headless woman carnival

The Headless Girl Sideshow

headless woman carnival

The Headless Woman was a very popular carnival attraction in the 1930s-40s. This macabre display was originally brought to the USA by a German man who claimed to be “Doctor” Egon Heineman. It features the body of a woman missing her head, with tubes and devices erupting from her bare neck. The woman moves and appears to live- through the marvel of Doctor Heineman’s miraculous skill.

headless woman circus

headless woman iowa state fair

The Headless Women appears alongside a tragic tale of an accident that befell an innocent young woman and the talented “doctor” who helped her to continue to live through medicine- despite having lost her entire head.

The displays were super effective and suddenly copied by carnivals and sideshows all around North America and Europe. One even appeared in the 1939 New York World’s Fair! In some sideshows she is named Olga in others Tina or Yvette.

headless woman sideshow

Of course it is an illusion, the model wears a mask of mirrored panels that reflect the tubing and black background to give the appearance of having no head. It’s very effective and unsettling despite!


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