Παρασκευή, 14 Μαΐου 2010

Possible inspiration for Erik; The Elephant Man

Thanks to Eric, a member of Phantomoftheopera.com, my favourite Phantom forum, I found out about a man who might have served as a small inspiration for Leroux's Erik. I just read his wikipedia page, and got chills. What horrible things happened to him? His family did not want him, and pictures of him are all over the internet! Although there's a possibility that a real Erik existed, he might have inspired Leroux. The man's name was Joseph Merrick, also known as "The Elephant man".

Here is his story compared to Erik's, summed up (from bookstove.com) :
He might have been based on Joseph Merrick, a disfigured sideshow performer. Its not entirely clear which disease he had, it might have been a combination of Proteus syndrome and Neurofibromatosis type I. Just as Eric in the novel, Joseph used a mask and worked at shows where he sometimes would be shown as some kind of “curiosity exhibition”. It´s said that when Alexanda of Denmark once visited him she touched his hand and Jospeh almost got a heart attack, for he never thought someone would bear to touch him. This might have inspired the scene where Christine kisses the Phantom.

1 σχόλιο:

  1. I don't know the name of the disorder, but there is a rare genetic disorder where a person is born with no epidermis, and the symptoms are very similar to what Gaston Leroux describes in the novel. The foundress of NORD, the National Organization for Rare Disorders, had two children with this disorder.

    In the early 1980s, NORD tried to lobby Congress to pass the Orphan Drug Act ("orphan" drugs are drugs that are possible but there's no financial motive for pharma companies to produce them because they diseases they treat are so rare). NORD had 15 minutes to present to the House Ways and Means Committee.

    Their president walked in with her two sons in her arms, their skinless bodies covered in scabs. She walked up to the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and said, "Would you please hold my children?"

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