Monday, October 10, 2011
Recently saw the movie 'Freaks' for the first time. One of the characters that stands out in the film is Schlitze the Pinhead, because of a remarkable sweetness and charisma he conveys on camera. I wonder if one of the reasons Schlitze was so often presented as a female, despite his actual male gender, relates to people generally feeling more comfortable dealing with sweetness coming from girls. In any case, I'm definitely not the only one Schlitze charmed: throughout his life he was cared for by a variety of people, despite his severe handicaps. Well-loved among the sideshow community, Schlitze was even legally adopted by a circus animal trainer. He lived to the age of 70--a remarkably long life for a person with microcephaly--and continued to inspire goodwill even after his death. For example, a group of members of the find-a-death forum tracked down his burial site (he was buried in an unmarked 'paupers' grave) and pooled funds to buy him a headstone. Here's a picture of the stone. Schlitze finally got his hat "with a long feather on it."