THE TOCCI TWINS – The Blended Brothers

Tocci-Brothers-siamese twin freaks

 

Giacomo and Giovanni Batista Tocci are something of a strange enigma. Despite being enormously popular with both the public and the medical community during their career, little is actually know about the joined siblings. Furthermore, what is known is often confused and contradicted by various sources.

What is certain is that the brothers were born in Locana, Italy. However sources cannot agree on the date of their birth. It is safe to assume that the boys were born in early October, with the fourth being the general consensus, in 1877. Their mother was only 19 at the time of their birth, her first child (children) but the boys were tiny and the birth was apparently an easy one. Reports indicate that the Tocci family welcomed a total of nine children, all average but the twins.

The only other thing certain about the brothers is that they were dicephalus twins joined at the sixth rib. Their abdomen consisted of separate hearts and organs and each of the brothers had two functional arms. However the two were as one below the point of fusion and shared intestines, a pair of legs and one set of genitalia.

The brothers had great difficulty walking. Each brother controlled one leg and many believe they lacked the co-ordination required to walk. Again, some believe that this was not the reason for their difficulty as subsequent dicephalus twins have mastered bipedal walking. Giacomo had a clubfoot and many attribute this to their lack of mobility. Regardless of the reason, instead of walking the brothers used their arms for locomotion. Their mode of transport was once described as ‘spider-like’.

From birth the brothers were exhibited around Europe, with their father as manager, which eventually led to a very influential tour of the United States in 1891. During their visit, author Mark Twain was so inspired by their appearance that he used them as the basis for his short story ‘Those Extraordinary Twins’. It was also in the United States that the brother adopted their most famous moniker, ‘The Blended Brothers’. In 1892 the twins performed in New York and in a bit of showmanship their billing claimed that one boy spoke only German and the other only French. For the performance, which was preceded that evening by Jo-Jo ‘The Dog-Faced Boy’, they obliged.

The brothers spoke several European languages.

Throughout their life, the twins were the subject of intense medical examination. Their first complete exam was performed one month after their birth. They first appeared in medical literature, Lyon Medical Magazine, following an 1878 examination in Paris. While touring Vienna in 1881 they were touted by the medical community as ‘The Greatest Wonder in the World’. The twins were subject to illustration and photography, including a nude set.

The intelligence of the boys continues to be the subject of much debate as many articles refer to Giacomo being ‘somewhat idiotic’ when compared to his brother. However, those observations were made during infancy and later reports make no mention of any discernable intellectual deficiency. In fact, later reports hail Giacomo as being the more artistically creative of the two.

In 1897, at the age of 20, the boys decided to retire. Together, they had made a great fortune for themselves and their family. During their peak, they made more that $1000 a week. But the boys never really cared for the fame thrust upon them. They purchased a high walled villa near Venice. In 1904 they appeared in the media and caused a great controversy by getting married to two separate women. The knowledge of their shared genitalia was public knowledge and their wives were labeled as vulgar.

The brothers retreated further into seclusion for the remainder of their lives. At times, rumors of their death circulated. The exact date of their death is still unknown but one source states that the brothers died childless in 1940, at the age of sixty-three.

Author, researcher and an expert of the odd, J. Tithonus Pednaud has been chronicling bizarre history and highlighting the lives of those born exceeding different for over a decade.

13 Comments

  • Reply December 21, 2007

    Chris W.

    I just stumbled upon your blog recently. This is fascinating stuff you got here!

    When I came across this entry, I couldn’t help but wonder if you’ve heard of a current example of this kind of conjoining. The surname of the twins in question is Hensel. There are videos of Abigail and Brittany Hensel on YouTube and elsewhere on the net. I did a blog piece on them because I thought they were fascinating and inspiring. the piece is here: http://esoterik72.net/esoblog/2007/03/05/one-body-two-minds/

  • Reply December 21, 2007

    J. Tithonus Pednaud

    I have indeed heard of the sisters and, in fact, I was even contacted by the producers of their recent special for some historical references.

    They are not covered on this site for many reasons. First and foremost, they have never exhibited themselves for profit and are well represented in current media.

  • Reply September 11, 2008

    Anna

    They never learned to walk. they had the opertunity to but they traveled so much the never learned.

  • Reply January 16, 2009

    farah :)

    cool!this is very interesting.

  • Reply March 9, 2009

    Kristine

    Thank you for portraying these extraordinary individuals with dignity and respect.

  • Reply May 27, 2009

    ApplyCreditCards

    Great post! Just wanted to let you know you have a new subscriber- me!

  • Reply August 30, 2009

    marc manders

    Thanks for putting up some history on the Tocci twins… Just a bit more history on them, From my Circus family.
    Please note, im glad things have changed in the 21st century for disfigured souls, they are still people, heart and soul.
    Now P.T Burnum (circus) Brought the twins to america and England, and were excibites.
    Now My Family The Manders Wax work Menangies circus 1885, took control of the Tocci twins in the late 1800s,they were also known as The Double bodied Boy, I have a loverly posted from that period, dating about 1885, on the poster ” Strange and Curious People”, plus wax work figure of history… a good book to check out, about the Tocci twins, but mainly about the Manders wax work menagies shows, but does give an insight to there life in the circus limelight. “Manders shows & menageries” by Kevin Scrivens & Stephen Smith, Through the “The Fairground Society”, any further in about the manders family or the tocci twin, contact djmarcmander@aol.com

  • Reply August 30, 2009

    marc mander

    Sorry just another note from me about The Tocci Twins, Just read the info on the site, should have read before senting the other email.
    It notes in the script that there date of birth id unknown, Well on the Circus posted i have, which is dated 1885, the part on the poster relating to them, Say The Tocci Twins or Doubled bodied boy, now aged 10 years old, So DOB 1875.
    HOPE THIS HELPS. Marc Manders (8TH Generation of the Manders family.

  • Reply January 26, 2010

    Manders relation

    If this is of interest, I have the exact Waxwork poster details…

    Waxwork And American Museum of Strange and Curious People (Mr John Manders)

    Just added in the museum department, the greatest curiosity of the present day.

    TOCCI, The Twin Brothers, or Double Bodied Boy, a native of Florence, in Italy; is now about Ten years of age; brought into this country by P. T. Barnium and Exhibited by him at the Plympia, London. On view daily at Manders’Great Show, free of extra charge.

    Posted by great, great grandson of John Manders.

  • Reply December 9, 2010

    Christina

    Surely it is possible that one twin died, whilst the other remained alive due to the fact that they had separate organs?

  • […] these twins but of many other differently abled persons who were public figures in the past. One is The Human Marvels: Presenting Peculiar People, where the proprietor J. Tithonus Pednaud takes a decidedly 19th century stylistic approach to […]

  • Reply September 19, 2012

    Tocci twins | Bagelry

    […] THE TOCCI TWINS – The Blended Brothers – The Human Marvels …Dec 21, 2007 … tocci 788791 THE TOCCI TWINS The Blended Brothers. Giacomo and Giovanni Batista Tocci are something of a strange enigma. Despite … […]

  • Reply October 7, 2014

    Susan

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