“It was rather dark, for the lower half of the windows were boarded up; but in one corner, on the floor, was plainly distinguishable what looked like a heap of clothes flung together in disorder. It appeared to be in motion, however, and the mistress of the house once more turning to her follower had just time to utter the mysterious words—”Don’t be frightened. If she likes you, she’ll hoot; if she doesn’t, she’ll scream…”
Freakonomics: A Dime Museum Man Speaks Candidly “Yes,” said the dime museum man “I’ve had a liberal education in freaks. I’ve been right here in Fourteenth street for fifteen years and, take it all together, I’ve associated with a greater galaxy of weird wonders than any other man alive.” He goes on to describe Freaks He Has Known, what they earned, and fashions in Dime Museum attractions.
Maternal Influence and Monsters It was widely believed in the 19th century that whatever a pregnant woman gazed upon would affect her baby. The papers were full of stories of children born with birth defects or phobias ascribed to their mother being frightened by such horrors as a snarling dog, a rat crushed in a trap, a lightning storm, or a ghost. They are disturbing reading for it was an insensitive age and those born deformed were referred to by journalists in terms like rat baby, human frog, infant monster, or “It.” This is a look at some of those maternally influenced monsters.