Ehlers–Danlos syndrome (EDS) (also known as Cutis hyperelastica) is a group of inherited connective tissue disorders, caused by a defect in the synthesis of collagen (Type I or III). The collagen in connective tissue helps tissues resist deformation. Collagen plays a very significant role in the skin, joints, muscles, ligaments, blood vessels and visceral organs; abnormal collagen leads to increased elasticity within these structures. Depending on the individual, the severity of the mutation can vary from mild to life-threatening. There is no cure, and treatment is supportive. (adapted from Wikipedia)
Image from Wellcome images via Victoria’s Rusty Knickers (link)
James Morris was born in Copenhagen New York in 1859 and used his unique talent to amuse friends and coworkers from a young age. His ability to stretch his skin as much as eighteen inches from his body, with no perceivable pain, made him incredible popular with officers when he joined the military. Those officers invited reporters and journalists to witness Morris’s unusual talent and from there Morris was recruited by several circuses, sideshow and dime museums. By 1885 he was world traveled and joined up with the Barnum and Bailey Circus.
With Barnum and Bailey he was exhibited throughout North America and Europe and in 1898 he was featured in Scientific America as ‘The Rubber Man’. For the journal, he pulled the skin of his neck over his head to which it was reported to resemble ‘an elephant’s trunk’. (from theHumanMarvels.com -link)