Myrtle Corbin The Four Legged Lady?

The celebrated Myrtle Corbin was billed as the "Four-Legged Girl from Texas." Initially I believed those extra legs belonged to a half-formed twin joined to Myrtle's abdomen. However, it has come to my attention that Myrtle Corbin was even more unusual than that: rather than having a parasitic twin, Myrtle was actually double-bodied from the waist down (dipygus), having two complete pelvises situated side-by-side at the base of her spine. Each of her smaller inner legs was in reality paired to one of the larger outer ones.

My sister talked me about Myrtle Corbin The Four Legged Lady but I didn't believe her until I saw the picture.

This lady had four legs, how did she survived and how old was she when she died?

asked by Melissa in Controversy | 8502 views | 03-09-2010 at 11:04 PM

Josephene Myrtle Corbin was born on May 12, 1868 in Lincoln County, Tennessee and died on May 6, 1928 in Cleburne, Texas.
Myrtle Corbin The Four Legged Lady was born a dipygus, meaning that she had two separate pelvises side by side from the waist down, as a result of her body axis splitting as it developed. Each of her smaller inner legs was paired with one of her outer legs. She was said to be able to move her inner legs, but they were too weak for walking.

From Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine by George M. Gould and Walter L. Pyle:

Wells a describes Mrs. B., aged twenty, still alive and healthy. The duplication in this case begins just above the waist, the spinal column dividing at the third lumbar vertebra, below this point everything being double. Micturition and defecation occur at different times, but menstruation occurs simultaneously. She was married at nineteen, and became pregnant a year later on the left side, but abortion was induced at the fourth month on account of persistent nausea and the expectation of impossible delivery. Whaley, in speaking of this case, said Mrs. B. utilized her outside legs for walking; he also remarks that when he informed her that she was pregnant on the left side she replied, "I think you are mistaken; if it had been on my right side I would come nearer believing it;"--and after further questioning he found, from the patient's observation, that her right genitals were almost invariably used for coitus.

Pictures of Myrtle Corbin The Four Legged Lady.

Born in Lincoln County, TN in 1868 and spending most of her childhood in Blount County, AL - where she can be found in the 1880 census - her condition was incredibly rare. The tiny body of her twin was only fully developed from the waist down and even then it was malformed – tiny and possessing only three toes on each foot. Myrtle was able to control the limbs of her sister but was unable to use them for walking and she herself had a difficult time getting around as she was born with a clubbed foot. Technically, the ‘Four-Legged Woman’ only had one good, usable leg.

Myrtle was a popular attraction with P.T. Barnum, and later with Ringling Bros. and Coney Island. Her popularity was likely linked to her showmanship – she would often dress the extra limbs with socks and shoes matching her own and this gave her a truly surreal appearance. Myrtle was so popular that she was able to earn as much as $450 dollars a week.

Myrtle married at the age of nineteen and had five children, which were alleged to have been born from both sides of Myrtle's unique anatomical arrangement.

answered by Tyler | 03-09-2010 at 11:14 PM

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