The animated title sequence of American Horror Story: Freak Show alludes to many of the characters we met on the show’s premiere episode Sunday night, and a few we haven’t encountered, like a woman with three legs.
“That creature is fascinating and could appear,” Ryan Murphy told The Hollywood Reporter about the three-legged woman. Since every character on the show is inspired by a mix of real performers and urban legends, a three legged-woman could be partly inspired by Myrtle Corbin, a who performed in late 19th century sideshows as the “Four-Legged Girl from Texas.” (Give, or take a leg.)
She actually had two pelvises side-by-side, and her each of her smaller, inner legs corresponded with an outer leg. Her father, who struggled financially, started off her showbiz career by charging people admission to come see his little girl. This evolved into a sideshow act that tried to be duplicated by people using fake legs.
She was able to retire at age 19 when she married Clinton Bicknell, who was studying to be a doctor. After a complicated pregnancy in her left side led to an abortion to save her life, Myrtle was able to carry seven pregnancies to term in both sides, but only four of the children survived infancy.