The weirdest side-show acts ever

I’ve just been reading about carnival sideshows. They seem quite cruel to us these days, but maybe we haven’t changed as much as we think. Any magician will tell you, people are definitely still drawn to the weird and wonderful things in life. Here are some classic sideshow acts – would you have paid to see these?

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When circus acts go badly wrong

If you found the magic trick accidents I showed you the other day too distressing, you might not want to read on! Serious circus accidents are thankfully quite rare – these people are professionals. If you spend every day riding a unicycle across a wire 50 feet in the air, you have an incentive to be good at your job! But these things do happen from time to time. Watch what happens here, from about 3 minutes in:

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Get over your fear of heights

Have you seen Man on Wire (not to to be confused with Man on a Ledge or Man on Fire)? It’s a superb documentary and an absolutely incredible story. Acrobatic performer Philippe Petit pulled off what’s been called the ‘art crime of the century’ – back in 1974, he actually managed to walk a tightrope between New York’s twin towers.

It’s mindblowing in so many ways, but it’s not the only amazing highwire feat. Italian performer Maria Spelterini was the first woman to cross Niagra Falls, and did it a number of times: blindfolded, shackled, baskets on feet – everything. The Flying Wallendas are a wire-walking family troupe known for dangerous human pyramids, and if you Google Image Search modern daredevil Eskil Rønningsbakken you’ll find some really unbelievable pictures involving bicycles and hot air balloons.

Have a look at this trailer from Man on Wire – and watch the film! Continue reading