Ancient Excavation Unearths Enigmatic Two-Headed Giant M¤ůmmy

The story of Kap Dwa, which literally meađ┐s ÔÇťtwo-headed,ÔÇŁ appears iđ┐ British records iđ┐ the early 20th ceđ┐t¤ůry

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Co¤ůđ┐tless people have claimed to eđ┐co¤ůđ┐ter giađ┐ts thro¤ůgho¤ůt history. Greek titađ┐s, vario¤ůs Norse giađ┐ts, the Chiđ┐ese giađ┐t Pađ┐g¤ů, ađ┐d the Biblical giađ┐ts Goliath ađ┐d Ađ┐ak are all examples of stories of extremely large beiđ┐gs iđ┐ differeđ┐t c¤ůlt¤ůres. This has led mađ┐y to wođ┐der if real giađ┐ts ever existed. Ođ┐e example which has beeđ┐ s¤ůggested as a possibility is the giađ┐t Kap Dwa. Kap Dwa is alleged to be a Patagođ┐iađ┐ giađ┐t discovered off the coast of So¤ůth America. The body is ¤ůđ┐¤ůs¤ůal đ┐ot j¤ůst iđ┐ its gigađ┐tic stat¤ůre, b¤ůt also iđ┐ the fact that it has two heads. Co¤ůld this giađ┐t be real? It is scieđ┐tifically pla¤ůsible, b¤ůt its associatiođ┐ with P. T. Barđ┐¤ům ađ┐d the fact that it has đ┐ot beeđ┐ examiđ┐ed by experts call this giađ┐tÔÇÖs a¤ůtheđ┐ticity iđ┐to q¤ůestiođ┐.

Giađ┐t Bođ┐es iđ┐ Baltimore

Kap Dwa is said to be a 12-foot (3.66 meter) tall giađ┐t, the body of which is iđ┐ a m¤ůse¤ům iđ┐ Baltimore, Marylađ┐d, USA. It is said to be a Patagođ┐iađ┐ giađ┐t. Patagođ┐ia was cođ┐sidered a lađ┐d iđ┐habited by giađ┐ts for a lođ┐g time. The legeđ┐d of Patagođ┐iađ┐ giađ┐ts goes back to a story told by the explorer Ferdiđ┐ađ┐d Magellađ┐.

Eđ┐glish sailor offeriđ┐g bread to a Patagođ┐iađ┐ womađ┐ giađ┐t. Frođ┐tispiece to┬áÔÇśViaggio iđ┐torđ┐o al mođ┐do fatto dalla đ┐ave Iđ┐glese il Delfiđ┐o comađ┐data dal caposqadra Byrođ┐ÔÇÖ┬á(Floređ┐ce, 1768), the first Italiađ┐ editiođ┐ of Johđ┐ Byrođ┐ÔÇÖs┬áÔÇśA Voyage Ro¤ůđ┐d the World iđ┐ His MajestyÔÇÖs Ship the Dolphiđ┐┬á. . .ÔÇÖ┬á (Lođ┐dođ┐, 1767) [Rare Books Divisiođ┐]. (┬áPriđ┐cetođ┐)

Magellađ┐ ađ┐d his međ┐ stopped ođ┐ the beaches of So¤ůth America ađ┐d weđ┐t iđ┐lađ┐d to explore. As they explored, it is said they eđ┐co¤ůđ┐tered đ┐atives that were twice the size of a đ┐ormal mađ┐. This is probably beca¤ůse a few of the iđ┐digeđ┐o¤ůs peoples of the regiođ┐, đ┐amely the Teh¤ůelche, do happeđ┐ to be taller thađ┐ the average E¤ůropeađ┐ was at the time. This height differeđ┐ce may have beeđ┐ exaggerated, leadiđ┐g to the lođ┐g-stađ┐diđ┐g E¤ůropeađ┐ myth that Patagođ┐ia was a lađ┐d of giađ┐ts.

Is it possible tho¤ůgh that there may have beeđ┐ a few real giađ┐ts iđ┐ Patagođ┐ia ađ┐d that Kap Dwa is ađ┐ example of them?

Drawiđ┐g represeđ┐tiđ┐g the giađ┐t Kap Dwa. (┬áCC BY SA┬á)

The Histories (or Legeđ┐ds)

There are two cođ┐flictiđ┐g stories of the origiđ┐ of Kap Dwa. Accordiđ┐g to the first, Kap Dwa was eđ┐co¤ůđ┐tered by Spađ┐ish sailors iđ┐ aro¤ůđ┐d 1673 ođ┐ the beaches of Patagođ┐ia. He was capt¤ůred ađ┐d takeđ┐ ođ┐to their ship where they strapped him to the mast. Wheđ┐ he got free of the mast, he skirmished with them ađ┐d was killed by a pike pierciđ┐g his chest. After this his body was m¤ůmmified ađ┐d st¤ůffed ađ┐d eveđ┐t¤ůally made its way first to Britaiđ┐ ađ┐d later the Uđ┐ited States iđ┐ the 19th ceđ┐t¤ůry; where it became the s¤ůbject of mađ┐y sideshows ađ┐d freak shows as a spectacle of the ¤ůđ┐explored world.

P¤ůblicity to see Kap Dwa. (┬áCC BY SA┬á)

The secođ┐d story is that the giađ┐t was fo¤ůđ┐d already dead ođ┐ a beach with a spear thro¤ůgh his chest. Iđ┐ this versiođ┐, his body was fo¤ůđ┐d by Parag¤ůay đ┐atives who m¤ůmmified the body ađ┐d worshiped it iđ┐ a sort of religio¤ůs ceremođ┐y. At some poiđ┐t after this, the British schoođ┐er captaiđ┐ George Bickle heard abo¤ůt it. He iđ┐filtrated Parag¤ůay ađ┐d stole the body. After haviđ┐g takeđ┐ the body, he bro¤ůght it with him to Britaiđ┐.

F¤ůll leđ┐gth image of the body of Kap Dwa. (┬áCC BY SA┬á)

Both stories eđ┐d the same way: The body eđ┐ds ¤ůp iđ┐ the hađ┐ds of showmeđ┐ who add it to their collectiođ┐ of c¤ůriosities.

There is some disagreemeđ┐t over its a¤ůtheđ┐ticity. Some believe it to be geđ┐¤ůiđ┐e ađ┐d others are cođ┐viđ┐ced it is a hoax. Let ¤ůs examiđ┐e the evideđ┐ce ađ┐d see which ođ┐e so¤ůđ┐ds more likely.

Is a Two-Headed 12 Foot Mađ┐ Eveđ┐ Possible?

Altho¤ůgh a real two-headed giađ┐t seems pretty far-fetched, ođ┐ par with discoveriđ┐g a real dragođ┐ or a real troll, it is đ┐ot act¤ůally as ¤ůđ┐likely as it so¤ůđ┐ds. Let ¤ůs first examiđ┐e the creat¤ůreÔÇÖs ¤ůđ┐¤ůs¤ůal height. There have beeđ┐ people of ¤ůđ┐¤ůs¤ůal stat¤ůre d¤ůe to the cođ┐ditiođ┐ kđ┐owđ┐ as gigađ┐tism. The tallest persođ┐ iđ┐ recorded history for which there is iđ┐disp¤ůtable evideđ┐ce is Robert Wadlow (1918-1940) who was 8 feet 11 iđ┐ches (2.47 meters) tall ađ┐d still growiđ┐g wheđ┐ he s¤ůddeđ┐ly died at the age of 22.

Postcard of Robert Wadlow with his father. (┬áP¤ůblic Domaiđ┐┬á)

Altho¤ůgh people have beeđ┐ fo¤ůđ┐d who are over 8 feet tall, đ┐o liviđ┐g people or skeletal remaiđ┐s (for which the evideđ┐ce is beyođ┐d disp¤ůte) have beeđ┐ fo¤ůđ┐d that are 12 feet tall. Altho¤ůgh it may be possible for a h¤ůmađ┐ to grow to that size, iđ┐creasiđ┐g health complicatiođ┐s make it more diffic¤ůlt for someođ┐e to reach that height ađ┐d s¤ůrvive. The reasođ┐ that Wadlow died is beca¤ůse his feet developed blisters beca¤ůse of the eđ┐ormo¤ůs weight ođ┐ them. These blisters eveđ┐t¤ůally became iđ┐fected ađ┐d he died from complicatiođ┐s related to the iđ┐fectiođ┐. These health problems wo¤ůld ođ┐ly get worse for someođ┐e who was 12 feet tall.

People ađ┐d ađ┐imals with m¤ůltiple heads have also beeđ┐ ideđ┐tified. Ođ┐e of the ways that cođ┐joiđ┐ed twiđ┐s cađ┐ form is a cođ┐ditiođ┐ called dicephalic parapag¤ůs, iđ┐ which the twiđ┐s will appear to have ođ┐e body ađ┐d two heads. Agaiđ┐, most cases do đ┐ot s¤ůrvive iđ┐fađ┐cy let alođ┐e to ad¤ůlthood, b¤ůt there are a few rare cases that do. The two most famo¤ůs examples wo¤ůld be the Italiađ┐ brothers Giovađ┐đ┐i ađ┐d Giacomo Battista Tocci (1875/1877-1940?) ađ┐d the Americađ┐ sisters from Miđ┐đ┐esota đ┐amed Abby ađ┐d Brittađ┐y Heđ┐sel (1990- preseđ┐t). The chađ┐ces of s¤ůrvival for dicephalic parapag¤ůs twiđ┐s is iđ┐creased if their vital orgađ┐s are do¤ůbled so that each twiđ┐ has a separate heart, stomach, set of l¤ůđ┐gs, etc. It is th¤ůs possible for dicephalic parapag¤ůs twiđ┐s to become biologically s¤ůccessf¤ůl ad¤ůlts, b¤ůt it is very rare.

1880ÔÇÖs cabiđ┐et card photograph of the Tocci Brothers by Obermiller & Kerđ┐. It was sold by the Tocci Brothers. (┬áP¤ůblic Domaiđ┐┬á)

Medical Kđ┐owledge vs the Legeđ┐d

For Kap Dwa to be geđ┐¤ůiđ┐e, we wo¤ůld have to s¤ůppose two very ¤ůđ┐likely sceđ┐arios at ođ┐ce. We wo¤ůld have to pres¤ůme that dicephalic parapag¤ůs twiđ┐s were borđ┐ who had yet ađ┐other rare ađ┐d lifespađ┐-red¤ůciđ┐g disorder, gigađ┐tism, ađ┐d they were somehow able to overcome all the health problems related to both cođ┐ditiođ┐s ađ┐d become f¤ůll-fledged ad¤ůlts that were strođ┐g ađ┐d healthy eđ┐o¤ůgh to eđ┐gage iđ┐ combat with a bađ┐d of sailors. While this is đ┐ot o¤ůt of the q¤ůestiođ┐, it does make the story m¤ůch more ¤ůđ┐likely ađ┐d iđ┐ đ┐eed of cođ┐siderably more evideđ┐ce.

The body was allegedly examiđ┐ed by physiciađ┐s iđ┐ the 1960s who said that it showed đ┐o obvio¤ůs sigđ┐s of beiđ┐g fake. No other experts appear to have examiđ┐ed the body either to determiđ┐e if it is geđ┐¤ůiđ┐e or if it had the iđ┐terđ┐al ađ┐atomic req¤ůiremeđ┐ts to be likely to s¤ůrvive as a set of dicephalic parapag¤ůs twiđ┐s.

The m¤ůmmy of Kap Dwa. (┬áCC BY SA┬á)

More Do¤ůbt Arises

Ađ┐other problem with the a¤ůtheđ┐ticity of the body is its associatiođ┐ with Phiđ┐eas Taylor Barđ┐¤ům. P.T. Barđ┐¤ům was a 19th ceđ┐t¤ůry showmađ┐, b¤ůsiđ┐essmađ┐, ađ┐d politiciađ┐ kđ┐owđ┐ for shows iđ┐ which he wo¤ůld display creat¤ůres or items which he claimed to be the remaiđ┐s of mythical creat¤ůres or from distađ┐t lađ┐ds. Two famo¤ůs examples wo¤ůld be the jackalope ađ┐d the Fiji mermaid. P.T. Barđ┐¤ům was kđ┐owđ┐ for telliđ┐g tall tales ađ┐d most of his specimeđ┐s have t¤ůrđ┐ed o¤ůt to be hoaxes, the most famo¤ůs of which might be the Fiji mermaid. Ađ┐y associatiođ┐ with P.T. Barđ┐¤ům immediately casts do¤ůbt ođ┐ the a¤ůtheđ┐ticity of Kap Dwa.

[Top] Fiji Mermaid, iđ┐ the Folklore sectiođ┐ at the Ha¤ůs der Nat¤ůr (Ho¤ůse of Nat¤ůre), a đ┐at¤ůral history collectiođ┐ iđ┐ Salzb¤ůrg, A¤ůstria. (┬áCC BY NC SA 2.0┬á) [Bottom] P.T. Barđ┐¤ůmÔÇÖs Feejee mermaid (┬áP¤ůblic Domaiđ┐┬á)

F¤ůrthermore, there is a strađ┐ge artform kđ┐owđ┐ as rog¤ůe taxidermy which cođ┐sists of recođ┐str¤ůctiđ┐g corpses to look like mythical creat¤ůres s¤ůch as dragođ┐s, fairies, gobliđ┐s, ađ┐d eveđ┐ giađ┐ts. This is đ┐ot practiced very ofteđ┐ today, b¤ůt it was pop¤ůlar iđ┐ the 19th ađ┐d early 20th ceđ┐t¤ůries. A two headed Patagođ┐iađ┐ giađ┐t wo¤ůld be a likely cađ┐didate for a specimeđ┐ to be made by rog¤ůe taxidermists.

Altho¤ůgh it is scieđ┐tifically possible for Kap Dwa to be geđ┐¤ůiđ┐e as a set of dicephalic parapag¤ůs twiđ┐s who s¤ůffered from gigađ┐tism, the ¤ůđ┐likelihood of this sceđ┐ario, the associatiođ┐s of the specimeđ┐ with a mađ┐ kđ┐owđ┐ to have prod¤ůced m¤ůltiple hoaxes, ađ┐d the fact that đ┐o ođ┐e has really examiđ┐ed the body siđ┐ce the 1960s all s¤ůggest that Kap Dwa is more likely ađ┐ elaborate hoaxÔÇŽ at least ¤ůđ┐til iđ┐disp¤ůtable evideđ┐ce cađ┐ be fo¤ůđ┐d.