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Inside The "Freak Animal" Business
Contributing editor Lorn Manthey reports that he had an interesting conversation recently with a fellow who makes a living buying and selling “freak animals” such as 2-headed calves, oddly colored pigs, crazy-looking reptiles, and so on. “For more than 50 years I ran an animal freak show at fairs across the country and made a darn good living doing it,” says Marv Lyngen, who now lives in Schertz, Texas. “We had a large collection of unusual animals - such as a pigeon that had all black feathers on one side and all white feathers on the opposite side. People love to see them.”
   Although many of his exhibits were dead animals or birds sealed in cases, he also had several live animals. “One of our most popular exhibits was a rabbit without any ears. We kept it in a nice clean cage and the kids would really love to see it hop around just like a normal rabbit,” says Lyngen.
  Lyngen was born into the carnival business and enjoyed working with people and exhibits so much that he kept doing it his whole life. “When I was young I always had a soft heart for animals and still do today. Even those animals born with deformities deserve a chance to live.” Lyngen told of his father once caring for a perfectly normal baby goat, except it was born without legs. “We nursed that little thing along and it did just fine.”.
  Lyngen says his show animals lifed a charmed life. “We bathed them every day, kept their pens clean and made sure they slept on clean pine shavings. I always provided medical treatment if they needed it.”
  Although Lyngen doesn’t travel the fair circuit any more, he still acquires abnormal animals from farms and ranches. He sells some to Ripleys and donates others to veterinary schools. Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Marv Lyngen, Freak Enterprises, 18905 Interstate 35 North, No. 228, Schertz, Texas 78154 (ph 210 214-2810).

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2016 - Volume #40, Issue #1