We are planning a road trip to Tennessee this summer and, somehow, I stumbled into Josephine Myrtle Corbin. The American sideshow performer was born in Lincoln County, Tennessee as a dipygus on May 12, 1868. This is a condition in which a person is born with two complete pelvis bones located side by side. Guess what pelvis bones usually accompany? That’s right: a pair of legs. So, Josephine Myrtle Corbin was born with four legs.  

Each of her smaller inner legs was paired with one of her outer legs. She was said to be able to move her inner legs, but they were too weak for walking. Josephine’s parents looked so much alike, that the physicians felt compelled to point out that they were not related. The parents had five other children that were extremely healthy. 

When she was 13 years old, she entered the sideshow circuit with the moniker “Four-Legged Girl from Texas.” Her popularity in this industry was so strong the showmen turned to faking four-legged girls when she left the circuit. 

At the age of 19 she married a doctor named James Clinton Bicknell, with whom she had a son and four daughters. She had two fully developed sets of genitalia, and after a couple of months of discomfort she discovered that she was pregnant in her left uterus. Josephine was quoted saying, “If it had been in my right side, I would come nearer believing you are correct.” Corbin preferred having intercourse in her right side, and this was commented upon in several other reports.

She died in Cleburne, Texas on May 6, 1928, at the age of 59. She was remembered for having a sweet disposition and positive attitude. Her casket was covered in concrete and various family members kept watch until it was fully cured. This was to prevent grave robbers from stealing her corpse.

Now we know what dipygus means.

 

God bless you all, RHM.