Here is my drawing and the story of one of my favourite specimens/exhibits – The two headed boy from Bengal.
Born in 1783 to a poor farming family, the boy had a difficult time of things from the very beginning. Due to his appearance he was thrown into a fire shortly after his birth by a terrified midwife, he sustained burns to head and face however managed to survive.
His parents quickly realised that this terror could also make them money so he was exhibited as a freak. He was covered by a sheet until the price was right (sometimes for hours at a time) and then he would be revealed to his audience. His fame spread quickly across India to the point where private viewings were bought and appearances were arranged for private parties so that guests could have close up examinations of the boy.
Sadly regardless of all this attention, none of it was medical. There are no recorded medical examinations of the boy and press attention was far more focused on his freak status than the cause of this condition.
Although the boy survived a less than pleasant life it was cut short by the unlikeliest of things, a cobra bite. At age four he died and only at this point was he medically examined. He was buried near Boopnorain River however this was not the end of his troubles.
Mr Dent a salt agent for the East India Company took it upon himself to rob his grave. He dissected the boys remains and the skull was brought to England. When the head was dissected it was discovered that not only were the skulls conjoined, but inside were two separately functioning brains.
The skull now finally rests and can now be seen in The Huntarian Museum, London.
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