Koo-Koo dances on the wedding table in 'Freaks', 1932

Minnie Woolsey a.k.a. Koo Koo, the Blind Girl from Mars, was born in 1880 and was afflicted with "bird-headed dwarfism", also called Seckel's syndrome, nanocephaly, or Harper's syndrome. Other individuals with nanocephaly included Caroline Crachami, the "Sicilian Fairy" (1815-1824) and Nicholas Ferry (1741-1764), the king of Poland's court dwarf.

Seckel's syndrome is a form of intrauterine dwarfism (symptoms present before birth) that causes proportional short stature, beak-like nose and large ears, absence of hair and teeth, mental retardation, and joint and limb defects such as clubfoot. Koo Koo, additionally, was blind, and her act included staring into space, not responding to anything around her. Koo Koo appears in Freaks in the brief but memorable scene in which she dances on the table before the wedding feast.

I don't know when Koo Koo died, but according to some accounts, she was still alive in 1960, making her at least 80 years old.

"I knew Koo-Koo, the Bird Girl. She was a tiny woman with a round body and skinny legs and a gigantic nose like a beak. She actually did look like a bird. But her elevator didn't go all the way to the top floor, you know?" - Melvin Burkhart


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