THE TWO: A Biography of the Original Siamese Twins

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Liveright Publishing. From the moment they were born until the day they died, just hours apart, Chang and Eng Bunker were separated from the rest of the world by the same four-inch band of cartilage that bound them inextricably to each other.

A Biography of the Original Siamese Twins

The work of describing their lives, which could so easily slip into its own form of exploitation, would be a challenge for any biographer. As infants, Chang and Eng were regarded not just as abnormal but as evil omens. The king of Siam even issued their death warrants before forgetting about them, leaving them to grow up as healthy, active boys on the Mekong River. Before they were even teenagers, however, their quiet lives were upended not once but twice. Then, just five years later, they found themselves at the center of another, equally turbulent, carelessly destructive force — the plans of an ambitious Scottish businessman named Robert Hunter.

To their mother, they were just boys, taking a swim after a long day selling duck eggs. As the boys boarded the ship that was to carry them to Boston, they brought with them little to remind them of home beyond a small suitcase and their pet python.

Chang And Eng Bunker: The Story Of The Original Siamese Twins

The twins took turns visiting each home every three days, a pattern they continued for the remainder of their lives. Their wealth, based off of farming, was quite substantial. Bunker served as a private in Company I, 37th Virginia Cavalry Battalion, was captured late in the war, and served nearly a year in prison at Camp Chase, Ohio.

With their farms in financial distress, the twins chose to reunite with Barnum and go on tour again. The twins traveled to Europe where along with their shows, they searched in vain for a doctor to separate them. During the time abroad Chang began to drink heavily, embittering the two against one another. He recovered in part, but his health was never the same. On January 12, , Chang was stricken with severe bronchitis. The condition worsened and on January 17, he died in his sleep. Eng awakened and, horrified by the sight of his dead twin, quickly fell into paralysis.

Highway Historical Marker M-7, N. Resources in libraries [via WorldCat].

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Courtesy of the State Archives of North Carolina. Adelaide Bunker and Sarah Bunker married the twins.

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Library, Southern Historical Collection. Home of Chang and Eng Bunker.

We stood at a grave that they told us were Eng and Chang's. We were told that their grave had been moved to Raleigh. Can you please confirm that for me?

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  • Hello and thanks for contacting us. Everything I see as recent as points to them being buried in Surry County, but it could be possible they were moved. Former home place of Congressman Robert L. I had an article at one time telling about the twins being married on this property. I can't find it nor can I find any article stating where they were married. Please help. Would love to have that article again. Thank you for your email. How fascinating that the Bunkers were married on your property!.

    Birth of ‘Siamese Twins’ Chang and Eng Bunker

    Unfortunately, I have no been able to track down the article you mention. If you would like a reply by email, please note thats some email servers are blocked from accepting messages from outside email servers or domains. These often include student email addresses from public school email accounts. If you prefer not to leave an email address, check back at your NCpedia comment for a reply. Please allow one business day for replies from NCpedia. Skip to main content.

    Remembering Chang and Eng, the original Siamese twins

    Bunker, Eng and Chang by Darryl Traywick, References: Asheville Citizen , 5 Dec. Kay Hunter, Duet for a Lifetime National Enquirer , 6 Oct. North Wilkesboro Journal-Patriot , 12 Oct. Raleigh News and Observer , 1 Jan.