Siamese Twins Essay, Research Paper
Individuals partially or wholly double, but joined together, are represented by the rare
occurrence in man of Siamese Twins. Conjoined twins have fascinated people for
centuries and are increasingly accepted into our everyday lives as we grow to understand
their unusual physical and emotional bonds, and learn more about the science behind their
Chang and Eng Bunker changed the way society viewed conjoined twins and
others with profound physical differences. They introduces the world to a side of nature
that was ignored and feared. The name siamese twins derives from Chang and Eng.
They were born in Siam to Chinese parents in 1811. Chang and Eng were joined at the
lower chest by a narrow band of flesh through which their lives were connected by
(Beardsley 2). They were exhibited in Barnums Circus for many years. During the early
1840 s they became naturalized citizens of the United States, adopted the last name
Bunker, and begun a search for a couple of nice wives (Beardsley 3). In April, 1843, the
search was ended when Chang married Adelaide Yates, and Eng married Sarah Anne her
sister. Over the next thirty years the brothers fathered a total of 21 children (Beardsley 3).
On January 17, 1974, Eng was awakened in the middle of the night by a strange sensation
and looking towards his brother, Eng quickly realized that Chang had died (Beardsley 3).
Within hours Eng was also dead. It was determined that Chang had died of a cerebral
clot. Some physicians felt that Eng had died of fright, but today they feel that Eng bled to
death. They proved that those who were different can have normal lives: jobs, spouses,
and a healthy family (Beardsley 4).
One of the earliest documented cases of conjoined twins were Mary and Eliza
Churkhurst, also know as the Biddenden Maids (Beardsley 1). They were born in 1100
and lived till they were 34. The Biddenden Maids were pygopagus twins who were
joined at the buttocks and lower back (Beardsley1). They looked as though they were
joined at the hip and shoulders. After the sisters death doctors hoped to save the life of
the other by separating them surgically. The surviving twin refused declaring, As we
came together, we will go together (Beardsley 1). After their death a local church
received 20 acres of land. In remembrance of their generosity, small cakes and biscuits
imprinted with the image of the sisters were given to the poor every Easter Sunday
(Beardsley 1). Almost 900 years after the death of the Biddenden Maids they are still
honored by their unique sevice.
Life was much ore difficult for Millie and Christine McCoy who were pygopagus
girls born into slavery on July 11, 1851. They were seperated from their family and sold
several times. When they were toddlers the twins were purchased by their last owner then
reunited wiht their family. While they were appearing in a show in New Orleans,
Millie-Christine was kidnapped by a man named Smith who was their exibitor. They
were returned to their owners several years later. Billed as the Two Headed
Nightingale, Millie-Christine enjoyed tremendous sucess in show business (Beardsley
4). A week after their sixty first birthday on October 12, 1912, Millie died of tuberculosis
and Christine died seventeen hours later. On their tombstone was inscribed the words, A
soul with two thoughts. Two hearts that beat as one (Beardsley 6).