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Strange Familiars: Episode 31: Wild Men of the Circus and Asylums

Alison returns to talk with Timothy about historical wild men of a different sort (not bigfoot). Circus sideshow and dime museum “wild men” performers as well as unfortunate souls – itinerants, the insane, or simply people who wandered away from society, looked different, and were labeled “wild men” often out of fear. We talk about Houdini, The Wild Men of Borneo, the Fiji Cannibals, Eko and Iko, and other circus performers. We also discuss the strange and sad case of a York County “wild man” who eventually ended up in the County Alms House with the diagnosis “troubled with ghosts”.

Two forms which note Dan Luckenbaugh’s Form of Disease – first “Troubled with ghosts” – and later, simply “ghosts”.

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Episode 31 notes and links:

The cover image is from Timothy’s collection of wild man photographs.


Timothy’s books:


Michael Anderson

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Intro and background music by Stone Breath. You can find more at

The song which closes the episode is A Maid in Bedlam by Stone Breath. This song appears on the Stone Breath album Spear of Flame, Horse of Air.

Timothy‘s live album, recorded by himself in a haunted church. Live Alone 1 is now available: