George Francis Eihinger as a child

George Francis Eihinger as a child.

HAYESVILLE -- On June 10, 1906, George Francis Eihinger was born outside of Hayesville to Daisy and Lester Eihinger (also listed as Ethinger).

George was unique, though, born with one head, one heart, two bodies, two stomachs, three legs, four kidneys, and 15 toes.

George weighed 14 pounds and had a strong appetite -- eating six hearty meals a day to feed the demands of the double stomachs. The two bodies joined together on the back near the waist line, with the male body protruding forward and the female body extending backward.

According to a 1922 article in a Loudonville paper, George was jolly and jovial, yet suffered one of life's tragedies when his three legs never developed enough to support the weight of his body.

Another peculiarity was George's heartbeat; the normal pulse was considered 72 to 78 beats per minute, but George clocked in at 150 (doctors believed this was necessary to pump blood to all parts of the body).

Despite all of this, George never required a doctor and was considered to possess the intelligence of an ordinary child.

George Francis Eihinger as an adult

George Francis Eihinger as an adult.

His parents decided to raise him as a boy, but within a year of his birth hired Bolus and Startzel to manage the child, hoping he would become a grand sideshow exhibit. The management team rebranded George as "May-Joe" and set out to tour the country, billing him as the "Wonder of the World."

May-Joe became a popular attraction with both Buffalo Bill's Great Wild West Show and rival Pawnee Bill's Great Far East Show, while also being billed under the names Joe-Pearl, Josephine-Pearl, and Elsie-Lynn.

By the age of four, the Bolus and Startzel team were no longer associated with the Eihingers. But George's parents tried to continue showcasing him around the state -- including an exhibit in Wooster, which was closed under the protest of the Humane Society.

They soon turned to Starling-Ohio Medical College (now the Ohio State University College of Medicine), having Dr. J.A. Ribel use George in his classroom for educational purposes.

His family, including four siblings, moved to Mifflin, but George may have been relocated to a sanitarium. As he aged, he began to suffer from severe scoliosis and required more constant care than this family could provide.

He was occasionally still exhibited in sideshows including the Elks Circus, in 1922, in Akron. George's ultimate fate and burial location are unknown.

More information on the Cleo Redd Fisher Museum can be found at this link.

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