I stumbled into our place of the meeting and found Erik ‘The Lizardman’ Sprague looking sharp in a pair of black pants and a black T-shirt, drinking a dark pint of beer that I’d say was halfway full.

Best known for being a professional sideshow and stand-up act, Erik’s a Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! freak and does the whole sword-swallowing and car-pulling stunt for a fascinated and at times disgusted worldwide audience.

The Lizardman tattoo.
Image Courtesy Jodie Michalak.

He’s tattooed his entire body green in the form of scales and black patterns while enduring over 700 hours of modification including various piercings, Teflon ridge implants above his brows, and bifurcation to obtain a split tongue.

Despite his most unusual appearance, sitting in private with Erik felt normal and I know he may hate hearing that.

Lizardman has worked hard to be a freak. He’s green, has filed and pointed teeth and he’s snorted snakes and other illegal things up his nostrils. Strange as it may seem, Lizardman does not keep lizards, rather a small family of pet ferrets instead. Despite entertaining and traveling the world, Erik’s also been happily married to his wife Meghan for nine years.

Lizardman’s mother and father are loving and supportive of his happiness. In fact, his very normal parents showed up at the tattoo studio when Erik tattooed his face for the very first time. Curious, I asked how that transforming moment felt and there was tearful silence. Their love is truly joyous and unconditional.

Erik received his BA with Honors in Philosophy from Hartwick College and was carrying on towards his doctorate in philosophy at the University at Albany before changing paths and dedicating his life to what he now calls the “Freak Manifesto.”

One side of Erik Sprague is normal and one side of him is a freak, yet for the life of me during our interview, I can’t figure out which one is which.

This is Erik the Lizardman Sprague’s sometimes profanity-spewed thoughts about freaks, freedom, and why psychoanalyzing people is just a bullshit thing to do.

Before He Was Lizardman

I spent years designing my transformation. At 18 I was so in love with the idea of being fully tattooed. I sketched and made lists of different themes. I thought of a maze at one point and polka dots and I would talk about my ideas with people and gauge reactions. I broke my design into pieces, it all started on my back.

On World Hunger

It is a distribution problem, not a scarcity problem. World hunger is horribly depressing.

On His Diet

I don’t eat like a reptile but I am a vegetarian.

On Fear

Anything can happen so abandon fear. Don’t be scared be prudent. Get rid of fear without being reckless and you’re in that sweet spot.

Why Men Aren’t Angels

Because we are born into situations and people are taught not to be, that’s the way they are raised. There’s a perceived limited good and everyone thinks there is just one pie. That idea about the world is a learned thought.

How a Lizard Sees the World

When I look at the world I see a lot of people denying their own individuality. People are being fed personalities and that’s sad and sickening.

On Regrets

Consider and plan as much as you can. There’s always a chance of regret.

On Being Judged

I can ignore anything. I don’t give a shit what other people think. I enjoy engaging people and the interaction but at the end of the day if someone tells me I’m f*#ked up I don’t care. If you’re going to throw your opinion to me unsolicited you should preface it with why I should care what you think.

On Freaks

A freak is a fully self-realized individual. Those words are very carefully chosen. Freaks define themselves and their abnormality. A freak tells people what they are.

How to Treat Erik the Lizardman Sprague

I want to be dealt with as an individual.

On Evolution

If you don’t believe in evolution stop going to the doctor and taking medicine.

On Risks

If you don’t put yourself in real risk you’ll never find out who you are.

On Kids

People keep raising assholes.

On Science

The proof is a loaded term. Data, this is my starting point. Whether it be the weather or the market I can tell you with a good percentage what will happen tomorrow within a reasonable range. In a spiritual model, we sacrificed two goats and did dance so it’s going to rain sometime this month. But it will eventually rain anyway. Science reliably predicts shit and people think that’s boring.

On Recognizing You Are Unique

Recognize you are a unique individual. Then identify what makes other people unique instead of treating people like shit.

On Rules

The first person that stands up and says we need rules usually have bad intentions and their rules usually favor them. Inherently good people never ask for rules because they will look at other people with the benefit of the doubt.

On Freedom

It IS free.

Religion and Spirituality

The difference between being religious and spiritual is the difference between saying I believe in that ghost or I believe in ghosts in general. You still believe in bullshit, just not that specific book. Not to shit on the book, but I am sitting on the book, I’m an atheist. This is me being a hardass philosopher. It doesn’t make a fairy tale true and it’s a bad way to model reality if you want predictable results.

Erik’s Wisdom

OK, you’ll never fly off the ground without the aid of a separate device, but most limits are artificial.

Erik Inspires

The worst thing you can do is think you are like everybody else.

On the Death Penalty

If you are in favor of the death penalty then you are in favor of innocent people dying. So long as the death penalty is put in place by our system, our flawed system, there will always be innocent people convicted and innocent people put to death.

On Anarchy

Education is the process in which anarchism wins out. When people think of it as throwing bombs and bricks, that will never work. That is violence and that is what government does best. If you want no government you can not get into a physical fight with the government. Look at basic training, the first thing they are taught to do is see a person as a target. War is a system dictating violence.

Understanding Society

There are some people you can very obviously tell have never put any time into learning about who they are.

On Life

Most of the time judging a book by a cover is a safe bet.

Buy the Book

You can purchase Erik’s book, Once More Through the Modified Looking Glass, here and visit Erik on Facebook and follow his travels and tours here.

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