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Still Waters

Joseph Merrick letter goes on display

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The only known surviving letter from Joseph Merrick, known as the Elephant Man, has gone on display.

The letter was written to a young widow called Leila Maturin, who was said to have been the first woman to smile at him and shake his hand.

They kept in touch and in the letter he thanks her for some grouse and a book.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leicestershire-41207179

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How sad for him. ☹️

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I remember watching the film many years ago and being extremely moved by it. If you've not seen it, I highly recommend it for a sombre nights viewing - it makes you realise just how lucky we are.

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I remember reading the original book as a young teen. His "handler" would force Joseph to stand on a stool in front of onlookers and make elephant noises. He was fed a single potato at a time. His only transgression in life was being born disfigured...his story is really about the best and worst of humanity. Poor Joseph...

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1 hour ago, Dark_Grey said:

I remember reading the original book as a young teen. His "handler" would force Joseph to stand on a stool in front of onlookers and make elephant noises. He was fed a single potato at a time. His only transgression in life was being born disfigured...his story is really about the best and worst of humanity. Poor Joseph...

I think there's a little controversy over that? It's hard to know which sources to believe though sometimes.

"The real Merrick's London showman, Tom Norman, was not a brutal drunk, like the fictional "Bytes". Norman was a well-respected showman and founder of a temperance society. He and Joseph "John" Merrick were friends and business partners. Norman paid all of Merrick's expenses and split their earnings fifty-fifty. In a few weeks, Joseph saved up fifty pounds, as much as a typical working family made in a whole year. Ever since Treves wrote his memoirs with the character of the cruel showman, the Norman family has been appalled and embarked on a campaign to clear Tom Norman's good name. His granddaughter, Valerie, is eighty-two, and hopes to see his reputation restored before she passes away."

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A sad life and a brave man. I wonder how he would have been treated in this day and age?

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4 hours ago, Stiff said:

I think there's a little controversy over that? It's hard to know which sources to believe though sometimes.

"The real Merrick's London showman, Tom Norman, was not a brutal drunk, like the fictional "Bytes". Norman was a well-respected showman and founder of a temperance society. He and Joseph "John" Merrick were friends and business partners. Norman paid all of Merrick's expenses and split their earnings fifty-fifty. In a few weeks, Joseph saved up fifty pounds, as much as a typical working family made in a whole year. Ever since Treves wrote his memoirs with the character of the cruel showman, the Norman family has been appalled and embarked on a campaign to clear Tom Norman's good name. His granddaughter, Valerie, is eighty-two, and hopes to see his reputation restored before she passes away."

Fascinating. Its good to know that Joseph wasn't brutalized as badly as some stories allege

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40 minutes ago, Dark_Grey said:

Fascinating. Its good to know that Joseph wasn't brutalized as badly as some stories allege

Agreed.

 There's actually a fair few myths brought about by the film and the memoirs, some of which are in here. Maybe not the definitive source for accuracy, I know, but some compelling trivia reading nonetheless :)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080678/trivia?ref_=tt_trv_trv 

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Reminds me of this unfortunate fellow as well: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Byrne_(giant)#Biography

In both cases, it seems to me that today there could be a 3-D printed replica of the skeletons and the originals could be respectfully laid to rest.

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I legit cried watching the movie :(

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What a lovely lady miss Leila Maturin was , the first lady to ever smile at Joseph Merrick and the first lady to ever shake his hand, bless her and what a treasure of a letter .

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14 hours ago, Boozemonkey said:

A sad life and a brave man. I wonder how he would have been treated in this day and age?

Just as bad because the human race is still very ignorant. Just look at the world, look how we often treat each other badly just because of differences! - I still have hope for us, though.

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