Girl to Gorilla Sideshow Act

By on September 6, 2013

Girl to gorilla sideshow banner by Fred G. Johnson

1940s Girl to Gorilla sideshow banner by Fred G. Johnson

The girl-to-gorilla trick is an old sideshow act based on the principles of the vintage Blue Room or Pepper’s Ghost illusions. For decades it mystified eager crowds in dimly lit tents as one of the top-grossing grind shows on the midway.

The audience would gather in front of a large cage. Inside was a beautiful girl dressed like a wild jungle lady, usually just recently captured in some remote and primitive region of the world.

Is she the result of some freakish evolutionary blunder?

Was she the subject of bizarre and cruel experimentation?

The talker begins to lull the ape girl into a trance and beckon her through her metamorphosis. Before the crowd’s very eyes she would begin to grow hair and fangs, slowly transforming into a large, raging beast.

When the transformation was complete, an angry gorilla stood growling inside the cage. Then it would burst through the iron bars and send the horrified crowds screaming from the tent.


Like Cult of Weird on Facebook for daily weird news and oddities


  1. Gail Salazar

    September 2, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    I really want to do this at my haunted barn. I remember it like it was yesturday when I first saw this show it scared me so bad I ran clear across the fairgrounds before I realized it wasnt chasing me. Where do I find the plan on how to make this

  2. zakk

    June 29, 2014 at 8:59 pm

What do you think?