In the X-Men comics mutants are called Homo Superior. In real life we call people born with visible genetic disruptions sufferers of birth defects. Well tonight, for the first time in my life, I watched a program with a guy who had a severe skin condition and thought “that looks like an actual mutant.” The thing about comic book mutants is sometimes they have powers and sometimes they look strange, but when they DO have a strange look-it looks authentic. And tonight on TLC/Discovery the so called “half man half tree” looked like the real damn deal! It was shocking in the way this guys hands and feet DO look like actual tree roots (that link has good photos and VIDEO). This guy legitimately had parts of his body that did NOT look human-at all. Not even a little! I didn’t get the idea to start taking screen captures until halfway through the show, but here’s a sample of his flesh.
The guy’s name is Dede and he lives in Indonesia. God bless the woman who at least married him and gave him 2 kids before she left him. He has that at least (and there’s some good news at the end of the show too).
But take a look at these feet!
There is an article that gives a little info. But on the show they also had a medical team look at a Romanian guy named Ion. With a similar, but just as incapacitating skin condition.
And his feet.
Well as I said this story takes place in Indonesia and here in the states we’ve mostly “grown” past the practice of parading people around who look…different. But we didn’t ALWAYS subscribe to that practice. For anybody who has ever seen Ted Browning’s movie Freaks , or even John Hurt in the Elephant Man you know we have a long history or taking unusual looking people and putting them on display. There used to be thousands of these circuses, sideshows, carnivals and tours of oddities that made their way across this country. And this practice has been around really for as long as we’ve had civilizations. You can find it everywhere and everyWHEN throughout history. In fact I believe about a year or two back TLC had a show about a “Lobster Boy ” who spent part of his life working in one of these shows. Because, yes, we still have them here in America-just not as numerously as the old days. But this guy Dede is part of a “clan” in Indonesia of about 4 other guys and a woman run by a man named Hani and his assistant “Boy.”
But what about the X-Men part? Well, when you see the rest of the group you see that they’re a whole team of skin condition sufferers. And their handlers say it’s for their benefits, since most of these guys can’t work and make money. This, he and Boy say, allows these people to make money. But this has been the argument for the last hundred years in this line of work: are the people exploited or is this all they have in life? Is this an opportunity for them to have friends-in-arms, travel, and earn a living? Like I said it’s an old argument because throughout the years different performers have had different answers. When I worked in a circus the people I knew doing this type of work were happy for the travel and money, but I could ALSO see it took a toll on their spirit. Just look at Dede’s face in my pictures. Anyway here’s some photos of the other “clan” members.
It’s a tough life, but as you can see from this man who’s brushing his teeth, people do carry on. And at the end of the program they say that Dede refused treatment, even though the whole way through the program he says he wants help. But THE REASON might be something he doesn’t have control over-turns out Indonesia has a health minister famous for making odd decisions that affect Indonesian people. Like they say; if it wasn’t for bad luck…
You might want to check out a book where they go into detail about these conditions
This last guy has nothing to do with the Indonesia group, but I ran across it and decided “what the hell, might as well throw that in there too.” It’s a guy with facial tumors. The photo’s link takes you to his story.
I also have a story about the woman with Giant legs, with a little info about giant hands…
Breaking News! Breaking News! Today is April 15 2008
Breaking News! Breaking News! Today is April 15, 2008.
I just found out that Dede Koswara had the surgery. And you can go to Huffington Post to read about him (or American politics). It’s not MUCH of an improvement, but he feels better about it, so that’s all that matters .
Ok and here we are below at Dede’s NINTH series of surgeries in 2009. Those tree limbs KEEP growing back.
Update Update Update
You’re not going to believe this. But even after all those operations in 2009 THE TREES GREW BACK!! Man, this guy just can’t catch a break. Look at how happy he was during his operations and then these most recent pictures. He’s basically saying “Well, this my life. This is the way it’s gonna be.”