Chang and eng bunker family tree

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chang and eng bunker family tree

Chang and Eng by Darin Strauss

In this stunning novel, Darin Strauss combines fiction with astonishing fact to tell the story of history’s most famous twins. Born in Siam in 1811—on a squalid houseboat on the Mekong River—Chang and Eng Bunker were international celebrities before the age of twenty. Touring the world’s stages as a circus act, they settled in the American South just prior to the Civil War. They eventually married two sisters from North Carolina, fathering twenty-one children between them, and lived for more than six decades never more than seven inches apart, attached at the chest by a small band of skin and cartilage.
Woven from the fabric of fact, myth, and imagination, Strauss’s narrative gives poignant, articulate voice to these legendary brothers, and humanizes the freakish legend that grew up around them. Sweeping from the Far East and the court of the King of Siam to the shared intimacy of their lives in America, Chang and Eng rescues one of the nineteenth century’s most fabled human oddities from the sideshow of history, drawing from their extraordinary lives a novel of exceptional power and beauty.
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Published 08.12.2018

"Mobituaries": Chang and Eng Bunker, the original Siamese twins

Chang and Eng’s descendants arrive for birthday celebrations

No case history of conjoined twins can be complete without mention of the Bunker brothers, the original twins from Siam present-day Thailand. Born on May 11, in a tiny village along the Mekong river, the brothers were xiphopagus twins, joined by only a small band of cartilage at the sternum. Their livers were fused but were each independently complete. Through practice they were able to stretch the tissue that connected them and stand side-by-side rather than facing one another. This gave the illusion that they were joined at the side, and even today conjoined twins are frequently depicted as joined side-by-side by a sliver of tissue. Separation of Chang and Eng would have been extremely easy, even with 19th century medical technology. Ironically, the boys were three-quarters Chinese and known in their native village as 'The Chinese Twins'.

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CHANG and ENG BUNKER - WikiVidi Documentary

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By Larry Getlen. While the concept of conjoined twins — two independent people permanently joined as one — is intriguing for many reasons, few aspects spur as much curiosity as how two such people live romantic, sexual lives. Upon their arrival, they were subject to countless medical inquiries. The brothers gained fame as freaks, and saw opportunity as Americans. After a decade on the sideshow circuit, having saved some money, they retired, bought land in North Carolina, and set out to create lives for themselves as proper Southern gentlemen. They bought property, became US citizens, and even took on slaves — ironic, considering that throughout their early lives here, many questioned whether, despite their firm denials, they were slaves themselves. In , Chang and Eng married, respectively, sisters Adelaide and Sarah Yates, daughters of a respected local landowner.

No case history of conjoined twins can be complete without mention of the Bunker brothers, the original twins from Siam present-day Thailand. Born on May 11, in a tiny village along the Mekong river, the brothers were xiphopagus twins, joined by only a small band of cartilage at the sternum. Their livers were fused but were each independently complete. Through practice they were able to stretch the tissue that connected them and stand side-by-side rather than facing one another. This gave the illusion that they were joined at the side, and even today conjoined twins are frequently depicted as joined side-by-side by a sliver of tissue. Separation of Chang and Eng would have been extremely easy, even with 19th century medical technology. Ironically, the boys were three-quarters Chinese and known in their native village as 'The Chinese Twins'.

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