Archive for March 13th, 2022

March 13, 2022

Geek Show

Nightmare Alley

Geek shows were an act in traveling carnivals and circuses of early America and were often part of a larger sideshow. The billed performer’s act consisted of a single geek, who stood in center ring to chase live chickens. It ended with the performer biting the chickens’ heads off and swallowing them.

The geek shows were often used as openers for what are commonly known as freak shows. It was a matter of pride among circus and carnival professionals not to have traveled with a troupe that included geeks. Geeks were often alcoholics or drug addicts, and paid with liquor – especially during Prohibition – or with narcotics.

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