"At least we've saved money by not going to see Hairy Mary and her Test Tube Baby."
Typical freak show, 1956 (240 * 179)
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumTypical freak show, 1956 - Credit: National Fairground Archive

Freak shows and side shows had been part of fairground attractions since Victorian times. Most popular were the oddities such as bearded ladies, fat ladies, midgets, giants and conjoined twins, usually called Siamese twins in tribute to Chang and Eng, the original pair of exhibits born in Siam in 1811. Some freak shows were cons; Hairy Mary and her Test Tube Baby was actually a tiny monkey chained to a table on which sat a glass bottle with a plastic doll in it. The freak show pictured was touring in the 1950s as Tianga Jungle Girl Show, a seductive combination of semi-naked beauty and exotic animals (actually a girl in a glass compartment with a comatose python).