Grady Stiles Jr., The Lobster Boy

The condition is known as ectrodactyly, but is often called “Lobster Claw” syndrome due to the unusual shape of the hands where the middle finger is missing and the hand is cleft. This syndrome is often genetic, and the Stiles family is one such family known to pass down the condition. Grady Stiles Sr. was already a sideshow attraction when his son, Grady Stiles Jr. was born. He brought the boy along and added him to the show at an early age.

Young Grady’s condition was more severe, however. Not only were his hands affected, but his feet were as well. He couldn’t walk, so he used his hands and arms to get around, causing him to develop incredible upper body strength. He married twice and several of his children who were afflicted with the same condition toured with him.

However, Grady was also an alcoholic and was prone to beating his wife and kids. When one of his daughters wanted to marry a man he didn’t approve of, Grady killed the man. He got out of prison time because he claimed the prisons couldn’t accommodate his disability. Getting away with murder only made him more violent, and his wife and stepson paid another sideshow performer $1500 cash to put three bullets in his head in 1993.

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