The story of the two-headed Edward Mordake (Mordrake) has gone viral almost overnight.
This has ended up blurring the lines between fact and fiction, making it difficult to differentiate the fiction from reality.
Even so, the story of Edward Mordake and his two faces is one that has already graced the record books.
Who Is Edward Mordake?
Edward Mordake is said to have been a 19th century English Gentleman that was born with two faces.
It’s said that he was born in a noble family with a handsome face. He was also said to be a scholar and a musician.
He had a regular face in the front and a smaller one at the back of his head.
However, the mysterious (and disturbing) thing about his second smaller face was that it was incredibly creepy.
According to the published accounts, when Mordake was happy, the face would weep, and when Mordake was sad, it would laugh.
Even more disturbing was that the head would try to influence Mordake with harmful thoughts.
This continued to the point where he begged the doctors to smash the face.
In the end, however, it’s claimed that Edward Mordake committed suicide to get away from the voices in his head.
That said, the exact details about Edward Mordake and when he was around is sketchy with no real evidence of his existence.
Who Wrote About Mordake First?
The first mention of Edward Mordake was in an article by The Boston Post in 1895 by Charles Lotin Hildreth, a known fiction writer (1). The title was ‘The Wonders of Modern Science’ and talked about several men and women believed to be monsters and marvels.
This article discussed Edward Mordake and his two faces in one head. Additionally, the report also mentioned a woman with a fish tail (mermaid) as well as a human crab.
Hildreth’s source is claimed to be some old reports of the “Royal Scientific Society,” but it’s unclear if this society even existed, let along its reports.
This has made it difficult to judge whether the two faces were because of a medical condition or if it was all a hoax.
However, experts have found that Edward Mordake may just be a fictitious character from Hildreth instead of an actual person.
A hoax is possible as such sensational articles would have been the 19th century equivalent of today’s Clickbait. Such articles were written to generate more readers.
So, it’s difficult to believe such an article on its validity.
Edward Mordake In The Anomalies And Curiosities of Medicine:
Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine was a medical encyclopedia co-authored by Dr. George M. Gould and Dr. David L. Pyle and published in 1896 (2).
It included the story of Mordake and his two faces.
Actually, the whole account in the encyclopedia was directly copied from The Boston Post article by Hildreth. But in the sources, it was only credited to a ‘lay source.’
The encyclopedia account of Edward Mordake’s condition doesn’t go into any medical diagnosis of the deformity. The condition itself is also briefly mentioned.
The Unclear Details About Mordake’s Second Face:
In most accounts of the story that have cropped up over time, Mordake’s main face is handsome and attractive. He is also of a noble lineage while being a scholar.
However, when it comes to the details about his second face, there are varying accounts.
The most popular mention is of the second face being that of a beautiful young girl. Another account mentions that the face is identical to the main face. There’s also a third account where the face is disfigured.
However, there is one thing that’s common with all three accounts of Mordake’s second face – It looks malicious and sinister.
The second face is said to have always been in a state of sneering at Mordake while continually drooling.
Another fact about the second face is that it would sneer and eerily laugh at Edward. The accounts clearly state that the face would laugh if Edward was crying and cry while he was happy.
It was also able to follow the movements of spectators with its eyes while the lips would be constantly moving. However, there was no audible voice.
It seems that the face was only able to sneer, weep, and laugh without actually being able to communicate verbally.
However, Edward Mordake had to deal with the face plaguing him with horrifying whispers in his mind.
All accounts indicate that the face did have an intelligence of its own. However, Edward’s account of it also indicates that it had malignant intentions for Edward Mordake.
He would suffer from his ‘devil twin’ with Edward stating that:
“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.”
What Was The Fate Of Mordake And His Devil Twin?
It wasn’t long before Edward Mordake had enough of the demon face’s evil temptations when he asked his physicians, Manvers and Treadwell, to destroy his second face, even if it kills him.
Unfortunately, the physicians were unable to do as he asked, leading him to take matters into his own hands.
In the end, he managed to sneak in some poison, which he used to commit suicide at the age of twenty-three.
He also left a suicide note behind which requested his family to destroy the demon face before he was buried. Edward Mordake feared that it would continue with its dreadful whispering, even in the grave.
His story abruptly ends with an unmarked grave in a waste place, as per his instructions to his kin.
Even so, the legend and myth that talks about Edward Mordake and his demon face are still circulating around the internet for any new believers.
Was The Demon Face Of Edward Mordake Real?
Medical records have found cases of two heads in one body before. The most recent example that was similar to Mordake’s occurred in India in 2008.
In 2008, Lali Singh was born with Craniofacial duplication, which is caused by abnormal protein expression and is usually lethal. This condition gave her a second face, like with Edward Mordake.
However, unlike Mordake’s face, Lali’s face didn’t have malicious intent.
In fact, the village residents believed her to be an incarnation of Durga, the Hindu goddess that’s traditionally depicted with multiple limbs.
Unfortunately, Lali Singh died after a few months, possibly due to complications from her condition.
In the case of Edward Mordake, the physical deformity of having a parasitic twin head with an undeveloped body is called Craniopagus Parasiticus (3).
While this may also be a possibility, it is unclear if the story about Edward Mordake is real or fiction.
Regardless of its validity, the popularity of Edward Mordake has spiked recently due to several mentions in the media.
One of the most popular ones was an episode on the TV series, American Horror Story. However, there account ended with Mordake being driven to murder by his demon face instead of suicide.
A photo that depicts the remains of Mordake’s head also went viral a while back. This sparked a belief amongst readers that the legend about Edward Mordake and his demon face is real.
However, the fact is that the head in the photo is fake and is made out of paper-mache from the imagination of the artist on what Edward might have looked like.
There is also another photo of his head that is made out of wax, again, with the help of an imaginative artist.
In the end, the truth behind Edward Mordake and his second face remain a mystery.