Chang and Eng Bunker were born on May 11, 1811, in a fishing village 60 miles from Bangkok in the Kingdom of Siam (today’s Thailand).
Connected at the chest by only a narrow band of flesh, the twins led a long and relatively “normal” life.
Scottish merchant named Robert Hunter discovered the brothers in 1829 while they were swimming in a pool. He asked their parents if he could take them and put them in a circus to show them off to the world on a world tour.
When their contract with Robert Hunter was over, they went into the circus business representing themselves.
Eventually, they got tired of touring around the world and decided that they wanted a quiet life. While touring the United States, they purchased a piece of land in North Carolina.
At the time North Carolina was a slave state but under US law the twins counted as white and they became American citizens and got their surname Bunker.
The twins became slave-owners, buying dozens to work their new plantation and eventually they met their future wives Sarah Ann and Adelaide Yates.
On April 13, 1843, they decided to have a double wedding and got married by a Baptist preacher in Yates’s living room. At first, the women’s father, David Yates, refused permission, but he eventually agreed.
Chang married the more attractive sister, Adelaide, and Eng married Sarah Ann. Their wedding provoked a national scandal, with accusations that the marriage was “bestial.”
They all slept together in one large bed and between them, they produced 21 children. The twins lost a lot of money when the Civil War broke out and they were forced to go back into the circus.
They weren’t so popular like in the old days and they decided to bring two of their normal children on the tour as an exhibit.
In 1868, they returned to Britain but the public mood had turned against freak shows. On the way back from Europe, Chang suffered a stroke down the side closest to his brother, which required Eng to support him physically.
Chang became a heavy drinker and the twins began arguing a lot. They started arguing so much that they considered surgical separation.
They traveled to Philadelphia, begging and pleading local doctors to split them but their wives managed to convince them that the separation would be too risky.
In January 1874, when the twins were 62, Chang caught bronchitis and died in the night. Only a few hours later his brother Eng died of a heart attack.
They are buried in the cemetery of the White Plains Baptist Church near Mount Now here’s another strange story from us: Julia Pastrana: “Ape Woman” or “Bear Woman” who was mummified by her husbandAiry in North Carolina. Today, the twins have some 1,500 descendants.