The Duality of Man and The Two Faces of Edward Mordake

Edward MordakeCraniopagus Parasiticus – it sounds like a Harry Potter spell and if it were, it would be one of the more insidious. Those afflicted with it are born with a parasitic twin head. I’ll repeat that in case you have one of your own. Parasitic. Twin. Head. And not in the fashionable mode of Zaphod Beeblebrox. Rather, imagine a duplicate head growing from the crown of yours but (usually) upside down as if you drew a face card from the deck and creased such that its top and bottom met.
Craniopagus Parasiticus is the result of a conjoined twin, in utero, failing to develop from the chin down. Truly the stuff of nightmares – especially if you had the bad luck to be 19th century Englishman Edward Mordake who is purported to have had a second face on the back of his head. Apocryphally, the face was was that of a woman, which would seem impossible since conjoined twins are necessarily identical.

The face neither ate nor spoke but would laugh and cry. Mordake also claimed it whispered Satanic incantations to him at night. Stories of Mordake’s case are difficult to verify though gallant attempts have been made in the blogosphere, most cogently by Curious Tendency and by Verum Fabula. Continue reading “The Duality of Man and The Two Faces of Edward Mordake”