Chang and Eng Bunker: The first-known Siamese twins in world history
Known as the original Siamese twins, Chang and Eng Bunker were born in Siam, now known as Thailand. The inseparable twins were born in 1811 and taken to America and Britain to be exhibited as freaks. They were also scrutinized by doctors but overcame all adversities becoming Southerners owning plantations.
Chang and Eng also had a remarkable family life with both of them raising a total of 21 children. Their name stands as the first known case of a conjoined twin, providing the namesake for children who are born with the congenital defect.
An early start in the world of oddities in the United States and in Britain
The 19th century was when the British and American environment was mired in social inequalities. Such was the case of the conjoined twins who was considered an oddity at that time. They were ‘monsters’ in the eyes of many and people taunted them for their weird and unnatural appearance.
But despite the hardships thrown towards their lives, Chang and Eng persevered. The Bunker twin pursued living a normal life and was contracted for some time with an American sea captain named Abel Coffin. Coffin was responsible for bringing the twins to the United States.
They performed stunt acts in a carnival with uncanny abilities that wowed the audience. They also toured Britain and the rest of Europe returning to the US more learned and wealthier.
A bed specially made for two couples and a growing family
Returning to the United States with lots of money, the twins settled in North Carolina. They married two local women who happened to be sisters, Adelaide and Sarah Yates. The Victorian era had a lot of repudiations including a woman, especially sisters, cannot share intimacies with each other. But despite reservations from Sarah (Eng’s wife), the foursome was married on April 13, 1943.
The couples shared the same bed which was made tougher and can accommodate four. They became parents of 22 siblings with Chang and Adelaide rearing twelve children and Eng and Sarah having ten.