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Tony Walsh
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The History of Bearded Babies

We wish to open this history with the disclaimer that the phenomena of bearded babies is not to be confused with the condition of hypertrichosis or hursutism. Bearded babies do not pose a medical mystery at all- some babies are simply born with beards. We accept this as natural, but the history of the bearded baby has not been so forgiving.

Bearded babies have been part of human life since the moment we evolved from monkeys. During the dawn of humanity, most people had an excess of body hair, so babies with beards were accepted and nurtured. As humans lost their primordial hair, and only adults bore magnificent facial plumage, a vast majority of babies were born nearly hairless. We speculate that in these early years of human development, the birth of a baby with a beard would likely have been a celebrated, mystical event.

As the Stone Age waned, and the Bronze Age waxed, the superstitious and idol-worshipping primitives came to fear bearded babies. During this time (the true Dark Ages) bearded babies were often left in the woods or hurled off cliffs. Even after the advent of Christianity, countless bearded babies (or "beardlings") were stacked up like firewood and set ablaze, usually as fuel for witch-burnings.

In the mid-1600s, a secret orphanage was established in the foothills of the Swiss Alps. Over the next 200 years, this safe-haven for bearded babies became home to scores of discarded children from across Europe, and was the inspiration for the classic tale "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." Few records of the orphanage exist, but it is said that the Brothers Grimm themselves once visited the bearded baby haven.

The outset of the industrial age was another dark period in the history of bearded babies. Many were sent to work under dangerous conditions, such as mercury-dredging facilities, lead smeltering plants, coal mines, and arsenic-brewing factories. These young workers grew up in shame and secrecy. Many clever toddlers shaved their beards with rocks so that begging for bread would be easier, but most went undernourished and died alone. Our organization has filed for restitution with the U.N., and is seeking over one hundred million dollars in recompense to the surviving descendants of this black time.

The atrocities against bearded babies was not limited to exploitation at the hands of greedy industrialists. Some abandoned beardlings were purchased by circus or carnival owners to be put on public display. One such baby is rumoured to have become JoJo the Dog-Faced Boy.

At the turn of the 20th century, shaving technology had advanced to a level where most parents of bearded babies would rather shave their children daily than callously leave them at the doorstep of the nearest church. While the stigma of a bearded child was still considered a terrible burden to bear, the attitude of parents towards their offspring was becoming more modern.

During WWI, a clandestine government program allowed the harvesting of baby beards to make field blankets for horses. Vast nurseries of beardlings were established, and weekly shearings created necessary battlefield equipment for the war effort. The practice was quickly shut down just before the end of the war for mysterious reasons. A similar operation during WWII also vanished without a trace. Our educated guess is that programs had been discovered by pro-beardling journalists.

The 1950s saw further advancements in shaving technology, as well as epilating procedures that allowed many bearded babies to live normal, healthy lives. Some members of the Beatnik subculture actually allowed their beardlings to walk the streets with a small goatee - something very progressive for the time, and virtually unheard of for the rest of the 20th century. The 1960s, while considered a period of "love," saw as many abandoned beardlings as the earlier half of the century. It was thought that bearded babies were born as a result of drug-use by the parents.

With the economic boom of the 1980s, parents of bearded babies had more leisure time on their hands. Ample spare time is what lead to tentative communications between parents of beardlings and their peers, and ultimately the formation of ad-hoc pro-beardling organizations. As the salad days of the 80s gave way to the leaps in communication technology in the 90s, the Information Superhighway allowed these informal collectives to band together in ways never before possible.

Now, in this first century of the new millenium, we proudly usher all beardlings into the light of a new era. Let the love flow as freely as the facial hair of our offspring, and let us begin the first bright chapter in the history of humanity!