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Guestbook Comments to James G. Mundie
January 2001 through December 2003


Comments received from 2005 to the present appear here.

Comments received in 2004 appear here.





88M.C.O.88 & JACK - Sunday, 28 December 2003 at 15:40:18 (EST)


Fascinating, educational and lovely artwork.

Joan Sage Philadelphia PA, USA - Friday, 12 December 2003 at 10:24:30 (EST)


Thanks for letting me know about the updates to your fantastic site!

I checked out the Sideshow Ephemera section and really liked it, especially the Dolletta page. How you came to know her living descendant I'll never figure out but what a difference it is to talk to a living relative!

I figure there's a wealth of information on other oddities out there in the hands of living descendants - the Frank Lentini family and Prince Randion family come to mind. There are a lot of Randions living in Paterson and other cities in New Jersey still, for example.

And I believe it was only in the last year that a descendant of Chang and Eng put up a website in honor his famous ancestors.


Tom Hernandez USA - Wednesday, 10 December 2003 at 13:44:34 (PST)



There are two acts running, in mainstream performance, where prodigies are part of the show. I don't remember all the names.

One is Todd [Robbins]'s show, where he has a dwarf, "Little Jimmy".

The other is Kevin James, currently producing "7 Magicians" at the Sahara in Las Vegas. He also has a dwarf working for him. AND Kevin found a half-man named (I think) Curtis, and is doing an up-to-date version of the Johnny Eck act. If you haven't seen Kevin work, you should. He's a superb performer and thinker.

Harley Newman - Tuesday, 9 December 2003 at 07:04:54 (EST)

JM: Thanks for the information, Harley.

There seems to be a resurgence of dwarfs in popular entertainment these days, of which I suppose Verne Troyer has been the most visible. Good for them. The public's craving for little people is cyclical, I suppose.

I haven't seen Kevin James perform, so I'll have to check that out (although I'm unlikely to get to Vegas to see his act in person any time soon). The Eck-nouveau routine sounds intriguing.


...I can't count how many people I've directed to your site. And in Google searches you show up all over the place now. I get real joy from contemplating your work.

Best wishes,

Angelique Cain Galskis USA - Saturday, 6 December 2003 at 13:55:33 (EST)


Dear James,
Your art is absolutely stunning!

Take care,

Lenora Claire, future cult icon Los Angeles CA, USA - Friday, 5 December 2003 at 18:52:59 (PST)


Dear James G. Mundie,
I was thrilled to see you profiled on (other than the fact that the price of your works is no doubt rising, while I sit here pining to own some of it).

Please continue to put new works on your beautiful website. It is one of the best on the net.


Angelique Cain Galskis USA - Thursday, 4 December 2003 at 19:08:39 (EST)


Very nice work, and witty... Seems like you should illustrate something by Ricky Jay or Doctorow, not that your work doesn't stand on its own...

Fitch-Febvrel Gallery New York NY, USA - Tuesday, 25 November 2003 at 18:23:41 (EST)


I wanted to say I truly enjoyed viewing your pages.

I am a distant cousin of one of Barnum's Midgets. His real name was " Major Robinson ". You can see him on this web page. I have been trying to track him down using the internet, and the best website out there containing this type of information on Barnum's Midgets is your very well put together work. But unfortunately, I was unable to locate him on your page, unless he was at that time using an alias.

From the information on his web page, can you help direct me to some sort of additional records concerning Major Robinson?

The photo of him is the best I have, but you are welcome to add it with the information shown, to your pages, if you are interested.

I did find that in 1869 Thumb and his wife embarked on yet another world tour, this one encompassing Australia and Japan, among other nations and lasting for another three years - as the General Tom Thumb Company under the management of Bleeker.

Major Robinson was said to have died in the "EAST". Is there away to find more information on the General Tom Thumb Company overseas?

Kind regards.

William McCarver - Sunday, 23 November 2003 at 15:45:57 (EST)

JM: Thanks for the kind words, William. I'm glad if you found my site useful and/or interesting.

Sadly, I was unable to locate any mention of Major Robinson in my library. It is possible that he was performing for Barnum under another name, as Barnum exhibited many little people over the years. If Robinson was traveling with the Thumb entourage, there certainly should be some mention of him, but I haven't found it yet. I was unable to get a sense of a likeness from the photo on your site, so I can't say whether I have seen another photo of Robinson or not.

I would suggest that you attempt to contact the Barnum Museum in Bridgeport CT as they may have something in their archives to give you a lead (they have a large number of Tom Thumb items on display, including one of his carriages). Another source would be the Circus World Museum in Baraboo WI. In the meantime, I will post your query to one of the sideshow forums to which I belong. Maybe one of the members will be able to provide a lead.


I enjoyed looking through your drawings ...I can see them working really well in intaglio.

Aine Scannell UK - Saturday, 15 November 2003 at 16:51:13 (GMT)


I was wondering if you had any more information on Lucia Zarate. Does any one know where she was buried, did she have any relatives claim her body [or] any [of] her fortune? I know that she traveled to many parts of the US, but what did she do at these appearances? Any information would be helpful.

Thank You.

A.B. Jimenez - Wednesday, 12 November 2003 at 19:03:21 (PST)

JM: Lucia is a bit elusive. I have seen her birthdate given as both 1864 and 2 January 1863, possibly in San Carlos, Mexico. Likewise, I have seen her death dates given as either 1889 or 1890 - and expiring either from exposure on a stalled train in the Rocky Mountains or from the mysterious term 'gastric fever'.

She was one of the highest paid performers of that time, earning at least $20/hour. I have seen reports that she amassed a sizeable fortune for the day, but who was managing her money or what became of it upon her death I have no idea.

I have seen a carte de visite of Lucia in which she appears with another slightly larger dwarf who is alleged to be her sister. Whether this was actually her sister or just a promotion gimick I cannot say with any certainty. She may have traveled with family members, in which case they would have been the ones to whisk away her body after death. Without family, I image it would have been extremely likely that her corpse would have continued to serve as a sideshow attraction, or at least have made it's way into the collection of some medical museum, as was the case with bird-headed dwarf Ms. Crachami, "The Sicilian Fairy" (who was actually Irish, but Sicily seemed more exotic, I suppose). Whether Lucia was buried in the States or Mexico I cannot say.

As regards her act, she was often referred to as "the living puppet" or the "the living doll". In fact, due to her uncanny size, most people assumed she was a doll until she began to move and speak. There must have been quite a commotion when that happened! Reportedly, Lucia did a brief song and dance routine atop a table. She was said to have a very high but melodious singing voice.


Manuel Diaz Aceves 'The Incredible Wolf Man' passed away today.

Manuel Diaz was born with hypertrichosis.

In 1980 he began to travel with Circus Beckman.
In 1984 he introduced his grandnephews, Danny and Larry, to Circo Kampas. Manuel performed with various circuses and with Sterling & Reid Brothers Circus in 1999. That same year, Manuel was invited to visit Ringling's Kalideoscape, where he was treated like royalty.
In 2000 Manuel, along with his granddaughters, and Diego (The Wild Boy) appeared in several talk shows, including The Sally Jesse Raphael Show, Ripley's Prime-time, and The Joy Browne Show.

This year he was about to return to the United States to travel with a sideshow. He was very excited about coming back to the U.S., this time with his wife and grandson, who also has hypertrichosis, and looks like a miniature Manuel.

Manuel is survived by his wife, ten children, several grandchildren including Ana and Belem, and his nephew Chuy, niece Lili, and grandnephews Danny & Larry.

Veekay,The Wolf People USA - Sunday, 9 November 2003 at 17:07:36 (PST)

JM: Veekay, please accept my condolences. With Manuel's passing we have truly lost a great performer. My thoughts are with you and your family.


This is an amazing page. The Gallery is just beautiful and the Sideshow section is fabulous. Keep up the great work!

Robyn Swashbuckler Duncan BC, Canada - Friday, November 7, 2003 at 01:15:24 (PST)

JM: I spent some time checking out your photos - nice! "Magazine" is my favorite, though I'm partial to "Two" and "Gangsta Bitch" as well. I'm intrigued by the tattoo on the back of the model in "Blue Moon" -- are those cats on that picket fence?

Keep buckling those swashes.


I received your reply ... thank you so much. In the picture Blue Moon her tattoo is of cats on a fence looking at a moon which you can't see in the picture. It's tinted slightly blue, hence the name of the picture :) But yeah, more about your site, the information and pictures of all the sideshow stuff is so great, it is suprizingly hard to find good photographs and such of that stuff. Right now I am just surrounding myself in that type of atmosphere to write a little short on a sideshow. I don't know if I'll make it right away, but I think it's pretty damn interesting and more films need to be made about that odd little period where sideshows were so popular...

Robyn Swashbuckler Duncan BC, Canada - Saturday, 8 November 2003 at 18:08:52 (EST)


My name is Dolletta Larie Adams Blalock. The postcard which you have posted is a picture of my Great Grandmother, Dolletta. Since I am doing geneology research I was wondering if you have any information on her other than the postcard?

If you would like more information, I would be happy to assist.


Dolletta Larie Adams Blalock - Thursday, 6 November 2003 at 21:13:37 (PST)

JM: Hello, Dolletta.

I'm afraid I don't presently know much more about your great grandmother, other than what I have posted. I haven't gone to great lengths to find out information about her, but there sadly seems to be a scant amount of information readily available about Dolletta and her career. Most sources I have seen mention her advertised status as "World's Smallest Mother", but I haven't seen much else about her (where she was from, to whom she was married [Boykin?], how long she worked in the sideshows, which shows, when she was born, or when she died, etc.).

If you can help fill in some of the blanks, I'd be most appreciative as I would love to 'flesh out' my brief Dolletta biography a bit more. Likewise, If you'd like to explore a bit more about her sideshow career, I can direct you to some knowledgeable folks who might be able to provide more information - or I can posit questions to them on your behalf.

Which of Dolletta's children was your grandparent?


Hi Jim....Finally got to see the site, its really good, well done, and thanks for the mention...

all the best,
mat x

PS I still hope to do my play "sealboy:freak" with Bindlestiffs in NYC - hopefully April next year, but its not definate by any means.

Mat Fraser UK - Wednesday, 5 November 2003 at 20:12:52 (GMT)


Hello, I just saw your pen & ink pictures on the 'net and can't imagine how they look in reality. I don't see the strokes or lines of dots made with the pen and ink. Do you have bigger picture on the net? If not can you send me one as an attachment? If you have just part of the picture, that would be sufficient for me to imagine it. Thank you.

Vladimir Rosenfeld - Sunday, 2 November 2003 at 16:35:37 (EST)

JM: Hello, Vladimir.
There is no substitute for seeing the actual drawings in person. In order to make the files load relatively quickly on the website, I must compromise on the resolution. So, what you see on-line is a pretty fair representation of the drawings, but it only hints at the level of detail in the 'real thing'.

I have created a 300dpi file of a section of my The Two-Headed Mexican (Pasqual Pinon) here so you can get a sense of the stippling and crosshatching I use to build up the textures of the drawing.

Thank you for the reply and attachment. Now I see the how you draw it. I don't know if you know, but in graphical art one can do such an image in an intaglio technique called hardground etching on copper plate, by repeated etching of gradual scratching into [the] "ground" and/or by repeated etching of completely scratched etching that is gradually [and] partially covered with resist (again wax or shellac). You probably know US artists more, but where I came from (former Czechoslovakia), lived an artist named Albin Brunovsky who made such graphical prints. In some ways you'll get more control and in some ways less and even bigger detail.

I have no idea if this is of interest, but couldn't resist.

Vladimir Rosenfeld - Monday, 3 November 2003 at 16:55:09 (EST)

JM: Yes, I am familiar with the technique because I am also a printmaker (woodcut, etching and mezzotint). In fact, I first wanted to execute this series as etchings, but I did not have access to a print shop at the time.

At some point in the near future I will return to some of these compositions to present them as limited-edition etchings, available as single prints or in boxed portfolios.

Thanks for your interest.


Your site is fantastic!!!

R. Swain Charles USA - Monday, 27 October 2003 at 10:29:44 (EST)


Jimmie, you sure are one sick puppy.

Marie Leone Industry PA, USA - Wednesday, 22 October 2003 at 19:06:57 (EST)


Hi - My name is Elaine Cedrone and I am a journalism student at NYU doing an article for my class on the sideshow. I saw your site, plus some postings on Slim's Sideshow Discussion Page, and thought you may be able to help me out by answering a few questions.

1. The posting of yours that I was looking at had to do with sideshows becoming too dark. You said something really interesting about uniformity destroying the artform. Do you feel that performers are cheapening the old-thrill of the sideshow by making their performances more kid-friendly?

2. I was wondering what your opinion was about the sideshow's and "freaks" sudden popularity in the media - for example, Carnivale on HBO and the new Farrelly brother's movie about Siamese twins (out in December). Is this attention bad? Good? Both?

3. Do you feel that there is a quality to the sideshow that shouldn't appeal to the masses? You had said in your post that you're kind of happy that (most) Thomas Kincaid fans wouldn't love your show? Do you feel there is a certain separation between the mainstream and the sideshow - and should there be?

I hope you don't mind answering these questions for me. I really appreciate your time.

Thanks again.

Elaine Cedrone New York NY, USA - Sunday, 19 October 2003 at 02:48:48 (EDT)br>

JM: 1. I think part of this discussion must be tempered by the knowledge that many of the people out there doing sideshow-type stuff now are practically making it up as they go along. I don't mean that they're starting over from scratch, but that most of them aren't old enough to have actually experienced a typical sideshow performance in its heyday (myself included), so everyone has to try to reinvent what they think a sideshow circa 1870 or 1920 was like, or try to 'amp it up' a bit by taking it in a new direction - hence all the acts out there now that owe more to the S&M club culture. Consequently, the 'modern sideshow' becomes a splendid fiction - but that too is part of the grand tradition of sideshow and adds another chapter to its history.

My understanding is that in the days when a sideshow traveled with every circus or appeared on every carnival midway, there were often a variety of entertainment options available - some more kid friendly than others. Often times at big carnivals there would be more than one sideshow on the midway competing with each other, so their very livelihoods depended on doing whatever it took to attract a crowd. The first shows of the day, when kids were around with their families, might be a bit more tame, focusing on magicians and a couple of interesting but noncontroversial acts. Some in the trade referred to these performances as "Sunday School". But as the night wore on, and mom had taken the kids home, showmen would pull out the stops and introduce the more disturbing and/or erotic acts to compete for the money of the remaining crowd. Generally, for the last show on a carnival lot anything went, and carnies were looking to bring in the crowds with the promise of dirty jokes, dangerous feats and a lot of T&A. It was a bit like a Vegas floor show - the 'family-fun spectacular' at 8, and 'twenty-one and over' at 11.

There is, of course, room for both styles of entertainment. The fellow I was responding to in that forum post was trying to assert than the only kind of sideshow should be the squeaky clean kind, which I think is ridiculous.

2. Seems to be a case of what-comes-around-goes-around. Not only is traditional sideshow having a resurgence, but so is its cousin burlesque. The interest in "freaks" has always been there, but the recent popular media depictions may reflect a general nostalgia and reaction against political correctness. I think the mainstream is just catching up to what's been up until now running beneath the current.

The presentation of human oddities is always emotionally charged because it touches not only on ideas of disability, but also on the primal fear of 'the other'. The enlightened and civilized part of us realizes the freakshow performer (speaking especially of 'born freaks', not 'made freaks' like tattooed sword swallowers) is just another human being, but deep down inside their physical abnormalities terrify us viscerally, and it's difficult to overcome that. And should we? There is something within us that demands to be terrified and challenged, which is why people like ghost stories, horror movies, and freakshows.

The physically abnormal people who chose to work in sideshows understood they were different and found a way to capitalize on it. Understanding that people were going to stare at them anyway, they decided to make the rubes pay for the privilege, got up there on the platform in a costume, and came up with some outrageous story, persona, or interesting trick. While some think of this as exploitation of the disabled, it seems to me 'the exploited' were fully active participants in a joke the political crusaders didn't or refused to understand. Sort of a triumph of the underdog, really.

It's a rich topic to explore, so I'm not surprised that HBO is tapping into it just as I have been myself with my "Prodigies" series.

3. Here's the irony: sideshow was always directed to the masses. This is a theatrical entertainment with origins thousands of years old. It was designed to be a sort of weird and taboo experience to appeal to the common man. In effect, sideshow as an entertainment form is much more democratic than other performing arts. What we think of today as 'popular entertainment' are those things that have substantial commercial backing - television, movies, pop music, etc. - and which are widely distributed. A sideshow performance requires you to be right there in the tent for the full effect.

Sideshow performances have entertained a heck of a lot of people over the years, but because the admission price was so small, and the content was considered so unsavory, it never got the big commercial backing or sponsorship of large corporations and consequently dwindled away because most large corporations require the things they back to be safe and inoffensive. Sure, sideshow lived on in some fashion in B-movies and lowbrow television, but if we extend the metaphor further one might think of 'mainstream' as a Merchant-Ivory film, and 'sideshow' as a Russ Meyers flick. Each one is going to find an audience, but while the former will be advertised in every magazine and probably get nominated for an Academy Award, the latter is going to appeal to a much more subversive and select 'underground' crowd. Never the twain shall meet.

I say let Jane Austen be Jane Austen, and let Anne Rice be Anne Rice. Why 'disneyfy' all the fun out of everything?


Nice site. My pages include an old autograph book that journeyed on the Majestic... includes an inscription by the Gibb sisters, "America's Siamese Twins".

Peter Leach Lisburn, Northern Ireland - Thursday, 16 October 2003 at 19:24:22 (GMT)

JM: The page Peter refers to may be seen here.


Hello! Your work is beautiful. Your subjects are unique and so deserving of your talent. Thanks for sharing it with everyone.

I enjoyed your suggested reading list. Where's Geek Love by Katherine Dunn? I suspect you have read it, but it wasn't on your list... perhaps you only listed nonfiction? It's one of my favorite books and if you hadn't already, I thought that you'd enjoy it.
All the Best!

Sarah Coyne USA - Thursday, 25 September 2003 at 23:20:42 (EDT)

JM: Hello, Sarah.
Thanks for the kind words. I plan to update the site every couple of months with new items (including new books), so please do check back. New drawings are in the works, too.

I have read Geek Love, but it's been a long time, and I no longer have my copy. I let somebody borrow it several years ago and haven't seen it since. I did enjoy the book, but as you mentioned I've been trying to limit the reading list to non-fiction at the moment - though I suppose I could have a "fiction section", too. Anything else in that genre you'd recommend?


Your missionCREEP site and your pen and ink works are so very fine, in every way. Your compositions and devotion to the subject and the immaculate surface you achieve with pen, is awe inspiring.

I've got to convince the wife & kids to make a pilgrimage to the Mütter some day... soon.

James Sheely Columbus OH, USA - Monday, 22 September 2003 at 07:45:22 (EDT)

JM: Thanks, Jim. The eight-foot colon alone is fun for the whole family!


I happened upon this old photo of Tom Thumb and his wife. I noticed it was very similar, but not identical to, a picture on your site. Do you know if these were mass produced or was each image unique?

Lars Waldner USA - Friday, 19 September 2003 at 20:46:34 (PDT)

JM: Hello, Lars.
What you have is a Tom Thumb
carte de visite, a photograph he and the missus most likely sold during performances and which was highly collectible during the Victorian era.

Your photograph is representative of a great advance in commercial photography: in 1854, a Parisian portrait photographer developed a method of pasting small prints from glass negatives onto cardstock the size of a calling card. Prior to this, photographers were limited to unique exposure processes that could be copied only by expensive and cumbersome means. The ambrotype allowed for photography to become a much more democratic, cost effective, and commercially expansive medium.

Often times, the photographer used a multi-lens camera that would take multiple exposures at once (generally four to six, I think) on a single glass plate. This plate would then serve as the contact negative for innumerable paper copies which were cut apart and pasted onto card mounts - inexpensive and quick to produce. The performer who commissioned the portrait would purchase X number of copies from the photographer, which the performer would in turn sell to his customers at a healthy profit. Many sideshow performers derived the greatest portion of their income from the sale of their photographs, so studio photographers were kept busy capturing new poses and reprinting the old favorites.

When using multiple lenses, the sitter is captured from a slightly different angle in each of the shots. I suppose if one were to place the photographs from the two most extreme opposite lenses together, they would when viewed together mimic a three-dimensional effect - just as was later exploited in stereoscopes (and Viewmaster reels). In any event, your photo may have been taken at the same sitting as mine, but perhaps yours is the view captured from a different angle by one of the camera's other lenses. Or, it could have come from a completely different exposure taken at another time. Without seeing them side-by-side it is difficult to determine. Is there a photographer's mark on the back of your photo?

Unfortunately the photo appears to have been pasted and later peeled away from something, the only thing on the back is torn green paper. It really is in fairly poor condition, which, considering I purchased it for 99 cents on eBay, is to be expected.

Thank you very much for the information. As a hobby photographer I find its history exceptionally interesting. I would know nothing about it if not for a friend who recognized it as Tom Thumb, and your website. By the way, after finding the picture on your site, I managed to peruse around the rest of the site for a while. I found it very impressive.

Lars Waldner USA - Saturday, 20 September 2003 at 08:39:25 (PDT)

JM: Yes, it's hard to complain when you got it for less than a buck. At least you know that the photo was loved enough to make this far. Of the many thousand of these mementos that were printed during Tom Thumb's lifetime, a relative few have survived the years. So you really are holding a nifty piece of performing and photographic history in your hands.

Glad to have been of service, and thanks for the kind words of appreciation.


You may soon see Larry of the Wolf Brothers on Carnivale (HBO); Manuel the Wolf Man is in negotiations to travel with the Grimm Brothers Sideshow. Lili the beautiful Wolf Girl got married this past March. Chuy the Wolf Boy has appeared recently on an issue of SPIN Magazine and on the Posse Negro video (From Norway). Veekay the Wolf Clown and Beba have appeared on the Arthurs Family Circus.

Veekay, The Wolf People USA - Tuesday, 2 September 2003 at 14:05:47 (EDT)

JM: Thanks for the update on the whole wolf clan! Please extend my congratulations to Lili.


Hi James! Your site looks great. Have your heard of the new HBO series called Carnivale? It is right up your alley...

Ann Marie Donahue San Francisco CA, USA - Tuesday, 2 September 2003 at 12:12:43 (PDT)


Best regards from France.

Laurent Schkolnyk France - Monday, 1 September 2003 at 10:00:08 (EDT)


Dear James,
We are truly overwhelmed.......such a "fantastic" series of images in the true sense.....beautifully anotated and bibliograph-'ied'...

David and Deborah Crown FL, USA - Sunday, 31 August 2003 at 16:00:38 (EDT)


Hi Jim,
I recently visited your site. First of all, can I say it is a very interesting site. I have one question, you have a potrait of a elephant skinned boy, was this boy for real, and what kind of skin condition did he have? Did he have grey skin, also do you know the scientific name for that abnormality?
Manoj - Tuesday, 26 August 2003 at 17:40:52 (PDT)br>

JM: Hello, Manoj.
The elephant-skinned boy portrait in question (here)was indeed based a real person. The inspiration for the drawing came partly from a French medical photograph circa 1900 of a boy with congenital ichthyosis - which is an inheritable disease also commonly called 'alligator skin'. The skin doesn't change color, but does change texture - creating the effect of scales or the hard, dry wrinkled flesh similar in appearance to that of an elephant.

Apparently, congenital ichthyosis most often affects children, who may grow out of the condition by adulthood. In the most common form,
ichthyosis vulgaris, the affected areas are generally small. In time, the skin hardens into cornifications, which often form in scales like the skin of a reptile. Some - like sideshow performer Emmitt Bejano (see my Marriage of Emmitt the Alligator-skinned Man and Percilla the Monkey-girl), had the condition throughout their entire lives.

I have seen photographs of two children (siblings) who worked in American sideshows in the 1930's and whose bodies - including their faces - were thoroughly covered with this hardened flesh.


Just wanted to write and tell you that I really enjoy your work.

David Spear Columbia MO, USA - Tuesday, 19 August 2003 at 09:15:44 (CDT)


Dear Mr. Mundi,
Since I am a Japanese, I am poor at English. Please allow, if there are an unknown part and an impolite utterance.

Does Mr. MUNDI sell the book of paintings? I will want to purchase, supposing it sells. Can you buy it, if it goes to where? I am the eager fan of the picture which Mr. MUNDI draws. It is aiding from now on.

From Chidori

Keisuke Izumi Tokyo, Japan - Friday, 15 August 2003 at 08:53:01 (GMT)

JM: Chidori-san, Thank you for writing - and there is no need to apologize for your English. It is much better than my Japanese!

Thank you for the kind words about my work. I am glad my drawings have given you enjoyment.

The drawings have not yet been published as a book, but I hope that they may be one day if I can find an interested publisher. At present, the website is the only place where all of the works are collected together. Two summers ago, I had an exhibition at the Woodmere Art Museum which allowed me to show thirty of the drawings together... Since many of these drawings have since been sold to individual collectors, I will probably never again have the opportunity to bring all of the drawings together physically in one place. That was one of the reasons I wanted to do the website, so that if the drawings are dispersed physically, at least they may all be seen together virtually. Of course, viewing the drawings on the website is not the same as seeing them in person (they are far more detailed than what the website allows me to show), but it's the next best thing until a volume is published.


Hello, I just read an article about your work in the LA Weekly and checked out your site. Great stuff!!

I am a HUGE fan of Johnny Eck, King Of The Freaks.....have you ever thought or even done anything with his image?

Gary Sanders Van Nuys CA, USA - Monday, 11 August 2003 at 18:35:50 (PDT)

JM: Hi, Gary. Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed the work...

I am also a big fan of Johnny Eck, but I haven't featured him in the series yet because I want to make sure I have just the right inspiration for him (same with Grady Stiles the Lobster Boy and other of the 'big' names). But have no fear, Johnny will appear one day. I think of him often, so perhaps the spark will come soon. [The article to which Gary refers was a feature in the La Weekly's
PULPit section, which may be seen here.]


I wonder if you’d like to see a short film of mine which has been running the festival circuit for the past year, entitled “Anomalous Humanite.” I think you may enjoy it as it explores a calvacade of wonders circa 1910...

Your work is great, very interesting ;)

+sin silva++ - Saturday, 9 August 2003 at 19:09:41 (PDT)


Hello, James.

Congratulations on your beautiful new web page as well as on your featured article!

Your opening page is so handsome! It begs to be 'connected' to other folks who admire letterpress... If this isn't set in an amazing collection of letterpress fonts and cuts you've fooled me! Beautiful, attractive, and exactly reflecting of the times that you refer to in your drawings!

Sharon Linder USA - Thursday, 7 August 2003 at 10:32:11 (PDT)


Terrific looking site and superb artwork. The designer did a terrific job at capturing that ol' carnival event feel. Once again, great job!

Joel Rodgers Cambridge MA, USA - Wednesday, 6 August 2003 at 16:57:44 (EDT)


Dear Mr Mundie, I've been enjoying your website very much, especially the use of old decorative faces and borders on the home page... I've just been browsing through the extraordinary drawings on your website, and reading your statement about the subject of "freaks". It occurs to me to ask whether you have ever encountered a book by the Canadian novelist Robertson Davies called World of Wonders. It is the third in a triptych of novels known collectively as The Deptford Trilogy...

In any case, the third book is the story of a man who was kidnapped by a carnival performer from his small town home in Ontario as a young boy, and raised among circus performers and freaks. He later goes on to break away from this to work as an actor in repertory (this takes place during the early years of the 20th century) and finally to become a world-famous conjurer. It is in this capacity that he tells his life story to a group of listeners consisting of the director, producer, cameraman, and two old friends, during the filming of a life of Robert-Houdin, the French conjurer, in which he is starring. Robertson Davies was a devotee and a scholar of the theatre and of theatre history, and knew a prodigious amount about the odd byways of magic, carnivals and circuses, and the old touring rep companies. He is also an immensely readable author.

Just thought I'd pass it on. Stumping for Canadian literature, you know!

Thanks again for your work, which I think is very fine indeed.

Crispin Elsted, The Barbarian Press Mission BC, Canada - Saturday, 2 August 2003 at 08:22:47 (PDT)

JM: Thank you for directing me to the Barbarian Press website, where I have just spent a happy half hour or so looking through your press's recent projects - exciting stuff, and beautifully crafted.

Yes, I am quite familiar with the works of the late Mr. Davies, whom I count among my favorite authors. It has been several years since I first read the Deptford Trilogy, but I always find myself drawn back to his works. I most recently read his The Cunning Man, so maybe it's time to read World of Wonders again. Of all Davies's works, I think that book seemed to conjure the most vivid mental images for me, with the talk of automaton devices and legerdemain. Thanks for reminding me.

Your kind and thoughtful comments about my work are much appreciated.


SPECTACULAR and BEAUTIFUL - I'm glad I came across your site in my research. You are a true Speaker For the Famous Anomalies . Your sight makes me happy. Thank You!

Chris Paradis Little Rock AR, USA - Friday, 1 August 2003 at 03:27:23 (GMT)


Sweet! A great tribute to you and your freaks!

Theresa Greaves Corona CA, USA - Wednesday, 30 July 2003 at 12:21:47 (PDT)


Nice site, Mr. Mundie. Congratulations!

Amy "BannerQueen" Johnquest USA - Monday, 28 July 2003 at 21:44:29 (EDT)


Hi Jim,
Thank you for forwarding this link and telling me about this fascinating interest of yours. I had no idea.

I've always had a bizarre interest in side shows -- I can recall being able to see human oddities at local carnival and circus sideshows because I was around before it was all politically incorrect to display people in that fashion -- for money. My father, a general practitioner and surgeon, would take us to the fairs and circuses that came to the small midwestern county we lived in, and would discuss with us afterwards in great detail the medical basis for various money-making displays. Sometimes we would make it to the Chicago area where Riverview park, a sort of Coney Island place, had sideshow displays along with rides and games. I learned a particular compassion and interest in learning more, as well as understanding that it was really inappropriate to have a sense of fear, and unless the "act" was intentionally humerous, we didn't laugh at the disabilities or conditions that we paid to see, as I saw some others in the audience react. A few memories:

I recall seeing the dog faced boy, and my father discussing excessive hirsutism;

I recall being aghast at the alligator woman, who suffered from an odd skin condition that left her hairless and with cracked scaly skin seemingly everywhere.

I remember seeing the reverso-man, who could leave his feet planted on the floor while turning his torso 180 degrees around (before The Exorcist -- but that was the head only anyway) -- and I learned from my father that certain types of "double-jointedness" can allow tremedous flexion of tendons.

We learned that the mermaid was an effect of mirrors, but we marvelled at the two headed calf (which was already dead but in a giant jar of formaldehyde) which we understood was not an uncommon birth defect, although most such defects are stillborn.

There are others that flood through my memory as I glanced through your site. I have a fondness for this stuff still, and I avidly read books about the subject.

I find your work very appealing. Do please keep me informed as to when and where we can see it!

Suzanne Kalkstein Philadelphia PA, USA - Monday, 28 July 2003 at 15:37:17 (EDT)


Jim... Most interested in your website... quite intriguing & I passed along to several other friends.
Best of luck...

Kaye Pullen USA - Monday, 28 July 2003 at 15:31:42 (EDT)


Congratulations, that is a brilliant website. I will definitely forward to anyone who may be interested.

Stephen Donahue Queens NY, USA - Monday, 28 July 2003 at 09:53:26 (EDT)


James, your new website is amazingly informative. I have had to go back several times to read it all. Your artwork is wonderful, as ever, and the photos (and interesting commentary) had me laughing as well as shaking my head in disbelief at some of the ideas about the people who were used as "freaks" in circuses.

Gayle Wohlken Burton OH, USA - Monday, 28 July 2003 at 08:56:37 (EDT)


Good luck with the site, James...
All the best,

Larry Kirwan, Black 47 New York NY, USA - Monday, 28 July 2003 at 06:57:35 (EDT)


Jim, I finally had time to look over your website... what an amazing accomplishment. I am, as always, impressed with your ability but I was charmed by your renderings as well. It was fascinating reading and kept me glued to the computer right to the last one... Great site, congratulations!

Barbara Mason Portland OR, USA - Sunday, 27 July 2003 at 20:08:52 (PDT)


My god, Jim! How amazing! I have just spent hours on your web absolutely amaze me more each is unbelievable!

Michelle Bakker USA - Sunday, 27 July 2003 at 15:07:40 (PDT)


James Mundie, you have gone completely overboard in your awesome web page. Fascinating and educational. Congratulations on your creative web master. Never have I seen such a wonderfully crafted page!!! A must for anyone interested in Art and People to see...

Jeanne Norman Chase Sarasota FL, USA - Saturday, 26 July 2003 at 12:05:55 (EDT)


James, awesome site! The graphics and layout are great. Good job!

Derek Rose, Sideshow Central Taunton MA, USA - Saturday, 26 July 2003 at 06:41:59 (EDT)


I want to congratulate you on your new site. I enjoyed my time here very much. Very pleasing graphics, as always a great talent. A FANTASTIC SITE, well worth everyone's time. Thanks for sharing.

Utah Showman USA - Friday, 25 July 2003 at 18:55:56 (MDT)


James, thanks for your interesting and referential artwork. As a fan of the unusual I thought I'd pass on to you something I only found out recently. And that is that, according to my information, Koo-Koo was actually blind. If you have seen the movie, "Freaks", it would be hard to determine that from casual observation. I don't know how much you know of her history, but she wasn't actually a "freak" in the true sense of the word as used at the time of her "popularity." Rather, she was just a rather strange-looking blind woman from New York, who learned to capitalize on her oddness. Interesting, no?
With appreciation, anjanita-1

M. Haayer
USA - Monday, 16 June 2003 at 1:49:00 (EDT)

JM: Interesting, yes! I find myself wondering whether she may have had some meager sight remaining, because I imagine those thick spectacles weren't just a prop. She was probably extremely nearsighted to the point of being legally blind, which would explain how she was able to move around without the appearance of much difficulty. It seems to me that if she were completely blind one might expect to see her groping around a bit, or feeling her way around with her feet. Interesting, though.

I think when I wrote you I was thinking about Betty Green instead of KooKoo. Oops. But yes, it does appear that she has vestigial sight. It is easy to get the two of them confused. Certainly she had a character that was capable of long hours of, what would seem to many of us, boredom. My very favorite freak picture is of her doing her special "kookoo dance" while Schlitzie "plays" the piano and Zip, the fiddle.

M. Haayer
USA - Saturday, 5 July 2003 at 19:08:23 (EDT)


Having just visited your virtual gallery, and as a trained artist myself, I gotta say WOW are your drawings spectacular! I love how you've thoughtfully handled each subject, either through juxtaposition or sympathetically. Truly great stuff.

Rev. Willow Polson
USA - Tuesday, 17 June 2003 at 23:39:52 (PDT)


Hi, just wanted to say how beautiful your drawings are. They capture the happiness, and the pain in their eyes.

Judy Tomaini, a.k.a. Rustie Rock
Giant's Camp, Gibsonton FL, USA - Thursday, 12 June 2003 at 16:09:15 (EDT)

JM: Thanks, Rustie. Your enthusiasm is always welcome.


Hi. Um, wow. This is fascinating, how you're blending freaks and fine art, and the somewhat hilarious blurbs that accompany each page. At first I thought this was some art student simply learning and being silly. But then I started looking closer and at the thoughtful treatment of the subjects and the logic behind the composition. You have just blown my brain ;-) and I can't wait to share your artwork with my friends.

Paula Ashton - Friday, 21 March 2003 at 23:13:25 (GMT)


Your illustration has wonderful peculiarity. Very interesting! I'm a Japanese illustrator. If you would like to please visit my website. Thank you.

EMI Kawasaki, Japan - Thursday, 6 March 2003 at 23:14:10 (CST)


What a wonderful website!!! The artwork, done by Mr. Mundie, of the sideshow "freaks" is totally AWESOME. Some are so good, they look like photos. Keep up the good work, it is very appreciated, and will help them live on forever.

Rustie Rock Gibsonton FL, USA - Sunday, 5 January 2003 at 12:53:34 (EST)


Dear James, Thanks for putting together a thoroughly informative site.

Eugene Perera
Brighton, England - Friday, 27 December 2002 at 17:12:46 (GMT)


Dear James, I have just happily stumbled across your work on the internet and thought I'd let you know how much I enjoyed it. I share your enthusiasm for stories of human anomalies and several years ago had an exhibition of paintings on the subject in Sydney, Australia, which I called F---K (yes, coy, I know). ... We were obviously drawn to some of the same characters... I painted Lucia Zarate as part of a still life with oranges (in a blizzard), a bearded lady as a Madonna holding a bearded babe, The Tocci boys holding 'Donkey's ears' fingers above each other's heads (did you read that they famously didn't get on, refusing to cooperate the way other conjoined twins do? Apparently, (according to one account), they never learnt to walk and instead teased and provoked one another mercilessly. ...

It was greatly encouraging to see someone else approach this subject in a similar way, with sensitivity and humor. I came into a fair amount of criticism during the show, (and certainly my mother thought I was perverse), but my husband was completely enthusiastic and supportive. I had to give a radio interview at one point, and used the same quote from Robert Bogdan that you mentioned in your introduction. I was also interested in your reading list, I haven't come across many of those books although I referred often during my research to the library copy (a very early edition) of Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine (by George M. Gould); a gruesomely fascinating book.
With best wishes,

Sophie Blackall Brooklyn NY, USA - 4 November 2002 at 19:13:49 (EST)


I love your work! It's great!

Angie Pontani, The World Famous Pontani Sisters USA - Wednesday, 20 March 2002 at 17:55:53 (EST)


I discovered your web site quite a while ago and must say that I loved the beautiful artwork.
Kind regards,

Lil Miss Pod - Thursday, 24 January 2002 at 16:28:14 (GMT)


Mr. Mundie - I really like the Prodigies collection! It got me started on an hours-long romp across the Internet trying to find out more about some of these fascinating people. I had never heard, for instance, that Chang and Eng were successful Southern planters. That really surprised me. I also found myself quite enchanted by wee Prince Nicholai. Unfortunately, there are a whole lot of Prince Nicholais, so I couldn't find any information about him on the 'net. Can you point me toward anything, printed or electronic, that could tell me a lot more about him? Thanks very much.

Kelly Digges
USA - Thursday, 17 January 2002 at 12:12:14 (PST)

JM: Hello, Kelly. I'm glad you found my prodigies. Prince Nicholai is an enchanting wee fellow, isn't he? Unfortunately, there are not many references to him in the literature. Daniel Mannix makes a brief mention of him - along with a photo - in Freaks: We Who are Not as Others. The captions says, "...the smallest man who ever lived. He was eighteen inches tall and weighed fifteen pounds. This photo was taken in 1871." That really only poses more questions than it answers, but it will have to do. I have come a cross a few more references to Nicholai in other books, but I cannot remember which at the moment. There is a theory that apart from an extreme case of dwarfism, he may have also suffered from progeria, the 'premature aging' disease that has the effect of making children look like wizened old men and women. ... I have [seen] a couple of carte de visites featuring Nicholai, who has been variously dubbed as "Nicolo", "Nicholi", and "The Little Russian Prince". One card ... has a photo of him in a Russian fur hat, sitting in a chair much too large for him (as nearly everything would be, no doubt), but on the back is a poem - maybe a popular song that he performed? - called "Hello, Bill". Simply too weird.


Beautifully done. I'm aware of most of the subjects - and the paintings - brilliant stuff. ;-)
Cheers! Dave

Dave Francis UK - Wednesday, 2 January 2002 at 00:30:20 (GMT)


Greetings from the Wolf People. We just visited Percilla's and Emmett's page. They were awesome! Our webmaster, (Barry Brothers Circus Wildboy) worked with them several years back. Are you aware that Jody Foster, Russell Crowe, Richard Gere, and Patricia Arquette are all making movies about people with Hypertrichosis?

Best wishes, The Wolf People

The Wolf People Wolfahein CA, USA - Monday, 15 October 2001 at 21:53:01 (PDT)


I visited your Prodigies site from a recommendation from Kathleen Kotcher's Net Freak Alert newsletter. Fantastic! What a great concept. I spent a lot of time viewing each portrait and reading the entertaining text that you wrote to explain each one. It's obvious that you put a lot of thought into each portrait, as you really captured the spiritual presence of each subject. Stunning - that's the word. USA - Thursday, 21 June 2001 at 12:52:23 (PDT)


Dear Sir, I have just finished viewing your drawings from and I am absolutely amazed. I have read a lot about international "different" people, and your juxtoposition between their portraits and famous paintings were both beautiful and sad. They reminded me of how lucky I am to be the way I am, and to appreciate beauty in all of its forms.

Christine M. Sadler - Wednesday, 28 February 2001 at 18:32:44 (EST)


I, too, have a deep appreciation for sideshow folks, and your presentation and vision are marvelous. The incongruous settings give your work a Witkinesque quality - to me, a VERY good thing.

Marci Maleski - Friday, 9 February 2001 at 21:36:16 (PST)


James Mundie's works are the truest depictions of humanity that I have seen in a -long- time. Mr. Mundie, I salute you on your talent and your vision.

ToddyA Los Angeles CA, USA - Saturday, 27 January 2001 at 15:38:18 (PST)


I had to leave you a message saying that I thouroughly enjoyed the illustrations. You've definately created an interesting style to your work. Awesome!

Rachel Scott Stillwater OK, USA - Tuesday, 23 January 2001 at 14:25:38 (CST)


James, I really appreciate your works! They're fabulous and intelligent! I hope you'll keep up your works on this theme and make a complete collection (maybe publish a book?). Thanks for the works, good luck!

WT Montreal QC, Canada - Thursday, 18 January 2001 at 01:56:16 (CST)


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