Pasqual Pinon, was known as The Two-Headed Mexican and he was a featured attraction with the Sells-Floto Circus in the early 1900s.
The story went that Pinon had fled Mexico after loosing his family ranch to Pancho Villa. Due to his unique deformity he was able to display himself for a substantial amount of money and support his family of seven. The secondary head was immobile – its mouth constantly agape and its eyes blank and expressionless. The lack of movement was attributed to being paralyzed after Pinon suffered a stroke at the age of 20. Pinon was not an entertainer and the bulk of his performance consisted of simply sitting and occasionally lifting his chin into the air to better display the tuberous connection between his natural head and his tiny secondary.
The entire story of his origin was, of course, false. While it is quite possible to have two complete heads, a condition known as craniopagus parasiticus, a true parasitic head is always situated upside-down on top of the main head – as is the case with The Two-Headed Boy of Bengal. The second head of Pinon was a gaff – a fake.
The true story of Pasqual Pinon is actually more interesting in its strangeness. Pinon was actually a railroad worker from Texas who had a large benign tumor growing from the top of his head. He was discovered by a sideshow promoter in 1917 while splitting rails. For some reason the promoter decided that the huge tumor protruding for the head or Pinon was not odd enough and decided to create a fake face – a mask of wax. That mask was placed over the growth and The Two-Headed Mexican was born. There have been some rumors that the mask was made of silver and was actually surgically implanted under the skin of the tumor – however, that is highly unlikely. Further rumors claim that this silver plate caused Pinon to go insane. Again, this is most likely nothing more than a promoter’s embellishment.
What is factual is that after several years of popular touring, the Sells-Floto Circus manager paid to have the cyst removed and Pinon returned to Texas. What happened to Pinon after that is unknown. It is assumed that he either retired or returned to his life as a laborer – with a little less on his mind.
Image scanned from the reminants of a French magazine in author collection.