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New user
Southern New Jersey
81 Posts

Profile of rogerj
Hey guys, a group of people are hosting a carnival and along with magic and balloons they wanted to have a freakshow. However, they only had one person with a weird talent. I was wondering if you know of any sources of "tricks" that would look as if you have weird abilities. (I don't have a lot of money)
I was thinking something like balloon eating, pins in arms.....any suggestions?
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Inner circle
Bar Harbor, ME
2191 Posts

Profile of drwilson
Depending on your magic skills, many acts might be presented as weird abilities. A distinction made here is that sideshow feats are real: glasswalking, fire eating, sword swallowing, and so on. Many of them are dangerous and are best learned from a teacher with a lot of experience rather than from a book. A "freakshow" features persons with biological differences from most other people; in most cases, they don't perform.

Read some of the old threads in this area, there is plenty of good advice here.


Todd Robbins
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New York
2908 Posts

Profile of Todd Robbins
Though this probably was not exactly what you were looking for, there is an old book call Suitcase Sideshow by Tommy Windsor. Lee Jacobs put it out. It was a bally that had magic tricks demonstrating the amazing thing you were going to see in the show. Tommy is long gone and Lee died a few years ago, but I think his widow keeps his business running. If this seems like something that would work for you, google Lee Jacobs and see if the website is still up.
Harley Newman
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Inner circle
5112 Posts

Profile of Harley Newman
Yes. Suitcase Sideshow is an excellent and very entertaining book. The patter's a bit outdated, but that's just a matter of rewriting. And the material can be done by anyone with a basic magic background.

If I remember correctly, there's a delightful Afghan band routine there, that describes making belts for various freaks. I've been told that Blackstone used to do that routining, and it's supposed to be on video somewhere. The routine's also available from Tannen's.

There are other things that you can do, with a little training, that aren't particularly dangerous, but look great. I've trained a couple of sets of actors to do "sideshow" lately. I'm in eastern PA. And even though my plate is full right now, I'd be happy to train you and help with scriptwriting.

Also, I'll be conducting a skills-training weekend in the late spring or early summer. Basic sideshow skills will be covered, as well as scriptwriting. I'll announce more at a later date. If anyone is interested in participating, please contact me soon. The class will be limited enrollment, and it's about half full already.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain
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