Some of you might remember this strange picture from a post a while back:
I had randomly run into the picture and wondered what story could possibly be behind this guy in the tux sporting such a crazy afro.
Then the ever awesome reader of this blog Zombirella17 saw the post and quickly tracked down who the guy was. Turns out he was known as Unzie The Albino and his story is even more fantastical than his picture, if you can imagine that.
Unzie was born in New Zealand but was snatched up by the Barnum and Bailey Circus (some even say stolen as a child) to tour around Europe and eventually the U.S. as well.
Barnum and Bailey billed him as ‘The Australian Aboriginal Beauty’ and said that he was an albino Aborigine from the Outback, born into a tribe and worshipped as a sort of god by his own people.
They spun the story hard and even had ads with drawings showing a young Unzie living in stereotypically primitive conditions amongst Aboriginies and kangaroos.
But what’s up with that hair? Zombirella17 said:
Extremely famous in his day (late 1800′s) and known for being very dapper and gentlemanly. His enormous ‘fro was of such a fine texture that he could tuck it all into his top hat.
During his act, he would joke that he didn’t dare tip his hat to the ladies, lest they think they had witnessed an explosion.
Lol that definitely would get people’s attention! Reportedly his hair grew so fast that it had to be trimmed twice a week, I’m not sure how accurate that is but it sure does make for a great story.
Unzie had quite a successful career touring with Barnum and Bailey, not surprising since who could see a guy in such a proper suit sporting a gigantic stark white afro and not want to stop in to find out more? Through the circus he got to have the experience of traveling the world at a time when most people usually didn’t get to travel beyond the next town over.
However he did drop out of the circus eventually and so dropped out of the history books as well, leaving us to wonder what happened to him.
Did he go to spend the rest of his days back in his home country or live quietly amongst English society with hair perpetually tucked into his top hat?
Some people even theorize that he wasn’t actually an albino but a man with very light colored eyes that bleached his hair, eyebrows, and mustache to get into the lucrative freak show business. And so all he would have had to do to blend back into anonymity is cut his hair and let it grow back into it’s normal color.
Either way and whoever he was he seems like he was a pretty awesome guy with a tight sense of style and showmanship. I doubt anyone who ever seen him ever forgot him ’cause I know I sure won’t!