Morbid Fact Du Jour for January 11, 2014

Today’s Hyperactive Yet Truly Morbid Fact!Rose Leslie

Shortly after Charles Eisenmann photographed circus sideshow fat lady Rose Leslie in the attached photo  (in 1881) she married John McLaughlin, a performer with the John B. Doris Circus.  The couple toured together until the late winter of 1886 when Rose caught a severe chill at a fat women’s convention.  After being laid up for several months in Lowell, Massachusetts, she died in June 1886 of pneumonia and heart complications.  At the time of her death the five-foot three-inch Mrs. McLaughlin weighed 615 pounds.  She was twenty-five.

Eisenmann’s photographs of Rose suggest she probably had Cushing’s Disease – hyperactivity of the cortex of the adrenal glands.  The deposition of fat at the base of her neck (the so-called “buffalo hump”), moon face and extreme truncal obesity, all external clues to the presence of the disease, were established as diagnostics by Harvey Cushing some decades after her death.  The disorder is now treated through surgical removal of the glands.

Culled from: Monsters: Human Freaks in America’s Gilded Age: The Photographs of Chas Eisenmann

One comment

  1. Maybe she did have Cushing’s, but I also think that anybody weighing 600 pounds would have a moon face.
    Guess her own insulation wasn’t enough to keep her warm, thick as it was. What she must have suffered in the summertime, I can’t imagine.

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