Posts Tagged ‘Genoa’

Lazarus Colloredo and Joannes Baptista Collerado were conjoined twins from Genoa, Italy. The records are of suggestion that they were born around 1617 and died sometime around or after 1646. They toured Europe exhibiting their condition in order to make a living. Their exact date of death does not appear to have been recorded.

The upper body of Joannes and his left leg stuck out of his mobile brothers torso. Joannes did not speak, his eyes were kept closed and his mouth was always open. An account from an anatomist, later on, said that if his breast was pushed it would make him move his hands, ears and lips. Another visitor noted that Joannes had three fingers on each hand, six toes on one foot and seemed only to survive because of the nourishment from his brother.

It is said that Lazarus was a handsome man and when not exhibiting he would cover up his brother with a cloak. Later accounts have him married, siring several children and none of them experienced any unusual medical conditions.

One account suggests that Joannes made non-verbal noises and often at shows was seen to heavily salivate. It seems that Joannes was mainly considered to be a parasitic twin as he hadn’t got fully developed organs. It seems if he had any cognitive abilities that they were very limited and mostly based on responses to it being touched or prodded.

A letter from Dr Augustin Pincet, of Genoa, stated the brothers were born 20th March 1617 to parents Baptista and Pellegrinna Colloredo. Lazarus ate and had normal bowel movements, but Joannes did not suckle but if her milk hit his lips he would lick them as if he was attempting to swallow it. Their mother apparently died in 1620.

In 1638 they toured France and it was recorded that Lazarus had said Joannes head had been much smaller, now it was twice as large as his own. It seems they had also been unwell on more than one occasion, Lazarus had been subject to 20 bleedings but medics never hazarded purgation. They worried it might be too much for the two men sharing the one digestive system.

Another story is that Lazarus had been so fiercely teased in a pub that he struck the man a fatal blow. The man had been killed but Lazarus said that if he were sentenced to death it would in turn kill his innocent brother.

There doesn’t seem to have been any talks about separating them either, perhaps because from the descriptions they would have shared a liver and other vital organs. The area of joining may well have had several main arterial points too. Today it is highly likely they would have separated them early on to give Lazarus a chance at a normal life, the 17th Century techniques however would not have been capable of dealing with such a complicated matter.

Lazarus and Joannes Baptista Colloredo

Carl Tanzer, Feb 8th 1877 to July 3rd 1952, was a German-born radiologic technologist in Key-West, Florida, USA who developed a particularly morbid obsession for Elena Milagro de Hoyos, a tuberculosis patient. During his childhood and later in Genoa, Italy, he claimed he had been visited by a dead ancestor who revealed the face of his true love, her face was one of an exotic dark-haired woman.

22nd April 1930, de Hoyos came to the hospital for an examination, she was brought in by her mother. He recognised her as the woman from the visitations of his ancestor. De Hoyos was diagnosed with TB, a fatal disease at the time and eventually despite Tanzler’s best efforts she succumbed to the disease.

Tanzer paid for her funeral, with the permission of the family he then commissioned the construction of an above ground mausoleum. It was constructed in the Key West Cemetery and he visited there pretty much most nights. To be honest this already seems to rate high on the WTF list, but it gets more bizarre.

April, 1933 Tanzer crept into the mausoleum and stole her body, taking her home and here he said her spirit would visit. He claimed she often asked him to take her from the grave, and so it seems he did. What he did to preserve her sounds like a work of horror fiction. Her bones were attached together by wire and coat hangers, her face was fitted with glass eyes and as the corpses skin decomposed he would replace it with silk cloth, soaked in wax and plaster of Paris.

Her hair was replaced by using Hoyo’s wig hair, who gave him the hair? Well her mother had collected her hair for a wig and gave it to him after her death. I am still wondering why but at this point the story continues…

Tanzer filled her chest and abdominal cavity with rags to keep her in her original form, then dressed her, put on stockings and jewellery and kept her body in his bed. He then used a lot of fragrances, detergent and preserving agents to mask the msells. Yes I am still going, I did say it was morbid.

October 1940 (Seven years later) her sister visited Tanzley, she had heard odd rumours, Florida authorities were notified when she saw the truth for herself. He was found to be mentallyl competent, he was charged with destruction of the grave and theft of the body. Bizarrely he never had to defend himself because the case was dropped, the statute of limitations for the crime had expired. Even more upsetting for her family the body was put on display at the Dean-Lopez Funeral Home and around 6,800 ish people came to see it.

Eventually she was reburied at the cemetery but to prevent tampering it was an unmarked grave. Strangely it seems the public mood was that sympathy for a hopeless romantic should be given to Tanzler. I can’t help but think that’s not quite the reaction I’d have had… later there was a claim that he had inserted a tube into her vagina too but this evidence has been met with scepticism, mostly because other than the rumour there appears to be no evidence…

Separated from the woman’s body he then used a death mask to create a life-sized effigy of Hoyos, the effigy lived with him until he died 3rd July. 1952. He was found on the floor three weeks after his death and died under the name Carl Tanzer.

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not museum in Key West, Florida has an exibit that recreats the caring he did to her body. And Svbway to Sally have a video themed around it.

Carl Tanzler (1940)