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Myrtle Corbin at the Moulin Rouge

"Myrtle Corbin at the Moulin Rouge" is copyright    1999 by James G. Mundie. All rights reserved.  Reproduction prohibited.

Pen and ink, 6 x 8 inches, 1999
Collection of Brad Andrew Brooks-Rubin

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, 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.

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.

Myrtle actually had a bit of trouble getting around on her own, but it seems to me that a girl with four legs — especially one from Texas — by right should be quite a dancer. Why shouldn't she kick up those extra heels in a lively can-can? Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec's work for and about the Moulin Rouge inspired the setting.

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All Images and Text James G. Mundie 2003 - 2018