In honor of Halloween last week, I wanted to talk about freak shows! Freakshows or side shows, though not associated with the circus as much any longer, were in their height during the 19th century. Many researchers argue that freak show performers were exploited because of their disabilities. Yet working in a freak show during the 19th century was actually a very respectable way to earn a living. Some were able to have a good life through exhibitions, and even gain celebrity status, commanding high salaries. This type of performance also provided independence to disabled people who otherwise may not have had a source of income.