The story of John Charles Fare is most likely purely urban legend or an exaggeration of factual events. Whatever the case may be, the story is highly unlikely, entertaining and tragic. Like most fictional illusionists, John Charles Fare had an aura of mystery, whether he was real or not.
In 1968, N.B. Sheen published the first known account of John Charles Fare in a poetry journal. Roughly four years later, Tim Craig published the same story, but elaborated greatly on the plot. According to Craig, Fare was a Canadian by birth, but he moved to London to go to university. That obviously did not work out, as he moved quickly to Copenhagen. Apparently, he flashed his privates there and landed in a mental institution for a time. When he got out, he glued some things to Golni Czervath's car. The two became friends and the show of John Charles Fare was reportedly born.
The act the two devised involved a surgical table that is beyond even technology decades later. It had robotic parts that would operate on Mr. Fare. The story had it that John Fare's first act was to allow the table to perform a lobotomy on him. How he managed his later performances after that surgery is anyone's guess. In subsequent shows, the table reportedly removed some of his toes, an eye, some fingers, some flesh, his testicles and his right hand. The last performance was a beheading, allowed by Fare.
There are no pictures of John Fare, no paperwork, no records. The only evidence is the testimony of two writers, one of whom claimed that Fare was still performing up until 1972. If he were real, one could say that he was less an illusionist than a victim. The story has it that he was in a mental institution and then partnered with a man to allow a table to torture him. His partner would probably be arrested were such a thing to be discovered today.
Quite often on That is Bizarre!, the stories are funny. Sometimes they are even tragic, but it is rare for a horrible, personal tragedy to be pointed out as bizarre here. I would like to think that is because, despite the inherent flaws of humanity, it is rare for bizarre treatment to be carried out on an individual. I could be wrong. It could be quite common. In fact, one could argue that it is, depending on what you think is bizarre. Whatever the case may be, it is certain that what happened to David Reimer was bizarre. It was a case of taking a tragedy and making it significantly worse by allegedly trying to "help."
David Reimer and his twin brother Brian were born on August 22, 1965. They were both healthy boys. When they were eight months old, their parents noticed that they were having trouble urinating properly. It was decided by doctors that the twins needed circumcisions. David went first, and the surgery went horribly wrong. His penis was destroyed. Doctors held off on Brian's circumcision, and he wound up not requiring it.
Worried that their son would be confused, Janet and Jon Reimer went to John Money, a doctor specializing in gender identity. It can easily be said that John Money did more to ruin David's life than even the doctor(s) who botched his surgery. Money and his colleagues thought that Reimer should have gender reassignment. He did not have surgery, but over time, he underwent estrogen therapy, was treated like a girl, dressed like a girl and underwent an arguably abusive form of therapy with John Money.
Reimer's parents renamed him Brenda and dressed him in dresses, even in the cold Canadian weather. He was increasingly confused, scared and angry as he got older, but his parents and doctors turned a blind eye to his suffering. His parents may have feared they had no other choice, but his doctors were certainly neglectful. Some workers later tried to blame the parents for not reporting David's progress correctly, but his issues most certainly came forward during what John was doing to him and John reported that David was turning into Brenda quite nicely. He was wrong.
John Money used Brian to aid in his "treatment" of David. He had the twins come in and take up sexual positions to reinforce gender roles with David. He had David spread his legs and Brian lay between them. He also had David bend over and had Brian press his groin against David's rear end. On at least one occasion, Money took pictures. They were also made to be naked during some of these treatments. Later, David became increasingly depressed and threatened suicide as a teen. Brian developed schizophrenia.
Money suggested that the Reimers have a sex change done on David. David stopped going, whether because he refused or his parents realized what they were doing is unclear. Reimer eventually reversed the damage done by estrogen and had two operations to give him a penis. He got married, as well. Sadly, Brian died of an antidepressant overdose in 2002. In 2004, David's wife said she wanted to separate. Days later, David killed himself with a shotgun blast to the head.