“Made in Heaven”

MichaelBMoore-PhilipAndrew

Hot on the heels of the announcement of Conjoined, the girl-on-girl blockbuster of the year, comes the announcement of a production of Made in Heaven, a theatrical piece also examining the sex lives of conjoined twins. While Conjoined director B. Skow likes to take stories that interest him and “leave in the sex,” Made in Heaven takes a look at the logistics of how conjoined twins have sex, without the hardcore sex of Conjoined. As the Huffington Post recently reported, Conjoined examines female conjoined twins’ sex lives when one is gay while the other is straight.

Similarly, Made in Heaven’s conjoined twins, Ben and Max, share various organs, including that most important male organ, but one is straight while the other is gay. And it’s not until they propose to leading-lady Jessica that they find they must confront their differences.

It appears fascination with conjoined twins having sex is at an all time high with back-to-back productions on their way. Both directors have picked up on a long-overlooked nuance: the only thing more interesting than straight conjoined twins’ sex lives (a la Stuck on You and Chained for Life) is opposite-oriented conjoined twins. And why not: these stories looks at issues of sex, gender, how to have sex while your sibling’s in the room, and a never-ending game of Twister.

Catch Made in Heaven during Dallas’ Uptown Players’ Pride Performing Arts Festival this month.

See Conjoined this fall on DVD.

Non-Conjoined Twins As Legal Actors

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However, DNA matches have connected identical twins to the crime, but criminal charges cannot be pursued against them because their DNA is exactly the same and the victims cannot identify which of the twins may have committed the crime.

Via The Merc.

See also, Summers v. Tice and the case of the lawyer too clever by half.

Tatiana and Krista Hogan Turn in 6

The Edmunton Journal recently featured this infographic alongside an in depth update into the lives of Tatiana and Krista Hogan, craniopagus conjoined twins living in Vernon, British Columbia, Canada. From the article:

Each child has a fully structured brain, two cerebral hemispheres, a fully formed brain stem, cerebellum and spinal cord. They are conjoined not just by flesh and bone. Their brains are “zippered” together by a neural bridge between the thalami, the sensory processing hubs of their brains.

In a video to accompany the digital copy of the article, the twins’ mother, Felicia Hogan, demonstrates each twins’ ability to see what the other sees and feel what the other feels. Though their pediatric doctor, Dr. Juliette Hukin, remains skeptical that they can transmit thoughts to each other but does not dismiss the idea outright.

And yes, a reality show is in the works. Hollywood agent Chuck Harris has been pitching a program to television networks in the hopes of landing the girls a lucrative contract,  not unlike Abby & Brittany Hensel.

Read the article and see the short videos at the Edmunton Journal.

Download the infographic here.

Donate to their fund here.

 

Alice Dreger’s The Sex Lives of Conjoined Twins Feature in The Atlantic

Alice Dreger, preeminent bio-ethicist on all things conjoined twins and Northwestern professor, recently penned this short piece for The Atlantic on the sex lives of conjoined twins. From Chang and Eng Bunker to Daisy and Violet Hilton, Dreger covers our fascination with what goes on behind conjoined twins’ closed door(s).

Via The Atlantic.

See also Stuck on You.

Two-Headed Snake!

For the last three weeks, the Stewart family in Greenwood County, South Carolina have been caring for a harmless rough earth snake with two heads. An interesting find indeed. But this snake is unlike more common conjoined snakes in that the two heads bookend the body, rather than diverging from the same neck. Each head has two eyes and a fast moving tongue.

The children’s mother, Tina Stewart, told reporters, “One head’s is bigger and more dominant than the other, but they both seem to control the body.”

She added, ‘The main head will do one thing and then the other part’s trying to go in the opposite direction.”

The reporter contrasted this find with the yellow-lipped sea krait, see below, a snake whose tail resembles its head both in look and behavior.

Whether circus officials will ask the snakes to enter one contract or two is still up for debate.

Via Yahoo!.

See also ouroboros.

Abby and Brittany: “22nd Birthday Bash” and “Spring Break, Here We Come”

Abby & Brittany debuted this week on TLC with 1,731,000 million viewers tuning in to check out the conjoined lives of Abby and Brittany Hensel. The opening of the show does a good job setting the table for what the show will feature: the twins are seniors at Bethel University who will graduate sometime during the series, go abroad to Europe, and land a teaching position in the fall.

Watching the show, it’s immediately apparent the compromises the Hensel twins make in their everyday lives in their clothes, food, and social lives. But most interesting is the way Abby and Brittany talk about themselves. They wander in and out of the singular and plural, referring to themselves both as “we” and as an “I.” They are quick to draw distinctions between their personalities as Abby is the homebody while Brittany is the bossy, sassy type.

According to one of their roommates, the twins paid 1 1/2 tuitions to attend Bethel University and pursued the same majors: elementary education with a math emphasis. It seems that as far as Bethel University is concerned, the Hensels present two legal entities.

Episode 2 featured the twins preparing for a job interview at a Houston Elementary School. Though they both seek teaching position, because they are doing the job of one person the twins stated they would only ask for one salary. With some hard bargaining, maybe they could kick that up to 1 1/2 salaries.

Watch episodes 1 and 2 here.

TLC Presents: Abby & Brittany

TLC’s giving Abigail and Brittany Hensel a reality TV show this fall which is sure to present a parade of sticky legal situations. Take the photograph above depicting Abby and Brittany on a moped. What happens if they get popped for speeding? Who gets the infraction? In the past, one set of conjoined twins famously escaped a ticket for causing an accident when the befuddled police officer couldn’t figure out who to ticket. A previous documentary on the  Hensel twins revealed that while both Hensel twins had to pass the written portion of the driving test separately, because each controls half the body one twin steers while the other works the pedals. No doubt, they’ve got to share steering duties on a moped while only one works the throttle.

Join the Hensels this fall for what’s sure to be a tangled dose of reality televsion.

Via TLC.

Ask Maxim

If you turn to the page 22 of the May issue of Maxim magazine, you’d find a published abstract of Half Guilty in the form of an answer to the reader-submitted Ask Maxim question “If a conjoined twin commits a homicide, is his other half also convicted of the crime?” While it’s no footnote to a 9th Circuit opinion, it’s got about as much authority as a law review article. Here’s the full submission, excerpted  for the column:

1) If a conjoined twin commits a homicide, is their other half also convicted of the crime?
Probably not. Though there has never been an American court ruling on the legal personhood of conjoined twins, a court would likely consider them distinct individuals. To convict someone of a crime in this country, the state must show that she committed a guilty act with a guilty mind. Unless a prosecutor can prove that both twins committed the guilty act (murder) with the guilty mind (intent to commit murder), the state could not convict them both.

2) Can they be considered a witness for testimony?
Yes, the court could compel one twin to testify against the other. While many states recognize a privilege from compelling spouses to testify against each other, there are few, if any, that recognize such a privilege between siblings. However, there are very rare cases of conjoined twins with fused brains; if a court viewed such twins as one person in the eyes of the law, that person could not be compelled to testify against herself under the Fifth Amendment.

3) Are there any known cases of this ever happening?
The 17th century Italian conjoined twins Lazarus and Joannes Baptista Colloredo purportedly skirted a murder conviction thanks to their conjoinment. Authorities arrested Lazarus after he stabbed a man to death for teasing him and his parasitic twin brother. Though he was sentenced to death the court granted him a reprieve, finding that they could not execute Lazarus without killing his innocent conjoined twin.

Conscripted and Conjoined

After traveling the world, exhibiting their intertwined bodies, Chang and Eng Bunker settled down in Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to farm their land and raise families with their wives (sisters to boot). Chang and Eng became quite wealthy — amassing large estates, tended to by some 33 slaves, and large families. In 1865, the throes of the American Civil War, Union General George Stoneman raided the state and set up a lottery to draft all able-bodied men over the age of 18.  Whether Chang and Eng Bunker would be considered “able-bodied” for purposes of the Selective Service System is another question (the regulations require that even disabled men who live at home must register with Selective Service if they can reasonably leavetheir homes and move about independently).

According to Clint Johnson’s 2011 travel companion, Touring the Carolinas’ Civil War Sites, the names of the men were put into a lottery wheel. Eng’s name was chosen for conscription but not that of his brother Chang. Besides the fact that both Chang and Eng were ardent Southern sympathizers, Stoneman would have had a hell of a time trying to enlist one brother without the other due to the fusion of the conjoined twins’ livers.

As Rebekah Brooks concludes the story: “Neither brother ended up fighting in the war although both of their eldest sons, Christopher Wren Bunker and Stephen Bunker, joined and fought for the Confederacy. Both Christopher and Stephen survived the war but Christopher was captured and spent nearly a year as a prisoner of war at Camp Chase in Ohio in August of 1864.”

Via Civil War Days and the Smithsonian.