ByKristin Lai, writer at
MP Staff Writer, cinephile and resident Slytherclaw // UCLA Alumna // Follow me on Twitter: kristin_lai
Kristin Lai

Last week Hunger Games actor Wes Bentley guest starred on [American Horror Story](series:206668): Freak Show for the two-part Halloween episode. His character, Edward Mordrake, came to town after being summoned from Elsa Mars' stage performance.

Rumor around the Freak Show circuit states that any freak who performs on Halloween will summon the spirit of Edward Mordrake, a nobleman driven mad by his freaky condition. The story that Freak Show has built around him alone is already provocative. But did you know that, as was told by The Human Marvels, Edward Mordrake actually existed (although truly named Edward Mordake)?

The Real Story

Because his life was so early in medical history, much of his story has been lost in history, we do know a few things. And though no actual photos of Mordake exist, but there are wax figures made in his likeness.

Just like his story in the show, Mordake was born an heir to one of the most noble families in England. He grew up just like any man of noble birth. Mordake was charming, well-educated, a fiercely talented musician, and said to have been very handsome...from the front, at least. But from the back, it was very a different story.

On the back of Mordake's head was another face. This second face was said to be demonic and evil. This face couldn't really move or speak on its own, but it was known to follow people with its eyes and silently murmur to itself. The only person who could hear the face speaking was Mordake. The constant, evil gibbering of his twin that only he could hear eventually drove him mad.

Just like in the show, at the age of 23 Edward Mordake committed suicide. Some say he ended his life by gunshot, other accounts say poison. Either way, his final wish was that his demon twin be destroyed before his burial so that his whispering would stop in the grave.

Given the improbability of a parasitic twin, there is speculation on whether or not the second face was actually located on the back of Mordake's head, but it isn't totally out of the question. There have also been other famed cases of Diprosopus, the rare congenial disorder that causes craniofacial duplication. Other famous people with similar conditions were two-headed boy of Bengal and Robert Melvin the two-faced man.

Update: American Horror Story: Freak Show made this video where Wes Bentley explains Mordrake's character and his life a bit further.

Whether or not the story is entirely accurate, it makes for a very interesting story and [American Horror Story](series:206668) character arc.


What did you think of Edward Mordrake on American Horror Story: Freak Show?


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