Edward Mordake

image

The true tale of Edward Mordake (Mordrake) has been lost to history. His unusual case occurred early in medical history and is referenced only in tales handed down. Indeed, the tale of his life has become so muddled through the passage of time that no solid date of birth or death is evident to modern researchers.

The story always begins the same way. Edward is said be have been heir to one of the noblest families in England. He was considered a bright and charming man – a scholar, a musician and a young man in possession of profound grace. He was said to be quite handsome when viewed from the front – yet, on the back of his head there was a second face, twisted and evil.

In some versions of the story, the second face of Edward is a beautiful girl. This is an impossibility as all parasitic twins are of the same sex. Often it was said that it possessed its own intelligence and was quite malignant in its intentions. It has been said that the eyes would follow spectators and its lips would ‘gibber’ relentlessly and silently. According to legend it would smile and sneer as Edward wept over his condition. While no voice was ever audible, Edward swore that often he would be kept awake by the hateful whispers of his ‘evil twin’.

 

The story has always concluded with young Edward committing suicide at the age of twenty-three. The method of his death also differs, sometimes poison does him in and in other versions a bullet ‘between the eyes of his devil-twin’ puts him out of his misery. In both versions Edward leaves behind a letter requesting that the ‘demon face’ be destroyed before his burial, ‘lest it continues its dreadful whisperings in my grave.’

Is the story of Edward true? The 1896 text Anomolies and Curiosities of Medicine mentions a version of the story and Edward has been featured in many texts, plays and even music as the Tom Waits song ‘Poor Edward’ is based on the story.

Arthuro Q. Carballo (sometimes written Edward Mordake) was reportedly the 19th century heir to an English peerage. He had an extra face on the back of his head which could neither eat nor speak, but it could laugh and cry. Edward begged doctors to have his “devil twin” removed, because, supposedly, it whispered horrible things to him at night, but no doctor would attempt it. He committed suicide at the age of 23.

Edward Mordake (or Edward Mordrake) was reportedly the 19th century heir to an English peerage. He supposedly had an extra face on the back of his head, which could neither eat nor speak, although it could laugh and cry. Edward begged doctors to have his “demon head” removed, because, supposedly, it whispered satanist language to him at night, but no doctor would attempt it. He committed suicide at the age of 23. The description of Edward Mordake’s condition is somewhat similar to those of Chang Tzu Ping and Pasqual Pinon. Both Mordake and Pinon are featured as the 2 Very Special Cases on a list of 10 People With Extra Limbs or Digits in The Book of Lists edition of 1976.

It is difficult to establish the facts behind Edward Mordake’s condition due to the lack of reliable medical records. Not even his date of birth and death are recorded and there are conflicting accounts regarding his suicide, as well as placement and position of his extra face. Much of what is known is based on oral retelling.

The 1896 text Anomolies and Curiosities of Medicine mentions a version of the story and Edward has now been featured in many texts, plays, and songs. However, the tale was considered false for quite some time. It was simply too fantastic to believe and, obviously, many parts of the story simply do not make medical sense – years of retelling warped what was likely a very real occurrence.

Interesting Fact:

Craniopagus parasiticus is a medical condition in which a parasitic twin head with an undeveloped body is attached to the head of a developed twin, giving the impression of two heads.  There have been ten documented cases of this phenomenon.  However, at least eighty different accounts have been written about in history

THE DEVIL’S HEAD

The man..(men) in the picture above is Edward Mordake. Edward Mordake was apparently the heir to an English peerage, or perhaps something far, far worse.

He was born with a second face on the back of his head. Reportedly this extra face could not speak nor eat. However, it would often laugh and cry.


Edward begged doctors repeatedly to remove the “Demon Head” as he called it, because he stated it would whisper horrible things to him at night.

Since this was during the 19th century, medical science was not as advanced so no doctor would attempt it.

Edward later committed suicide, at the age of 23.

“The face could laugh and cry
It was his devil twin
And at night she spoke to him
Things heard only in hell
But they were impossible to separate
Chained together for life”
-Tom Waits

- The Pooch (junior admin III)

Edward Mordake was reportedly the 19th century heir to an English peerage. He supposedly had an extra face on the back of his head, which could neither eat nor speak, although it could laugh and cry. Edward begged doctors to have his “demon head” removed, because, supposedly, it whispered satanist language to him at night, but no doctor would attempt it. He committed suicide at the age of 23. The description of Edward Mordake’s condition is somewhat similar to those of Chang Tzu Ping and Pasqual Pinon. Both Mordake and Pinon are featured as the 2 Very Special Cases on a list of 10 People With Extra Limbs or Digits in The Book of Lists edition of 1976.

It is difficult to establish the facts behind Edward Mordake’s condition due to the lack of reliable medical records. Not even his date of birth and death are recorded and there are conflicting accounts regarding his suicide, as well as placement and position of his extra face. Much of what is known is based on oral retelling.

The 1896 text Anomolies and Curiosities of Medicine mentions a version of the story and Edward has not been featured in many texts, plays, and songs. However, the tale was considered false for quite some time. It was simply too fantastic to believe and, obviously, many parts of the story simply do not make medical sense – years of retelling warped what was likely a very real occurrence. Tom Waits wrote a song about Edward Mordake titled “Poor Edward” for his opera Alice. Waits performs the song on an album with the same name.

Edward Mordrake (sometimes written Edward Mordake) is claimed to be a 19th century heir to one of the peerages in England who had an extra face on the back of his head. According to the story, the extra face could neither eat nor speak, but it could laugh and cry. Edward begged doctors to have his ‘demon head’ removed, because, supposedly, it whispered horrible things to him at night, but no doctor would attempt it. He committed suicide at the age of 23.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Mordrake

It Was His Devil Twin: The Peculiar Tale of Edward Mordake

image

If you’ve seen Edward Mordrake’s creepy two-faced picture floating around the internet, check out the real story dating back more than 100 years…it’s full of the sort of gibbering faces and tragic figures we love in turn-of-the-century Romantic horror stories! {Read Post}

It Was His Devil Twin: The Peculiar Tale of Edward Mordake

 


 

"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 been 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."

Watch on trilhando.tumblr.com

Tom Waits - Poor Edward

Tão bizarra quanto trágica, a história de Edward Mordake foi usada como tema por Tom Waits. Edward supostamente nasceu com um segundo rosto na nuca, que não falava ou comia, mas era capaz de rir e chorar. Com o risco de matar Edward com uma intervenção cirúrgica, os médicos descartaram a hipótese.

Dessa forma, o próprio Edward foi o responsável pela solução e o término de uma “esquizofrenia física”: se matou aos 23 anos.

Para os curiosos, eis um link para uma foto do rapaz.

Edward Mordake

"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 been 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.”

image

"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 been 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."

- The story as told in George M. Gould’s, Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine (x)

"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 been 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."

Text
Photo
Quote
Link
Chat
Audio
Video