Fiendish Curiosities and the Great Orbax
As someone who grew up in Ontario, I've come to associate certain things with certain regions of the province: Muskoka for cottage life; Toronto for shopping; and Niagra Falls for fairground-type tourist attractions. While strolling through this year's Festival of Fear, I discovered I may need to rethink this.
Guelph (which I usually associate with the Amish) is home to The Great Orbax, a creator and curator of "real and custom freaks of nature" (and I thought you could only see this at Ripley's Museum on Niagra's famous strip). He's one part artist, one part performer, and founder of Fiendish Curiosities.
Fiendish Curiosities was founded in 2003 by the Prof. Burnaby Q. Orbax, aka the Great Orbax, in an attempt to combine the greatest passions in his life: sideshow, science, and monsters. Having studied as a professional physicist since 1996, and been a sideshow performer since 1998, Fiendish Curiosities was the unnatural evolution of his loves.
Using a combination of current special effects techniques, latex casting and molding, sculpture and modern taxidermy, we create one of a kind works of custom art for the discerning collector. We strive to maintain a scientific approach to our pieces. We attempt to incorporate the sciences of zoology, anatomy, and teratology while devising our curiosities so that in many case, while not cute and cuddly, they do appear as they would had they been the result of natural mutation and adaptation.
On Fiendish Curiosities you can look through images of freak animals, strange beasts and human remains (if you happen to fall in love with one of these dark beasties, you can purchase it for your very own).
I will say, there is something about attaching the head of a baby alligator to the body of a baby chick that makes me a bit uncomfortable. Not in a shake-my-fist sort of way, but more as a person who has grown up with animals as pets. I can't help wondering if some of these little furry Frankensteins were once loved by someone. The chances are slim but...you know.
As well, while I love dark attractions, I'm a bit of a believer in letting the dead (animal or human) rest/rejoin nature instead of having their remains hot-glued together and posed for my entertainment.
If you are more interested in the human side of sideshows, check out www.thegreatorbax.com for dates and details of upcoming performances. Expect props to possibly include nails and hammers, hooks, fire and, well, anything else you wouldn't let your child play with. They will be hosting the Battle of the Bands in the Annex on Friday night if you're in the Toronto area, and have other gigs listed on their website for locations across Ontario.
Or, if you are so inclined, you can contact the troupe yourself and hire them for your own gathering. Perhaps Grandma's 86th birthday?