Almanac – January 17

1874 – Chang and Eng Bunker died.  Conjoined twin brothers whose condition and birthplace became the basis for the term “Siamese twins“.

Chang, who had contracted pneumonia, died rather suddenly in his sleep. According to the Travel Channel’s “Mysteries at the Museum“, Chang suffered a stroke the night that he died.

Eng awoke to find his brother dead, and called for his wife and children to attend to him. A doctor was summoned to perform an emergency separation, but he was too late. Eng died three hours later.

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1881 – Harry Price born. British psychic researcher and author, who gained public prominence for his investigations into psychical phenomena and his exposing of fake spiritualists. He is best known for his well-publicized investigation of the purportedly haunted Borley Rectory in Essex, England.

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1927 – Eartha Kitt born. American singer, actress, and cabaret star. She was perhaps best known for her highly distinctive singing style and her 1953 hit recordings of “C’est Si Bon” and the enduring Christmas novelty smash “Santa Baby“.

Orson Welles once called her the “most exciting woman in the world.”

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1977 – Gary Gilmore executed. An American who gained international notoriety for demanding that his own death sentence be fulfilled following two murders he committed in Utah.

Gilmore had requested that, following his execution, his eyes be used for transplant purposes. Within hours of the execution, two people received his corneas, and the seeds of a UK Punk classic were sown…

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