The MUSE BROTHERS- The two
black albino brothers from Roanoke, Virginia is unique even in the bizarre world of sideshow. They were initially exploited and then later hailed for their unintentional role in civil rights.
Born in the 1890’s the pair were scouted by sideshow agents and kidnapped in 1899 by bounty hunters working in the employ of an unknown sideshow promoter. Black albinos, being extremely rare, would have been an extremely lucrative attraction. They were falsely told that their mother was dead, and that they would never be returning home.
The brothers began to tour. To accentuate their already unusual appearance, their handler had the brothers grow out their hair into long white dreadlocks. In 1922 showman Al G. Barnes began showcasing the brothers in his circus as White Ecuadorian cannibals Eko and Iko. When that gimmick failed to attract crowds the brothers were rechristened the ‘Sheep-Headed Men’ and later, in 1923, the ‘Ambassadors from Mars.They traveled with the Barnes circus for a long while. The brothers also toured with Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus in the 1920’s. In 1927, their mother tracked them down and demanded their release. However, the Muse brothers missed circus life, so they returned to show business. During their first year back they played Madison Square Garden and drew over 10,000 spectators. In the 1930’s the brothers toured Europe, Asia and Australia. They performed for royals and dignitaries, including the Queen of England. George Muse died in 1971, but Willie lived until 2001 and died at the age of 108.