Posts

Sideshow banner for sale

Featured Oddities #5: Son of the Devil, Blue Ghost, and Reindeer Horn

Today’s gathering of weird art and morbid oddities for sale.

Hey there, it’s been awhile. Time has not been on my side lately, and it’s all I can do just to push out a monthly newsletter. But a handful of recent discoveries made me realize it was time to dust off the “Featured Oddities” series to showcase some things I know you’ll be dying to adorn your corpse and your crypt with.

Son of the Devil Sideshow Banner

Son of the Devil sideshow banner
Authentic, vintage sideshow banners are hard to come by, and certainly not affordable for the casual circus freak enthusiast as they can go for thousands of dollars. That’s why I knew this large, high quality reproduction created by Jason Lonon of Death-Ray Design would be hanging on my wall the moment I saw it.

BUY IT HERE

Ouija Blue Ghost T-Shirt

Ouija blue ghost t-shirt from the Talking Board Historical Society
Dubbed the Blue Ghost by William Fuld himself, the mysterious figure that graced the boxes of his iconic Ouija board from 1941-1972 is now on a t-shirt for the first time from the Talking Board Historical Society.

BUY IT HERE

Reindeer Horn Incense Burner

Reindeer horn incense burner by Bloodreligion
From my favorite purveyor of pagan art and household goods, this handcrafted incense burner or candle holder is made from genuine reindeer horn, copper wire, and a copper bowl.

BUY IT HERE

Johnny Fox sideshow collection

Freakatorium: The Sideshow Collection of Johnny Fox Hits the Auction Block

Own some amazing pieces of sideshow history from the collection of sword swallower Johnny Fox.

An amazing assemblage of circus sideshow artifacts and memorabilia is hitting the auction block this Saturday at Potter & Potter in Chicago. The collection belonged to sword swallower and magician Johnny Fox, known as the King of Swords, who died in 2017. The items range from cabinet cards, sideshow banners, circus posters, and gaffs like a Fiji Mermaid and furry trout to vintage taxidermy, skulls, and numerous other oddities. Fox displayed his curiosities in his Freakatorium, El Museum Loco, in Manhattan’s Lower East Side from 1999 to 2005.

Everything from the museum will be up for auction except a glass eye that supposedly belonged to Sammy Davis Jr., which had been on loan.

Alive! On the Inside! Potter & Potter is pleased to present the over-the-top, one-of-a-kind Barnumesque collection of renowned sword swallower, comedian, magician, and curiosity seeker Johnny Fox.

Expect a sale like no other, populated with sideshow banners (Fred Johnson, Snap Wyatt, Siegler and Meah), tribal art and artifacts, furry mink fish (very rare), magic tricks, swords for swallowing, and oh, so much more!

Fox amassed an amazing assortment of natural and unnatural curiosities which he displayed at The Freakatorium, “El Museo Loco,” a singular establishment he operated on the lower east side of Manhattan from 1999 – 2005. The entire contents of the collection will go on the block, from Johnny Eck memorabilia to circus posters, sideshow gaffs, Fiji mermaids, and even the disembodied wax head of Mao Zedong. This is one sale without comparison, filled with a thousand things you never knew existed – or that you wanted.

Here are some of the amazing and bizarre things from the catalog:

Human Dynamo sideshow banner by Fred Johnson
Sideshow banner by Fred Johnson depicting an electric chair illusion c.1950

Vintage photos of sideshow performers
Sideshow performer CDVs

Spidora sideshow banner by Mark Frierson
Spidora sideshow banner by Mark Frierson

The Walter L. Main Circus train wreck in Tyrone, Penn., 1893
The Walter L. Main Circus train wreck in Tyrone, Penn., 1893

Clothing owned by Tom Thumb
Clothing and other items owned by P.T. Barnum performers Tom Thumb and his wife Lavinia

Adelaide Herrmann's Electrocution Illusion
Adelaide Herrmann’s Electrocution Illusion c.1910

Plaster cast of Lobster Boy Grady Stiles' hand
Life size plaster cast of Lobster Boy Grady Stiles‘ hand

Skeleton Man Isaac Sprague
CDV of Isaac Sprague, the Skeleton Man c.1870s

Mysterious devil fish
Mysterious devil fish, also known as Jenny Hanivers

Betty Broadbent tattooed lady
Betty Broadbent, Youngest Tattooed Lady, had 565 tattoos. Photo c.1928

Martyrdom of Saint Agatha of Sicily
Oil painting depicting Saint Agatha of Sicily having her breasts cut off

Vintage Odd Fellows banners
Mid-twentieth century painted silk Odd Fellows banner

French mourning hair grave display
French mourning hair grave display, 1888


The mummy of Ramses II photograph c.1880s

Chupacabra diorama made by Mark Frierson
Chupacabra diorama made by Mark Frierson

Sideshow banners by Snap Wyatt
Sideshow banners by Snap Wyatt c.1950

Brank scold bridle
A brank scold bridle used to prevent women from gossiping and being a public nuisance

Sharpshooting trick shot sideshow performers
Sharpshooting/trick shot artists c.1900s


Life size sacrificial lamb prop, Valley of Milwaukee, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Wisconsin

Vintage shrunken heads from South America
Vintage shrunken heads from South America

Kar-Mi buried alive lithograph
Kar-Mi buried alive lithograph, 1914

Sideshow performer Charles B. Tripp, the Armless Wonder
Charles B. Tripp Armless Wonder cabinet card c.1887

Vintage taxidermy
Vintage taxidermy

Sideshow performer Laloo and his parasitic twin
Sideshow performer Laloo and his parasitic twin c.1880s

Cave bear baculum
Baculum (penis bone) of a cave bear

Antique embalming table
B.F. Gleason embalmer’s cooling table c.1886

Bearded Lady Annie Jones
Bearded Lady Annie Jones c.1890

Furry trout
Furry trout

Fiji cannibal fork
Four-pronged cannibal fork from Fiji

Atlantica banner for a Girl in Fishbowl sideshow illusion
Atlantica banner for a Girl in Fishbowl sideshow illusion

Contortionist in a bizarre costume
Contortionist in a bizarre costume c.1940s

Masonic coffin
Early twentieth century felt-covered wood coffin, Valley of Milwaukee, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Wisconsin

Antique chastity belt
Chastity belt with vicious face to ward off potential sexual activity

Mummified cat
Mummified “walled cat” named Fluffy, found in the wall of an old building in New York

Tibetan kapala skull
Tibetan kapala skull

Magic tricks and sideshow illusions
Magic tricks and sideshow illusions

Wexy bezoar stone
Bezoar stone extracted from the intestinal tract of Wexy, the war horse of Prince William of Orange, 1815

Tibetan llama bone necromancer hat
Tibetan llama bone necromancer hat

Miniature flintlock pistol with ivory grip
Miniature flintlock pistol with ivory grip, early twentieth century

Erotic optical illusion cabinet card
Erotic optical illusion cabinet card c.1900s

Manfish sideshow gaff created by Mark Frierson
Manfish sideshow gaff created by Mark Frierson

Jerry Pope naval tattoo art
Jerry Pope naval tattoo art c.1940s

Half man half woman
Adam and Eve vaudeville pamphlet c.1920s

Mourning portrait of Lisette Weber with hair and straw
Mourning portrait of Lisette Weber with hair and straw, Germany, c.1886

Antique poison rings
Antique silver poison rings, early 1900s

Pre-Columbian human skull
Pre-Columbian human skull with seashell discs covering eyes from Oaxaca, Mexico believed to be part of the Zapotech culture

Victorian taxidermy bird diorama
Victorian taxidermy bird diorama

18th century Italian reliquary
Reliquary from Genoa, Italy containing the bone fragment relics of 7 saints, 1763

Zoma the Cannibal sideshow banner
Zoma the Cannibal sideshow banner c.1930

See more in the Freakatorium auction catalog.

The auction is happening Saturday, November 10th at 10am.

h/t Weird Historian

Creating the Freak Show: The Rough and Ready Sideshow by Ransom & Mitchell

Duo Ransom & Mitchell brought their unique flavor of photography and digital art to the freak show with the Rough and Ready Sideshow series.
Miss Heady L'Amour from the Rough & Ready Sideshow series

The Rough & Ready Sideshow series from photographer Jason Mitchell and digital artist Stacey Ransom reinvents the vintage cabinet cards of yore with a colorful whimsy that is both alluring and bizarre.

To create the intricate details of these circus portraits, Ransom & Mitchell sew costumes, build sets and fabricate props, then digitally paint the final touches that couldn’t be done in studio.

The Ransom & Mitchell retrospective exhibition at Vanilla Gallery in Ginza, Japan ends tomorrow.

Rough & Ready Sideshow by Ransom & Mitchell

ransom-mitchell-sideshow-1
A menagerie of timeless tales and rare specimens lovingly recreated in remembrance of the once-common traveling carnivale, thus saved from the obscurity of antiquity.

ransom-mitchell-sideshow-2
Miss Heady L’Amour

ransom-mitchell-sideshow-3
Maharishi Mistari

ransom-mitchell-sideshow-4
Fiji Mermaid

ransom-mitchell-sideshow-5
Jewels of the Nile

ransom-mitchell-sideshow-6
Miz Beardsley

ransom-mitchell-sideshow-7
Spidora

ransom-mitchell-sideshow-8
The Final Act

ransom-mitchell-sideshow-9
The Pharaoh’s Daughters

ransom-mitchell-sideshow-10
Two Halves & A Whole

ransom-mitchell-sideshow-11
Doctor Huckleberry Schuxley

ransom-mitchell-sideshow-12
Shkiper & the Maneken

ransom-mitchell-sideshow-13
Amazonia Strong

ransom-mitchell-sideshow-14
Bonkers Black

More work by Ransom & Mitchell here: www.ransommitchell.com

World's most famous circus freaks

Most Famous Circus Freaks

A look at some of history’s most famous and fascinating circus sideshow performers.

Freak show performer Fannie Mills, the Ohio Big Foot Girl

Fanny Mills, Ohio Big Foot Girl

Sideshow performer Fanny Mills, better known as the “Ohio Big Foot Girl,” suffered from a rare disease that caused her feet to swell to 19 inches long.