Said to be joined at the spine in the same manner as the Blazek twins who died recently in Chicago, Violet and Daisy Hilton, 16-year-old twins recently attracting interest in San Antonio, Texas, differ widely in mentality, although strikingly similar in appearance and musical talent - From Gould & Pyle - Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine" Chang and Eng above are the original Siamese twins, made famous by P. T. Barnum


 

New Discoveries about Twins

Duplicate Children, Exactly Alike in Mind as Well as Body, Revealed by Amazing Scientific Studies

 

A NATION-WIDE twin hunt, following the recent dramatic death in Chicago of the famous Blazek sisters-"Siamese twins," joined together for birth-has brought to light the fact that there are now living in this country two attractive young girls, Violet and Daisy Hilton, who are also said to be fastened together at the spine in fashion similar to the joining of Rosa and Josefa Blazek.

Meanwhile science, investigating the always intensely interesting subject of twins, has made some astonishing discoveries, which will attract popular attention all the more strongly because of legal and medical debate following the passing away of Rosa and Josefa Blazek, after their forty years of fame on the stage and in medical circles.

 

Two Persons or One?

The question raised at their death, as to whether these remarkable sisters really constituted one or two distinct persons, involved the inheritance of an estimated fortune of some $200,000. If held by law to be inseparably one individual-as they were, in effect, held to be by the decision that prevented the doctors' effort to separate them and save the life of one-then the young son of Rosa would inherit the entire estate.

If, on the other hand, they were legally two individuals, the estate would be divided equally between Rosa's son and Josefa's living relatives.

Now, the amazing fact has been unearthed by scientific investigation that while Siamese twins, such as the Blazek sisters, may be utterly unlike in all respects, although closely shackled by bonds of flesh for life, certain ordinary twins may be so nearly identical-not only in appearance, but in mind and spirit-as to seem almost the same personality.

Dr. Arnold Gesell, director of the Yale Psycho Clinic, New Haven, Conn., has lately made a study of un-joined twin sisters who are in every respect normal children of above the average talent, yet who resemble each other amazingly, not only in looks, but in mental and spiritual traits as well.

That among the twins known to every reader, some may be of this technically called "duplicate: type, and others of the "fraternal" type-quite unlike although born together-is one of the conclusions of these recent scientific studies. "Siamese twins might conceivably be of either type.

The original Siamese twins themselves, Chang and Eng, made famous by P. T. Barnum and exhibited for years in all parts of the world, bore no marked similarity in features, yet were strikingly similar in tastes. The mutual adjustment of their movements was amazing. With bodies joined, the twins could tumble head over heels without the slightest inconvenience.

These twins were discovered in Siam and rescued from a tragic fate by a British merchant in 1824, when they were about 13 years old. Fearing that the strange brothers were evil spirits and might bring harm to his country, the superstitious King of Siam was planning to put them to death when the merchant prevailed upon him to allow the boys to be taken away for exhibition.

Records of at least six other physically shackled twins-both the merchant prevailed upon him to allow the boys to be taken away for exhibition.

Records of at least six other physically shackled twins-both boys and girls-have come down through history.

Some biologists believe that fraternal twins, who may or may not be of the same sex, but show ordinary fraternal resemblance, are presumably derived from two separate ova. Identical twins, on the other hand, who are always of the same sex, are supposed to originate by division from one and the same fertilized ovum, while conjoined twins may have developed from separate ova that have grown together during the prenatal period.

The remarkable likeness of the ten-year-old duplicate twin girls recently described by Dr. Arnold Gesell in The Scientific Monthly many be judged from the sectional views of the lower parts of their faces shown at the bottom of this page. Even a slight defect in the development of the upper right incisor of one is duplicated in her twin sister, while each has a small pigmented mole near the left corner of her mouth.

Dr. Gesell's admirably thorough study of them showed that their physical development at the age of nine years, their height, weight, head dimensions, pulse, blood pressure, muscular strength and degree of ossification of the bones of the hands were almost identical. Particularly astonishing in this list of similarities, was the coincidence of the patterns of the palms of their hands and the soles of their feet.

Most interesting of all is the mental similarity of the twins, discovered by Dr Gesell's novel scheme of giving the twins a series of 25 educational tests. In many instances both girls made the same mistakes and showed the same tendencies of alertness, attention, deliberation, sense of humor, and emotional reactions.

 

 

Popular Science Sep 1922


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