The Elephant Man – John Merrick
John Merrick was described as a very pleasant man with a unique style of humor. However, he suffered a physical disability called Neurofibromatosis type 1. This is very Rare only 1 in 3000 or even less can be affected.
Merrick has spent most of his life in the southern suburbs of London. Because of his physical appearance, several years in a carnival freak show where he was finally “rescued” by compassionate surgeon Dr. Frederick Treves. When Dr. Treves saw Merrick for the first time, a sign in front of Merrick read “The Deadly Fruit of Original Sin.” This has greatly disturbed Dr. Treves, and he decided to move to London Hospital in Whitechapel Merrick.
Merrick lived in London Hospital begins in April, 1890 before he died four years later at age 27. Dr. Treves wrote of Merrick’s death: “He was lying on his back as if asleep and had evidently died without a struggle, since not even coverlet of the bed was disturbed.” The cause of death of Merrick n ‘ is unknown but is believed to have tried to lay a natural way and died of asphyxiation.
Merrick’s personality was very unique, and therefore, he received many visitors, including people from the “elite class” that normally would not even consider being in the same room as someone one who has a physical disability. A famous actress British Madge Kendal, Merrick was befriended and was considered a close friend of his until his death.
During his stay of four years, Merrick made a beautiful model of a church that was made with cardboard. The model is exposed to the London Hospital with hat and coat of Merrick. In preparing for his role in the play, David Bowie visited hospitals in London and was said to be emotionally “moved” by the display.
Note:: At one time, Michael Jackson tried to buy the bones of John Merrick, but he failed. Supposedly he had offered several million dollars to acquire them.
Rolling Stone Quote
“London Hospital of 1886–a doctor ponders Merrick’s appalling case. As the slide show proceeds, a small scrim is swept aside, and there, wearing nothing but a rough cloth diaper, all wax-white skin and elegant bone, arms and legs extended as though tacked to a zodiac, stands David Bowie. Wordless and unmoving, he is nevertheless an electric presence. As the doctor details the particulars of Merrick’s affliction–an incurable infestation of bone, skin and nerve tumors known as multiple neurofibromatosis—Bowie’s sleek frame starts to sag and wither. His arm stiffens, his leg droops and curls, his spine crooks outward, and his head begins to bobble benignly. Provided with a cane and a tattered cloak, the character is complete, and as Bowie hobbles off downstage, every eye in the house stays on him. It’s an entrance that Ziggy Stardust himself might have envied, had he lived to see thirty-three.
November 13, 1980; page 10
The Elephant Man Movie trailer
Real Face of John Merrick
Read Joseph Merrick Bio and Photos