Monday 9 December 2013

Three legs, two hearts

George Lippert (c.1842-1906) was, as his strap-line on the Barnum Circus flyer heralded, the original Three-Legged Man. 
And, with six toes on the end of his third limb, that gave him 16 toes in total. Not only was he born with an extra leg but he had two fully functioning hearts side by side in his chest. So when in July 1906 his right heart stopped beating it wasn't the end; though because of advanced Tuberculosis he did peg it a couple of weeks later.


  1. Oh, that's staggering, it's hard to imagine how his life must have been but it sounds like he adapted well. If he'd been alive today I guess he'd be featured in graphic, voyeuristic detail on one of those 'health' programmes on Channel 5, so perhaps it's just as well he's not in some respects...
    Btw you got me thinking with your 'peg' reference... 'peg'leg I get, but where does the phrase 'to peg it' come from, I wonder?!

    1. I'd hazard a guess and say it's probably Cribbage related; a bit dull, really. I should have said it comes from a Medieval S&M sex game where clothes pegs were attached to...well, I'm sure you get the idea.

  2. Perhaps he was the inspiration for Rolf Harris's Jake the Peg song! Joking apart, Phineas Barnum used to look after his 'curiosities' very well so I hope he wasn't exploited too much in his life.

  3. Two hearts... three legs...

    Sci Fi would have had a field day with this