There are a handful of human marvels who seem to transcend time, culture and societal norms. These truly unique few become forever recognizable and iconic to the general public. Joseph Merrick, The Elephant Man will be forever famous due to his unforgettable visage. Likewise, Jo-Jo the Dog Faced Boy will forever be famous for his shaggy face and Zip the Pinhead will always furrow brows in faint recognition when his moniker is mentioned. These individuals captured the interest and imagination of the public and continue to be referenced in pop culture decades after their prime.However, one strange character who managed to obtain this ‘celebrity of strange’ wasn’t really that strange at all. Or, at least, not when compared to other more ‘impressive’ marvels saddled with physical limitations and socially crippling conditions.
Minnie Woolsey was born in Georgia in 1880 and a wide variety of stories exist in regards to her physical condition. It is generally believed that Minnie was born with Virchow-Seckel syndrome, a condition also known as bird-headed dwarfism. The syndrome is quite rare and is characterized by a small head, stunted growth, beak-like nose, receding jaw as well as some mental limitations. In addition, the syndrome also left Minnie almost completely bald and blind. Toothless, odd and sporting glasses as thick as her thumb Minnie spent the majority of her formative years in a Georgia Asylum until, as legend states, she was rescued by a showman who thought her oddball looks we just odd enough to cash in on.
“God has no religion.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Summer’s Here, Let the ‘Workations’ Begin .
The unidentified whaler or ship’s lifeboat found abandoned on Bouvet Island on 2 April 1964. The boat bore no identifying marks. There were signs that survivors might have made it to shore, but no trace of them has ever been found.
There is no more forbidding place on earth.
Bouvet Island lies in the furthest reaches of the storm-wracked Southern Ocean, far south even of the Roaring Forties. It is a speck of ice in the middle of a freezing fastness: a few square miles of uninhabited volcanic basalt groaning under several hundred feet of glacier, scraped raw by gales, shrouded by drifts of sea-fog, and utterly devoid of trees, shelter, or landing places.
What it does have is a mystery.
Let us begin this tale at the beginning. Bouvet is appallingly isolated; the nearest land is the coast of Antarctica, a further 1,750km south, and it is slightly further than that to Cape Town and Tristan da Cunha. Indeed, as Rupert Gould put it in characteristic style: