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Fact check: Two-faced mummified head isn’t Edward Mordrake, but is made of papier-mâché

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

An image on social media purportedly shows the mummified skull of Edward Mordrake, a man said to have been born with two-faces. The claim, however, is false. The image shows a papier-mâché sculpture by the artist Ewart Schindler.

Examples are visible here and here . The claims purport that the image shows Mordrake’s actual skull, when in fact, this was an art project inspired by the mystical character. The images also claim that Mordrake was born around 1890, with “a second face on the back of his head,” which he allegedly begged doctors to remove. After they refused, Mordrake purportedly committed suicide, at age 23. This is an old, urban legend ( here ). It was documented in The Boston Post newspaper as far back as December 1895 ( here ).

There are a number of alternate versions to this apocryphal story, which vary in their descriptions of the second face Mordrake is said to have possessed ( here ). Mordrake was also the subject of a two-part episode of the television show American Horror Story in 2014 ( here ).

In 2015, an historian at The Museum of Hoaxes argued that the story was a 19th century literary creation that had little scientific plausibility ( here , here ).

According to Newsweek, the image on social media does not show the mummified skull of Mordrake, but a papier-mâché sculpture created by the artist Ewart Schindler ( here ). “I was surprised to see that no one had done a Mordrake, so I thought I'd have a go at that,” Schindler told Newsweek.

Some of Schindler’s work is visible online here . The Mordrake sculpture, as well as the artist responding to users’ comments, is visible here .

VERDICT

False. Image of two-faced mummified head shows papier-mâché sculpture, not the skull of a subject of urban legends, Edward Mordrake.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here

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