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Thread: Joseph Merrick - The Elephant Man

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    Joseph Merrick - The Elephant Man

    Widely known as "The Elephant Man," also known by the name John Merrick. He suffered from Proteus Syndrome, a condition that caused his body to grotesquely deform from an early age. Chronically unemployed and shunned, he joined a freak show for a few years before happening upon the help of Dr. Frederick Treves who cared for him for the remainder of his life. His body was donated to medical science. His skeletal remains are at the Royal London Hospital, not accessible to the general public.

    http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg...r&GRid=7339523


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    Great thread. I think there was a play and/or a movie about him.

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    According to my extensive research (one Google search) it appears that Michael Jackson, as rumored, does not own the elephant man's bones. Not that you asked.

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    Quote Originally Posted by suzycreamcheese View Post
    Great thread. I think there was a play and/or a movie about him.
    Both. The film came out in 1980 and was directed by David Lynch. Mel Brooks was an uncredited producer. Casts of Merrick's scull were allowed to accurately portray his appearance in the film and strands of Merrick's hair were still embedded in the scull.

    I first saw the film in high school in Psychology class and bought the DVD a few years ago. It's so heartbreaking to watch but done so well.

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    The Discovery Channel did a special on him and said that this is what he would have looked like had he not had this disease:


    I have no idea how they could have come up with that considering the deformity of his skull!
    Last edited by kelbons; 01-14-2008 at 07:52 AM.

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    Probably based on his height, weight, head mass, eyes, etc... I'm sure it's not 100% but they most likely threw all the info they had into a computer and it calculated this.

    Cool post.
    Last edited by Jason; 01-14-2008 at 08:07 AM.


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    Those forensic reconstructions have always fascinated me, anyway!

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    I read the book and saw the movie years ago, and I remember both made me cry. So sad. The movie was quite good - - John Hurt played Merrick and Anthony Hopkins played Treves.

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    yeah this movie and mask bring tears to my eyes... I guess I'm a sucker for these types of stories. When you really get to know the character you realize how sad of a life they must lead with everybody judging them solely on appearance. Then you realize how shallow of a person you are because you most likely would have done the same thing (bullshit, you would have... don't lie).


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    I've always felt so sorry for John Merrick and the Hilton sisters (Violet and Daisy, not skank and skankier). They just seem to be taken advantage of at every turn. It just shows me how evil people really can be.

    Jason - I hope to God that I wouldn't treat them so mean. If I were in that position, I might shun them (yep, I'm ashamed about that), but I don't think I could be mean to them.
    For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

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    This is the one film that makes me cry everytime I see it..He was treated terribly just for the way he looked yet he was incredibly talented and a lovely man. I watched a documentary a couple of years a back about a little boy, who is the same age as my son, and has the same condition, struggles with smallest of things on a day to day basis we take for granted. I was so touched by him I got in contact with his mother and raised some money by doing a half marathon for the proteus syndrome charity. Josephs skeleton was kept at the Royal London Hospital for research and came be seen by the general public if they wish to view it.

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    Now his skelton is no longer on display. I wonder why??

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    Quote Originally Posted by kelbons View Post
    Now his skelton is no longer on display. I wonder why??
    Oh I didn't know that! I'll have a look at their website and see if it says anything there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SheBoss View Post
    I've always felt so sorry for John Merrick and the Hilton sisters (Violet and Daisy, not skank and skankier). They just seem to be taken advantage of at every turn. It just shows me how evil people really can be.

    Jason - I hope to God that I wouldn't treat them so mean. If I were in that position, I might shun them (yep, I'm ashamed about that), but I don't think I could be mean to them.
    Yep, I wasn't referring to treating them mean... I simply meant being judgmental even if it's just internally (it's human nature)


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    Quote Originally Posted by SlippyInvader View Post
    This is the one film that makes me cry everytime I see it..He was treated terribly just for the way he looked yet he was incredibly talented and a lovely man. I watched a documentary a couple of years a back about a little boy, who is the same age as my son, and has the same condition, struggles with smallest of things on a day to day basis we take for granted. I was so touched by him I got in contact with his mother and raised some money by doing a half marathon for the proteus syndrome charity. Josephs skeleton was kept at the Royal London Hospital for research and came be seen by the general public if they wish to view it.
    Yes, me too...such a lovely, gentle soul. Funny, when watching the film, after the initial shock of seeing him, I tend to forget about it after awhile and concentrate more on what he's saying...the "monster" soon fades into the background and the 'real' man beneath comes out.



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    Quote Originally Posted by jason8478 View Post
    Yep, I wasn't referring to treating them mean... I simply meant being judgmental even if it's just internally (it's human nature)
    Sadly, you're right. I wonder why we're like that.
    For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

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    Fear

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    Maybe so. We judge people that are different because we are scared to be like them?
    For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

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    Fear of the unknown, afraid to say the "wrong" thing, all sorts of fears that vary from person to person. In a word, ignorance.

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    Joseph Merrick changed my life...I read all the books about him in the 8th grade. Dr. Frederick Treves was also incredible. Joseph was quite lucky to get the treatment he did in the end. I'd love to see his paper castle sculptures...quite amazing.


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    I think that out of respect for the guy they should make a cast of his skeleton and then bury his skeletel remains in a grave with a few words said over his body and then use the casting of his skeleton for the museum.
    Last edited by STRAIGHT; 08-16-2008 at 07:29 PM.

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    One of his paper sculptures...

    The most dangerous woman of all is the one who refuses to rely on your sword to save her because she carries her own.

    - R.H. Sin

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    Awesome...YOU ROCK!...looks like it might be a cathedral. He was so bright & talented.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nessa View Post

    One of his paper sculptures...


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    It's so sad. How many of us stop and view the grossly disfigured not as carnival attractions, but as people. I know for a LONG time, I didn't. I was just fascinated with their deformity.

    I read this story today: http://tampabay.com/features/humanin...icle750838.ece

    I so admire the parents that adopted her -- everything they DIDN'T want, yet they couldn't overlook her.

    Quote Originally Posted by kelbons View Post
    Widely known as "The Elephant Man," also known by the name John Merrick. He suffered from Proteus Syndrome, a condition that caused his body to grotesquely deform from an early age. Chronically unemployed and shunned, he joined a freak show for a few years before happening upon the help of Dr. Frederick Treves who cared for him for the remainder of his life. His body was donated to medical science. His skeletal remains are at the Royal London Hospital, not accessible to the general public.

    http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg...r&GRid=7339523


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    Quote Originally Posted by Seagorath View Post
    Awesome...YOU ROCK!...looks like it might be a cathedral. He was so bright & talented.
    Thanks!

    The caption to the pic said, "Merrick's imaginative model of St. Philip's Church in downtown London. Remarkably, he made the model, mostly with cardboard, using his one good hand. (He could only see the one end from his room, so the model mostly comes, from his own imagination) It is not clear where he aquired this skill, though he might have picked it up during one of his stints in the workhouse."
    The most dangerous woman of all is the one who refuses to rely on your sword to save her because she carries her own.

    - R.H. Sin

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    Anyone remember when Michael Jackson tried to buy Edward Merrick's remains?
    Winners are losers...who got up and gave it one more try ~ Dennis Deyoung

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    Such a sad story. I have been fascinated with Joseph Merrick's story since childhood. I can't read the book or watch the movie without crying either.

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    Me too Ivy!! John Hurt did an amazing job of portraying him...Seemed like a sweet kind man...I'm so sad that he suffered so much.
    Inside me, there's a skinny woman fighting to get out....but I can usually shut the bitch up with chocolate

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    bowie,of couse portrayed John in a well recieved play.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stacebabe View Post
    It's so sad. How many of us stop and view the grossly disfigured not as carnival attractions, but as people. I know for a LONG time, I didn't. I was just fascinated with their deformity.

    I read this story today: http://tampabay.com/features/humanin...icle750838.ece

    I so admire the parents that adopted her -- everything they DIDN'T want, yet they couldn't overlook her.

    The Tampabay story was unreal so glad she has been given a chance to lead a normal life, well as best as she can considering what she's having to deal with on a day to day basis

    and Joseph Merrick is one of the most fasinating stories i've read about i cried unashamedly when i watched the film years ago

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    Quote Originally Posted by midnitelamp View Post
    bowie,of couse portrayed John in a well recieved play.
    Did you say Bowie?!?!?
    The most dangerous woman of all is the one who refuses to rely on your sword to save her because she carries her own.

    - R.H. Sin

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    it always makes me sad that merrick wanted to move to a hospital for the blind, where he might meet a woman who could fall in love with him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nessa View Post






    One of his paper sculptures...

    That church is unbelievable! I didn't realize how talented he was. A genius. Just beautiful.

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    the top pic of his full skeleton freaks me out.
    it looks like it's talking to someone.

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    Isn't that something? I always thought that disease was tumors that were external. I didn't realize that they affected the bones like that. Poor man.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nessa View Post
    Did you say Bowie?!?!?

    yeah. i can by no means verify this and it is unlikely,but,David was smoking behind the theater during The Elephant Mans run and may have heard John Lennon being shot in the distance. i make no claim whatsoever this is true,but its what i "heard".

    David did'nt use make up but photos were showed of John Merrick,and Davis contorted his body to assume the shape. i did'nt see it but it ran in denver, chi,and of course NYC.

  37. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by kelbons View Post
    The Discovery Channel did a special on him and said that this is what he would have looked like had he not had this disease:


    I have no idea how they could have come up with that considering the deformity of his skull!
    I was on vacation with my boyfriend when Discovery showed it at 12am. Guess the boyfriend got pissed that John got my attention more than he did. Such a fascinating man...Merrick.

    People at that time may have only seen the grotesque state he was in, but looking at his paper creations and reading about his life, how he treated other people, his demeanor and his kind heart...I guess at the end of the day, there is balance in the universe after all.

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    He was a lovely man but the business with the church model was/is misleading.

    It was actually a model that came in kit form with instructions on how to assemble the ready made pieces.

    In the film they try to make out he built it out of his imagination from scratch.

    He was no fool but he was no genius either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by midnight lamp View Post
    bowie,of couse portrayed John in a well received play.

    Here is an extremely rare clip of Bowie in the 1980 Broadway production of The Elephant Man:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdqZ1dI44VI

    Apparently he received absolutely rave reviews for this performance as Merrick from the New York Theatre critics who've always been regarded as the most toughest theatre critics in the world. Don't know whether the whole performance was filmed but even from this brief footage his portayal looks quite remarkable considering he was conveying Merrick's physical disability without aid of any make-up or prosthetics whatsoever.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kelbons View Post
    The Discovery Channel did a special on him and said that this is what he would have looked like had he not had this disease:


    I have no idea how they could have come up with that considering the deformity of his skull!
    Wow, that's amazing.

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    New Death Theory: The weight of his head (20 pounds) was too much for his vertebrae, crushing it and causing instant death.

    In a Discovery Channel documentary next Wednesday, Alex Vaccaro, a surgeon at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, says the official cause of death made little sense because Merrick had well-developed neck muscles made strong by carrying his huge head.

    Dr Vaccaro scanned Merrick’s skeleton and recreated it as a computer model. He found twisted vertebrae and believes this was due to Merrick’s 20lb head falling back on the bed, crushing or severing the spinal cord.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencete...#ixzz1H4Aov7Oj

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    Was it ever publicized as to whether Merrick was under the covers--- which would support Treves's assertion that his patient had deliberately laid down" (Though, IMO, this would indicate to some that it was suicide rather than a sleep attempt.) Or was he found in an attitude of collapse, like he fell onto the bed, or were his legs on the bed?
    Merrick's health had been failing for some time; he was not considered long for the world in any case. Perhaps he abruptly started to lose consciousness for some reason and thus his amazing muscle control, and the head just gave way to gravity.

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sF19L00KbAI


    A great scene from the movie the train station scene "I am not an animal......
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    Quote Originally Posted by gleemonex View Post
    Both. The film came out in 1980 and was directed by David Lynch. Mel Brooks was an uncredited producer. Casts of Merrick's scull were allowed to accurately portray his appearance in the film and strands of Merrick's hair were still embedded in the scull.

    I first saw the film in high school in Psychology class and bought the DVD a few years ago. It's so heartbreaking to watch but done so well.
    I enjoyed watching that movie when it first came out in 1980.

    Liked how it was all in black and white.
    Carolyn(1958-2009) always in my heart.

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    So nice his mother now has a headstone.

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    Neat video of how he would have looked: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsSJYrRQxTA

    He would have been a handsome man.

    ""It's a mop with a tongue! Can you imagine the dingleberries?" - Mammy


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    Quote Originally Posted by midnitelamp View Post
    bowie,of couse portrayed John in a well recieved play.
    Yes, which was also broadcast on PBS back in the day. The Elephant Man is a 1977 play by Bernard Pomerance with the lead role of Merrick originated by David Schofield in a definitive performance. Subsequent productions starred Bruce Davison, David Bowie, Mark Hamill, Billy Crudup and most recently, Bradley Cooper.
    22ELEPHANTALT_SPAN-articleLarge.jpg

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    Elephant Man's grave is found after 130 years

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...ked-grave.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by cash View Post
    Elephant Man's grave is found after 130 years


    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...ked-grave.html
    So, they'll dig him up now and put him in a travelling display, right?
    A faulty hypothesis forming:
    A German scientist using Iranian physics and French mathematics.



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