The Sad Stories Of The Ringling Brothers’ “Freak Show” Acts

From “The Four-Legged Girl” to “The Dog-Faced Boy,” here are some of the strangest behind-the-scenes “freak show” tales.

Freak Show 1924

Ringling Bros. “Congress of Freaks” circa 1924. Wikimedia Commons

On May 19, 1884, the Ringling Bros.’ Circus officially opened for business, capitalizing on the extreme and bizarre to earn profit. It worked: For many years, the most popular component of the circus was the “Freak Show.”

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Civilization As We Know It May Have Started Because Of Beer

Civilization started because of agriculture — that much is known. But what if agriculture started because of beer?

Beer Glasses Hands

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Around 6,000 years ago, ancient Sumerians living in the Fertile Crescent recorded the first known instance of purposeful beer brewing. The grain-based beverage has since become integral to countless cultures around the world, inspiring men to risk their lives for distribution, inciting riots in the streets of New York City and bringing international renown to cultural events like Oktoberfest.

But there’s a theory that beer holds an even more important place in history, that civilization itself owes its very existence to the beverage — the “beer before bread” theory.

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Photo Of The Day: The 30-Year War That Tore Northern Ireland Apart

The Troubles

A Belfast man on patrol for the Irish Republican Army, 1987. Pacemaker Press International/Belfast Telegraph Archive

From 1968 to 1998, Northern Ireland was the battleground of a guerrilla war known as The Troubles. On one side was the Protestant majority called the Unionists, who wanted Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom. On the other side were the Nationalists, a Catholic minority who sought to become part of the Republic of Ireland.

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