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INTRODUCTION by Roussimoff

The true biographical facts pertaining to most of those unique physical anomalies known professionally as Freaks has been for the most part obscured. Who they really were had been purposely camouflaged by showmen in order to promote a more saleable myth. It was also deemed essential to disguise identities of imported “foreign” Freaks since many worked without benefit of proper working papers. This legacy of disguise has been handed down to us over so many years, so that even the best-intentioned researchers cannot easily ascertain the truth and usually fall victim to innocently repeating historical error after error. Being filmmakers determined to make a historical movie on this fascinating, if difficult theme, we at first read through most published materials such as books, old newspaper accounts, vintage publicity as well as other less popular literature. And even the most objective studies were crippled by their authors not having proper sources and basing their histories on highly unreliable materials, thereby furthering  the mythologizing of many of these individuals. We reasoned that there had to exist other, less obvious venues for discovering data. And we were right. But discovering and then accessing it was anything but an easy task. Without knowledge of various languages (German, Russian, French) and a detective’s nose for where to search, it would have been impossible.  We were satisfied in uncovering much hitherto unpublished biographical histories of some very, very significant people. It brings a smile to our lips when we continuously read so-called revelations that are but mere variations of the same old hokum. We have come to know better.



Adrian Jefticheff (Der Hundemensch von Kaukasus/ L'Homme Chien).



Fedor Jefticheff (Jeftichew) JoJo the Russian Dog Faced Man


JoJo the Russian Dog Faced Man

Lionel the Lion Faced Boy as a child

Stefan Bibrowski aka: Lionel the Lion Faced Man

No other Freaks were as sensational and in demand as those bearing hairy faces such as “Jo-Jo the Dog Faced Man”, “Lionel the Lion Faced Man” and the “Hairy Family of Burma”. Also, aside from “Pinheads” (and often for different reasons), no Freak performer had his or her identities camouflaged more often then did these hirsute individuals. The excessively hairy constituted, so to say, the showman’s cream of the crop. That still holds true today as evidenced by the high prices fetched by the old photographic images (more on that later) of these legendary performers. These people are by far, the most difficult case histories to uncover. Even very early medical examinations had often been contrived to accommodate the requirements of showman who presented these individuals to otherwise ethical segments of the medical profession in order to have them  “scrutinized” to suit their mercenary needs. Showmen  thus attained "medical"  documents for profitable use in promotions. Many medical accounts were somewhat bogus, but not all. Now as to the performers. First, let us say that we did not yet study the case of the “Hairy Burmese Family”, but along the way, we did encounter some interesting and potentially iconoclastic tidbits regarding them, which might warrant further investigation. I must mention that we do already possess such an incredible amount of additional Freak themed footage and information on our hands that we may create a sequel to “FREAKS UNCENSORED”. The cases of Jo-Jo and Lionel were the ones that most fascinated us. The particular condition of Hypertrichosis, which afflicted these individuals, was and is so extremely rare, that it was logical that factual case records must indeed exist somewhere. And they did. Luckily for us, these documents have never surfaced publicly and previous researchers were clueless as to where to look. Jo-Jo known as the “Dog Faced Boy” and later the “Dog Faced Man” was by all accounts, pretty much a disgruntled individual when it came to his “career”, plus he was not always in the best of health. Born as Feodor (or Fedor, which translates into Theodore) Adrianovitch Jefticheff (pronounced: Evticheff) in Finland (then a part of the Czarist Russian empire) to a hirsute performer father, Adrian Maximovitch Jefticheff  (Jeftichew) and to a woman called Nadia Petrova (in English: Petroff or Peteroff), allegedly a “professional” mistress. As the parents were not married, Feodor often appears registered under variations of both last names. To most westerners, the name Jetficheff sounds Russian. But Russians, knowing their own language are aware that the name is not Russian at all but a russification of a non-Russian name. Adrian Jefticheff hailed from near Tbilisi (Tiflis) in then Russian occupied Georgia. He was descended from the ancient Greek colony that had been established there hundreds of years back and were known locally by the term "Byzantines". Before touring with carnivals, the elder Jefticheff (who’s name implies Good Fortune in Greek), had periodically shaved his face and worked as a labourer). Billed as the “Dog-Man of the Caucasus” and the "Man-Dog", he was highly successful, having toured the entire world. Contrary to most reports that list him as only performing through Europe, we have irrefutable accounts of his shows throughout the United States. Feodor, was obviously born while the father was touring in Finland. Not Kostroma, not St Petersburg as most accounts suggest, but Finland. There exists a fabulous group of picturesque cabinet card photographs taken of Jo-Jo as an adult in which he is attired in elegant formal wear, both without and with top hat. There are some interesting anecdotes to these pictures. For one thing, they have routinely been mislabeled as representing the relatively hairier Lionel. Secondly, these pictures all misleadingly bear the names of a variety of photographers located in places from California to New York. In truth, every one of those images was taken during one single photographic session in London, England. All those cabinet cards of Jo-Jo wearing tails that frequently appear up on the market are just old period copies, which different photographers had merely reproduced for Jo-Jo himself to sell and distribute during his shows around the world. The single greatest mystery in Jo-Jo’s life ironically was his death. In 1904, a series of very suspicious looking obituaries were published listing his death from Pneumonia in Thessalonika (Salonica), Greece, then Turkey. For Jo-Jo, his ethnic origins being from Georgia in the Caucasus, the city of Salonica might seem like a natural route to get home.

Another enigma was Lionel, the “Lion Faced Man” or "Lion Faced Boy". According to a lengthy 1924 interview given an accredited medical researcher and also from an official government application for residency in a German town, written by his own hand, Lionel was born Stefan Bibrowski (pronounced Bibroffski) in a suburb of Warsaw Poland, then belonging to the Russian Empire. His religion was listed as “Katholisch” (Roman Catholic) and both parents were still living in Poland at the time. This obviously contradicts all those reports that list him as being born in an entirely fabricated entity called Wilezagora. I defy anyone to locate any village or town in either Poland proper, or any formerly Polish owned territory (Ukraine, Byelorussia,  Lithuania, Eastern Silesia) and try to find a place with that name. It does not exist. We have learned quite a bit more about Lionel, but will hold off, since we may do a sequel to “FREAKS UNCENSORED”. We do feature Lionel and many more interesting personalities in our original film.



Schlitze the Pinhead as movie actor


Schlitzie made to grow in his hair. Probably taken by his managers, this photo was submitted to director Earle C. Kenton in consideration for being cast in the upcoming film "Island of lost Souls". Scribbled on back is: "to file/ shlitze metzner". It looks like make up may have been applied to Schlitzie's face.

This detail from a larger composition shows what we believe is one of the earliest images of Schlitze not long after having been brought to New York. His protector here is a Circassian Beauty. To the right is Jean Libbera with his parasitic twin.