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Monday, October 21, 2013

The Palace of Wonder



It saddens me to find out that we have lost another amazing attraction from the American Roadside.  The Palace of Wonder was not your typical attraction.  First of all, it was a bar, a bar in the inner city of Washington DC. 


When you entered it was a fairly average bar, with a few crazy things on the wall, but on the second floor was possibly America's greatest hidden treasures.  With a whopping admission fee of FREE the upper floor of the Palace contained what was possibly the most amazing and complete cabinet of curiosities in the World.  


I have never come across a collection of antique sideshow oddities more amazing then what the Palace presented.  Let's dig in!

One of favorite artifacts at the Palace of Wondered was a genuine taxidermied Unicorn!


This genuine unicorn traveled with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus.  I actually remember seeing a TV commercial for it when I was a kid.  Nevermind the fact its actually a mutant goat, its still a unicorn, dammit!


 Of course what would the world's greatest collection of sideshow artifacts be without a nice handful of Fiji Mermaids.





Also in the collection of sideshows gaffes was a mummy.....



As well as a life-sized "Devil's Child".....


Of course they had the obligatory collection of creepy jars full of creepy stuff.....



Some other wonders include Fivey the Five Legged Dog.....


A demon Toad....


A shrunken head......


A two headed cow.....


An eight legged Goat.....


A messed up Deer.....


A winged Squirrel.....


And some sort of weird dog monster called "The Oojiboo"....


They had some artifacts that belonged to some of the famous sideshow performers.  Here is a hand cast of the "Son of Lobster Boy" Grady Styles Jr. 


By the way, Grady Styles and the lobster family have one of the darkest most interesting stories in all of sideshow lore....I hope to get to that someday here on the Carpetbagger.

They had a life-sized replica of one of the most famous freaks of all time: The Elephant Man John Merrick.



They had a large collection of "Pickled Punks" or babies (real or fake) preserved in jars.  What was interesting about these is that when they traveled with sideshows the carnival had to lie about the nature of their punks.  In some states they had to say they were real punks were fake, because it was illegal to display live bodies.  In other states they had to say that fake punks were real because it was illegal to display fakes.


One of the more odd (if that's possible) parts of the Palace is their collection of freak ducklings.


Including two headed ducklings.....


And perhaps the oddest:  Puddles the Headless Duck.


As you can see this collections of freaks is unmatched.  I have to wonder if its still together or if its been broken up.  Hopefully it will resurface like some great roadside attractions tend to do.


The Carpetbagger

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