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5 Famous Sideshow Entertainers


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Annie Jones
Annie Jones’ hirsutism made her a big hit in sideshows. Charles Eisenmann/Public Domain
Annie Jones’ hirsutism made her a big hit in sideshows. Charles Eisenmann/Public Domain

A list of famous sideshow performers wouldn't be complete without a bearded lady. While there are several that fit the bill, Annie Jones nabs a spot simply for the longevity of her career. Jones was barely 1 year old when P.T. Barnum — who never met an atypical human he didn't want to display — convinced Jones' parents to let her be part of his museum show. Jones became the "Infant Esau," a reference to the Old Testament's famously hairy Esau.

Annie got a handsome sum for her appearances with Barnum, but she was kidnapped by a phrenologist who wanted to make money off displaying her. She was soon found, however, and spent 36 years working Barnum's shows and other venues. She performed as the Infant Esau, then the Esau Child and finally graduated to the Esau Lady [source: Pednaud]. She grew long hair to match her beard and also became an accomplished musician.