The Sad Life of Schlitze

If you're a fan of Ryan murphy's tv anthology smash hit American horror story. You're probably familiar with the beloved character pepper. So-called pinhead whose girlish charm won the hearts of audiences in both asylum and freak show. But what if I told you pepper is actually based on a real-life circus performer named schlitzy cities. Whose tragic life has pretty much been lost in time the untold truth about this American sideshow legend is sure to tug at your heartstrings. So let's turn back the hands of time to the 1900s and get straight into it shall. We throughout his life Schlitz went by many names in the circus he was billed as the monkey girl the missing link and the last of the Aztecs.

 While other times he was simply referred to as pinhead or freak the truth is that no one can be sure exactly what Schlitz's name really was according to his death certificate. Which states that he was born in the Bronx on September 10, 1901 his full name was Schlitz cardy's others have speculated that. His birth name was actually Simon Metz while sources like joe Nicholls book secrets of the sideshows have even suggested that. He was born into a well-to-do family in Santa Fe. New Mexico through the facts surrounding his birth might be up for debate one thing's for sure Schlitz's childhood was far from ordinary first and foremost. Schlitz didn't look much like other kids his most distinguishing features were his protruding teeth bushy brows and his signature elongated head. Which tapered upwards into a pin-like point this unconventional appearance was the result of a condition called microcephaly.

 Which is marked by a deformity of the brain skull and body as well as less. Than average cognitive abilities, microcephaly can be caused b genetic abnormalities or by drugs alcohol certain viruses, or toxins that are exposed to the fetus during pregnancy since nothing certain is known about Schlitz's parentage. We can't be sure what caused his condition. But it's not hard to imagine that substance abuse might have had. Something to do with it this was the 1900s after all perhaps because times were. So wildly different and because. He's said to have come from an affluent family there are rumors that Schlitz's birth parents whoever. They took an out of sight out of mind approach to their son by locking him away in an attic or basement that is until they happened upon a crafty solution at some point. It seems as if little Schlitz came to the attention of circus owner George Cortez who offered his parents money to adopt him into his traveling show selling a child with a disability wasn't exactly legal back then. But times were still very different to put things mildly and people often looked the other way his parents may have been glad to get rid of their child but little did. They know Schlitz was destined to become a star let's take a break for a second were you aware of this bizarre chapter of American history nowadays Schlitz would be treated like a regular guy, not some walking talking attraction if you're enjoying this story so far and want to hear more like. It why not let me know by giving this video a like and hitting that subscribe button oh and tap that bell icon too to make sure you don't miss out on the next one. Now let's get back to little Schlitz besides his unique physical appearance Schlitz's condition meant. He was also mentally handicapped even as an adult.

 It is said that he had the mental aptitude of a child age three or four. He could only speak in short. Sometimes incomprehensible sentences and went about life with a childlike naivety that meant. He had special caregivers during his time at the circus in the 19th century and early 20th century sideshows an extra secondary production associated with a circus or carnival. Were a wildly popular tourist attraction the most famous kind of sideshow was the tenon one. Which offered a nightly program of 10x performing under one tent for a single admission price usually this would comprise of a so-called freak show. Which showcased a whole host of extraordinary people like bearded ladies giants dwarves conjoined twins and much ore basically the gist was that regular people would turn up and gawk at anyone deemed different enough to be put on a show for their entertainment. It's uncomfortable to think about something like that happening nowadays but back then sideshows and circuses. Were huge money-making machines and Schlitz was the proverbial cash cow at the center of many in fact during his colorful career schlitzy earned a living performing with virtually.

Every major traveling circus of the era including the doe bridge international circus the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey circus the tom mix circus and the Clyde Beatty circus at the time people with microcephaly or pinheads. They were affectionately nicknamed were billed as being from another planet or ancient race usually. For the Aztecs, this folklore meant schlitzy was admired not only for his appearance and childlike tendencies. But for his apparent heritage as some non-human being circuses followed a specific route of cities each year. So the owners would frequently swap out attractions in the hope of bringing in new customers during his decades at. The sideshow schlitzy was traded sold and lent to various circus owners and was a shining star wherever. He went some even say he traveled as far as Venezuela. Now you might be thinking to yourself wasn't pepper female an American horror story. Well, perhaps the strangest aspect of Schlitz's career is that. He was marketed as a female in his shows and was usually advertised as the monkey girl as you can see in photos and videos of schlitzy. He usually dressed in floral moo dresses and had his head shaved leaving behind a girlish ponytail.

 Which deliberately emphasized the shape of his head. Some suggest that the dresses were a practical choice because Schlitz's condition also made him incontinent .So loose-fitting clothes made it easier for his caregivers to change him. However, others recall seeing pants underneath his dresses and say schlitzy didn't become incontinent until later life. Which would ultimately defeat the purpose. So it seems that female performers were possibly just a bigger draw. Because Schlitz's gender wasn't immediately obvious. It was easy to pull the wool over the audience's eyes and again. It's equally as likely that schlitzy just preferred performing in loose her clothes and the circuses. Just went along with it one of Schlitz's most popular acts was really quite simple. He would count from 1 to 10 although he usually skipped the number 7 it's unclear whether. He actually had trouble remembering the number or whether he'd simply learn to play. The gag for laughs one thing is for sure schlitzy was loved wherever.

 He went although he had no real family to speak of the people. He encountered while touring with the circus from his nurses to his fellow performers. Were like close relatives to him because of his cognitive difficulties people often describe schlitzy as an excitable child and. It was his joyful outlook on life that kept audiences coming back time and time again according to genie domain a sideshow half girl. Who toured with schlitzy whenever audience members showed animosity towards them. Laborers at the circus known as roustabouts would step in to stop. The abusive audience members and would even escort them off the premises schlitzy may have escaped his tome life to establish himself as one of the top build performers on the sideshow circuit. But he was destined for even greater things thankfully sideshows seemed like a total thing of the past nowadays. But do any of you guys know someone who might remember what the circuses used to be lik? Maybe your great-grandma went on a first date to a sideshow and saw a sword swallower or a bearded lady and again. I see plenty of those on the bus already let me know down in the comments below. I genuinely want to hear your stories during his long and colorful career schlitzy also starred in multiple movies. He appeared as a sideshow freaking flicks like the sideshow in 1928 and meet Boston blackie in 1941 and was even cast as one of the animals in 1932's.The island of lost souls which was an early adaptation of the wells classic novel the island of Dr. Moreau. But Schlitz's most notable performance by far was in MGM's 1932 movie freaks directed by browning. Where he basically played himself a sideshow pinhead also named schlitzy except this schlitzy like American horror stories pepper was also a female offstage the movie is a story of love and betrayal. Which follows a trapeze artist. Who joins a group of carnival sideshow performers with a plan to seduce and bump off a dwarf in the troop to gain his inheritance.

 The cast featured a whole host of sideshow performers including other microcephalic people as well as dwarves bearded ladies half men and conjoined twins. Its release the film was judged harshly by critics and audiences alike. Who deemed it too grotesque and distasteful to be entertaining. One woman even threatened to sue MGM claiming that the film caused her to suffer a miscarriage. Because it was thought to be exploitative in the way. It showcased the real-life freaks in the case the movie was later banned in the united kingdom for over 30 years and browning. Who was famed at the time for directing Bella Lugosi in 1931's Dracul struggled to find work afterward bringing? His career to a premature end the forgotten film experienced a revival in the 1960s and nowadays. It's viewed as something of a cult classic although many scenes. Were cut and most of the original movie has been erased from history a few clips of Schlitz's charming performance still exist online schlitzy may have become a minor star in his own right. But his home would always be the circus and despite his appearances on the big screen. He continued to tour with the sideshows he'd become. So embedded in the colorful carnival world that he didn't belong anywhere else and as. It turned out his pretend family was about to get.

 Whole a lot more real at some point in 1936 schlitzy met a chimpanzee trainer named George cards from the tom mix circus. Who was so taken by him that he became his official caretaker not long afterward certis decided to take things a step further by officially adopting schlitzy. Which explains why he's recorded as schlitzy certified on his death certificate although the facts of Schlitz's childhood are fuzzy there have also been debates about. Whether he actually had a secret sister as the story goes Schlitz was born a twin. But his sister another microcephalic person named athelia was separated from him at a young age these accounts suggest that both Schlitz and his sister. Were sold to circus owner Pete Cortez. Who then decided to keep other Leia to himself while selling schlitzy to his brother George Cortez in fact there was another microcephalic performer named the o was touring at the same time as Schlitz. She was even a similar age and is said to have appeared alongside schlitzy. But it's entirely possible that promoters. Just saw the opportunity to build the two performers as siblings as a simple advertising tactic. Whether schlitzy really had a sister or not it seemed like he finally had a family to call his own. But that was all about to change George's cardy's died in 1965 and the courts determined that Schlitz would be left in the custody of his daughter. Because he couldn't take care of himself unfortunately Cordy's daughter was unfamiliar with.

 The world of the circus and decided to have schlitzy admitted to the psychiatric ward of the Los Angeles county hospital after arriving at the mental institution Schlitz entered a deep depression. The carnival world had been warm welcoming and colorful. But life in the hospital was cold sterile and bleak although the institution would. Sometimes let Schlitzie put on little performances for the staff and other patients. He lost his spark over the next three years and doctors estimated that he wouldn't make it another six months. But little did he know his luck was about to change by pure chance a sideshow sword swallower named bill inks was working as a janitor on the ward during the off-season. When he recognized his sad and lonely schlitzy in the waiting room sunken formed his friend and colleague sam alexander also known as the two-faced man. The pair decided to convince the hospital to let them become Schlitz's primary caregivers surprisingly. The hospital allowed schlitzy back into the circus world most probably. Because he would inevitably die in their care. If they didn't after escaping the asylum. Schlitzy performed a few more times with the bridge international circus before retiring to Los Angeles even in his retirement schlitzy didn't give up his passion for performing he would entertain people as.

 He fed pigeons and ducks at Macarthur park and would sell his old sideshow photos to tourists schlitzy eventually died on September 24th, 1971 at the age of 70 although. Some say he may have been much older after living a life full of twists and turns. He'd been unwell for a while and spent some time in hospital before. He was transferred to a fountain view convalescent home. Where he spent his remaining days his cause of death was listed as bronchial pneumonia brought on by medullary depression. Which is a physical condition not a mental state he may have been a celebrity in his own right. But when schlitzy passed away he had almost no money to his name. He was buried on October 7th, 1971 at the queen of heaven cemetery in Rowland heights California in an unmarked grave Schlitz's final resting place remains.

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