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Comments:2,184
Duration:03:58
Uploaded:2011-01-12
Last sync:2018-11-27 03:10
Flood relief: http://dft.ba/-ausflood God's Fool by Mark Slouka: http://dft.ba/-aGN (His daughter turns out to be a nerdfighter!)

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In which John creates a list of the six most important conjoined twin pairs in history (in his humble experience) while also discussing his massive zit. Twins discussed include Chang and Eng Bunker, Millie and Christine McCoy, Lori and George Schapell, Giacomo and Giovanni Tocci, and the Biddenden Maids.

EDIT: I'm probably wrong about the Emancipation Proclamation freeing the McCoy sisters, although I haven't confirmed it. The E.P. did free some slaves, but most weren't freed until the 13th amendment.


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Nerdfighteria
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A Bunny
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Good morning Hank, it's Wednesday. I have a zit so big that when I get close to the camcorder, my camcorder believes that my zit is a face. I mean frankly Hank, this zit is so big that I've begun to wonder whether it's going to develop self consciousness and because of that I've been thinking about conjoined twins.

So Hank, I thought I would one up your top five video from Monday and give you top six pairs of conjoined twins in history, which is actually, not to brag or anything, kind of a top twelve.

Number six, the Biddenden Maids. Mary and Eliza Chulkhurst were conjoined twins who left five plots of land when they died to benefit the poor of their town Biddenden. And for the last five hundred years, continuing up to today, every Easter there's lots of stuff for the poor people in this town thanks to Mary and Eliza. In addition to like bread and cheese and stuff, pensioners and widows also get Biddenden Cakes which are these like massively disgusting biscuits printed with conjoined twins on them. Like one 19th century historian referred to them as "not by any means tempting". Anyway Hank, let that be a lesson to you, if you leave your money to charity they will print your face on disgusting biscuits forever but if you leave your money to your brother, he will spend it.

Number five, Giacomo and Giovanni Tocci. Giacomo and Giovanni were conjoined twins with two heads, four arms and two legs and like a lot of conjoined twins, they spent pretty much their entire childhood on the freak show circuit. In fact, the Tocci twins spent like five years touring America during which time Mark Twain heard about them, which inspired him to write "Those Extraordinary Twins" and also inspired indirectly the great novel "Pudd'nhead Wilson". So basically without the Tocci twins, Mark Twain is a lesser novelist. See and people say that the history of conjoined twindom is not interesting. Stop looking at my zit!

Number four, Lori and George Schappell who are still living and despite sharing 30% of their brain matter, have very different lives. Lori works part time at a hospital laundry. George is a professional country singer. By the way, they are both female - all conjoined twins are identical. Its like an autonomous region of John Green.

Number three, Jodie and Marie - not their real names. So in 2000, conjoined twins are born in the United Kingdom - Jodie and Mary. Jodie was the stronger of the two twins - her heart basically pumped for Mary's blood system. Mary was a separate person, with a separate brain but she couldn't survive without Jodie. Doctors determined that both twins would inevitably die unless they were separated but if they were separated Mary would die immediately. Mary and Jodie's parents didn't want them to be separated but a court ordered the procedure. As expected, Mary died, Jodie survived and, in fact, is still alive today. And the case raised all kinds of questions about personhood and medical ethics, a discussion that I'm sure will continue in the comments.

Number two, Chang and Eng, the stars of this great book "God's Fool". Chang and Eng were the original Siamese twins, they had a crazy life that started in Thailand and took them all around the world. They eventually brought a tobacco plantation in North Carolina, married sisters and had 21 kids between the two of them. Like a lot of the non-separated conjoined twins we're talking about, they had a fascinating and very rich life, that in some ways was probably better than it would have been if they had been born singletons. Which, by the way Hank, is the word for people who aren't conjoined like, you know, us and most people.

This takes me to my favorite conjoined twins of all time, Millie and Christine McKoy, who were known as "the two-headed Nightingale". Millie and Christine were born into slavery in 1851, sold repeatedly, taken away from their mother, eventually kidnapped by a guy who toured them around the world while beating them. They were eventually taken back by one of their owners and reunited with their biological mother and the slave owner and his wife taught Millie and Christine how to speak five languages and how to sing in perfect harmony, but also owned them as property and took all their money. But then when they were 13, the Emancipation Proclamation, freed them and they went on to work sideshows with Barnum and Bailey and made a tonne of money. Certainly, Millie and Christine were exploited throughout their lives, but its hard to say their lives would be better if they had been separated at birth. And that's really what fascinates me about conjoined twins. We're so obsessed with the idea that unusual anatomies need to be made normal, that we forget that unusual anatomies can have many advantages. That's not to say that conjoinedness is entirely desirable, just that the reality of conjoinedness, like most realities, resists simplicity.

Lastly Nerdfighters, as I'm sure you are aware, there have been devastating floods in Queensland, Australia. There is a link in the dooblydoo to help people who have been affected by those floods. Don't Forget To be Awesome. Hank, I will see you on Friday.