Portion of the only known photograph of dos Santos, taken ca. 1865 by C.D. Fredericks. (Mannix)
The temptation here might be to make some lewd remark about this gentleman being popular with the ladies, but at Environmental Graffiti we don’t go in for that sort of vulgar talk. A pity the same couldn’t be said for the Victorian medical examiners in their reports on Juan Baptista dos Santos – the world famous man with two penises.
Turning medical heads
(Gould & Pyle, p. 196, fig. 62)
Said to have been a gypsy born in Faro in Southern Portugal to two typical parents around 1843, Juan Baptista dos Santos was given his first medical examination when he was six months old. Despite being in generally rude health, it was discovered that little Juan was a bit different from his brothers, owning as he did two distinct sets of genitalia, plus a third leg with eight toes and two heels that was in fact two fused limbs.
Forget the third leg jokes
Frontal view of dos Santos' double genitalia. From Transactions of the Medical Society of the State of New York, 1866, fig. 41 (Paul Colston Collection)
Dos Santos’ actual third leg dangled from his lower spine via a thin portion of tissue and was bereft of the powers of sensation and movement. The general consensus was that this functionless appendage should be amputated due to concerns about its lack of circulation and vitality – though Santos simply strapped the limb to his thigh in a special sling so that he could remain active and ride horses.
However, it was not Santos’ dead leg that excited the medical men of the time but his two rather more vital functioning penises and three scrota – the outer two of which each contained a solitary testis. The exhaustive examinations Santos received throughout his life confirmed that he could not only urinate but also achieve erections with both of his members simultaneously.
Ooh-err missus, twice the fun
Engraving taken from the only known photograph of Dos Santos, ca. 1865. Transactions of the Medical Society of the State of New York, 1866, fig. 42 (Paul Colston Collection)
The report following his particularly thorough 1865 inspection claimed that Santos had an “animal passion”, with photographer C.D. Fredericks frothing: "The sight of a female is sufficient to excite his amorous propensities. He functionates with both of the penes, finishing with one, then continues with the other."
This reputation for having a doubly voracious sexual appetite probably says less about Santos than it does about the Victorians’ obsession with sex – even as they feigned to deny themselves anything to do with the dirty business.
Ain’t no circus freak show
Lateral view of dos Santos` third leg and double genitalia. Transactions of the Medical Society of the State of New York, 1866, fig. 43 (Paul Colston Collection)
During his lifetime, Santos was pursued by several sideshows and circuses, and in 1865 declined what was then the princely sum of 200,000 francs to perform for two years with a French Circus. Santos instead opted to exhibit himself in medical circles, and was shown in several special institutional exhibitions in addition to being examined by numerous doctors in France and England.
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