Herman Fuller Presents: The Living Head
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The Living Head

SHE HAS NO BODY, YET SHE LIVES!

She talks!

She sings!

She will enchant you!

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She feels her body yet she does not possess it!

Where is it?

Hear her chilling tale!

The Lady Elisa comes to us from faraway Yugoslavia where she spent her childhood happy and free until fate cheated her. Her tale is as tragic as it is wondrous and beautiful. Hear it for yourself as she recounts her experiences and answers all questions asked!

ONE DAY ONLY

Tonight only, 8 PM, at the Comanche County Fairgrounds.
One show, one chance! Come one, come all!

The following is a page from a publication entitled To the Circus Born: Herman Fuller's Menagerie of Freaks. The identities of neither publisher nor author have been established, and scattered pages have been found inserted into Circus-themed books in libraries across the world. The person or persons behind this dissemination are unknown.

The Living Head

first act we developed was one where I was going to be launched out of a cannon. Since my body is made up of all these pieces, the audience would think they saw me blown up, but in the end, I'd be waving after they'd picked everything out of the net. We actually only performed that act one time, because of the way the audience reacted. There were wails and screams, and I think I saw a lot of people pass out. Manny thought it was bad publicity, so we retired that one.

Next thing we came up with was an act where I would join the clowns in shenanigans. They'd bring me out under a glass cover. We couldn't do that for long though. I may just be a head, but I still need to breathe. Anyway, they gingerly take me out from under the glass and then decide to play croquet with my head. The audience would of course be indignant, and the clowns would realize their mistake. Then they'd pick me up, dust me off and get out a basketball hoop. Same reaction from the audience, wash, rinse, repeat a few more times for effect. I was never really a big fan of that one, especially since those damn clowns are so weird. Have you ever seen them? Looked into those eyes? You know how they say the eyes are windows to the soul? Well, that's one grimy window. But I digress. We discontinued that act when it turned out the audience wasn't indignant and seemed amused at the idea of my head being whacked through a croquet hoop. After the performance, I talked to Manny and I made it very clear to him that I wasn't going to do acts in the ring. If he wanted me for the Den of Freaks, I'd be happy to work there, but I wasn't going to be smashed, thrown, whirled or whatever else he had planned for me. Luckily Manny isn't that bad of a guy, so he let me work with the rest of the freaks.

I got a spot in between Danny1 and Phil, a nice pedestal with a soft cushion, and Manny's assurances that both of them would be watching out for me. I mean, if some loon gets it into his head that he wants a souvenir, I couldn't really do anything about that. Meanwhile, Manny was going to hang on to the rest of my body. He's been a gentleman about it, that's all I'll say.

The whole Yugoslavia thing is a complete crock of course; most of our official stories are. I was born Edith Mary Fernanda McKinnel somewhere in Boston in early 1878. I don't remember my parents, all I know is they left all of me on the steps of the old Baldwin Place Mission & Home for Little Wanderers when I was about 6 weeks old. Kind of funny to leave me with a place called the "Home for Little Wanderers" when I can't walk, now that I think about it. Anyway, they took me in, but they had no idea what to do with me either. From what I've been told, they kept me in the basement, hidden away from the other kids to try and make sure no one hurt me. And trust me, it was a dog eat dog world in there, don't let the fact that those kids were at most 12 years old fool you. I think I spent something like three years in that place, until one day someone showed up. Someone who apparently knew me, or at least knew of me. Maybe my parents told him about me, probably for money. So, this man offered the nuns running the place a deal. He got to take me and in return he'd pay for a much-needed renovation of the building. Nuns or no nuns, they sold me so fast my head was reeling. Well, long story short, that was Manny, always on the lookout for new acts. Looking back, I'm grateful to him, really. The circus life may not be for everyone, but let's face it, what kind of a future do I have outside the circus? I won't deny that it's a rough life, but we're looked after. We have our own little family here and even though there are those out there who want us for themselves, we feel safe.

When I first joined the circus, people kept asking me why I was the way I was. It took a while for them to realize that there wasn't any specific reason for my body being in the state it's in. Some of the freaks I work with can tell you exactly what made them what they are, but I can't. It's something I've had to accept myself and it's taken me long enough. I just am. I mean, you can spend your nights lying awake, wondering about what went wrong, or even if something went wrong at all, but in the end, here I am. And I don't have a body that sticks together the way yours does. So what? I'm alive, I can feel, I can talk, I can sing. I'm fine, unlike most of the people who come to gawk at me.

1Daniel Golenski, the Flame-Faced Man (see p.14)

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