Meet Myrtle, the Woman Who Was Born With 4 Legs and Eventually Became a Mom

Josephine Myrtle Corbin was born with a rare birth defect called polymelia, meaning born with extra limbs, in her case, she had 4 legs, 2 normal ones and 2 smaller ones that grew from her hips. But there was more to it. She also had 2 sets of reproductive organs and 2 pelvises. Because of this rare occurrence, she’s probably one of the few people in history considered wonders. Let’s delve into Myrtle’s story and discover her exceptional life milestones.Myrtle was considered a rare and remarkable case of human development.

© Joseph Jones / Wikimedia Comons© Public Domain

Josephine Myrtle Corbin, an American sideshow performer, came into the world in 1868 as a remarkable medical rarity. Affected by a condition known as dipygus, she possessed two lower bodies from the waist down. This unusual phenomenon occurred due to her body axis splitting during development, resulting in two separate pelvises side by side. Remarkably, her smaller inner legs were paired with one of her outer legs. While Myrtle could move her inner legs, but they were too weak to walk on.

Born in Tennessee to her parents, William and Nancy, Myrtle’s arrival brought both wonder and concern. At 25, her father, William, and 34-year-old mother, Nancy, welcomed the unique little Myrtle into their lives. Medical professionals noted that if Myrtle had been delivered breech, with her bottom first, it could have been potentially fatal for both her and her mother. Thankfully, Myrtle’s early days were promising, as she displayed signs of strength, weighing 10 lb (4.5kg) just 3 weeks after her birth.

Myrtle’s father was facing financial hardship and had to think of ways to support his growing family.

© Charles Eisenmann (1855-1927) / Wikimedia Commons© Public domain© Palette.fm

At the age of 5 weeks, people had the opportunity to visit William Corbin and marvel at his four-legged daughter for a small fee. As the years passed, Myrtle grew up accustomed to the constant stares and astonishment from those who encountered her rare condition. Her inner legs never fully developed, her right foot was clubbed, and both of the smaller legs had 3 toes on each foot.

Over the following decade, William took Myrtle on a journey across the country, where she participated in fairs, sideshows, and dime museums. By the time she turned 14, she had achieved success and managed to secure a lucrative contract paying her an unusually high salary of $250 per week.

The four-legged girl, Myrtle, had a younger sister named Ann, who fortunately did not suffer from any birth defects.

Myrtle married when she was 18 and later became a mother.

© James R. Applegate (1849–1910), Philadelphia / Wikimedia Commons© Public Domain© Palette.fm

As Myrtle entered adulthood, she grew weary of the constant attention she received due to her condition. At 18, she decided to marry James Bicknell, a medical student, after which she retired from her performing career. Interestingly, her fame had inspired others to attempt to fake her unique deformity, but all of these impostors were eventually exposed as frauds.

A year into their marriage, Myrtle experienced troubling symptoms like fever, nausea, headaches, and side pains. Concerned, she sought medical attention, and to her disbelief, the doctor revealed that she was pregnant on her left side. Myrtle skeptically responded, saying, “If it had been on my right side, I would come nearer believing you are correct.” The pregnancy proved challenging for her health, and doctors even advised her to consider an abortion due to the severity of her illness. However, Myrtle managed to recover swiftly.

Over the following years, James and Myrtle welcomed seven more children into their family. Tragically, only 5 of them survived infancy, 4 daughters and a son.

© Unknown author / Wikimedia Commons© Public Domain

The family lived a quiet life until their 5 children reached adulthood. Then Myrtle re-entered the show business. In 1909, when Myrtle was 41, she was a part of Huber’s Museum exhibit, appearing as The Four-Legged Girl from Cleburne, Texas. She often dressed her 4 legs in matching shoes and socks, to the audience’s delight. She was making $450 per week at the time.

In 1928, Myrtle developed a skin infection on her right leg, and the doctor diagnosed her with erysipelas or a strep infection. A week later, on May 6th, 1928, Myrtle passed away. Her casket was covered in concrete, and family members kept watch until it was fully cured to prevent grave robbers from stealing her remains.

Almost a century later, Josephine Myrtle Corbin Bicknell continues to inspire others by proving that even in the 19th century, a woman could forge a successful career and become a mother all at once.

Bruce Willis’s family facing tragic new health battle as daughter struggles

The Willis family has gone through a lot during these past months, and their struggles are far from over.

Ever since the Die Hard star was diagnosed with a condition that affects one’s ability to communicate, the world fell silent. His family provided him with extreme support and has been updating his fans of Bruce’s condition regularly.

Bruce withdrew from from the spotlight, and later on, he was diagnosed with a more specific condition; frontotemporal dementia.

“Our family wanted to start by expressing our deepest gratitude for the incredible outpouring of love, support and wonderful stories we have all received since sharing Bruce’s original diagnosis,” his daughter Rumer Willis posted on the social media.

“In the spirit of that, we wanted to give you an update about our beloved husband, father and friend since we now have a deeper understanding of what he is experiencing.

“Since we announced Bruce’s diagnosis of aphasia in spring 2022, Bruce’s condition has progressed and we now have a more specific diagnosis: frontotemporal dementia (known as FTD).”

NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 21: (Exclusive Coverage) Bruce Willis and Tallulah Willis celebrate Bruce Willis’ 60th birthday at Harlow on March 21, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

As Bruce’s wife, ex-wife, and his daughters were as well affected by his illness, his daughter Tallulah, whom the actor shares with Demi Moore, is experiencing issues with her mental health and they get worse as her father’s health condition worsens.

Tallulah spoke openly of her anorexia after she was dumped by her fiancè Dillon Buss less than three months after her father’s aphasia diagnosis.

As per reports, Bruce is being aware of his daughter’s suffering.

“Bruce could see her wasting away and it only made his own problems worse,” a source said, as reported by Radar.

“Bruce was shattered when he saw Tallulah’s suffering,” the insider went on.

“It got to the point where the family thought it would be better if they weren’t around each other at all.”

SHANGHAI, CHINA – NOVEMBER 04: American actor Bruce Willis attends CocoBaba and Ushopal activity on November 4, 2019 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

Tallulah has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder after she checked into an in-patient facility following the breakup.

In the essay she penned for Vogue Magazine, Tallulah explained that her struggles with body dysmorphia began when she started taking medication for ADHD.

“I felt smart for the first time,” Tallulah said of taking her medication, “but I also started to enjoy the appetite-​suppressant side effect of the meds. I saw a way to banish the awkward adolescent in favor of a flighty little pixie. And like so many people with eating disorders, my sense of myself went haywire.

“There’s an unhealthy deliciousness at the beginning of losing weight rapidly. People are like, ‘Oh wow!’ And then quickly it turns to, ‘Are you okay?’ My friends and family were terrified, and I dismissed it.”

LOS ANGELES, CA – JULY 14: Tallulah Willis attends the Comedy Central Roast of Bruce Willis at Hollywood Palladium on July 14, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

The 29-year-old added: “By the spring of 2022, I weighed about 84 lbs. I was always freezing. I was calling mobile IV teams to come to my house, and I couldn’t walk in my Los Angeles neighborhood because I was afraid of not having a place to sit down and catch my breath.”

We truly hope Tallulah would be able to overcome her health issues.

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