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Joseph Carey Merrick

Joseph Carey Merrick (5 August 1862 11 April 1890), often incorrectly called John Merrick, was an English man with very severe deformities who was first exhibited at a freak show as the Elephant Man, and then went to live at the London Hospital after he met Frederick Treves, so becoming well known in London society. Merrick was born in Leicester, and began to develop abnormally during the first few years of his life: his skin appeared thick and lumpy, he developed enlarged lips, and a bony lump grew on his forehead, one of his arms and both of his feet became enlarged and at some point during his childhood he fell and damaged his hip, resulting in permanent lameness. When he was 9, his mother died from bronchopneumonia, and his father soon remarried. Merrick left school at the age of 13 and had difficulty finding employment. Rejected by his father and stepmother, he left home. In late 1879, Merrick, aged 17, entered the Leicester Union Workhouse.

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