The Human Caterpillar

Prince Randian: The Snake Man


Meet a limbless sideshow performer with unbelievable abilities. Prince Randian (October 12, 1874 – December 19, 1934) suffered from an extremely rare syndrome that left him with no arms or legs. However, despite his condition, Randian shocked spectators by showing off his amazing ability to write, paint, shave himself, and even roll and light a cigarette using nothing but his lips.

Randian’s Rare Condition

Tetra-amelia syndrome is characterized by the complete absence of all four limbs. Unfortunately, being limbless is only part of its clinical characteristics. The syndrome also has the potential to cause severe malformations of various parts of the body such as the heart, lungs, eyes, nervous system, and genitalia. Sadly, due to the many severe medical issues that come with having Tetra-amelia syndrome, the majority of infants are either stillborn, or will die shortly after birth.

Another Famous Sideshow Performer With Tetra-Amelia Syndrome

Aloisia Wagner: A Sideshow Performer With The Stage Name “Violetta”

ViolettaIn her long and successful sideshow career, Violetta performed as a singer. Like Randian, she also had many amazing talents that impressed spectators. To move herself around, Violetta would hop from place to place on the bottom of her torso. What’s even more impressive is that she also had the ability thread a needle, sew, comb her own hair, and even dress herself by using her mouth.

Personal Life

Randian was born in Demerara, British Guyana to Indian slave parents back in October of 1874. This man may have been born without arms or legs, but it didn’t stop him from doing the things that many take for granted. He was also an intelligent man who could speak several languages.

Randian lived a fairly long life. Regardless of the many disadvantages he was faced with, fortunately, he was still able to find a wife. Randian also fathered three daughters and one son.

A Career That Lasted Decades

Randian started working as a performer when he was in his 20s. Phineas Taylor (or “P. T.” Barnum) believed he had huge potential to become a major success for the sideshow business. Therefore, in 1889, Barnum decided it was time to bring him to the United States to begin his lengthy career. Randian had entertained large crowds at popular shows and museums for a whopping 45 years.

In addition to a career in sideshow entertainment for decades, Randian also made an appearance in the 1932 film called Freaks. In the film, he shows viewers his famous cigarette-lighting routine.

Randian’s Routine

CigaretteA typical show would consist of Randian in a one-piece striped wool garment. To make him look similar to a snake, caterpillar, or potato, his garment was designed to fit tightly over his body. In order to move around the stage wherever he was performing, Randian would just wiggle his hips and shoulders. In his main act (which is what he is best-known for), he would use his lips to roll and light up a cigarette. This was the particular act he performed during his part in the film Freaks.

Randian was certainly a man who was self sufficient. In addition to his most famous trick, Randian was also able to write, paint, and even shave himself. To paint and write, he would use his lips to hold a brush or stylus. To shave himself, he would secure a razor in a wooden block. What’s more amazing is that he also created a wooden box, which he painted and even added an affixed lock all by himself. This is the box that he used to keep his props and materials that were used in his act.

Randian’s Other Nicknames

Randian’s birth name is actually unknown. Besides being called The Snake Man, below is a list of his many other names.

The Human Worm

The Human Cigar

The Human Cigarette Factory

Rardion, The Living Torso

The Caterpillar Man

The Amazing Caterpillar Man

The Human Caterpillar/Worm

Interestingly, Randian’s most common nickname was “The Human Caterpillar,” which is owed to his unique way of moving from place to place. He would squirm on the ground similar to a worm.


Although some online sources claim Randian died at the age of 63, according to Wikipedia, he was age 60. Shortly after he completed a comeback performance at Sam Wagner’s 14th Street Museum, he died of a heart attack. Wikipedia has his death at at 7:00 PM on December 19, 1934.

See Randian Roll And Light Up A Cigarette On The 1932 Film Freaks

More Images Of Randian

Since birth, Randian dealt with a severe medical condition that usually takes the lives of infants. He managed to live for 6 decades and showed the world that he can do virtually anything. Despite his severe physical limitations, one thing is certain, Prince Randian was a man with incredible talent.

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About Joseph Caltabiano

Joseph Caltabiano is a writer, oddities lover and a former surgical technologist. He left the field of surgical technology to pursue a career in blogging and internet marketing. As clearly shown in his posts, Joseph is very passionate about unusual topics. His two most favorite topics are medical and weird science.