Rudy Santos (born in 1953) is a former sideshow performer from the Philippines. He is the oldest recorded person in history to live with his parasitic twin. Due to his rare medical condition, he made a living appearing in freak shows with the stage name “Octoman.”
What are parasitic twins?
A parasitic twin (also called an unequal or asymmetrical conjoined twin) refers to the smaller and less developed member of a pair of unequal conjoined twins. The less developed twin will often have a formless mass of tissue that is attached to or within the more developed twin.
The rare condition of parasitic twins occurs when an embryo develops in the womb, but the pair does not fully separate. The result leaves one embryo that will develop normally, and the other that is less completely developed. There are distinct variants of this extremely rare condition.
This is an image of a postoperative specimen (sex is unknown), and an example of fetus in fetu. The specimen shows a well-developed fetus that is lying on its back, and has rudimentary digits.
In Santos’ case, his undeveloped twin came with additional appendages.
Features of Santos’ parasitic twin
Below are the remaining appendages from Santos’ parasitic twin.
- An undeveloped head that is attached to his sternum, with an incipient ear, and even a patch of hair.
- Extra pair of nipples
- One Leg
- A couple of arms
All are attached to Santos’ pelvis, and protruding from his abdomen. Due to his own severely deformed right leg, Santos uses crutches to walk.
A lucrative career as a sideshow performer
Throughout the 1970s and most of the 1980s, Santos made a decent living by appearing in freak shows. With the stage name “Octoman,” he was the main attraction. Santos was paid 20,000 pesos ($1,139.67 US Dollar) per each performance.
Even after spending many years entertaining crowds and bringing home over a thousand bucks a night, Santos decided he had enough. In the late 1980s, he retired himself into seclusion, which led him into ten years of extreme poverty.
Santos refuses to remove his appendages
To determine if separation of his parasitic twin was a viable and safe option, in 2008, Santos was examined by Filipino doctor Vicente Gomez.
Despite learning that surgical removal was indeed viable, Rudy Santos refused separation surgery. He claimed that over the years, he had grown too attached to his appendages.