As a child Todd Ray loved to visit the circus and carnivals that came through his South Carolina town. There was one thing he always wanted to see; the freakshow.
At one such show, Ray met “the human cigarette factory,” a man who rolled and smoked cigarettes without the use of his deformed hands and legs. Puffing away, he told Ray, “Remember son, you can do anything in life.”
When Ray grew up he moved to California and became a successful music producer, but despite working with artists such as Santana and the Beastie Boys, he never forgot “the human cigarette factory” and his love of oddities. A collector all his life, after retiring from the music business Ray moved his collections to a storefront on the beach and opened the Venice Beach Freakshow, a throwback to the kind of dime museums that once inhabited Venice Beach.
Today the Freakshow has amassed the largest collection of two headed animals in the world. It has, among many others, a two headed cow, two headed chicken, two headed raccoon, a pair of two headed turtles and many, many more (Over 10 Animals with Two Heads that are ALIVE!). The collection also includes shrunken heads, Rocky The Five-Legged Dog (Seen on the Dog Whisperer), Tony The Two Tailed Iguana, a giant Alaskan king crab and a ‘genuine’ chupacabra. You can also see some of the Strangest Performers on The Planet....Sword Swallowers, Fire Eaters, Electra The Electric Lady, Lady Twisto The Rubber Girl, The Creature, Sangora The Snake Lady, The Indestructible Woman, and more. Celebrities have been known to stop by to see the show and pet the two headed creatures.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Roseanne Barr, Patricia Arquette, and even Bill Bellamy have all come through the Freakshow. “Bill Murray came through and acted as if he were a human freak in the freak show,” Ray said. “The thing is, this cuts across all cultures. It’s not a race thing. It’s not a man, woman thing. It’s not an age thing — because we’re all curious. We all want to know.” If you are in California, you Must SEE The VENICE BEACH FREAKSHOW!!!
Update April 2017: The Venice Beach Freakshow will be closing its doors May 1, as the building was purchased by Snapchat.
Update: As of summer 2017, the Freakshow is closed.
Know Before You Go
On Ocean Front Walk, just south of Brooks Ave.