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Zip the Pinhead
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Circus Performer
    (1857-April 28, 1926)
    Birth name was William Henry Johnson
    Toured with the P.T. Barnum and Ringling Brothers circuses
    Billed as ‘the What-Is-It?'
    He pretended to be a wild subhuman creature, despite being intelligent.
    He was marketed as a microcephalic (pinhead), but he actually suffered from a different disorder.
    He attempted to learn the violin but was terrible (people actually paid him to stop playing).
    He loved cigars.
    He grew up in poverty.
    His parents basically sold him to the circus.
    He was one of P.T. Barnum's most famous performers.
    He was one of the best-paid circus entertainers of his time.
    He once saved a small child from drowning at Coney Island.
    His friends called him ‘the Dean of Freaks.'
    He inspired the cult comic strip ‘Zippy the Pinhead.’

Credit: Wieland Kalligaro

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