I apologize for my lack of updates in the past few days; I had a busy schedule whilst at my dads, and forgot the charger for my laptop, so I had little time with it while it worked (as it has a bad battery in the first place.) I hope to cover enough freaks this week to make up for the missed weekend, so stay tuned.
Modern fan-art of Jo-Jo, seen in his common “uniform.”
It was through P.T. Barnum that Jo-Jo got his nickname, most likely because Fedor sounded too “proper.” Barnum would present him in a Russian military uniform, usually bright in colour, complete with a rifle. Jo-Jo would carefully practice his English with his fans, and would sign autographs with his beautiful penmanship. One can recall that Barnum said he was taught normalcy after being taken from his home in woods; that being said, the precision of his writing, and the supposed beauty of it, would have been enough to shock the visitors.
However, Jo-Jo didn’t always act as civilized as he was: he found that his spectators took great pleasure in hearing him bark, growl, and bare his few teeth. After all, they had come to see a savage-dog boy, not a simple hirsute gentleman.
In 1886 Jo-Jo was one of the highest paid freaks, making over $500 a week (about $11 400 at today’s standard.) Only the worlds smallest woman, Lucia Zarate and conjoined twins Millie and Christine McKoy earned more. He was, of course, still a minor, so his earnings (more than $300 000 by 1889) was entrusted to his management.
Jo-Jo never married, but was “engaged”, in March of 1886, to the only dog-faced girl, known as Kee-Boo. She too was said to have been found running wild in a forest in Michigan. The sixteen year old was covered heard-to-toe in thick red hair, and during their courtship, they would feed each other raw meat and bones in front of their spectators. Though their “wedding” was set for July of 1886, no wedding notice was published. The true identity of Kee-Boo remains a mystery, as she seemed to have disappeared from the press after that year.
Fedor “Jo-Jo” Jeftichew’s last American booking was with the Barnum and Bailey circus in 1901. After embarking on a European tour soon after, he fell ill with pneumonia whilst in Turkey. He left the world on January 30, 1903.
the second part of the bio of Jo-Jo the dog-faced boy. part one can be read here.
Jo-Jo worked for showman Charles Reynolds for several months before P.T. Barnum heard of his extraordinary appearance, and sent for him to travel to the US to appear in his circus, with Nicholas Forster and his wife accompanying him. Barnum felt that Jo-Jo’s back story needed an enhancement; he eventually decided that a hunter had found a hirsute father and son in the forests of central Russia. The hunter decided to follow them, and eventually found his way to their cave they called home, where they had been surviving on roots, berries and small animals they’d killed with rudimentary clubs. The story was, in essence, an approximation prehistoric man.
The hunter was said to have gathered a group of men and set out to capture the “cavemen.” They managed to corner Adrien and Jo-Jo in their cave, and after an epic brawl, in which Adrien and several men were killed, Jo-Jo was captured. Barnum said that at this point, he was young enough to “train”; with the effort of scientists, he learned to walk upright, wear proper clothes, and speak three languages: Russian, German and a little English.
the final part will be presented tomorrow.
Jo-Jo the Dog-Faced Boy, The Great Regurgitator, Annie Jones, Zip the Pinhead, and Baby Thelma
Jo-Jo the Dog Faced Boy.
The following account is going to be divided into several posts, posted once a day at the same time for a few days; I don’t want to bore you with an essay about this extraordinary man.
Several of you may have heard of the Mexican man, Jesus Fajardo Manuel Aceves, who suffers from hypertrichosis (like Annie Jones) Also known as Wolfitis or the Werewolf Syndrome, the disease is a long-running fascination for the public, and is, akin to bearded women, a staple of historical carnivals.
The first account of Fedor “Jo-Jo” Jeftichew (pronounced Yeftichev) is in Paris, 1873, where he was exhibited at a sideshow with his, Adrien Konstantinov Jeftichew. Adrien was known as “The Dog of the Caucasus” or “The Siberian Dog-Man,” and suffered from the same ailment as both his son and Jesus Aceves.. Incredibly superstitious, he believed that he and his son were being punished and most spent his time away from performances praying for a his family’s sake. It wasn’t long afterwards when Adrien died, at the age of 59.
After his father’s death, Jo-Jo became a ward of the Russian government and was appointed a guardian, Nicholas Forster, at the age of sixteen. Standing at five feet, eight inches tall, Jo-Jo was covered from head to toe in thick, silky hair, resembling that of a shaggy dog. Despite his savage appearance, he was said to have been incredibly smart and inquisitive.
Nicholas and Jo-Jo soon moved to England, perhaps for work, as Charles Reynolds, a showman, soon hired Jo-Jo. He advertised him as the boy who had been raised by wolves, claiming to have found him in the wilderness of Siberia.
to be continued.
A French promotional poster depicting Annie Jones.
"The Real Bearded Lady."
Annie Jones at the age of 19.
A staple of a modern cartoon carnival is the bearded lady. Perhaps one of the most successful accounts, Annie Jones was born in Marion, Virginia on July 14, 1865. Perhaps she was most of a hairy lady than a bearded one, as even as a child she was covered from head to toe in coarse dark hair. Her parents called her “Esau” because of the thick layer of hair on her face, resembling a mustache and beard. By the time she was nine months old, PT Barnum had gained her parents approval to take her on tour, as her parents and eleven siblings desperately needed the money. By the time she was a year old, she was bringing in upwards of $150 a week, or $2 110 with inflation.
At one point, she was one of the highest paid “freaks” in the country, and her income grew as she did. Annie dressed in the tight-fashions of the day, showing off her womanly figure to boost her adoration. Her hairiness as a child didn’t ease up, as she had not only her floor-length raven hair and a manly beard, but a thick coat of hair on her arms as well (which she normally covered up with long gloves.) Like most hypertrichotic (those with abnormal hair growth) women, she was said of have had an incredible speaking voice.
At the age of fifteen, Annie married a Barnum circus talker, Richard Elliot, but divorced him five years later because of his abusive behavior. Soon later, she married again, to a wardrobe man named WIlliam Donovan. The two moved to Europe, presented in front of the Imperial Palace in St. Petersburg, delighting the Czar and Czarina. She met the royals in Germany, France and Italy, and only moved back after William died. Annie signed with Barnum again, and supposedly made more than $500 a week - more than the president at that time.
Her income proved to be a good thing: Annie was said to have been a “smart investor,” and put her money into real estate, as well as into a savings fund, fearing she could lose her beard at any time, and with it, everything else. Alas, this fate never came: she instead got tuberculosis while in France with Barnum & Bailey Circus. She returned to the US to live with her widowed mother and new step-father, Pogue. Annie unfortunately died at the age of 37 of October 22, 1902, and requested that she was buried with her beard uncut.