Evatima Tardo’s remarkable life lasted 34 years. In just over three decades, she was a:
- Phenomena to the medical community
- Muse to Houdini
- Vaudeville star
- Murder victim
Many people would have considered her survival a miracle, but Eva’s family identified her health as a sort of superpower. From that point on, the girl deliberately allowed herself to be bitten by snakes, spiders, and other venomous creatures.
When she was a young woman touring the vaudeville circuit, she adopted the stage name Evatima Tardo. Newspapers referred to her variously as Mrs. Tardo, Miss Tardo, Eva Ferguson, Edith Ferguson, and Eva Kennedy.
Each night, Evatima Tardo ascended the stage, and allowed herself to sustain injuries that would have killed most men. People flocked to see snakes hiss and strike at Evatima, and stared in amazement as she calmly allowed the reptiles’ fangs to inject her with deadly venom.
At some point, critter bites became passé. To keep her act fresh, Tardo incorporated new types of injuries and hazards, like drinking gasoline.