There was once a man who had two faces. We’re not referring to the terrifying eighties horror Basket Case, rather the real-life legend from 1895 in which a young Englishman named Edward Mordrake was born with a face on the back of his head. That’s right, a fully functioning visage.
Edward was described as being a man who had everything; money, good looks, a title and profound intelligence. Save for his strange affliction which caused him great distress.
The most stirring aspect of this story is the relationship between Mordrake and this parasitic entity. Allegedly, it would sneer when he became upset and smile when he was happy.
Worse still, Mordrake complained of not sleeping because the face would talk to him at night. It would say things “one would only speak about in hell.” So, pretty harsh stuff we reckon.
The story of Edward Mordrake is one of mystery and much dispute. Many claim that it is a fictitious account created by writer Charles Lotin Hildreth in an 1895 Boston Post article. Others point to its legitimacy on the grounds that his story was published in a medical journal near the turn of the century.
Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine was a medical document detailing strange cases at the time. Written by Dr. George M. Gould and Dr. Walter L. Pyle, they delve into this peculiarity, “The eyes would follow the movements of the spectator, and the lips “would gibber without ceasing”.
The story doesn’t have a happy ending, after his physicians refused to remove the face, the 23-year old Mordrake had enough of what he called his “demon twin” and committed suicide by poisoning.
His only request was to destroy the face before burying him, “lest it continues its dreadful whisperings in my grave.” His final note stated. He got his wish and was buried in an unmarked grave to prevent unsavory interest from the public.
Parasitic twins are a real occurrence, therefore it’s entirely possible that this story could be true, but we’ll never know.
Today, his legacy lives on somewhat, there are wax figures dedicated to Edward and he was included in American Horror Story: Freakshow, played by Wes Bentley.
We hope he is finally resting in peace, sans the creepy whispers.