The Strange Case of Edward Mordrake

The Strange Case of Edward Mordrake
Fans of the show American Horror Story will recognize the name Edward Mordrake. What many might not realize is that Mordrake was a real individual who lived in the 1800s.

Legend tells us that Mordrake was a member of a noble English family. He was well-educated, talented and even considered nice-looking by most - unless viewed from the back.

Mordrake suffered greatly from a condition known as diprosopus, a congenital disorder in which the victim’s facial features are duplicated on another part of the head.

Most sources indicate that Edward’s second face was horrendous to look upon, but some relate that the appearance was that of a rather beautiful female.

Although the face was reportedly unable to eat or speak, it was said to have “its own intelligence and was quite malignant in its intentions.”

Some sources indicate that the second face was indeed able to speak and make sounds. Additionally, it would cause Edward a great deal of angst by laughing at his pain and sneering at any joy he might experience.

Edward became increasingly depressed as he grew into a young man. He was seldom able to relax or sleep because the face would keep him awake at night with evil and wicked words.

Eventually, Mordrake begged doctors to remove the face from the back of his head, but none would endeavor to try the surgical procedure.

At the age of 23, after finally having lived as long as he could with the parasite attached to him day and night, Mordrake committed suicide. Most versions indicate that he took poison, although some versions relate that he shot himself between the eyes on the back of his head.

He left a suicide note asking that the “demon face” be removed from his head and destroyed before he was interred in the ground. Poor Edward feared that the whisperings would continue into his grave, and that he would be forever tormented.

I found nothing to indicate that Edward’s final wish was fulfilled; and, I wonder if the poor man was ever able to find peace of mind after he left his tortured life on this plane of existence.

Although the legend of Edward Mordrake is based on a true story, my research shows no indication that circuses and carnivals do not perform on Halloween night in the fear that the spirit of the two-faced man will return and cause harm. The Cole Bros. Circus of the Stars will be performing in Palm Coast, Florida Halloween night.

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