Conjoined twins were at one point in time attractions in circus shows. Not many sets of conjoined twins recorded in history have lived long lives, and the fact that some can live over 25 years is remarkable in itself. Places that some of the most famous conjoined twins in history come from include:
- The Philippines,
There are many sets of conjoined twins throughout history, and many have lived to be over 50 years old.
Here are 10 of the longest living conjoined twins.
1. Abigail and Brittany Hensel were born in Minnesota in 1990. The twins each have an arm, a neck, a heart, and a separate set of lungs. They share all their organs from the waist down. They are able to live normal, full lives and both have separate identities.
The twins first appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show when they were six. In 2012, they starred on a reality series Called Abby & Brittany on TLC. Both twins have their own driver’s licences. The twins hope that one day they can both get married and have children.
2. Lucio and Simplicio Godina were born in the Philippines in 1908. They were conjoined by the skin and cartilage at the buttocks, and did not share any organs or bones. The twins were very flexible. If one twin wanted to lie down while the other stood up, they would be able to do so.
The twins were discovered at a sideshow act in Coney Island and were adopted by a wealthy man. They both eventually married a set of identical twins. Doctors were able to separate the twins after Lucio died from rheumatic fever. Simplicio survived the separation, but died just two weeks later due to spinal meningitis.
3. Eliza and Mary Chulkhurst, also known as the Biddenden maids, are believed to have been born in the year 1100. They were conjoined at the shoulders and hips and lived for 34 years, but their existence has been debated.
There is no living proof that the twins existed. However, works of art exist that depict the women as if they had existed. Many believe that Mary died first the age of 34. Eliza declined the doctor’s request to separate the twins, and she died just 6 hours later.
4. Rosa and Josefa Blazek were born in 1878 in Bohemia. They were conjoined at the spine. What’s interesting about these twins is the fact that Rosa became pregnant and gave birth in 1910 to a son named Franz.
The twins performed in circus acts and even had Franz join along with them. In 1922, the twins died of jaundice at the age of 43.
5. Lori and George Schappell (born as Lori and Dori Schappell) were born in 1961 and are conjoined at the head. George was initially born as Dori, but she did not like that her name rhymed with her sister’s, so she had it changed to Reba. In 2007, Reba announced that she identified as a male. He changed his name to George.
The twins are now 55 years old and both live very different lives. George suffers from spina bifida, which impairs his mobility and restricts growth in his lower body. This means that Lori is significantly taller than her brother. Because of this, George sits in a rolling stool which allows him be at the same height as his sister.
6. Millie and Christine McCoy were born in North Carolina in 1851, and lived to be the age of 61. The twins are also known for their stage names “The Caroline Twins,” “The Two-Headed Nightingale,” and “The Eighth Wonder of The World.” They were attached at the lower spine.
The twins were sold at 10 months old and were freed in 1863. Throughout their lives, they performed as circus acts and even sang and danced together. They died of tuberculosis in 1912. Millie died first, and Christine died just 12 hours later.
7. Daisy and Violet Hilton were born in 1908 and were attached at the hips and buttocks. They were some of the biggest sideshows in the 1930’s where they performed musical instruments and dances. The girls are said to have spent much of their lives as slaves, and when they became famous they began to self destruct, resulting in multiple publicity stunts, fake marriages and affairs.
The twins had their last public appearance in early 1960 at a drive-in in North Carolina, where their tour manager abandoned them. With no money or transportation, the girls took jobs in a grocery store. They worked there for the rest of their lives before they were both found dead in 1969 due to the Hong Kong flu. They were 60 years old.
8. Chang and Eng Bunker were born in 1811 in Thailand, but were of Chinese descent. They were attached at the sternum and were called the “Chinese Twins” by villagers. They were sold to a British merchant in 1829, and went on a world tour.
The brothers moved to North Carolina in 1839 and took the name of Bunker. They both got married and had children. Chang had 10 children while Eng had 11, and they both even shared a bed with their wives. In 1874, at the age of 62, Chang developed bronchitis and died. His brother died just three hours later.
9. Donnie and Ronnie Galyon were born in 1951 in Dayton, Ohio. They were not permitted to attend school when they were young because teachers feared the twins would be a distraction to other students.
The twins were deemed the oldest living conjoined twins in 2009 by Guinness World Records. They performed as sideshows for much of their lives and have since retired. They are both still living at the age of 65.
10. Liou Seng-Sen and Liou Tang-Sen were born in China in 1886. They were conjoined at the chest and lived most of their lives in the circus circuit.
The twins were named the Korean Twins because at the time America had a ban on Chinese immigration. The brothers both got married and had children. One of the brothers died in 1957 at the age of 71, making them the longest surviving set of conjoined twins in history.