Sunday, July 29, 2012

Elastic skin

In sideshow lingo, there are "made freaks" and "born freaks." Pierced people and tattooed ladies are examples of the former and conjoined twins, dwarfs and giants, and wolf-boys are among the latter. Another variety of "born freak" is an individual with what appears to be rubber or elastic skin. Their ability to pull and ply the skin (1st image) is a sign of the incurable medical condition known as Ehlers–Danlos syndrome or Cutis hyperelastica, an inherited connective tissue disorder with many less marketable symptoms. There have been several men (and the occasional woman) over the years who have chosen to take this strange trait on the road, including James Morris, "The Rubber Man"; Felix Wehrle, "The Elastic-Skin Man"; and Heinrich Haag, "The India-Rubber Man." The latest member of this exclusive group is Gary "Stretch" Turner (2nd image, more photos and video here). Stretch realized his paper-thin skin had some unusual qualities when he was only a toddler. Now 41, he has a better understanding of his collagen abnormality: "The best way to describe it is I'm built rather like a badly woven basket, if you can imagine that, which will pull apart." Stretch is performing in London with the Royal Family of Strange People for the Priceless London Wonderground (slideshow here).
There's a special shelf in Quigley's Cabinet for human mavels:


  1. Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is so much more than stretchy skin. It is a group of disorders, that causes crippling pain and fatige, small and large joint dislocations, heart problems, and in some cases death. Living with it really sucks.


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