“The Two-headed Patagonian Giant”, said to have been over 12ft (3.7m) tall, was a famous fairground attraction allegedly brought to England in the 19th century. The story was that he had been captured by Spanish sailors in 1673 and bound to the mainmast. He broke loose and killed four of his captors, before being killed himself by a boarding pike plunged into his heart [FT112:15].

In the early 1900s, the stuffed giant was purchased by a Mr Bartram who toured the country on the Edwardian horror circuit, ending up in Weston-super-Mare in Somerset, where the curiosity passed through several hands and was exhibited at various locations. It was known as Kap Dwa, which translates approximately as Two-Heads. (In the Malay language, kepala means head and dua means two; how this relates to the supposed Patagonian provenance is unknown.) In 1914, visitors to Weston’s Birnbeck Pier paid tuppence to see the black giant lying on his back wearing a loincloth, armed with a large club and with a snake coiled on his breast. The exhibit is mentioned in An Innkeeper’s Diary (1931) by John Fothergill, and in Cider With Rosie (1959) by Laurie Lee. It was sold to a showman called “Lord” Thomas Howard in 1959, after which it left Weston.

FT reader Frank Adey remembers seeing it in Blackpool around 1960. He was certain it was a fake, but commented: “There were no signs of sutures or other ‘joins’, even though the body was largely unclothed”
[FT114:50]. In the 1930s, two doctors and a radiologist inspected it in Weston and found “no perceptual evidence of its being a fake”. They speculated that it was some kind of conjoined twins. Another FT reader saw it in Blackpool at the end of the 1960s. One account maintains that in 1974 Howard sold or transferred Kap Dwa to his brother Scott in New Jersey. An exhibit purporting to be the dubious relic was seen in a Baltimore antique shop called Antique Man 1 in 1998 [FT116:53], and as far as we know it is still there – but FT doubts it is the Kap Dwa of Weston-super-Mare.

Read the rest of the story here ForteanTimes


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