Curious History: The Story of the Two-Headed Boy of Bengal
The Two-Headed Boy was born in May 1783 in the village of Mundul Gait in Bengal; his parents were poor farming people. Immediately after the child had been delivered, the midwife, who was terrified by its strange appearance, tried to destroy the infant by throwing it into the fire; he was saved from the flames with burns on one eye and one ear of the upper head. The parents soon realized the possibility of earning money by exhibiting their child in Calcutta, where he attracted much attention. Large crowds gathered to see the Two-Headed Boy and his fame soon spread all over India.
When the boy was four years old and in good general health, his mother left him one day, walking off to the village to fetch water. On her return, her son was dead from the bite of a cobra. Several scientific amateurs made offers to purchase the corpse, but the religious parents did not allow it; instead, they buried their child near the Boopnorain river, outside the city of Tumloch. The grave was later plundered by Mr Dent, the East India Company’s agent for salt in this city. He dissected the putrefied body and kept the skull, which he gave to Captain Buchanan of the same company. The captain brought the skull to England, where he gave it to his friend Everard Home. The skull can still be seen at the Hunterian Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons of London.