Edward Mordrake, the man with two faces

Edward Mordrake, the man with two faces, is a legendary figure described as a 19th-century English nobleman with a disturbing peculiarity: he possessed a “demonic face” on the back of his head, with functioning eyes and mouth, but incapable of producing sounds.

The Story.

His true story has been lost over time.

The account of his life is so confused that no solid birth or death date is evident to modern researchers.

Mordrake was considered a charming and sunny man, a scholar and musician possessed of deep grace.

Edward is said to have descended from a noble family of 19th-century England and to have had another head behind his own, with its own intelligence.

A second face that could not eat or speak aloud, but could cry, laugh, and communicate with its mind.

A second face that had grimaces and expressions independent of the first.

At night, in the absence of light, this demonic face became cruel and evil.

It whispered evil and atrocious words to Edward, tormenting him until he cried out in despair, leading him to madness.

In some versions of the story, Edward’s second face is described as that of a beautiful and wicked girl. An impossible hypothesis, since all parasitic twins are of the same sex.

Mordrake begged doctors repeatedly to remove this evil face, but received only refusals.

No one ever had the courage to proceed with this operation.

The story ended with the young man taking his own life at just 23, unable to find another way out.

According to some, he hanged himself, according to others, he poisoned himself, while according to a third version, he shot himself twice in the head, between the eyes of the demon face that haunted him.

However, all agree that Edward left a letter with a very specific request: his demon face was to be destroyed before his burial, so that it could not continue to whisper evil things to him even in the grave.

Legend or Reality?

The first time Edward Mordrake was mentioned was in an article in the Boston Post in 1885.

Here, he was described along with other freaks, including a woman with a fish tail, a man with a spider body, and another who was half crab.

In this article, his illness was discussed, but the medical diagnosis was unknown. A form of diprosopia, or bifurcated craniofacial duplication, was hypothesized.

In a text titled “Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine” from 1896, a different and more popular version of his story was narrated.

However, this version is considered unreliable because it is too fantastical to believe and medically nonsensical.

Edward Mordrake, the man with two faces, is just a figure born out of an urban legend created by poet Charles Lotin Hildreth.

Furthermore, his story has been described in popular and folkloric tales, although there is no documented medical evidence. This has made him akin to a mythological creation.

Today, his figure is often used by artists to explain what it means to live within one’s own body with a personal hell.

Consider, for example, Tom Waits’ song “Poor Edward,” as well as numerous other texts and games.

Finally, it should be noted that Edward Mordrake, the man with two faces, appears as a character in the television series AHS: Freakshow, where he is portrayed by actor Wes Bentley.

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