Norris Kellam's great talent in life was floating. For which he earned the name "The Human Cork." In May 1933 he attempted to break the world record for staying afloat by floating in a saltwater pool in Norfolk, Virginia for over 86 hours. Unfortunately he didn't make it. After 71 hours and 19 minutes he was overcome by sharp cramps and sunburn and had to climb out of the pool.
There's more about Kellam at hamptonroads.com
. The images are from the Norfolk Public Library
Not much info seems to remain about Art Hubell and his sideshow act. Except for this one picture. I wonder how he discovered he had this talent. [via Flickr
What day is not brightened by the inexplicable and thoughtlessly ridiculed antics of a small person?
I haven't been able to find much information about R.H. "Skeets" Hubbard, except that he was a sideshow performer in the 1950s, whose talents included driving an eight-inch spike into his head, and pulling a wagon with his eyelids. He was sometimes called "The Torture King," "The Human Plank," or "The Human Blockhead." Tough way to make a living.
When I first saw the cover of this March 1935 issue of the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung
, I thought the photo must be fake. But no, it's real. It shows 20-year-old Gogea Mitu, a boxer and the tallest Romanian in history. From wikipedia
Mitu became world famous because of his enormous stature, at the age of 20 he was 2.42 metres (7.9 ft) tall, had a weight of 183 kilograms (400 lb) and had a foot size of 38 centimetres (15 in). Because of these characteristics he was very sought after by doctors and scientists who wanted to know the reason for his gigantism and by people who wanted to profit from his stature.
Mitu only lived to be 22, dying of tuberculosis in 1936. In the picture, it looks like he's wearing Converse sneakers. Did they come in his size, or were they custom-made for him?
The strongman Antonio Barichievich (1925-2003), aka the Great Antonio, seems Weird-Universe worthy. Here's a few brief facts about his life (via wikipedia
- He first made it into the Guinness Book of World Records in 1952 by pulling a 433-ton train 19.8 metres.
- He weighed 465 pounds (at his heaviest) and stood about 6 foot 4 inches.
- He could eat 25 chickens or 10 steaks at one sitting.
- He claimed that he trained by running head-on into trees from a distance of 60 metres.
- He sang with a soft, beautiful voice, and at one time wanted to tour with Tiny Tim.
- He owned what was possibly the world's largest rocking chair — 4 meters high and 2 meters wide.
- He believed he was descended from extraterrestrials.
- As he grew older, he braided his dreadlocks into a club held together with masking tape and used this to play "hair golf."
- Later in life, the only way to contact him was to leave a message at the Dunkin' Donuts in Rosemont, Canada.
- He died of a heart attack at the age of 77.
Read all about short-famed black strongman Hercules McElroy in the pages of EBONY magazine.