Joseph Merrick carte de visite photo, c. 1889
Joseph Merrick without deformities

What Joseph Merrick might have looked like without his deformities.

Joseph Merrick also known as John Merrick and The Elephant Man is a man with a tragic life and had severe deformities. When Joseph was born on August 5, 1862 he was like every normal person and started to form tumors on his face when he was 2 years old and lumps started to form when he was five and they would only get worse every year. His mother died when he was very young and his father remaried and both him and stepmom rejected him because of his deformities and he dropped out of school at age 13 in order to persue a carrer (which wasn't that uncommon at the time). He had a hard time finding employment and soon he could only make a living in freak shows and that's how he got his nickname The Elephant Man and was very successful. He eventually met Sir Frederick Treves and he offered him refuge at the Royal London Hospital. He got to meet many famous people at the time who supported him and were kind to him. He would live until his death on April 11, 1890 at age 27. He was found laying down like a normal person and Frederick Treves thought maybe he deliberately ended his life. After he died his skeleton was boiled to study for years and plaster casts were made of his body after he died. Skin samples and his eternal organs were originally preserved but were destroyed during World War II. It is said that Joseph Merrick knew that he would always be studied for years after he died.

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