The Two-headed Mexican
Pen and ink, 8 x 6 inches, 2002
Pasqual Pinon was a performer in the Sells-Floto Circus sideshow in
the early part of the last century. The so-called "two-headed" man in
fact had a large wen on the top of his skull which he fitted with a hollow
wax replica of his actual head before appearing on stage. Some have gone
so far as to claim that Pinon's promoter had a silver-plated metal form surgically
implanted in the growth to create the illusion of facial features, but
that seems to me a highly risky and unlikely scenario. Whether or not
Pinon was even a Mexican is subject to debate.
Pinon was a big draw in the sideshow, where no showman ever let the
truth get in the way of a good story. This gimmick went on for many years
until declining health forced Pinon to have his 'second head' surgically
removed and thus end his career in the circus.
In photographs, Pinon's face often carries a very serious — or perhaps
bored — expression. Stern, but with his fanciful headgear intact, I have
here portrayed Pinon in the context of a fifteenth-century painting
by Dieric Bouts.
To see an enlarged detail of this drawing (422K), please click here.
All Images and Text © James G. Mundie 2003 - 2010