15 World’s Amazing Circus Sideshow Performers

Eli Bowen (The Legless Acrobat)

Eli Bowen was born in Ohio on October 14, 1844. He was born with his disproportional feet attached directly to his pelvis. Despite his deformity, he strived to live an extraordinary life. He managed to overcome the limitations of his deformity. He learned early to use his arms and hands to compensate for his lack of legs. He would hold thick, wooden blocks in his arms and use them as shoes elevating his torso in order to walk on his hands. As a result, he developed enormous strength. At the age of 13, he started his professional career in various wagon shows before eventually touring independently. He was known for his remarkable tumbling abilities but applaud internationally for his extraordinary routine knows as “the pole routine” where he would climb a thirteen foot pole in order to balance on a single hand at its peak.