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Edward-Mordrake-statua-ceraIf you’re a fan of American Horror Story: Freak Show, then you’ve been introduced to Edward Mordrake. The show added fictional elements and embellished quite a bit of Edward’s story, but the man did exist. He also suffered emotionally. Here’s some facts about Mr. Mordrake and the Demon Face.

Edward Mordrake was a 19th century noble Englishman who had a handsome figure, amazing musical skills, and a second malignant face on the back of his head. Occupying only a small portion of the posterior part of the skull, yet exhibiting every sign of intelligence, the face would be been seen to smile and sneer while Mordrake was weeping. The eyes would follow the movements of the spectator, and the lips would move but there was never any voice. Or at least no voice that anyone but Edward could hear.

The Demon Face, as Edward called it, couldn’t eat or speak but did laugh and cry. Edward begged doctors to remove the face because he was often kept awake at night by the hateful whispers of the Demon Face. No doctor would attempt the surgery because of the risks involved. Edward became depressed and isolated himself from society. He tried several times to end his life and even asked doctors to aid with his suicide. At age 23, Edward Mordrake drank poison and died. He left a letter requesting that the Demon Face be cut from his head and destroyed so it wouldn’t continue with it’s demonic whisperings in the grave. Further to his wishes, Edward was buried without any grave marker so people wouldn’t dig him up and exhibit his corpse.

We don’t have any photos of Edward so we don’t know what the Demon Face looked like other than the descriptions left by doctors. Some assumed Edward suffered some mental disorder. Mental illness had terrible stigma and was often wrongly linked to physical deformity. Doctors thought Edward was schizophrenic or had some psychosis. There is no evidence that Edward was ever treated for such illnesses. We can, however, be certain that Edward suffered depression. Isolating himself only deepened his depression.

The Demon Face could have been a form of Craniopagus parasiticus which happens when twins are joined at the head in utero. One twin develops normally while the other atrophies, still attached to the sibling’s crown. In these cases the parasitic head can be well developed and show signs of  independent life.

It might also have been Diprosopus. Diprosopus is a very rare, congenital disorder. It happens when a single body and neck are present, but there’s duplication of facial features. Diprosopus can range from having two formed faces to just duplicate nose or eyes. Most human infants are stillborn. Those who survive live only a few months so this raises doubts about Edward suffering from diprosopus.

We’ll never know for certain what was the Demon Face that haunted Edward Mordrake. You decide.

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