A story at the website Disinfo led me to the website of a man named J. Tithonus Pednaud, who presents through his site "for your edification and enlightenment a curious collection of human marvels." This curious collection includes an epic list including "Albinos, Gigantism, Dwarfism, Fakes, Fat and Pinheads," among other oddities. The world of the circus isn't really in vogue any longer, so those who seek to have their freak fix filled now have the internet to quench their thirst.
This particular story is so downright strange that it sounds like the plot to a Shaw Brothers film, but real it very much is:
Sometimes a story comes along that contains so many fanciful elements one must assume that it is the work of fiction. Such is the story of Su Kong Tai Djin.
Tai Djin was born in China in 1849. He was born unique, afflicted with hypertrichosis. Unlike Jo-Jo, who would be born a few decades later, Tai Djin was born into a highly superstitious family. As A result they saw his affliction as the work of demons and he was left in the forest to die.
A Shaolin monk traveling through the forest discovered the child and took him back to the Fukien Shaolin Temple. There Tai Djin was raised by the monks.
He was trained in martial arts and it quickly became apparent that he was exceptional in both appearance and ability. The boy must have been a sight practicing kung-fu with his face covered in fine fur. He quickly became a favorite of many of the Shaolin masters and, as a result, each master passed their knowledge on to Tai Djin.
He was a sponge and mastered every technique shown to him. He became the first to master over 200 different empty hand systems and over 140 weapon systems. His various specialties included the infamous Chi Ma, or ‘Death Touch’. After several years of extensive training he became the first Grandmaster of Shaolin-Do and one of the first to master all skills of the seven Shaolin temples.
He became known as Su Kong Tai Djin. Su Kong simply means, Grand Master.
Perhaps the most amazing part of that much the story is true. Su Kong Tai Djin was a real man, he really did have hypertrichosis and he was associated with Shaolin. Some have built and embellished upon his legend but the kernel of truth is there. Tai Djin was witnessed in the flesh by many, and revered by many more. He lived on for many years and passed away in 1928 after reaching a ripe old age and teaching others to be masters.
And of course, here is some appropriate music for the subject: