Freak Show

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Display Brings Back Carnival Sideshow Items

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LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — The days of the carnival sideshow are being brought back to life at the C.W. Parker Carousel Museum in Leavenworth.
The oddities that used to lure people into sideshows in the late 1800s through the 1950s, such as the two-headed creature, the mermaid and the sword swallower, are now on display.

“This is a freak show — things you don’t normally see anymore,” museum director Jerry Reinhardt told KMBC’s Maria Antonia. “If they were born today, they’d get medical attention to take care of deformities, but they had to exhibit themselves to the public.”

The display includes a two-headed duck and shrunken heads.

“There may have been some real ones, I don’t know that these are. Nobody knows for sure,” Reinhardt said.

It was the world of C. W. Parker, who was known for carousels and traveling carnivals.

The carnival exhibit opened a few days ago. For more information, visit