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Ladies and gentlemen, step right up, and let me take you on a journey through the remarkable life of Bill Durks, the Three-Eyed Man from the heart of Jasper, Alabama!
Born in the scenic town of Jasper on April 13, 1914, Bill Durks was no ordinary child. He was born with frontonasal dysplasia, a condition that gave him not one, not two, but a striking three eyes and two noses! Such a unique appearance would make anyone stand out, but Bill's parents kept him hidden away, and he never had the chance to attend public school.
But fate had other plans for young Bill. In the 1920s, a traveling carnival rolled into town. The carnival workers couldn't believe their eyes when they saw Bill, and they knew he was destined for the sideshow. He traded the farm for the road, embarking on a journey that would see him become a star attraction under the canvas big top.
Bill's transformation was astounding. As the "Two-Faced Man," he painted a third eye between his actual eyes and became the legendary "Three-Eyed Man." People marveled at this incredible illusion, unaware that Bill was blind in one of his real eyes, making him more like a "One-Eyed Man."
Life on the road was no walk in the park for Bill. Contracts were signed that he couldn't fully comprehend, and he often found himself taken advantage of. Yet, the more he traveled, the more he was embraced by his fellow performers. They became his family, teaching him to read and protecting him from the pitfalls of the showbiz world.
But one performer stood out from the rest. Mildred, known as "The Alligator-Skinned Woman," had her own unique affliction—ichthyosis, a rare skin disease that caused painfully dry, scaly skin. Love blossomed between Bill and Mildred, and they became the "World's Strangest Married Couple." Together, they worked the sideshows, with Bill's tireless work ethic helping set up and tear down the tents for extra pay.
By the 1960s, Bill was earning a substantial $100 a week, which today would be equivalent to about $800, plus cash bonuses. Their love story and resilience were an inspiration to all who saw them perform.
Sadly, in June 1968, Mildred passed away, leaving Bill to continue his solo tour. He stayed true to the road until he retired to sunny Florida and eventually passed away in 1975.
So, dear friends, as we reflect on the extraordinary life of Bill Durks, the Three-Eyed Man from Jasper, Alabama, let us remember him not just for his unique appearance but for the indomitable spirit that took him from a hidden life on a farm to the center stage of sideshow history. A true legend from the heart of Alabama!
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