the secret life of clowns

ambroise pare’s book Monstres et Prodiges (1573) details what he believed were the causes of birth defects.

1 Glory of God

2 God’s wrath

3 too much semen

4 not enough semen

5 imagination

6 womb too small

7 unbecoming sitting position of the mother

8 a fall or blow to the mother’s stomach

9 accident

10 corrupted semen

11 mingled semen

12 the artifice of wandering beggars

13 demons

each category was thought to produce a particular kind of “freak of nature”. too much semen produced extra appendages like jean baptiste dos sontos’ double penis


too little would result in missing limbs or people of very short stature


back in the days when political correctness was unheard of, being born differently abled often meant a lifetime of being called a freak. by the mid twentieth century that term was out of fashion and those with birth defects were referred to as “poor unfortunates” or “brave poor things”


nursemyra was born with a dislocated hip, undetected until my second birthday. I had an operation and spent over a year encased in plaster, though I can recall none of it. what I do remember, however, was every december until I was 12, attending a christmas party hosted by “The Crippled Children’s Society”.

as the operation had been a success I showed no signs of being “a crip” and was torn between refusing to go and not wanting to miss out on the entertainment provided


I used to love clowns when I was a little girl. not so much now but for some people that love never dies………..



Published in: on March 24, 2008 at 8:08 am  Comments (27)  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

27 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. ’12 the artifice of wandering buggars’ ……. hang on, I’ll re-read that …… oh, I thought I’d come up with another explanation.

    Your hips look pretty hippy now – tee hee

  2. Those two clowns may be young and shapely … they still creep me out. *shudders*

  3. begs the question – just what is the right amount of semen?

    and for what it’s worth, hate clowns. hate mimes worse than clowns. at least clowns don’t sneak up on you…

  4. Your hips seem well located now, though.

  5. Sometime we must check whether you have a big red nose 🙂

  6. Without the custard pies those clowns are nothing.

  7. Clowns give me the creeps.

    Fascinating story about your childhood, nm. Did this influence your decision to become a nurse? ***

    I was apparently conceived without semen, but have been unable to find my mother to confirm this. 🙂

    *** No, Toby, that was a completely different accident

  8. I’m on the afraid of clowns list. All clowns are evil, so that’s redundant. I’m in bad need of some lovin’, but I still wouldn’t accept it from the nekid clown girls.

  9. ‘Mingled semen?’ how would you mingle it??

    Clowns are so not funny.. I’m with Luka on this one plus the elongated feet … that’s so not natural!!

  10. I’ve chased too many clowns to be scared of them. Those two need a good spanking for not wearing their costumes.

  11. Does anybody like clowns?

  12. johnny depp does. he collects paintings of them.

  13. no doubt because of his intensive study of Buster Keaton for Benny and Joon.

  14. (disclaimer) I do not equate Buster Keaton with clowns.

  15. I knew some corrupted seamen, once.

    They stole a boat from the Royal Fleet, with a view to selling it to pirates for hard cash.

    Alas, they were torn apart by said pirates, and quickly became rather mangled seamen.

    So ends another fascinating tale!

  16. Hmmm… no mention of demon semen…

    Why isn’t clown semen on that list?

  17. Buster Keaton had the ashen face resembling
    the most scary clown…. the white faced one .. therefore Johnny Depps semen has to be the ultimate demon sort (ahhh! 70s logic at work!!)

  18. I could see how the mingling of semen would be a problem before The Ghostbusters admonished us not to cross our streams.

  19. If you want to see how scary clowns really are, check this out Here is a short film I was involved with for the National Film Challenge in 2006, where you write, film, and edit an original movie in 72 hours (I wrote the screenplay). We won Best Comedy for this.

    Beware the Clowns.

    wow renalfailure, you are a man of hidden talents! I’ll be watching that movie all the way through very soon

  20. Talking of cripples, we had the “Spastics Society” here…

  21. 5 imagination

    I heard tell once that the word ‘conception’ in its current meaning is left over from the days when it was believed that women fell pregnant because she had the idea of a child, and said child immediately took root in the womb.

    Wacky. I mean, didn’t these ppl keep animals?

    And wasn’t the Elephant Man supposively the way he was because his mother was frightened by an elephant? Or was it because she was trampled by an elephant (number 9)?

    I could wiki it up, i guess, but i think it’d be so much more interesting to just compile a list of things that ppl have half remembered from seeing the film.

    hmmm…. frightened by an elephant I think….

  22. “Glory of God” and “God’s Wrath” seems to be a pretty effective catch-all. Don’t know why he bothered with the rest of the list.

  23. What about Sea men, I heard sailors can corupt women as well…

  24. nice clowns

  25. all three of them or just the two females?


  26. I think mrs BB must have loved clowns as a child, she married me. PS. Nice hips!

  27. I see, can’t sleep clowns will eat me

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: