By the mid-nineteenth century, largely because of the infl uential circus showman P.T. Barnum, the freak show was institutionalized as a part of circus culture. An array of imitations followed, with over one hundred freak shows touring the United States as a lucrative appendage to circuses and carnivals. Primarily middle and working class patrons paid to view the freaks, a group of individuals who had mental and physical disabilities or anomalies.1 The exhibition of these subhuman “freaks,” often said to be found in Africa, refl ected the pervasive racism in American society as well as the fascination and repulsion associated with the “other.” This fascination led to the consumption and spectacle of the “other,” supported by Darwinian theory. This essay explores the construction of “freaks” in relation to Darwin’s missing link and the use of science as a means to support the spectacle of the freak show. Employing a racist discourse, purveyors of freak shows displayed bodies that did not fi t the norm. This discourse often perpetuated itself under the guise of what was then recently popularized “scientifi c” Darwinian theory. In this essay I analyze the experiences of three different “freaks” that illustrate Stuart Hall’s process of disavowal and its relation to Darwinian Theory: that of Zip, the “What Is It?”; Krao “Darwin’s Missing Link”; and Ota Benga “The Pygmy at the Zoo.”