Edward Mordake (Mordrake) was an English nobleman from the 19th century. He was the heir to one of the noblest families in England. This bright, handsome and charming young man had a second face at the back of his head.
The second face of Edward could not eat or speak loudly but when Mordake would weep, it would smile cruelly. Mordake had begged doctors to remove this demon face of his as it would whisper to him at nights. Not a single doctor made an attempt to remove the second face. Mordake committed suicide when he was 23 years old by poisoning himself as he no longer could live with the devil twin.
No one knows the exact story of Edward. His unusual case occurred early in medical history and his story is heard only from the previous generations. There is no evidence of his date of birth or death. Edward Mordake was a scholar and a musician. Some versions of the story say that the second face of this handsome young man was twisted and evil. Another version says that the second face was that of a beautiful girl. As parasitic twins are of the same sex the possibility of a girl’s face is not possible.
It is said that the second face had its own intelligence and was evil in its intentions. The eyes of the second face would look at its spectators and babble harsh words quietly. It would smile when Edward would be sad. No one could hear the voice of the second face, but Edward was aware of the hateful whispers of his devil twin. The face would never sleep and would continuously talk of evil things.
“The devil twin 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.”
These were the words of helpless Mordake to his doctors.
The story came to an end with the death of Edward. Some say that he had poisoned himself. Some say that a bullet between the eyes of his devil twin killed him. Edward had left a letter requesting his devil face to be destroyed first before he was buried.
‘lest it continues its dreadful whisperings in my grave’, he said.
The 1896 medical encyclopedia Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine, co-authored by Dr. George M. Gould and Dr. Walter L. Pyle, gave an account of Mordake with no mention as to when he lived. Their account was copied directly from Hildreth’s article, but was credited only to a “lay source.” Though the encyclopedia describes the basic morphology of Mordake’s condition, it provides no medical diagnosis for the rare deformity. Such a birth defect might have been a form of craniopagus parasiticus (a parasitic twin head with an undeveloped body), a form of diprosopus (bifurcated craniofacial duplication), or an extreme form of parasitic twin (an unequal conjoined twin). Is something like this possible? It still remains a mystery!