Thursday, August 17, 2006

Eng and Chang Bunker

Last stop of the vacation! Mt. Airy, NC is where the infamous Siamese twins Eng and Chang are buried. They were born in Siam in 1811 having a 5 inch band of flesh and cartilage joining them at the chest. They toured in sideshow type attractions before settling down near Mt. Airy and raising a family. They married two sisters and had 21 children combined.
They died only a few hours apart in 1874. Chang went first due to a blot clot in the brain. Eng died, it is believed from fear of dying.

I found a really good article on the twins here. It goes into alot of interesting facts and more on their lives.

After they died it was discovered that the only organ they shared was their livers which were fused but independently complete. They could have been easily separated if they lived in present day but it's debatable if the operation could have been possible during their time. The twins' fused liver is still preserved in formalin at the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is exhibited alongside a plaster death-cast of the twins. (sidenote:I want to go to the Mutter soooo badly!!! It's a museum of medical oddities and curiosities.)

They are buried in the White Plains Church Cemetery in Surry County, NC (outskirts of Mt.Airy). The church they helped to establish and build.

I did find an Andy connection to the twins:

"The Wedding of the Siamese Twins" by Burton Cohen, a play detailing the intimate and often amusing lives of Chang and Eng Bunker, is scheduled to be performed annually at the Andy Griffith Playhouse in Mount Airy, NC.

Another interesting thing is that Mark Twain wrote a short story about Eng and Chang: The Siamese Twins

That's that! Vacation over! Time to get unpacked and back to cooking up revolting matter that I like to try and pass off as food!


krista said...

This is an amazing story, I've jsut shared it with my husband, of course being the skeptic, he doesn't believe it... bah. I think it's incredible!
Having fun visiting your blog these last couple of months, very cool!

Becky said...

love your blog!!! I now know more about Eng and Chang than ever. Not like I knew anything about them before. But, if theres a pop quiz tomarrow I`m good.

Catrina said...

I really enjoyed your vacation...I felt like I went on the trip with you guys. Thanks for sharing.

Jennifer said...

I've really enjoyed the trip as well! Glad to see that your lipstick remained perfectly applied for all the shots of you. Definitely will be visiting Mt. Airy if I ever make it over to the NC!

jungle dream pagoda said...

Did you know Eng and Chang's female counterparts, Violet and Daisy Hilton,of "Freaks" fame,had a musical inspired by their life?
Its called " Sideshow", the big finale is "I will never leave you".
Perhaps fodder for the next,Tie one on, the musical ? I know, sometimes I worry about the flotsam and jetsom floatin' around in my noggin'.

Jennifer said...

I adore the Bunker twins! Actually, I love all conjoined twins and sideshow performers.

I read an article a few years ago that suggested Eng died not from fear but from bleeding to death. Because they shared blood between them, Chang's heart kept pumping into Eng, but Eng's did not return his blood.

I don't know if this makes the story better or worse. But thought I'd share. I'm so jealous you got to see their grave.

Dirkey said...

been to the mutter museam, love it. Don't go on a full stomach though!