My story began long before I was born. I come from a family of alien Contactees. In the spring of 1964, my paternal grandmother, Ocean Overbeck Thompson, told us, grandchildren, the following. Years ago, when she was a young mother, she was cooking dinner in her second-floor apartment when suddenly, she felt drawn to go outside. Hovering just a few feet above her head, she saw a craft above her at the same height as the treetops.
As she spoke to us, I grew more and more excited. Suddenly I was back in time with her and felt her entire emotional state–sight, sound, smells, touch, everything she did. Somehow I had been magically transported back through time and actually stood with her and somehow joined and was her.
I have been inside spacecraft as well. Grandmother spoke cautiously so she would not shatter the reality of her grandchildren. She anticipated correctly, for they were fragile and would deem her crazy. But while she did not openly state in words that she was taken into the ship, I knew the meaning behind everything Grandma expressed. She and I were locked in some kind of Vulcan mind-meld. Excited for her, she knew those beings were our friends, our family. She experienced a homecoming.
My family’s been contacted and abducted by aliens since contact began thousands of years ago. Grandma’s older sister Susie, born in 1900, was only 21 inches tall, and she died young at the age of 22. She was a human hybrid grey experiment gone awry.
Grandma could barely get her story of alien contact out as her reality was deeply censored and controlled. But she knew what was going on, and her confession alerted me that I was not alone and what was happening to me was happening to others.
I’ve always felt like a stranger in a strange world, that I had been left here by my real family and that somewhere in time, they would come to collect me, and we’d return home to our natural world. While I was surrounded by my Earth family and felt they loved me, I never fully connected. I don’t think they fully understood or resonated with me as well. I felt love, to a degree, but never felt accepted like when I was onboard the spaceships.
Frequently I’d return home to recharge so that I could bear living in human form. The Earth is dense, thick. The feeling of separation’s complete. I often feel lonely, disconnected from this life, for human beings come into these dense avatars with thick skins and are separated more fully than anywhere else in existence.
Planet Earth is the grand experiment located in the deepest, darkest, densest part of the continuum. The polarity is at its most significant distance. Here our skin encapsulated self-sense is so solid, it feels natural and unlike anywhere else. Most species in the Universe are telepathic, know who they are and where they come from.
In this darkest of dark worlds, the Earth plane, only here do species experience total amnesia, which makes us suffer and feel separate, isolated, and alone. For me, it was and is devastating. So to remain “human,” they come and recharge me with unconditional love so I can continue to inhabit a human form.
Grandma died July 4, 1964. I watched from the window as the car pulled up in front of the house across the street. Grandma was rushed to the hospital. All the adults gathered around her. I knew as soon as my parents started to get out of the car. I ran to the front door and opened it. Someone saw me and yelled, “Grandma just died.”
I was devastated and ran into the house and sobbed for hours. She was my contact with aliens. She validated my existence. I never had a personal, one-on-one conversation with her about her alien contact. I was way too shy. Yet, I felt validated by her sharing with me. I felt relief that someone else had experienced what I had. I wasn’t crazy.
My sister is five years older than I am, and she has even stronger remembrances of our grandma than I do. Grandma Thompson was very short. She stood about 4’9″ while her husband, my paternal grandfather, was about 6’4″. He was commanding. Everyone called him “Pop.”
I shook in my boots whenever I saw him. I don’t have any conscious memories of him doing anything wrong with me. Maybe I was just feeling the intense respect everyone conveyed towards him. He founded the film projectors union. He was high up in the Pittsburgh Masons. Yet as solid and powerful as he was, he deferred to my grandmother. Ocean was a family name based on ancestors born at sea during the Mayflower and early colonization of Virginia periods.
When investigating this story of ET contact that grandma told me, I asked my sister Louise if Grandma ever talked with her about her sighting. She remembered that grandma told her about her younger sister, who died in her late teens or early 20s and was only 21 inches tall. So I reached for my ruler and tried to visualize someone who was only 21 inches tall! Louise also said the sister was perfectly proportioned. Her head was not large like regular dwarves, and her legs and arms were of average length relative to her body. She confirmed that Ocean not only verified her sighting but that her interest in UFOs went back even further. Her younger half-brother was a fighter pilot in WWII in Europe, and he engaged with the Foo Fighters!
My paternal grandparents were born around the turn of the century, the late 1800s to early 1900s. My paternal grandfather was born in 1871, and his wife was born in 1891. Grandpa Thompson fought in WWI. So he was in his 20s. Ocean’s younger brother may have been in his late 20s or early 30s when he was a pilot in WWII and saw the Foo fighters. I wish I could uncover more, but everyone’s passed.
Grandma Ocean’s sister (Elizabeth) was actually her older sister. I found her doing ancestry work. She was born in 1900, died in 1922. At 21 inches high, Elizabeth was a proportioned dwarf, incredibly tiny, and managed somehow to give birth when she was 17 in 1917. She got pregnant when she was 16. I’m trying to wrap my mind around it. How?
Proportionate dwarfism results from medical conditions present at birth or appearing in early childhood that limit overall growth and development. So the head, trunk, and limbs are all small, but they’re proportionate to each other. Because these disorders affect overall growth, they may result in poor development of one or more body systems.
Growth hormone deficiency is a relatively common cause of proportionate dwarfism. It occurs when the pituitary gland fails to produce an adequate supply of growth hormone, which is essential for normal childhood growth.
- Height below the third percentile on standard pediatric growth charts
- Growth rate slower than expected for age
- Delayed or no sexual development during the teen years
Ocean was born in 1902, reached a maximum height of 4’9″. At 6’4″, her husband loomed over her. She gave birth to 7 children; 6 survived, one died young or was stillborn, all-male. Her firstborn (my father, William) was born in 1920 when she was 18 years old.
I cannot help but think about ET contact and their intervention into our society through the human/alien hybrid program. Some being created the situation that allowed that child to be conceived, born, and survive. Using ancestry.com, I discovered Elizabeth had a daughter who had a daughter who lived to have 7 children. Some of those children are still alive.
I now have my work cut out for me as I have a bunch of 3rd and 4th cousins to find. I wonder if they know that they descended from a woman who was only 21 inches tall. Also, I wonder if any photos survived. If they have, I am determined to get them.
From my UFOlogy research and working with ET Experiencers, contact seems to be multi-generational. Communication can also span many incarnations.
The deeper I dig, the more I uncover. It appears that ET loves my family.
They follow specific genetics. My ancestors are primarily Northern European. But the deeper I dive, the more diverse my family becomes.
There’s much to ponder. More will be revealed in the later posts.
Note: My Aunt Elizabeth only reached 21 inches in height. But Tom Thumb and other dwarfs grew later in life. Perhaps if Aunt Elizabeth had lived longer, she may have gotten taller.
General Tom Thumb
|General Tom Thumb|
|General Tom Thumb in 1862|
|Born||Charles Sherwood Stratton|
January 4, 1838
Bridgeport, Connecticut, U.S.
|Died||July 15, 1883 (aged 45)|
Bridgeport, Connecticut, U.S.
|Resting place||Mountain Grove Cemetery, Bridgeport|
|Height||3 ft 4 in (102 cm)|
|Spouse(s)||Lavinia Warren (m.1863–1883)|
Charles Sherwood Stratton (January 4, 1838 – July 15, 1883), better known by his stage name “General Tom Thumb“, was an American dwarf, and Chocolatier who achieved great fame as a performer under circus pioneer P. T. Barnum.
- 1Childhood and early life
- 2Adoption by Barnum
- 3Marriage and later life
- 4Death and legacy
- 5Screen portrayals
- 6See also
- 8Further reading
- 9External links
Childhood and early life
Born January 4, 1838, in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Stratton was the son of a carpenter named Sherwood Edward Stratton, who in turn was the son of Seth Sherwood Stratton and Amy Sharpe. Sherwood married his first cousin Cynthia Thompson, daughter of Joseph Thompson and Mary Ann Sharpe. Charles Stratton’s maternal and paternal grandmothers, Amy and Mary Ann Sharpe, were stated to be small twin girls born on July 11, 1781 (or 1783) in Oxford, New Haven, Connecticut.
Born in Bridgeport to parents who were of medium height, Charles was a relatively large baby, weighing 9 pounds 8 ounces (4.3 kg) at birth. He developed and grew normally for the first six months of his life, at which point he was 25 inches (64 cm) tall and weighed 15 pounds (6.8 kg). Then he suddenly stopped growing. His parents became concerned when, after his first birthday, they noticed he had not grown at all in the previous six months. They showed him to their doctor, who said there was little chance Charles would ever reach normal height.
By late 1842 (at almost 5 years old), Stratton had grown only one inch (2.5 cm) from when he was six months old and had not gained any weight. Apart from this, he was a completely normal, healthy child, with several siblings who were of average size. His body was proportionate and functional.
Adoption by Barnum
Phineas T. Barnum heard about Stratton, and after contacting his parents, taught the boy how to sing, dance, mime, and impersonate famous people. Barnum also went into business with Stratton’s father, who died in 1855. Stratton made his first tour of America at the age of five, with routines that included impersonating characters such as Cupid and Napoleon Bonaparte, as well as singing, dancing, and comical banter with another performer who acted as a straight man. To market the act, Barnum gave Stratton the name General Tom Thumb, naming him after the popular English fairy tale. The tour was a huge success and soon expanded.
A year later, Barnum took young Stratton on a tour of Europe, making him an international celebrity. Stratton appeared twice before Queen Victoria. He also met the three-year-old future King Edward VII, at that time the Prince of Wales. In 1845, he triumphed at the Théâtre du Vaudeville (France) in the play Le petit Poucet of Dumanoir and Clairville. The tour was a huge success, with crowds mobbing him wherever he went. After his three-year tour in Europe, Stratton began his rise to stardom in the United States. Stratton’s fame grew at an astonishing rate, and his popularity and celebrity surpassed that of any actor within his lifetime.
On his return home from his second tour in 1847, aboard the SS Cambria, he attracted the attention of the explorer John Palliser who “was not a little surprised, on entering the state-cabin, to hear the most unnatural shrill little pipe exclaiming, ‘Waiter! bring me a Welsh rabbit‘.” During the voyage, General Tom Thumb contributed to a collection for the relief of famine victims in Ireland.
Stratton’s first performances in New York marked a turning point in the history of freak show entertainment. Before Stratton’s debut, the presentation of “human curiosities” for entertainment was deemed dishonorable and seen as an unpleasing carnival attraction. However, after viewers were introduced to Stratton and performances, he was able to change the perception people held toward freak shows. Stratton’s lively and entertaining performances made these types of carnival shows one of the most favored forms of theatrical entertainment in the United States.
From the age of seven, Stratton performed in grand full-length fairytale melodramas under the management of P.T. Barnum. A few of the melodramas that Stratton performed were Hop o’ My Thumb and the Seven League Boots. In these melodramas, Stratton was assigned the title role, which he played on multiple occasions. While Barnum sought to capitalize on Stratton’s small stature, he also aimed to highlight and showcase his many true gifts as a performer. For example, Stratton was noted to be clever in his acts. Also, he was a talented actor, singer, dancer, and comedian. As a result, certain dramatic critics did not compare his skills to those of the freak show community of which he was a member, but preferred to judge him on his merits as a professional entertainer.
On his 13th birthday Stratton stood exactly 2 feet 5 inches (74 cm) tall. On his 18th birthday, he was measured at 2 feet 8.5 inches (82.6 cm) tall. On his 21st birthday, he was 2 feet 10 inches (86 cm) tall. Stratton became a Freemason on October 3, 1862. Stratton, by now 2 feet 11 inches (89 cm) tall, was initiated to be a Freemason alongside a man who was 6 feet 3 inches (191 cm).
Marriage and later life
The wedding couple as they appeared on the February 21, 1863, cover of Harper’s Weekly magazine.Tom Thumb wedding gift photo album
His marriage in 1863, to Lavinia Warren, also a little person, became front-page news. The wedding took place at Grace Episcopal Church, and the wedding reception was held at New York City‘s Metropolitan Hotel. The couple stood atop a grand piano at the reception to greet some 10,000 guests. The best man at the wedding was George Washington Morrison (“Commodore”) Nutt, another dwarf performer in Barnum’s employ. The maid of honor was Minnie Warren, Lavinia’s sister. Following the wedding, the couple was received by President Lincoln at the White House. Stratton and his wife toured together in Europe as well as British India, in particular the area that would later become Bangladesh.
Under Barnum’s management, Stratton became a wealthy man. He owned a house in the fashionable part of New York and a steam yacht, and he had a wardrobe of fine clothes. He also owned a specially adapted home on one of Connecticut’s Thimble Islands. When Barnum got into financial difficulty, Stratton bailed him out. Later, they became business partners. Stratton made his final appearance in England in 1878.
On January 10, 1883, Stratton was staying at John F. Antisdel‘s Newhall House in Milwaukee when a fire broke out, which Milwaukee historian John Gurda would call “one of the worst hotel fires in American history”. More than 71 people died, but Tom and Lavinia were saved by their manager, Sylvester Bleeker.
Death and legacy
Six months after surviving the Newhall House fire, Stratton died unexpectedly of a stroke. He was 45 years old. Over 20,000 people attended the funeral. P. T. Barnum purchased a life-sized statue of Tom Thumb and placed it as a gravestone at Mountain Grove Cemetery in Bridgeport, Connecticut. When she died, more than 35 years later, Lavinia Warren was interred next to him, with a simple gravestone that read “His Wife”.
In 1959, vandals smashed the statue of Tom Thumb. It was restored by the Barnum Festival Society and Mountain Grove Cemetery Association with funds raised by public subscription.
The cause of Stratton’s extreme shortness is still unknown. X-rays were not discovered until 1895, 12 years after Stratton’s death, and the medical techniques of the day were unable to ascertain the pathology (if any) underlying his diminutive size.
He was buried with Masonic honors by Saint John’s Lodge. He became Master Mason in St. John’s Lodge No. 3 at Bridgeport, Connecticut on October 8, 1862. He received the Commandery degrees (Masonic Knight Templar) in Hamilton Commandery No. 5 (Bridgeport, Connecticut), in 1863.
- George Brasno portrayed General Tom Thumb in the 1934 film The Mighty Barnum.
- Jimmy Clitheroe portrayed General Tom Thumb in the 1967 film Jules Verne’s Rocket to the Moon.
- Paul Miller portrayed General Tom Thumb in the 1986 TV film Barnum!.
- Sandor Raski portrayed General Tom Thumb in the 1986 TV film Barnum.
- Ed Gale portrayed General Tom Thumb in the 1995 TV film Tad.
- Josh Ryan Evans portrayed General Tom Thumb in the 1999 TV film P.T. Barnum.
- Sam Humphrey portrayed General Tom Thumb in the 2017 musical film The Greatest Showman.
- Stamford Museum, where a suit of his clothes is displayed for comparison with those of Daniel Lambert.
- Tom Thumb House (Middleborough, Massachusetts), his summer house.
- Middleborough Historical Museum, which exhibits a large collection of Tom Thumb memorabilia.
- ^ Hawkins, Kathleen (November 25, 2014). “The real Tom Thumb: History’s smallest superstar”. BBC News.
- ^ “UPI Almanac for Friday, Jan. 4, 2019”. United Press International. January 4, 2019. Archived from the original on January 5, 2019. Retrieved September 4, 2019.
Charles Stratton, the dwarf known as Gen. Tom Thumb, an entertainer and protege of showman P.T. Barnum, in 1838
- ^ Thumb, Tom (1874). Sketch of the life: personal appearance, character and manners of Charles S. Stratton, the man in miniature, known as General Tom Thumb, and his wife, Lavinia Warren Stratton, including the history of their courtship and marriage … Also, songs given at their public levees. S. Booth. p. 4. Retrieved March 5, 2011.
- ^ Hawkins, Kathleen (25 November 2014). “The real Tom Thumb and the birth of celebrity”. BBC News. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
- ^ “Page 1 Passport Applications, 1795-1905 – Fold3”.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c Chemers, Michael M. (2004). “Jumpin’ Tom Thumb: Charles Stratton Onstage at the American Museum”. Nineteenth Century Theatre and Film. 31 (2): 16–27. doi:10.7227/nctf.31.2.3. S2CID 191483430.
- ^ Palliser, John. 1853. Solitary Rambles and Adventures of a Hunter in the Prairies, John Murray, London, 326 p.
- ^ Christine Kinealy, ‘Charity and the Great Hunger. The kindness of Strangers’ (London: Bloomsbury, 2013).
- ^ 10,000 Famous Freemasons, William R. Denslow. Missouri Lodge of Research, Trenton, Missouri:1957–1961, vol 4. p. 200.
- ^ editor, Robert McNamara Robert J. McNamara is a history expert who has been writing for ThoughtCo since 2007 He previously served as Amazon com’s first history. “Biography of General Tom Thumb, Sideshow Performer”. ThoughtCo.
- ^ “February 10: “General Tom Thumb” Marries “The Queen of Beauty””. Today In Connecticut History, Office of the State Historian & CThumanities. 10 February 2019.
- ^ “P.T. Barnum & Bankruptcy: The Show Must Go On”. Consumer Legal Services, LLC, The Law Offices of Theresa Rose DeGray.
- ^ P.T. Barnum: America’s Greatest Showman, Kunhardt, Philip B., Jr., Kunhardt, Philip B., III and Kunhardt, Peter W., Alfred A. Knopf, 1995. ISBN 0-679-43574-3.
- ^ Rhoads, Loren (October 24, 2017). 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die. Running Press. ISBN 9780316473798 – via Google Books.
- ^ Marker on the side of Tom Thumb’s grave marker. The Historical Marker Database – accessed February 11, 2010
- Lehman, Eric D. Becoming Tom Thumb: Charles Stratton, P.T. Barnum, and the Dawn of American Celebrity (Wesleyan University Press, distributed by University Press of New England; 2013) 276 pages; scholarly biography
- American Sideshow: An Encyclopedia of History’s Most Wondrous and Curiously Strange Performers (Tarcher/Penguin 2005), by Marc Hartzman.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Charles Sherwood Stratton.|
- “Sideshow Ephemera Gallery: General Tom Thumb” by James G. Mundie – biographical essay with photos
- Harper’s portrait and report on General Tom Thumb’s Wedding
- Details of a museum in Middleboro, MA. A town where they made their home. – Link points to RoadsideAmerica.com
- “Tom Thumb” at the Disability History Museum
- The South Dakota Music Museum where a violin given to him, purported by P.T. Barnum to be a Stradivarius, rests in the Everist Gallery.
- “Tom Thumb”. Theatre and Performance. Victoria and Albert Museum. Archived from the original on January 9, 2011. Retrieved February 15, 2011.
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|Other||Faceted Application of Subject Terminology|