in three Tarzan movies, and even conducted his own orchestra in Baltimore.

5. The Man Without a Stomach, who earned a certificate of meritorious from President Roosevelt.

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Real Name: Silas Whaley

Time Period: Early 1900s

Amazing Fact: Whaley is pictured above impressing audiences by sucking in so far to give the illusion (or is it?) of not having a stomach — a trick he had perfected as a young boy. He used his talents to travel the country and earn money before joining the Army.

6. The Willow Bunch Giant, who was strong enough to carry a horse on his shoulders.

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Real Name: Edouard Beaupré

Time Period: Late 1800s to early 1900s

Amazing Fact: Though many giants live feeble and sickly lives, Edouard stood sturdy at over eight feet and exhibited incredible strength. In fact, he billed himself not only as a giant, but also as a strongman. In his act, he would lift a horse onto his shoulders to awe audiences.

7. The Invulnerable Man, who used his act to preach peace and love.

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Real Name: Mirin Dajo

Time Period: Mid-1900s

Amazing Fact: Known for his seemingly invulnerable body, Dajo's show involved him piercing his body with various objects as well as swallowing glass and razor blades. But his real mission was preaching world peace, anti-materialism, and a higher power to his audience; he claimed that his body was a clear sign of there being something greater out there. Basically, he was the original hippie.

8. The Human Owl, who used his rare flexibility to build a flourishing career.

The LIFE Picture Collection / Gett John Phillips / Getty Images

Real Name: Martin Laurello

Time Period: 1886–1955

AmazingFact: Also known as Bobby the Boy with the Revolving Head, Laurello had a biological rarity that allowed him to turn his head 180 degrees. During his time at various circuses, Laurello was also a ventriloquist and trained dogs to do acrobatics!

9. The Great Omi, aka The Zebra Man, who attended Oxford University.

Gamma-Keystone / Keystone-France / Getty Images

Real Name: Horace Ridler

Time Period: Late 1800s to mid-1900s

Amazing Fact: Rumored to have attended Oxford University and achieved the rank of major in the First World War, Ridler decided to completely reinvent himself by covering his body in broad, zebra-like stripes that took over 500 sittings in the tattoo chair just so he could become a show attraction. He later used his popularity to sell war bonds.

10. The Three-Legged Man, who used his platform to educate about healthy sexual practices.

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Real Name: Frank Lentini

Time Period: Late 1800s to mid-1900s

Amazing Fact: Lentini's third leg was the result of a fusion with an undeveloped identical twin in the womb and had a tiny second foot growing out of the knee. Nicknamed "The King," Lentini is famed for having keen wit, a brilliant sense of humor, and undeniable charm. In addition to being a performer, Lentini was an educator. He sold his own books about healthy sexual practice and good hygiene during his act.

American Horror Story: Freak Show premieres Oct. 8, 10PM on FX

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