The Canadian Quintuplets Who Lived in a Zoo
Library and Archives Canada
In 1934, Elzire Dionne of Ontario, Canada, gave birth to healthy identical quintuplet girls, the first such birth in recorded history. The joy of the occasion was sadly undermined when Dionne realized that even if her husband miraculously grew a pair of functional breasts then and there, the low-income couple would still be unable to provide for their family, which already included five other children.
"Hey, do you mind popping out a few more? Ten is an unlucky number for me."
The Dionnes were so poor, they didn't even have electricity in their house, so the Canadian government decided to take the girls away from their parents and appointed a new guardian to raise them properly.
That job went to Allan Dafoe (the doctor that delivered the quintuplets), who immediately displayed his triple-A parenting skills by putting the sisters in a public building and charging strangers to watch them play. If that's not some sort of sex crime already, somebody needs to start lobbying.
Â Library and Archives Canada
Those are what we call "villain eyebrows."
While raising the girls in the Dafoe Hospital and Nursery, also known as Quintland, Dafoe would routinely send them out to play in an outside pavilion, where he would allow the paying public to watch them through one-way screens.
Some 6,000 people came to watch the Dionne quintuplets per day, including the likes of Amelia Earhart and even the Queen of England. The good doctor also used the girls to score himself endorsement deals for toothpaste and soap, and, since he owned their image, he didn't even allow the girls' parents to take pictures of them during their rare visits. Hugs cost $20, and meaningful glances were $5 bucks a pop.
They were the biggest attraction in all of Canada, which would be a hilarious joke, but no, it's true.