Koo-Koo the Bird Girl
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|Koo Koo, the Bird Girl|
Rabun County, Georgia
|Died||still alive in 1960|
|Other names||Minnie Ha Ha, Koo Koo the Bird Girl. Koo Koo, the Blind Girl from Mars|
|Known for||Freaks film|
Woolsey was born in 1880 in Rabun County, Georgia. Little is known about her early life, only that she was "rescued" from a mental asylum and was commonly billed as Minnie Ha Ha (a play on Minnehaha), in her sideshow entertainment career. She suffered from a rare congenital growth skeletal disorder called Virchow-Seckel syndrome, which caused her to have a very short stature, a small head, a narrow bird-like face with a beak-like nose, large eyes with an antimongoloid slant, a receding jaw, large ears and mild mental retardation. In addition, Woolsey was bald, toothless, and either completely blind or very short sighted. She would appear in a Native Indian American costume, and spoke gibberish. When and how she died is unknown, but accounts show that she was still alive and performing in 1960, working at Coney Island in sideshow/circus, aged in her 80s.
She appeared in the 1932 film Freaks, alongside a cast of other sideshow performers from the time, billed as Koo Koo, the Bird Girl. She was not the original Koo Koo however; the billing was previously used by another performer in the film, a "Stork" or "Bird" woman named Elizabeth Green. Woolsey does not speak any dialogue in the film but is seen in many scenes dancing in a feathery costume.
- "Koo Koo – The Bird Girl", thehumanmarvels.com, retrieved January 8, 2015.
- Hartzman, Marc (2005). American Sideshow: An Encyclopedia of History's Most Wondrous and Curiously Strange Performers. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin. p. 178. ISBN 1585424412.
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