“The Four-Legged Woman”

by Nancy Stohlman

Originally published in Pure Slush Magazine. Read original here

The Four Legged Woman

Jacqueline Hele’ne, the infamous four-legged woman, was born a dipygus—a rare form of conjoined twinning where one twin fuses with the lower half of the other and everything forms in duplicate—two pelvises, four legs, two sets of ovaries, two vaginas.

As a baby Jacqueline’s father would let the neighbors look at her for a nickel. By the time she was 13 she had joined the largest traveling circus as ‘The Amazing Four-legged Girl’ where she showcased her oddities for the next decade. Her act was so popular that by the time Jacqueline left the carnival, there were dozens of phony four-legged women in sideshows across the country.

Jacqueline eventually married and bore two babies from her right uterus and three from her left. Men who heard this news confirmed that she had a preference for the left side in other ways as well.