People with skeletal dysplasia or altered enzyme processing functions can be shorter than average, often referred to as dwarfs. Statistics show dwarfism affects 1 out of every 10,000 people and that there are over 200 types of dwarfism. Because the condition sometimes leads to medical conditions such as spinal stenosis, arthritis, hydrocephalus, and more, there is no single specialist who deals with all of them; it’s often a team effort. That aside, here are some light-hearted facts about dwarfs.

1. Adam Ranier Made History for Being Both a Dwarf and a Giant

Adam Ranier was a dwarf who later on turned into a giant. Recognized by the Guinness World Records, Adam Ranier was 4ft 0.25 inches tall at 18 but grew to 7ft 1 inch tall by the time he was 31. This was surprising, considering most humans don’t exhibit much physical growth past 21.

2. Surgical Lengthening As a Cure for Dwarfism Is Popular in Italy

Unlike other parts of the world, dwarfs in Italy prefer undergoing surgical lengthening. The candidate’s bones are broken, stretched, and re-applied using a fixer, adding about a third of an inch daily. Although this procedure comes with excruciating pain, about 90% of dwarfs in Italy still opt in its favor. Only 8% of dwarfs in Europe choose to undergo it.

3. 11 Naked Dwarfs Ruined Pinocchio’s Premiere

mickey mouse and minnie mouse toys

During the premiere of Pinocchio, Walt Disney hired 11 dwarfs to dress up like puppets and entertain the kids. Walt Disney offered them food and wine, only for the dwarfs to run rogue: they got heavily drunk and started running around naked.

4. John Bean, a Hunchback Dwarf, Tried to Assassinate Queen Victoria in 1882

John Bean was a hunchback dwarf who struggled with mental health and wasn’t pleased with his life in England. His request to be transported to a penal colony was denied, so he attempted to assassinate Queen Victoria with a gun loaded with tobacco and paper. John was arrested, charged with misdemeanor assault, and imprisoned for 18 months.

5. China Has a Dwarf Theme Park

There is a theme park in Kunming, China, known as the Kingdom of the Little People. It is run by dwarfs, providing comic performances to onlookers. The theme park owners say they came up with the place to help people who struggled with finding jobs.

6. A Florida Senator, Ritch Workman, Tried to Legalize Dwarf Tossing in 2010

Speaking at Congress in 2010, Senator Ritch Workman tried to re-introduce dwarf-tossing back into Florida. Dwarf tossing was a popular bar activity in the United States before it was banned in 1989. It was inhuman and often led to injuries.

7. The Ovitz Family is the Largest Dwarf Family in History

The largest dwarf family is the Ovitz Family. It comprises a dwarf father who sired 10 children, 7 of whom were dwarfs. Incidentally, they are the biggest family to survive the Auschwitz concentration camps. Perla Ovitz, who was one of the survivors, narrated how they were asked to strip and enter the gas chamber only to be saved by Josef Mengele, who, ironically, was nicknamed “Angel of Death.”

8. In Ancient Egypt, Dwarfs Were Considered Celestial Gifts

Ancient Egyptians viewed dwarfs as celestial gifts. They were accorded royal treatment, worked elite jobs, and were ever-present in royal palaces. The hospitality in ancient Egypt was so good that dwarfs from distant lands traveled there searching for greener pastures.

9. Court Dwarfs were Used to Make Kings and Queens Appear Bigger

In the Ottoman Empire, there existed several court dwarfs who were gifts to kings, queens, and other members of the royal family. Court dwarfs were mainly used for visual effects. Because of their small size, they would make kings or queens appear bigger. In other instances, the dwarfs were used to entertain the royals.

10. About 80% of Dwarfs are Born by Average-Sized Parents

About 80% of dwarfs are born to average-sized parents. Even though dwarfism is a genetic condition that can be passed from parent to child, it’s not always straightforward.

11. It is Offensive to Call a Dwarf a “Midget”

Dwarf is the most commonly accepted term for people living with skeletal dysplasia. Little person or person of short stature is also acceptable. However, “midget” is considered derogatory.

12. After It’s Release, Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs was Considered Too Scary for Kids

When Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs was released in 1937, local authorities considered it too scary, so kids under 16 had to be accompanied by a parent to watch it in the cinemas. Even though it’s meant for kids, this film has several scenes that younger viewers might find too scary.

13. Shirley Temple was Rumored to Be a Dwarf

In the 1930s, Shirley Temple became one of Hollywood’s most talented young actors. She was so good that rumors started spreading that she was a 30-year-old dwarf disguised as a little girl. These allegations were so profound that the Vatican sent Father Silvio Massante to investigate the matter.

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Last Update: May 1, 2024