The Disturbing Story Of The Black Albino Brothers Who Were Abducted And Forced To Be Sideshow Freaks

ADVERTISEMENT

Image: Little Brown and Company via VICE

It’s the end of the 19th century in Truevine, Virginia, and albino brothers Willie and George Muse are out working in the tobacco fields. Suddenly, they are whisked away by a stranger and forced to perform as circus freaks in front of crowds. Meanwhile, their mother tries her best to reunite with her sons – but will they ever be a family again?

Image: Nancy Saunders via VICE

The boys’ story began in 1899, when nine-year-old Willie and his six-year-old brother, George, were living with their mother, Harriett, in the sharecropping area of Truevine. As albinos, the African-American brothers were born without pigmentation in their hair and skin, leaving them with unusually pale appearances.

ADVERTISEMENT

Image: Jimmy Emerson, DVM

The grandchildren of slaves, Willie and George were put to work from a young age, exterminating bugs on the plants. But in 1899, their lives would change for good. As the story goes, the children were out in the fields when they were approached by Robert Stokes, a man who worked in the circus industry.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT