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Blast from the Past: Remembering Joseph Carey Merrick

128 years ago today.

Sharon E. Cathcart

A text-only version of this article appeared on the now-defunct Red Room in 2004 and on Wattpad in 2010.  I’ve updated the date information and provided some new links. Enjoy!

joseph_merrick_carte_de_visite_photo2c_c-_1889Sometimes I think my head is so big, because it is full of ideas. — Joseph Merrick, in Bernard Pomerance’s The Elephant Man

Those who have read In The Eye of The Beholder: A Novel of the Phantom of the Opera know this already, but I don’t mind sharing it here: Joseph Merrick is featured in the story.  No spoilers, I promise.

Joseph Carey Merrick, aka “The Elephant Man,” lived during the Victorian era.  He suffered from what we now understand as Proteus syndrome, where parts of the body grow at different rates.

Merrick lived part of his life as a sideshow freak until he was taken in by Dr. Sir Frederick Treves.  Treves arranged a home for Merrick…

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