What Weekly: Shocked and Amazed’s James Taylor

By R. Nodnol III, Esq. & Philip Laubner (What Weekly, 3/7/2012)

“The James Taylor I speak of is the planet’s foremost authority on sideshow (self-proclaimed, but universally accepted!). For nearly two decades he has been interviewing sideshow folk and collecting their stories in his publication, Shocked & Amazed – On and Off The Midway!

Perhaps Baltimore knows him best from his days at the American Dime Museum. Washington, DC knows him as the curator of the curious collection at The Red Palace (formerly the Palace of Wonders) where a small fraction of his large collection of oddities is now on display.

I first encountered James at The Winter Festival of Wonders, where he provided a Cabinet of Curiosities for the event, and gave a short lecture on the history of sideshow. Moments after meeting him, I quickly determined that we were destined to be friends, and I was not afraid to let him know it.

You see, James is a historian and collector of all things strange and bizarre! His collection includes not only two-headed creatures, mummies and a genuine unicorn skull, but a vast amount of oral history which he has collected from those who lived it!

James is quick to point out that to be a historian of sideshow not only means knowing the fire eaters, glass walkers and sword swallowers, but also becoming familiar with all of those shows and the show folk who did not quite fit into the circus. His vast knowledge of “other” forms of entertainment includes Burlesque, Magic, Belly Dance, and more!”

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