Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Otto Tolpefer – The Man with Two Mouths

In the late 1880s, New York’s Bowery featured an unusual attraction alongside its armless wonder, two-headed cow, and other oddities: Otto Tolpefer, the Man with Two Mouths.
Tolpefer was born with the superfluous mouth, which was located just below the chin. The blonde, smooth-faced Tolpefer sat on a platform drinking water with one mouth and simultaneously smoking a cigarette with the other. When speaking, he used the top mouth and closed the second one with his fingers. A New York Times reporter covering the act described his speech as poor, because “the tracheal bellows gives his voice a strange and unreal whispering sound like that of a sexton at a funeral.” The second mouth was unable to speak or eat and was fitted with brass lips.
The reporter further remarked that “Otto is not a pleasant object to gaze at excessively, and as a wall decoration he would not succeed.”

The above information was found in an article from the Nov. 23, 1887 edition of the New York Times.


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