A vintage snake charmer and her friend.
The allure of the “snake charmer” as an attraction in circus sideshow or perhaps as a part of a freak show was as common as other circus staples like the really tall man, bearded ladies and sword swallowers. And like other roles in the circus there were lots of women who took on the snake charmer role and played it to the hilt.
Some of the images of female snake charmers in this post date back to the 1800s such as the image above of a woman billed as the “Mexican Rattle-Snake Queen” above. By the turn of the century female snake charmers were common attractions and perhaps two of the best known and most photographed of them all was a woman known as “Octavia” who performed with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show under the title of the “Yankee Snake Charmer,” and “Miss Uno” who in addition to her snakes was well known for her out of control hair best described as a wind-blown Afro not unlike that of another well-known snake charmer Zoe Zobedia. Though Zobedia was a snake charmer she was also a part of another popular early-19th century attraction in circuses called “Circassian Beauties” who were known for their exotic hair who would style their “Moss Hair” by teasing it into massive Afro-like hairdos. But I digress from the reptilian point of this post.
Unlike their male counterparts female snake handlers were usually sexualized and would often be dressed in attire that was considered incredibly risqué as women were still wearing bathing suits that looked like dresses to the beach at that time. That said, a few of the images in this post could be considered NSFW due to some partial nudity. Of course for those of you who suffer from ophidiophobia (a fear of snakes) or herpetophobia (a phobia of reptiles, lizards and other kind of vertebrates) you have my condolences as it’s safe to assume that this post is full of pictures of girls and snakes.
And since we’re talking about pretty girls and snakes, I’ve also included footage of the gorgeous Debra Paget as “Seetha” trying to charm a cobra from director Fritz Lang’s 1959 film Das indische Grabmal or The Indian Tomb (also known as Journey to the Lost City).
The ‘Mexican Rattle-Snake Queen,’ 1800s.
‘Mademoiselle Dorita,’ 1930s.
More snakes and the women who charm them, after the jump…