Radica and Doodica
also known as “The Hindoo Twins”

 

 

 

Circa 1900 "Radica and Doodica - Siamese Twin" Poster
The poster of "The Orissa Twins" was created by Emile Clouet and catered to the

Victorian Era's fascination with freaks and human oddities. 

 


 

 



Radica and Doodica were born in Orissa, India in 1888. They were xiphopagus twins, joined at the chest by a band of cartilage, similar to Chang and Eng. When they were born, the people of their village saw them as symbols of divine wrath and chased the family out of town. Their father wanted to separate the twins himself and was about to do so when a local official stepped in and rescued the girls, turning them over to a local temple. The monks of the temple looked after the twins and gave them their names.
 


 

 

SURGERY BEING PERFORMED ON THE TWINS



In 1893 they were purchased from their parents by Captain Colman, a showman from London, who took them to Europe to be exhibited. In 1902, Doodica developed tuberculosis and the sisters were separated, amid the wildest blaze of publicity, in Paris by Dr. Eugene-Louis Doyen (1859-1916), with the hope of saving Radica.

 

Dr. Doyen was a very controversial figure in medical history.  Many view him as a pioneer.  He arranged to have his medical accomplishments both extensively photographed and also filmed by moving picture cameras. Dr. Doyen  filmed the twins' surgery as La Separation de Doodica-Radica.

 

To this day, his motivations are held in question by some.  While claiming only the purist, educational motives, it is nonetheless a fact that his films of Radica and Doodica were shown as a part of Sideshow exhibits and in early “Grind Houses”.

 

Dr. Doyen displayed shock that his films were being shown at such sleazy venues and claiming the material had been pirated and shown without his permission, he even won a lawsuit over the use of his film of the separation.

 

Over 100 years later, it has been suggested that the good Doctor may very well have been the phantom promoter of his own materials after all!  Yet, he was an experimental innovator, having used film to document medical achievements.
 

 

 

SURGEON CLOSING ONE OF THE TWINS FOLLOWING THEIR SEPARATION


 

 

RADICA & DOODICA IN BED AFTER BEING SEPARATED


 

The operation was considered a success at first, Doodica died shortly after separation, and Radica also succumbed to tuberculosis in 1903, having lived the last year of her life in a Paris sanitarium.

Thierry Lefebvre, in his 2004 book Flesh and Celluloid
: The surgical cinema of Dr. Doyen, gives the sisters' surname as Neik.


 

 

New York Herald newspaper clippings dated March 2, 1902

 

 


 

 

This is an original print from the Le Petit Parisien showing the Orissa sisters Radica and Doodica an operation that separated them in 1902.  They toured with a showman named Captain Coleman.  Prior to this article in the Le Petit Journal Doodica came down with tuberculosis and the twins were separated by Dr. Benjamin Doyen.  Doodica died shortly after the operation and Radica died in 1904.


 

SIAMESE TWIN OPERATIONS

 

The Post-Mortem Examination on Doodica Recalls the Precedents.

From The London Standard.

 

PARIS, Feb. 20.-The post-mortem examination of the body of Doodica, the Hindoo twin, who was separated from her sister eight days ago, and who died on Sunday was made yesterday by Dr. Doyen in the presence of the local Police Commissary and several physicians.  The examination was made at the request of the child's adoptive parents, in order that the actual cause of death might be ascertained, with the object of obtaining any indications which might be useful in determining the treatment to which Radica should be subjected.  The examination made by the physicians satisfied them that the child's death was entirely due to the ravages of the tuberculosis disease from which she had suffered, and the advanced nature of which had decided Dr. Doyen to at once undertake the operation.  The immediate cause of death was the bursting of a large abscess which had formed in the lower abdomen.  In the vicinity of the operation there was no trace of hemorrhage of other alarming symptoms.  The heart was normally placed, and the brain, in common with the other organs, was quite healthy. 

 

Radica, the surviving sister, continues to make good progress.  In her case the tuberculosis was less advanced, and Dr. Doyen hopes that she will make a complete recovery.  At present she is in ignorance of her sister's death, having been informed that she had been removed to a warmer climate, with which explanation she was quite satisfied.  As soon as her health will permit Radica will be removed to a sanitarium on the Riviera.

 


 

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