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SOLD OUT (but hardback available): Daniel P. Mannix: FREAKS

Rated 5.00 out of 5 based on 1 customer rating
(1 customer review)

$25.00

SOLD OUT! But we still have the AUTOGRAPHED HARDBACK $100: gorgeous black boards w/ dust jacket, limited edition – only 100 printed). Daniel P. Mannix is the Outsider Noir Cultural Historian whose ancestors came over on the Mayflower. He wrote some of RE/Search’s favorite books, including Memoirs of a Sword Swallower and Freaks. As a teenager Mannix became a sword-swallower and fire-eater in a touring sideshow; he took photographs, and wrote his experiences in 2 books published by RE/Search. FREAKS is the authoritative edition featuring new photographs taken by the author… (Volume 2 is Memoirs of a Sword Swallower, still available from us.)

Product Description

Meet the strangest people who ever lived! Read all about: the notorious love affairs of midgets, the strange sex lives of Siamese twins, the mule-faced woman whose son became her manager, the unusual amours of Jolly Daisy, the fat woman, the human torso who could sew, crochet, and type, and bizarre accounts of normal humans turned into freaks–either voluntarily or by design! Daniel P. Mannix, now enjoying a cult revival, is the author of noir classics such as Those About To Die, The History of Torture, The Hell-fire Club, Memoirs of a Sword Swallower, The Beast (the first biography of Aleister Crowley to enjoy wide readership), and many other books. Up until his death in January 1997 at the age of 85, Mannix–a former sword-swallower, fire-eater, fakir and world traveler–lived on the family farm with his falcon, miniature horses and reptile collection. V. Vale was fortunate enough to visit him  in 1987.

We still have copies of the **HARDBACK** edition AUTOGRAPHED by Daniel P. Mannix (before he died in 1997); only $100 for SIGNED copy! See below.

1 review for SOLD OUT (but hardback available): Daniel P. Mannix: FREAKS

  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    . . . entertaining and even enlightening . . .

    —San Francisco Weekly

    Most rewarding is the absence of contrived sensation: it is clearly evident throughout this book that the only shocking contents are the photographs. Instead, Mr. Mannix has written a sensitive, humane story about some outstanding examples of civilization’s contributors. Because of his deep understanding caring attitude, this book explores innermost feelings that until now could never be presented in a book of this subject matter.

    —Parlee Plus

    Mannix and RE/Search have provided us with a moving glimpse at the rarified world of deformity; a glimpse that ultimately succeeds in its goal of humanizing the inhuman, revealing the beauty that often lies behind the grotesque and dramatically illustrating the triumph of the human spirit in the face of overwhelming debility.

    —Spectrum Weekly

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From Chapter 1, “We Who Are Not As Others”

frk_midgetI have always been interested in freaks–because I am one myself, not in a spectacular way, but different enough from other people to stand out in a crowd. When I was 11, I was 6 feet tall. If you happen to be five feet six and wear lifts, this may not seem like a curse to you, but it was to me. I remember when I was in my late teens I drove Mother to a dancing class to pick up my little sister, who was ten years younger than I. In the class was a great oaf of a kid, head and shoulders taller than the others and as ungainly as an ox with a broken leg. Watching him trying to dance with the little girls, falling over chairs and generally making a nuisance of himself, I asked Mother, “Why don’t they put him in a class with people his own age?” Mother gave me a curious look and remarked, “He’s the same age as the other children here. That’s what you looked like as a child.” I’ve had a fellow feeling for freaks ever since.

I realize that I should not use the word “freak.” In these days of euphemisms, freaks are now called “strange people.” This is a pity because there are a lot of strange people in the world but only a comparatively few freaks. Also, I don’t know of any word that expresses the concept of a dramatic physical deviation from the ordinary as well as “freak.” So I’ll use it. At least, it’s better than the medical term, “monster.”

It is fortunate that our ancestors did not take the modern, civilized attitude, for freaks have changed the course of history and greatly contributed to our knowledge of humanity. Bertholde, a hunchbacked dwarf, was probably the best prime minister the Lombards ever had. Jeffrey, a midget, was used as a secret agent by Charles 1 of England and distinguished himself for having more brains than secret agents. Bahalul, a court dwarf of Haroun-al Rashid, was famous for his quick wit and resourcefulness. Tribuolet, whose head came to a point and wore half an orange peel for a cap, was court jester to Francis I of France and inspired Victor Hugo’s famous play Le Roi s’amuse and Verdi’s immortal Rigoletto. Charles Lockhart, a dwarf who stood forty-two inches high, was three times state treasurer of taxes. During the last war, midgets made an important contribution as airplane mechanics, for the only people small enough to get inside turrets. It would seem to me that all these freaks were happier and more useful than they would be locked up in institutions.

From Chapter Five, “Look Ma, Three Hands”

frk_siamtwDouble-bodied people are perhaps the most remarkable of all freaks. They represent legal, religious (do they have two souls or one?) and psychological problems, as well as being incredibly grotesque. They are twins–or sometimes triplets–who did not divide. The best known are the so-called Siamese twins, twins connected by a bond of flesh. Often the twins are not two distinct people. They may be divided at the waist or may have two heads or two faces or four legs or have a body growing out of the twins’ chest or any other combination. Sometimes united twins can be separated by an operation, but more often it is impossible without killing one or both.

As is to be expected when two people are chained together for life and in addition frequently have conflicting temperaments, united twins often quarrel. This causes weird and rather pitiful situations. A famous pair of united twins was the Scottish brothers who lived in the court of James III in the late 1400s. The brothers were divided at the waist with two bodies and one pair of legs. This type of divided twins is called dicepahlus. The twins were born near Glasgow and were brought to the court at an early age, living there for twenty-eight years. They used to sing duets, one singing tenor and the other bass. They did not get along well together and often had fights, one set of arms against the other. There is no record of who won.

frk_siamtw2An even more grotesque and tragic case was Edward Mordake, a remarkably handsome young man who was gifted as a musician and a scholar. In addition, he was heir to a peerage. One would think that Edward have everything going for him and so he did–with one exception. On the back of his head he had the head of another face. It was said to be that of a girl. The head was functional, though it could not eat or speak. The eyes moved and followed the motions of anyone in the room. The head could also laugh and cry. Edward became obsessed with his “devil twin,” as he called it. He demanded that it be removed even if the operation killed him, but no doctor would undertake the delicate surgery involved. At last, Edward shut himself up in a suite of rooms, refusing to see anyone. He claimed that at night the face would whisper awful things to him in his sleep, “such things as they only speak of in hell.” Unable to stand the strain, he killed himself at age twenty-three.