From the Kilkenny Independent, August 4th, 1827, musings on what appears to have been a pair of Siamese twins, born in Roscommon a few days previously:-
“WONDERFUL PHENOMENON- The production of nature have occupied the mind of the learned and enrious for many ages- the museums of Europe are magnified with varieties from all parts of the globe, and indeed they are justly celebrated for their choice collections- but we cannot be convinced that any age can produce, or any repository boast of a more extraordinary phenomenon of the works of nature, than a being which a woman, named Mary Corcoran, has given birth to, a few days since, in the town of Boyle.
It has, strictly speaking, but one body, at each end of which is a perfectly formed head, shoulders, arms and hands, naturally placed; in the center, on both sides of the body the thighs are inserted, well formed- and the feet, particularly on one side of the body, are models of symmetry. It seems to be an union of females- there appears to be two separate stomachs, lungs, &c. and the adjunction of this bicorporal being, appears to be at the navel of each-when we saw it, it seemed to be in good health, and each mouth sucked milk from a spoon.
It is remarkable that each side sympathizes with the other in every uneasiness, not a stir from hand to foot on one side of the body but has a corresponding motion of those members on the other. The expression of one of the faces is somewhat more placid than the other, being as fine an infant contour as could be hoped for. We have given but little credit to the existence of beings mentioned in poetry and in fabulous history- the very idea of hydras, &c. – it is laughed at; but let us for a moment suppose this creature grown up, and walking on four legs, and four hands, capable of using these members with dexterity, and going (as we deem it must) side foremost, like a crab- and the Centaur, the Pen, the Mermaid, and the two headed giant, will appear quite reconcileable.
Should it be the will of heaven that this creature live, there arises a question as it has two heads, and apparently two hearts, may it not have different inclinations. Suppose one said, let us go to the south, and another said no, let us go northward, and that neither agree-it must pine away a melancholy life of self-created dissention; and as there can be no hope of a divorce, there must soon be a termination to its existence, which alone can sever this premature and unnatural tie. But, as the different parts appear so to sympathise, perhaps some mysterious unity of the minds of this two-fold creature may produce but one inclination.-Probably the sight of this wonder would prove a useful lesson to the sceptic, as seeing an incomprehensible union of two bodies in material, he would no longer doubt the tri-une existence of the Diety. There is still more room for metaphysical speculation, has the animal two souls- one soul- or no soul”
And a sad coda:-
“Since the above paragraph was written, we find that the little being had ceased to be. Yesterday (Friday) morning, the father left this town for Dublin, with the remains, for the purpose of presenting it to the Royal College of Surgeons, or any other body disposed to purchase the same.–Roscommon Gazette”
Here’s another account of this ‘double monster’, part of which was called Mary and the other part Catherine; one was dark, and the other fair, each in their feelings and actions independent of the other; sometimes one would cry, while the other remained quiet, but generally they were inclined to be quiet, except when produced to gratify the curiosity of the neighbours, and this production, and the illness they got from it, was apparently the cause of their untimely death.
The poor little mites! I wonder how much their wretched father made out of their remains…