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snopes
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Comment: I've been trying to find information for a long time now on a
story I once read. It said there once was a guy who was born with a
second face on the back of his head. This face couldn't talk but it could
laugh, cough and cry/moan. The second face would do all these things
without any control by the guy himself. He couldn't sleep very well
because it would cry at night or just start laughing for no reason. The
second face wasn't complete, it was pretty deformed looking. The man
ended up killing himself because he couldn't take the crying of his second
face at night anymore. I've talked to many of my friends and they've read
the same story before with pretty much the same details, but we've all
heard or read it from a different source. If you can help get me
information on this I would greatly appreciate it. I really want to see a
picture but I highly doubt there are any.

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Dara bhur gCara
As Shepherds Watched Their Flocks Buy Now Pay Later


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Erm, isn't this essentially the plot of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's (Sorcerer's) Stone?

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theloneabalone
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there is a very rare condition called diprosopus, which is really a case of conjoined twins where the bodies fuse and there is facial duplication. it is more often seen in cattle. a case is described in this site NFBSK- Graphic post-mortem pictures

I did find one entry for the closest match to the case the OP mentions. the name Edward Mordake came up in a teratology website. did a further search on the name but only anecdotal pieces were found. some describe Edward as a late 1800's englishman that could've been entitled to nobility but rejected it. the deformity consisted, according to the account, of a fully functional female head, which tormented him to the point of commiting suicide by poisoning at the age of 23. the only reference to the original document was in a crappy geocities website, so I don't know whether the cite is reliable at all:

Gould, George M. & Walter L. Pyle, Anomolies and Curiosities of Medicine, New York: 1896, p.188

thelone "are you talking to me?" abalone

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num, me vexo?

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dofwai
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quote:
Originally posted by theloneabalone:
there is a very rare condition called diprosopus, which is really a case of conjoined twins where the bodies fuse and there is facial duplication. it is more often seen in cattle. a case is described in this site NFBSK- Graphic post-mortem pictures

I did find one entry for the closest match to the case the OP mentions. the name Edward Mordake came up in a teratology website. did a further search on the name but only anecdotal pieces were found. some describe Edward as a late 1800's englishman that could've been entitled to nobility but rejected it. the deformity consisted, according to the account, of a fully functional female head, which tormented him to the point of commiting suicide by poisoning at the age of 23. the only reference to the original document was in a crappy geocities website, so I don't know whether the cite is reliable at all:

Gould, George M. & Walter L. Pyle, Anomolies and Curiosities of Medicine, New York: 1896, p.188

thelone "are you talking to me?" abalone

Conjoined twins cannot have different genders. They are caused by the incomplete splitting of the embryo, causing what would otherwise be maternal twins to be conjoined. Since they share the same DNA, they are the same gender.
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Wizard of Yendor
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quote:
Originally posted by dofwai:
Conjoined twins cannot have different genders. They are caused by the incomplete splitting of the embryo, causing what would otherwise be maternal twins to be conjoined. Since they share the same DNA, they are the same gender.

What about chimeras?
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theloneabalone
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quote:
Originally posted by dofwai:
Conjoined twins cannot have different genders. They are caused by the incomplete splitting of the embryo, causing what would otherwise be maternal twins to be conjoined. Since they share the same DNA, they are the same gender.

notice that the male body/female face was the only record of a story similar to what the OP had.

I am not saying that it is possible, or that it is true, only that it is the one story that I could attribute a semi-decent source to a book.

the fact that we are relying on one single "source" given the notoriety this character would entail, specially in the victorian era, plus the obvious biological evidence, makes this story not very likely at all. but it's what I found.

thelone " P.T. Barnum would've heard of this guy" abalone

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num, me vexo?

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Mouse
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quote:
Originally posted by snopes:
Comment: I've been trying to find information for a long time now on a
story I once read. It said there once was a guy who was born with a
second face on the back of his head. This face couldn't talk but it could
laugh, cough and cry/moan. The second face would do all these things
without any control by the guy himself. He couldn't sleep very well
because it would cry at night or just start laughing for no reason. The
second face wasn't complete, it was pretty deformed looking. The man
ended up killing himself because he couldn't take the crying of his second
face at night anymore. I've talked to many of my friends and they've read
the same story before with pretty much the same details, but we've all
heard or read it from a different source. If you can help get me
information on this I would greatly appreciate it. I really want to see a
picture but I highly doubt there are any.

I think they're referring to this tragic individual.

Mouse the "Points for making first cheap Batman joke." Louse

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dofwai
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quote:
Originally posted by Wizard of Yendor:
quote:
Originally posted by dofwai:
Conjoined twins cannot have different genders. They are caused by the incomplete splitting of the embryo, causing what would otherwise be maternal twins to be conjoined. Since they share the same DNA, they are the same gender.

What about chimeras?
In my understanding, chimeras don't result in a conjoined twin; they are fused at a much earlier level, resulting in a normal-appearing child, with two sets of DNA. Is that not correct?
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Wizard of Yendor
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quote:
Originally posted by dofwai:
In my understanding, chimeras don't result in a conjoined twin; they are fused at a much earlier level, resulting in a normal-appearing child, with two sets of DNA. Is that not correct?

Frome the article I linked too:
quote:
In 1998, doctors at the University of Edinburgh highlighted a case in which two embryos, one male and one female, fused in development to form a single child.

His condition was discovered when he was treated because his left testicle had not descended normally and surgeons discovered an ovary and a fallopian tube on the left side.

Which isn't exactly "normal-appearing", but not the same as a face on the back of your head either (which I doubt is possible as discribed). But I was just saying that conjoined twins with different sexes can't be totally ruled out. Perhaps if two embryos merged and then partly split again? You may well be essentially correct though, I don't know if chimerism can ever result in what would normaly be called conjoined twins.
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Rhiandmoi
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From the little bit that is on the web about that Mordake guy, they just say that the other face is a female. Without any description of the other face. Mordake might have some thoughts about a female twin being the total opposite of him and thus being his evil twin. Since the head talked to him in the *language of hell.* Too bad there are no pictures.

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plain-TALKing Yorkshire Woman
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quote:
Originally posted by dofwai:
quote:
Originally posted by theloneabalone:
there is a very rare condition called diprosopus, which is really a case of conjoined twins where the bodies fuse and there is facial duplication. it is more often seen in cattle. a case is described in this site NFBSK- Graphic post-mortem pictures

I did find one entry for the closest match to the case the OP mentions. the name Edward Mordake came up in a teratology website. did a further search on the name but only anecdotal pieces were found. some describe Edward as a late 1800's englishman that could've been entitled to nobility but rejected it. the deformity consisted, according to the account, of a fully functional female head, which tormented him to the point of commiting suicide by poisoning at the age of 23. the only reference to the original document was in a crappy geocities website, so I don't know whether the cite is reliable at all:

Gould, George M. & Walter L. Pyle, Anomolies and Curiosities of Medicine, New York: 1896, p.188

thelone "are you talking to me?" abalone

Conjoined twins cannot have different genders. They are caused by the incomplete splitting of the embryo, causing what would otherwise be maternal twins to be conjoined. Since they share the same DNA, they are the same gender.
They might be different genders if there was a problem with the Y chromosomes at the splitting stage. It is theoretically possible.

If the Y chromosome splits incompletely in one twin, or the Y is deleted then the twin with the missing / faulty copy of the Y could remain female, rather than developing into a male, like the other twin. The female child would have Turners Syndrome. (Turners is 1 in almost 3,000 births)

This would be a very rare occurrence. It has been known for identical twins to have this phenomena, where one is male and the other is a Turners female, but it's very rare.

Talk

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Fiberglasspanda
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I'm sure it has been mentioned on this board before, but Tom Waits wrote a lovely song about the Edward Mordake/Mordrake story called "Poor Edward". As an obsessive fan I must bring in Tom Waits whenever possible.

As far as the validity of the story, I have only ever seen the one source mentioned above in my Web searching on the subject.

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chinaman
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I don't know if this applies but I have seen a recent rerun of the canceled "Ripley's Believe It Or Not" series in which they documented a rural Chinese gentlemen who had some of his twins features (believe it was a distorted mouth,nose and possibly an eye) emerging from the side of his head,just below his ear. The mouth could move but I don't believe it produced any sound. They performed surgery to remove most of the features and had film of before and after shots.
If I ever see this episode again I will try to get the names and locations.

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resELution
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quote:
Originally posted by chinaman:
I don't know if this applies but I have seen a recent rerun of the canceled "Ripley's Believe It Or Not" series in which they documented a rural Chinese gentlemen who had some of his twins features (believe it was a distorted mouth,nose and possibly an eye) emerging from the side of his head,just below his ear. The mouth could move but I don't believe it produced any sound. They performed surgery to remove most of the features and had film of before and after shots.
If I ever see this episode again I will try to get the names and locations.

Well, that's the closest to the story in the OP we've heard so far. Maybe it's possible for people to have superflous facial features like how some people have superflous nipples.
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Marin Shea
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quote:
Originally posted by chinaman:
I don't know if this applies but I have seen a recent rerun of the canceled "Ripley's Believe It Or Not" series in which they documented a rural Chinese gentlemen who had some of his twins features (believe it was a distorted mouth,nose and possibly an eye) emerging from the side of his head,just below his ear. The mouth could move but I don't believe it produced any sound. They performed surgery to remove most of the features and had film of before and after shots.
If I ever see this episode again I will try to get the names and locations.

I think you're talking about Chang Tzu Ping ...not exactly a scientific site, but the picture is interesting. I'll try to dig up some more information on his condition.

---Anneke

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theloneabalone
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And every now and then, completely out of the blue a little news piece like this one shows up. the timing is totally freaky if you ask me.

thelone "I guess we can put a green ball on this one" abalone

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num, me vexo?

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G.
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Link doesn't seem to work.

Might be this one...

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&u=/040122/ids_photos_wl/ra3051573273.jpg&e=7

G "Who's this rookie" .

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RingKeeper
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Loneabalone, take out the second http:// in your link and it will work.

This thread reminded me of the Aunt in My Big Fat Greek Wedding who had a growth removed and learned it had teeth.

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Thera
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from: Gould, George M. & Walter L. Pyle, Anomolies and Curiosities of Medicine, New York: 1896, p.188.

The following well-known story of Edward Mordake, though taken from lay sources, is of sufficient notoriety and interest to be mentioned here:--

"One of the weirdest as well as most melancholy stories of human deformity is that of Edward Mordake, said to have been heir to one of the noblest peerages in England. He never claimed the title, however, and committed suicide in his twenty-third year. He lived in complete seclusion refusing the visits even of the members of his own family. He was a young man of fine attainments, a profound scholar, and a musician of rare ability. His figure was remarkable for its grace, and his face--that is to say, his natural face--was that of an Antinous. But upon the back of his head was another face, that of a beautiful girl, 'lovely as a dream, hideous as a devil.' The female face was a mere mask, 'occupying only a small portion of the posterior part of the skull, yet exhibiting every sign of intelligence, of a malignant sort, however.' It would be seen to smile and sneer while Mordake was weeping. The eyes would follow the movements of the spectator, and the lips would 'gibber without ceasing.' No voice was audible, but Mordake avers that he was kept from his rest at night by the hateful whispers of his 'devil twin,' as he called it, 'which never sleeps, but talks to me forever of such things as they only speak of in hell. No imagination can conceive the dreadful temptations it sets before me. For some unforgiven wickedness of my forefathers I am knit to this fiend--for a fiend it surely is. I beg and beseech you to crush it out of human semblance, even if I die for it.' Such were the words of the hapless Mordake to Manvers and Treadwell, his physicians. In spite of careful watching he managed to procure poison, whereof he died, leaving a letter requesting that the 'demon face' might be destroyed before his burial, 'lest it continues its dreadful whisperings in my grave.' At his own request he was interred in a waste place, without stone or legend to mark his grave."

http://www.netspace.org/users/hmartin/mordake.html

There are some other links that turn up if you type his name in.

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Black Belt and Socks
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From deep in the Medical archives:

http://www.snopes.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=35;t=000198

I would never presume to chow snopes...

BB "I know, get back to work" &S

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Dr. Van Thorp
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You don't need any scientific explaination for Edward Mordake having a female face on the back of his head. The Mordrake case was over 100 years ago. The sex of the second face would have been determined by physical appearance, not by DNA testing. The face looked feminine to Mordrake's contemporaries. Case closed.
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First of Two
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Hmm... this seems like it might be relevant.

This poor kid...

Baby's 'second head' to be removed by surgery

Pic here (Not for the especially squeamish)

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slycat
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Sorry if this is redundant but here is a cnn article on the same little girl.

Baby born with two heads readied for surgery

I thought this article was interesting because the other head does appear to have some movement.
quote:
Although the second head is only partially developed, its mouth moves when Rebeca is being breast-fed.

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simon
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kinda-a- two-headed-baby-achow

My first chow - please let me know if I did it ok?
I posted something on this in the medical area a few days back

EDIT - SOMEONE BEAT ME TO IT ////

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Crackrzz
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quote:
Originally posted by Anneke Shea:
quote:
Originally posted by chinaman:
I don't know if this applies but I have seen a recent rerun of the canceled "Ripley's Believe It Or Not" series in which they documented a rural Chinese gentlemen who had some of his twins features (believe it was a distorted mouth,nose and possibly an eye) emerging from the side of his head,just below his ear. The mouth could move but I don't believe it produced any sound. They performed surgery to remove most of the features and had film of before and after shots.
If I ever see this episode again I will try to get the names and locations.

I think you're talking about Chang Tzu Ping ...not exactly a scientific site, but the picture is interesting. I'll try to dig up some more information on his condition.

---Anneke

Ahh... "Two Headed Chang". All I remember is what you described, and his name. If that link only worked... but its bandwidth limit was exceeded.

ETA: That poor baby. [Frown] Quite amazing though.

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