Myrtle The Story Of The Four-Legged Girl

Samuel Reason - May 25th, 2020

Mrs. Josephine Myrtle Bicknell died just one week away from her sixtieth birthday and she was buried not far from her home in Cleburne, Texas in 1928. It was a strange burial because her husband along with other close family members watched the grave filled with a thick layer of cement. They then waited for the cement to dry, standing guard at her grave for several hours. Eventually, they left, with a feeling of relief, that nobody would be robbing the grave of her corpse.

You see there was quite a big medical bounty on Mrs. Bicknell’s body, not only from doctors but also from collectors who wanted to put her body in a jar on display. Morbid of course, but this was Josephine Myrtle Bicknell’s claim to fame, she had a rare condition which had caused her to be born with four legs. Effectively Myrtle had two pelvises, and several of her internal organs were also doubled. She had been famous all across the United States, the Four-Legged Girl from Texas.

Born in Tennessee in 1868, she had a rare fetal anomaly which is called dipygus; this means that her body was formed perfectly up until her navel. Below her navel, everything was divided into two pelvises and four lower limbs. The two inner legs were capable of movement, though they were much smaller and not as strong as the two outside legs. At birth, the doctor commented that they were lying flat against her belly.

At first, it was thought she may have a parasitic twin but it was quickly discovered there was no twin, her pervis had split along the median axis during fetal development which was why this had happened. A medical report stated that there were also two sets of genital organs, which acted independently from each other except during the menstrual period.

Myrtle joined the Barnum Circus at the age of 13 when she was on stage nothing gave her away until she would lift her dress. Then the crowd would go crazy because apart from large hips and a clubbed right foot she was a very attractive girl and you would not notice the condition. She married at age 19 and after a first miscarriage was able to start a family, giving birth to four healthy children.

Next Article
  • Byzantine Emperor Justinian II Was Called The Slit Nosed

    Justinian II or as many called him The Slit Nosed, was the last Byzantine Emperor of the Heraclian dynasty. This was a dynasty that took place from 685 to 695, and then again from 705 to 711. Justinian II had extremely ambitious plans and was passionate about growing the empire. His aim was to restore...

    Read More
  • Great Depression Started Dance Marathons For Food

    Events that offered the promise of food and money during the Great Depression attracted people like flies. As a result, huge dance marathons would happen where the winners would get food. The problem was everyone was starving with no solution in sight, they were all determined to win. This caused many dancers to suffer from...

    Read More
  • France’s Deadly WWI Red Zone

    The Zone Rouge, or Red Zone as it is known in English, is a quarantine area throughout Northeastern France that the government decided was inhabitable after World War I. Though the area is non-contiguous, it was deemed unfit for life. Originally, the land covered over 1,200 square kilometers. All of it was considered too damaged...

    Read More
  • Sally Ride First American Women In Space

    On June 18, 1983, NASA Astronaut Sally Ride became the first American woman to enter space. She launched with her four crewmates on the Shuttle Challenger, on mission STS-7. The ride had been selected with five other women to be part of NASA’s space program back in 1978. With the advances of the space shuttles...

    Read More
  • Reindeer In A WW2 Submarine

    One of the more unusual moments of World War II was when a British submarine transported around a reindeer it had been given by the Russians as a gift. In 1941, the crew of the HMS Trident was given a reindeer by the USSR navy. The reindeer then spent the next 6 weeks living with...

    Read More
  • Archduke Franz Ferdinand Killed Over 300,000 Animals While Hunting

    Over one hundred years ago, the heir to the Astro Hungarian throne was a crazy guy called Franz. Well Archduke Franz Ferdinand to be exact, his assassination led to the turn of events that caused the start of World War I. Pulling in the Russian Empire, Germany, France, Italy, China, and the U.S. into one...

    Read More
  • The Legend Of Snake Rock In Naka Cave

    Naka Cave is found in Phu Langka National Park in Thailand, and in Thai it means snake. There is a real reason for this, the cave looks like a giant snake. The texture of the stones appears to resemble the scaled skin of a snake. Over the years there have been hundreds of articles publishing...

    Read More