Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

An Inconvenient Excuse

July 31st, 2012 · 1 Comment


The human cannonball act is one of the most notoriously dangerous in all of circus-dom; performers have little to no control over their movement, so any minute error in firing trajectory is certain to cause catastrophe. The legendary Zazel, née Rossa Matilda Richter, was thus fortunate to survive her 19th-century career, though she did break her back while working for P.T. Barnum. Per this source, however, Zazel could have easily satisfied the English masses by simply removing a few articles of clothing, rather than risking life and limb:

Much of Zazel’s appeal lay in the fact that, in order to fit into the cannon, she had to she most of her Victorian clothing.

How many human cannonballs had to perish because of England’s sexual repression?

A wonderful gallery of Zazel photos here. And more biographical details here; kudos to her for her early advocacy of firefighter nets.

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